Mage UnConf 18 — Speak Louder Please

I realise this makes no sense at present, it will I hope by end of article!

Pre-Event

From when I landed in Germany I was made to feel welcome by the community. Benno DM’ed me and we met up as soon as he arrived by train. He took me to a traditional brewery where we proceeded to have several (very small) beers very quickly (english people drink quickly I learned, Germans drink long and more slowly). By 5pm I was a little drunk! We discussed running a business, the pains and the joys, and also ExtDN which is a great group that are focused on improving quality and tools around extensions. It’s strange in some ways that a person I see in real life so little can be such a good friend, and here is #1 note on Magento Community:

UnConference

10am start (luckily as I was out until gone 2am or maybe 3…)

Testing and Code Reviews

There was quite a bit of talk around testing. I saw a demo of Codeception which looked a great suite of tools to help PHP testing, really liked the BDD and browser testing aspects. Fabian S (the other one!) gave a talk on code reviews, which I found extremely insightful, including the need to review the tests, how to approach PR’s, what to look at and what to not look at. It was good to hear how others do code reviews, there was a lot of audience participation, and it just made me think about how we can improve internally, was good ideas from all around the room (too many to repeat here). Unit (and integration/acceptance) testing seems to be just a solid way forwards (we do TDD in ShipperHQ as FYI), though some people I think still think a lot of work to do it. It is to start, once you get going I think it saves a ton of time long term as you build up the suite.

PWA

Andreas gave a chat about the different frameworks and overview of PWA. TBH it all sounded like it’s a work in progress for most, though some seem to be further along than others. True PWA with offline support is still a little way away IMO. Buzzwords, then reality. The trick is to start building now for when that arrives, just as we are doing with our react/graphql work (come see me at MageTitans Manchester for more on that).

Magento for SMB

This was a talk that myself and Sander (btw I love this guy to bits!) did, we got a little drunk Saturday night and it seemed a good idea at the time. In fairness to Sander he didn’t talk too much as the room took it over, it was a lively discussion around whether Magento could work for a 10–15K Euro budget client, but then expanded into could Magento work for a SMB in general, or should they use different platform.

  1. Germany is very strong Magento and they remain extremely loyal and also enjoy Magento 2 (more than Magento 1)
  2. For smaller merchants the conclusion generally was its not a good idea to do Magento 2, as there are other solutions that are cheaper short term
  3. But if the customer needs customisations and flexibility then they will find Magento 2 is only platform for that
  4. If customer is growing fast going with a smaller platform may be false economy as they will outgrow and have to start again, better to start with Magento 2 if they are planning to scale
  5. Shopware is okay, but it’s not good if you have a bigger store
  6. Shopify and BigCommerce really don’t feature here in Germany (from what people said) — unlike what I see in US and UK
  7. As an SMB agency really you would do well to be on > 1 platform so as the client grows you can move them to Magento 2 if maybe its not a good fit initially
  8. The bigger agencies are growing and getting much bigger, freelancing and building sites alone is hard, better to contract with agency or join
  9. The prices for Magento builds are going up, but what they can build is amazing, and in today’s world that is sometimes required
  10. Many view the Adobe acquisition as a net positive, they believe it will allow for better reach out to Adobe customers to bring into Magento and possibly to bigger community
  11. It’s not viewed that Magento community will shrink, its more viewed it will change. Most of the developers seemed to be happy with ‘growing’ and charging more, becoming more professional, delivering a high quality product. We are ‘maturing’ shall we say!

Contributing Back

David Manners ran a talk where he showed us inside community engineering. TheRick (Riccardo) who is a community maintainer also spoke and I had a change to talk to him after aswell, it was extremely enlightening. TBH I get a bit pissed off when I hear some of Magento people who rant at me for not contributing to github — especially when they are attempting to compete with me at business level at times with their built-in modules. Why should I fix their bugs, they have built 1.7bn $ business and they expect me to code for them for free?!

Women in Tech

I don’t want to say much apart from the german/EU community of women is so awesome, I don’t want to name names for fear of missing people out or appearing to have favorites, but please go look up the organisers and also the people on #MageUC2018 hashtag, and follow them. These women have steel, they are not afraid, they are eager and I see a new generation that is set to do amazing things. I want to add I’m here to support you in any way I can, so always feel free to reach out to me. I am old, you are young, go discover the world, it is your oyster!

Men in Tech

I met many many men (as you would expect), and I want to say that I’m greatly impressed by their attitude, their kindness to me and to others. From CEOs to junior devs, they were all totally lovely, hierarchy went out of the window. An example I’ll call out is a young guy called Ulf, extremely engaging on a technical and conversational level, this is our future, go follow him on twitter!!

Magento Community

God its strong. Its not changed here at all, its even stronger. Rico is amazing, and there are enough people in Germany to keep them on the right path with Magento. There is no wobble here, there is progress and climbing a ladder of success, that is what I see.

What Next?

Ben Marks raised about videoing the event next time, I’d actually encourage that not to happen because i think it makes it more free without.

A BIG Thanks

I just want to finish by thanking Fabian, Tobsen, Rico, Sonja, Claudia, Carmen and all the other ‘crew’ for inviting me, allowing my company to sponsor, and for working so hard to put on an effort that was the best organised disorganised unconf ever.

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