3 nights, 23 techies, lots of food and an amazing view... what else could you want from an (un)conference?! In October 2018, I packed my bag and headed over the border to the north of England. I was off to CodeCabin 2018, hosted in Grindleford in the peak district to join a group of fellow Umbraco developers for a weekend of learning and coding.
On Friday I travelled from Glasgow to Manchester, where met some fellow attendees and then on to Grindleford. When we arrived at the venue I was so impressed, it was a lovely place with amazing views (checkout the photo album by the amazing Doug Robar). The first evening was time for introductions by Matt, Lucy & Lee and a lovely meal: chilli followed by cheesecake. There was a mix of people I have met before and people I had only just met on the Slack channel ahead of the conference but as Frederik described on UmbraCoffee it was like "like being in your living room with your friends and extended family".
Bright and early, a few of us went for a run to start the day. I can confirm the peak district is hilly!
After breakfast the day kicked off with a session on package development. Who better to learn from that the umco team, right? We discussed how to develop packages and the challenges of keeping them up to date. We also chatted about how we can, as developers, choose the best packages for out projects that not only meet requirements but will be maintained. After this session Emma B, Emma G and Jan decided to work on some docs describing how to make a package.
The next session was "Machine Learning in the Backoffice", I decided to use this as an opportunity to get latest Umbraco v8 (unreleased at time of writing) running on my machine. The format of CodeCabin allowed for this choice, there were 4 discussions a day based on a pre conference Trello board. If something isn't for you, there was plenty of space to take a break and work on your own projects.
Next up was a session I suggested: Mentoring. I always find discussing the "soft skills" side of the job with other developers the most interesting. These are the answers we can't find on stack overflow! In this conversation we compared formal mentoring to informal mentoring in tech communities and had some interesting insights in to different mentoring relationships other attendees have.
The last session of the day was "You say Umb-rack-o, I say Umbra-co", where we discussed the different was we each work with Umbraco. Although it turns out there are a lot of similarities in many techniques!
After the scheduled sessions, we had some time to work on some projects and play games... how cool is the Guess Who CodeCabin18 edition that Lotte made? After dinner we had a quiz with questions by Karl, even including an Umbraco round.
Another early start to go for a run... but the weather was very rainy (yes, even for a Glaswegian!). So we stayed indoors and had a cuppa tea instead :)
The first session was a choice between "Full-Stack Dev - Then, Now, Tomorrow" (check out this cool mindmap Matt made about it) and a look at Umbraco v8, which I attended. We discussed the current status of v8, some features and issues.
I then spent most of my free time that day working with v8, trying to implement a content app and making a pull request to the core project (thanks Seb for your help!). While at CodeCabin Lotte worked on some awesome documentation on the new content apps feature which has now been merged to docs! A few people also made their first pull request to Umbraco, well done Andy, Matt and Jamie!!
After lunch, there were sessions on "Going Headless" and "Non Umbraco Front Ends" where we explained and demoed how we work with Umbraco as a headless CMS for use in non .Net websites and IOT devices.
That evening we had a Sunday roast dinner... homemade Yorkshire puddings by Lucy were amazing! Followed by some more hacking then a movie: Office Space.
After breakfast we had to pack our bags and say our goodbyes :(
If you are reading this wondering if you should apply for next year... yes, you should! It was a really great experience, well organised, with such a friendly group. I left full of motivation to learn more and have a few ideas for things I want to work on. If you are an experienced member of the community, a total newbie or someone inbetween, there is something you can contribute to and learn from CodeCabin.