Unexpected love from the community


In an exciting new twist this year, we introduced the first ‘Community Space’ to our 2016 Umbraco UK Festival. A rather fitting addition to compliment the ethos of the festival (an event run solely for the Umbraco community) and we were intrigued to see how it would go.

Perhaps the more intriguing question that came out of it in the end was - ‘why did we not do it sooner?!’. As such a knowledgeable and passionate bunch, it made good sense to hand a space over to you - the community - to share what you’re passionate and knowledgeable about!

Not wanting to meddle too much with the organic concept, we set a 15 minute time slot per speaker and away they went! From mental health through to best grid practices, the topics were diverse but all warmly welcomed! We hadn’t really known what the reception would be like, but at the end of the day so much unexpected love came flooding in on Twitter, confirming to us that the ‘Community Space’ should definitely make a comeback next year.  

Due to the informal nature we didn’t record the sessions, but those who missed it, here’s a brief overview of who was involved and what was discussed...


Bringing a new topic to the tech table at this year’s festival, Ravi Motha, Umbraco MVP, part time giraffe and joint organiser of Umbraco London Group Meetup discussed the importance of mental health. His talk: ‘Taking care of you’ focused on the need for developers to take better care of themselves and to reach out in times of need.

I’d recently started to notice incidents where professional athletes (who use their body as their means of income) were called out for being out of shape or were caught doing things that were detrimental to their overall performance,” says Ravi. “It got me thinking, if you’re a professional athlete you would treat your body well by dieting, training and not smoking but as professionals we may not look after our instrument (brain) as well as we should.”

In the talk, Ravi highlighted the current prevalence of mental health disorders (one in six have a mental health issue) and gave suggestions for things we should do to make ourselves feel good and supported. A worthy and important discussion to our community space.

If you’re interested in learning more, take a look at Ravi’s slides.

Also, if you’re looking to make friends, gain support and become part of the Umbraco UK community, join us at the next Meetup!


Emma Burstock, back-end developer at Radley Yeldar came along and shared an overview of her recent experience at CODE CABIN. During her talk, she reflected on the key themes of the retreat and what she had learned.

The first subject in her discussion was about the ideal Umbraco site set up and the importance of architecture and scalability in a good build. She encouraged developers to think big scale and gave a great example, explaining how even a dog walker deserves a site that has the potential to have a global reach.

She then touched on ReactJS and AngularJS and let the conversation open up to a debate amongst the audience, allowing all those who are new to either technologies to learn from the experts in the room. Lastly, she discussed her key highlight from CODE CABIN - the Ditto workshop and explained how it has made her job as an Umbracian so rewarding.

To read more about Emma’s talk and experience, check out her blog review live on Radley Yeldar.


Anders Burla Johansen, our Tea Commerce workshop guru took some extra time out of his day to talk through the ‘Best practices for version 7 and the grid’ with everyone.

In the talk, Anders ran through best practices for Umbraco as offered on his site, and explored the back office giving key pointers on the grid.

While only a brief introduction, he has revealed to us, he will be running a more advanced session next year titled: ‘The Umbraco Grid on Steroids,’ so stay tuned for more from Anders in 2017.


Darren Ferguson of Moriyama ran a practical training on the Azure Umbraco search, a cloud based scalable implementation of elasticsearch – which is quite easy to deploy and manage once you know how.

In the presentation, Darren provided a method which took people through how to get Umbraco content and Media Indexed into Azure search and how to make queries against the resulting indexing – including faceting and other complex search scenarios.

The code from the demonstration is available here on GitHub and includes some improvements suggested during the talk.

While this is just a taster of what’s got the community talking, if learning more about our Umbraco community interests you, check out our developer Marcin Zajkowski’s recent talk from the festival on ‘Community driven self development’.