Developer Diary: Umbraco Festival Deutschland 2018

02/05/2018 developerDiary conference speaking umbraco

A 5am alarm is never fun, but as much as I was tired I was excited to be travelling to Frankfurt. I was on my way to Umbraco Festival Deutschland (UFD18) where I was attending the conference aswell as giving a talk. I travelled with my husband as we were extending the trip and using it is a chance to visit Germany for the first time!

Thursday 26th April, 2018

One bonus of such an early flight is it let us get there early enough in the day to explore the city a wee bit and get some food before heading to the festival pre-party.

The party was held in the very cool Byte5 offices in the east end of the city with awesome views and an Umbraco themed cocktail menu (I had the Umbraco Drive). It’s always good to get a chance to see everyone ahead of the conference and for Mr L to meet some of these “Umbracians” I always talk about. 

Friday 27th April, 2018

On the morning of the festival, as has become my tradition at conferences, I went for a morning run round the city. After travelling the day before and with a day sitting in conference ahead I thought I would take the chance to stretch my legs and get some fresh air. Look at the views that waking up at 6.30 gets you, totally worth it!

After a quick run, getting ready and breakfast, I headed up to the venue. In a new co-working/ events space in the west end of Frankfurt. On arrival I collected my badge and giftbag with the all important conference tee. Big shout out to conferences (including UFD18) who make the effort to have women’s sizes even though there aren’t many of us! Then it was time to get a cup of tea, chat to some friends and get ready for the first sessions of the day.

First up was Doug Robar with his always inspiring “Level 5 Good Morning”. Doug ensures we wake up and start the day with positive energy. We are encouraged to actually talk to new people, get to know them and give them a big high five! He also left us with the message “Be mentored, be a mentor”, we can all be mentors and can all learn from each other. What a perfect start to a day of community and learning!

We then had a welcome to the festival from Christian Wendler the founder of Byte5 who also introduced Niels Hartvig, the Chief Unicorn and founder of Umbraco.

During the keynote we heard on the progress of Umbraco both from a business and tech perspective. We got a cool live demo of Umbraco headless, a new product from the team at HQ which is still in beta… more on this to come later. We then got a sneak peak at Umbraco v8 and were told this is where most active development is happening by the dev team at Umbraco. Some notable changes from v7 are the UI (goodbye tabs in doctypes!) and multilingual variants built in to Umbraco. Looking forward to seeing this as it develops!

After a quick coffee break, it was time for the sessions to begin. There were both English and German tracks for talks so you could choose which to attend. I went to the Umbraco Headless talk by Rune and Mads from Umbraco HQ. Having worked with some custom headless implementations of Umbraco sites using WebAPI I was interested to see this.

The talk was really interesting and funny, the context of the site was for their "band" Slave and Eagle (these guys are famous for their Karaoke at after parties!). The effort they put in to their talk was clear based on their photoshoot as popstars to populate the Umbraco content with and also the awesome demo’s they had to show off what headless can do.

It was really cool to see how the API could be used to implement in a node.js site and also a Microsoft chat bot using the npm package and the .net standard library respectively.

I actually missed the next sessions but for a cool reason. In the Umbraco community there is a weekly online hangout called UmbraCoffee. They “meet” at 11.30am on a Friday with a coffee and discuss what’s happening in Umbraco world. The hosts Callum and Marcin are usually joined by a guest from the community. Marcin was a speaker at UFD18 during their usual time, so I stood in and dialled in to the call with Callum and Ed Perry.

We had a few technical difficulties and there was more background noise on my side than I realised but it was good fun. You can catch the videos (and all the past episodes) here.

After lunch, I took a bit off time out to prep for my talk as I was getting a wee bit nervous and also to have an interview with the company recording the event. I don’t think I have ever done an on camera interview before… I felt like Beyonce. A geeky, much more awkward and slightly less glamorous version of Beyonce. On a serious note, I do struggle alot with confidence so even being in front of a camera and doing the UmbraCoffee earlier was a challenge. If you had said 2 years ago I would be doing these things, I won’t have believed you. 

The next session I attended was an intro to VueJS by Matt Brailsford. I am not a front end developer but I do like to try out some Javascript and have built applications in AngularJS and ReactJS. The title of Matt’s talk was “How I fell in love in love with VueJS” and the opening slide was an indication of the story to come. 


Matt’s slides were really awesome and a style I haven’t seen before,using animations rather than a lot of text in his slides. He then had code snippets where needed, giving us an intro to getting started with Vue step by step.

After one final coffee (and cake!) break, it was time for my talk. Note: I didn’t actually have any cake because I was too nervous. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love baking so I was super disappointed not to enjoy some of the amazing cakes!

I was giving a session called “Go live is just day one”, discussing a case study of a project we have worked on at Equator. From when it went live nearly 2 years ago til now making many conversion and business process enhancements along the way. I also discussed some of the innovative IOT projects we have implemented using smart screens and Alexa skills.

Thanks to everyone who stuck around at the end of the day for my talk, I really appreciate it and it was great to get some feedback with the community.

And just like that, the day was done! Massive high five to the organising team at Byte 5 and to all the speakers and sponsors. It was a great day and Frankfurt is a lovely city. Being able to travel to other countries and share what I have been working on and learn from others is something I really enjoy and am super grateful I have the chance to do.

I didn’t make it to the famous Karaoke after party, I was tired after 2 early mornings and the mental tiredness of public speaking. I met the husband and went for some food... macaroni cheese and chips =  comfort food! I think this photo explains how tired yet happy I was:

The next morning, it was ANOTHER early start (5.30am alarm this time) to get up, checkout the hotel and head to the train station for the next part of our German adventure: Berlin! I am typing this on the train journey and feeling really appreciative I have the chance to attend these events and be asked to speak as well as visit a country I have always wanted to visit.

But now, the laptop gets closed and I am in holiday mode!


Auf Wiedersehen UFD18!


Check out the photo album by the wonderful Douglas Robar here and keep watching the festival twitter for news of the videos!