Owain is an Umbraco MVP, an Umbraco certified master and works on Umbraco projects on a daily basis. When not coding, he enjoys running, spending time with his wife and building lego!
A couple of weeks ago I headed over to Odense, Denmark for my second visit to Codegarden. Last year was all a bit crazy but I loved it and I was really pleased to be going back again this year.
There were a couple of key things I was really looking forward to this year and also one new experience I was a little bit, OK very nervous about. More of that in a moment.
I flew over to Copenhagen on the Monday before everything kicked off and as it happened, a couple of other people I know from the Umbraco Community were also heading over a couple of days before everything kicked off too.
We met in the airport and then headed to Warpigs. I've heard a lot about this place but had never been. It's somewhat of an institution amongst many Umbracians. I was about to hopefully find out why.
After a 10 minute walk from Copenhagen train station we arrived. It looked nice. Had a good selection of beers and the food smelt amazing.
The setup is canteen style, you grab a tray which becomes your plate and then take a seat on long benches either inside or outside. We opted for inside.
I ordered some brisket, sausage and a small side of mac'n'cheese along with a beer. I looked great and smelt just as good. The guy serving us really knew his stuff and told us what was special about the 'special sausage'. With my items on my tray and not very sure about currency conversation rates I decided that was enough for me. I can always go back for second if I decided I needed more food.
With that in mind I headed over to pay for it. Seconds later I got a notification on my phone as to how much this small lunch had just cost me as I use Monzo and it converts local currency to Stirling straight away. I was glad I was sitting down when I looked at the notification. £29!!!
Ouch! I would be looking for a 2 course meal and a beer for that price. It was nice food but £29 wasn't worth it and I'm not sure I would go back. Sorry to all the fans of this place, I just don't get the appeal.
Anyway, after lunch, we all jumped on to the train and headed to Odense. It's about 1.5 hours I think on the train so I got my laptop out and watched the rest of the film I had been watching on the flight from Edinburgh.
I checked in to Cabinn and was expecting a really small room from what I had heard from others that have stayed here but I thought it was perfect. Last year I stayed in the Radisson Blu and although it was a very nice hotel, for the amount of time I'm actually in the room, I just needed a bed and a shower. Cabinn ticked those boxes.
After a bit of down time I headed out again to meet up with others who were also in town. We headed to a street food place called Storms Pakhus. I really recommend it. Really nice food and good beers.
The embarrassing moment of the night was when I was introducing myself to some people around the table and I started talking to someone, asking what they did and where they had come from, to be answered with, Erm, Owain, it's me, Eric from HQ!
Very embarrassing as I have spoken with Eric a lot over the last couple of months. I'm rubbish at remembering names and it seems faces! Sorry Eric!
Gold Partner summit
The next day I was attending the Umbraco Gold partner summit and representing LEWIS. LEWIS have been a Gold partner for just over a year now and the Gold Partner summit is a good chance to meet other Gold partners and also hear directly from Umbraco HQ about what they have done over the past year and what they plan to announce over the coming year.
After the Gold partner summit, it was time for the Codegarden pre-party to kick off. This was really good last year and it was no different this year. I met up with old friends and really enjoyed socialising and meeting new people. The one thing I found really odd this year was people knew me and I had no idea who they were. The conversation usually went something like
Them: "Hey Owain! How you doing?"
Me: "Hey! Ye good thanks" (don't look panicked, you'll remember who they are in a minute).
Them: "I just wanted to say hi, I follow you on twitter"
Me: "Oh, great! That's good to hear"
Conversation continues for 10 mins or so and we part ways, me still not having any idea who the person was! I really need to improve on that and I'm really sorry if you were one of those people.
The worrying things was, I wasn't even drinking! I had decided to have 3 beers max. I had 1 at the Gold partner summit dinner then picked up a bottle of beer and had a pint later in the evening. Inbetween all of that, I just topped up my beer bottle with water. I'll tell you, I'm so glad I did as I felt great the following day! No hang over and I was ready for the day ahead.
The plan for this blog was for me to go in to detail about each day, what I did, what I saw etc but this year was a very different experience for me. I was a speaker!
This was my first ever conference talk and I was super nervous and due to this I missed a lot of the talks I had made a mental note to go and see. Thankfully, all of the talks were recorded and the are now available via the codegarden website
My talk was called Imposters in the Cloud and I shared the stage with Chriztian Steinmeier.
Day One - Wednesday
I did go to the first timers briefing, which I thought was great idea. A brilliant way for first timers to CodeGarden (which there were many!) to meet someone who had been to CG before and have a buddy during the 3 days. I really enjoyed meeting the first timers. Giving them some advice during the 3 days and just giving them a wave or a high 5 whenever I saw them. I hope my buddies enjoyed there time at CG.
I think the format could be improved for matching people but overall, I enjoyed it. Doug and Carole did a great presentation for all the first timers and it was nice to see a lot of returning CGers also attending. There was something for everyone.
After the intro I attended the keynote speech from Niels which is always good. It's great to hear that Umbraco has a roadmap in place for moving Umbraco to .Net Core in the near future.
The rest of the first day was a bit of a blur. I was trying to fix H5YR.com as Twitter changed something in their API which broke the Twitter wall on the homepage! A massive thanks to Nik for helping out and fixing this!
Due to this technical hiccup, I did miss the boat trip down the canal which I was a bit annoyed about but hey, I needed to have the website up and running again for my talk.
I also spent a fair bit of time just going over my talk and making sure I had covered everything that I wanted to cover.
Day Two - Thursday
I was a bag of nerves. I went to a couple of talks in the morning but really couldn't concentrate on what was being said so I took some time out and found a quiet corner and sat with my laptop. Then it was our time to take to the stage!
Imposters in the Cloud
I wont go in to details about what the talk was about - you can watch it for yourself.
But once I got on to the stage I felt really comfortable and dare I say it, I really enjoyed it! I would do it again.
The only downside was that after the talk was done I was shattered. I attended some talks but just couldn't fully concentrate on the subject. One talk I did manage to go to and I highly recommend you watch back is Carole's talk about Empathy in Tech. Brilliant subject and really passionate presentation from Carole.
After I had chilled a bit and relaxed, it was time for one of the highlights of Codegarden - Umbraco Bingo night. This year there was a special guest appearance from Per Poug, which was brilliant to see. The way Per and Niels just play off each other really made Bingo brilliant.
For a Bingo evening, I had a relatively early night, I think I got back to the hotel about 1:30am. I remember last year that I had about 2 hours sleep before the final day kicked off and although CG was enjoyable, the flight back to Edinburgh was less so. So, with a couple extra hours of sleep I knew I could power through the final day and also get myself on the plane back home with no issues.
Day Three - Final day
The final day is always an open space for chatting. There is nothing scheduled and so everything gets in to the main hall and suggests topics to discuss.
It's a good opportunity to chat about community ideas or issues. I attended a discussion about organising meetups for example. Really good.
The only thing that I didn't enjoy about the final day this year was it felt like we, the paying attendees, were getting in the way of the team who were dismantling the conference space. The bars, the stages, everything was being torn down around us. The closing talk was also cancelled due to a lot of us, me included, needing to leave to catch our flights. It all just took the edge of an otherwise brilliant 3 days.
My Codegarden 2019 highlights:
- This might seem a bit strange / sad but being recognised by Niels, I got a "Hi Owain", as I was walking past him at the Gold partner summit. I'm sure he is a super busy person and it's nice to be recognised considering I only see him at CG.
- Doing my first conference talk and enjoying it.
- Having my MVP award renewed for another year and having my name on the MVP wall.
- Meeting up with all my Umbraco friends and catching up.
Although this blog isn't as detailed as I hoped, I wanted to get it published as a reminder to myself if nothing else.
I hope all the first timers had a great time and a massive H5YR to everyone that was involved in getting everything ready for the event. I hope to make it back again next year :)