Julian Wraith

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Five years of MVP events

Via Chris Summers (@UrbanCherry)

The 2012 MVP event (Via Chris Summers @UrbanCherry))

Since the SDL Tridion MVP program started five years ago, there are five people who have managed to be an MVP each year. I count myself in the lucky few who have managed, sometimes narrowly, to still be privileged to be able to attend the events. Each of the five events have been held in and around Lisbon, Portugal. Over time the group has grown from 10 to around 25 and the balance of members has steadily grown in favor of the external (to SDL) community members.

Each year, we descend around this time, on Lisbon and embark on a long weekend of work. From Thursday to Saturday the team works on various community related activities, both in terms of open source projects but also in terms of thought leadership.

This year the team is working heavily on the Tridion Reference Implementation which is SDL’s newly release delivery framework. Currently in a community edition and based on .NET, SDL plans to move this to being fully supported and delivered out of the box with the product. This move comes when there is an updated version which will come sometime in the not too distant future.

This year, the city of Evora in Portugal is our home; a tourist destination somewhere between Lisbon and Madrid. Its old, built by the Romans and probably not really ready for the MVPs. I hope they have a strong constitution…

MVP weekend 2013

I *think* I have recovered, although I am really not sure.

So what happened? Well, I would say a lot of fun and games at the latest edition of the MVP meet up. It started late for me after I arrived late on Thursday, driven up to the castle at night was awesome but the final walk was a killer  (and also twice the distance it should have been). After an evening of fun, Friday was a day of work and catch up for me. The project I fitted into was the Tridion Context Engine Wrapper (a punchy title, right?). The Wrapper – lets leave it at that, shall we – wraps the new 2013 SP1 context engine with  a set of libraries in .NET (following with Java and TCDL) that can be implemented with SDL Tridion 2013 SP1 and the SDL Tridion Content Engine on a delivery website.

Oh so what does that mean?

Well you can do things like this:

<context:Family Names=”smartphone,tablet” runat=”server”> <div>this content will only display on smartphone or tablets</div> </context>

Which is really good because you conditionally act server side for different types of devices; definitions which you create. Awesome huh?

After Friday building documentation we venture out on Saturday to do lots and lots and lots of things. Way too much to really describe but in short it was: Sour Cherry Schnaps tasting, off roading, visiting a lagoon, a guided tour of the city where we stayed (Obidos) and did I forget anything? Not sure… it was just awesome.

 

SDL Tridion User Group Benelux Q2 2013

SDL walks us through the Customer Journey

SDL walks us through the Customer Journey

On Tuesday the SDL Tridion Benelux User Group had it’s first session in Belgium. Historic Leuven, to be exact, is home to Amplexor who where hosting the event for the evening. The group was small but the discussion was lively and interesting. The opening session was by SDL, walking us through the customer journey in a whiteboard session; the picture slowly building to show the touch points, challenges and opportunities in that customer journey for both the visitor and the organization alike.

Following this session, Davy Moortgat from Amplexor presented SDL Tridion and the mobile web. A good presentation highlighting different approaches to mobile with SDL Tridion. You can find the slides at the bottom of this post.

And finally, what meetup would not be complete with some drinks and networking!

Many thanks to Amplexor for hosting the event, I look forward to many lively and interesting user group meetings in Belgium!

Slides:

SDL Tridion User Group Benelux February 2013

Last Wednesday was the second face to face meet up for the SDL Tridion User Group (STUG) for Benelux. The fabulous people at Hinttech  hosted the first meet up of 2013 and provided us all with a great evening.

Our master or ceremonies was Ingmar Umans who did a great job in making sure the group moved between drinks and the next presentation. The evening was opened by HintTech CEO Egbert Hendriks with a view on why HintTech does not do SDL Tridion but still does. Following that Bjorn van Dommelen gave us an overview of how to deploy SDL Tridion onto Azure. A great presentation filled with insight, practical tips and dry humor! With Quirijn Slings (and his DD4T presentation) falling out due to sickness, Bart Koopman stepped in to show the group a new feature of SDL Tridion 2013, External Content Libraries.

All presentations were well received and for those who missed it, you can find links to the presentations at the bottom of the page. Following that lots of drinks and networking made the evening very much worthwhile and I, for one, am looking forward to the next event.
If you’d like to join the user group events in the future or just interact with your peers in the Benelux, you can join the SDL Tridion User Group Benelux on LinkedIn

Slides

 

SDL Tridion User Group Benelux November 2012

Sometimes you have a week where you don’t stop. They happen every so often and you don’t really look forward to them. One of mine for 2012 was last week. Whilst I did not look forward to the week in general, the different activities were all expected to be great. It started out with SDL Innovate in London, return to Amsterdam for some office time and the SDL Tridion User Group Benelux and then SDL Innovate Amsterdam later in the week. Both the Innovate events were much of a muchness so I was more taken with the London event, both in terms of the content (I had not seen any of it before) but also in terms of the venue. The London event was held at the Landmark Hotel in London which is just superb.

For the SDL Tridion User Group (STUG <- do we like that?), we held our first user group for the Benelux. There have been two user groups springing up in the last year elsewhere in the world and this is the first for the Benelux. Dominic Cronin, of Indivirtual, and I decided to see if we could start one up for the wider community. Not really with a view to run it ourselves forever but to see if the community would like one and if there was enough enthusiasm to continue to hold events and sessions. Our first event – sponsored by Indivirtual and SDL, went well and around 20-25 people attended which was spot on for our target of attendees. We introduced the session and then let SDL Product Manager, Alexandra Popova, give us an overview of the 2013 release. After that we dived, in groups, into what we want from the user group going forward. Below you will find the results of that session which gives us great input into the future of the user group.

  • Experiences
    • Implementation Experience
    • Presentations real user experience
    • Find out what people are doing
    • Input from users
    • workshops
    • business cases
    • coding conventions/best practices
    • knowledge sharing
    • report ERs and discuss
    • users feedback / ichallenge!
    • Share Roadmap
    • Share Project Information
    • Share Technical/Functional Implementation
  • Motivation
    • Free stuff / goodies!
    • Curiosity
    • Turn listeners into contributor
  • Grow
    • More “real” users
    • Reach out, promote to functional
  • People
    • Who is who
    • interaction
    • networking
    • More functional
  • Event
    • Time of day?
    • Technical sessions
    • Inside info SDL
  • Peers
    • Peer review/advice
  • Product
    • Roadmap
    • hands on workshop
    • pre-configured VMs

Going forward, we plan to hold one evening session per quarter and perhaps additional sessions on other topics (technical deep dives) or social events in-between the quarterly events.

To be involved you just need to turn up to one of the events we hold and you can find out about those by joining our SDL Tridion User Group Benelux LinkedIn group.

MVP Retreat: Day 3 (and 4)

View from the hotel

Day 3 was short as it was the fun, event day for the MVPs. In the morning we continued with our development activities and then wrapped up on the MVP sessions so far as well as the work on the projects.

After lunch we headed to the sea to take a ride on an old Dutch style sail boat. The traditional boats in this area of Portugal, are in fact shared with the Dutch traditional boats that the two used to trade salt in centuries past. The boat trip was a slow cruise, under sail, along the coast which ended in anchoring near the shore for three enthusiastic swimmers to have a dive. It was really nice and super relaxing. Tomorrow, we can relax and continue with the coding.

Via Chris Summers (@UrbanCherry)

MVP Retreat: Day 2

Team Content Bloom and random Spanish MVP

Day 2 has ended… at some point on Day 3. The majority of the MVPs worked a 12 hour shift of coding and creating new and fantastic pieces of code and some spent the same time trying to add a button. It was, I will be honest, not a place where a button normally should go but they were in the end, successful.

The group split into three teams and worked on three separate things; Gamification, Workflow Notification and Extending the dashboard (needed for the first two projects). Progress was good and work will continue into day 3 and 4.

The evening was the highlight, MVP drinks are often fun and this time we spent most of the time inventing SDL Tridion related cocktails. In no particular order I managed to write some of them down but it is not the complete list;

  • The MVP – Vodka (2 parts), a dash of Pims and a dash of Martini Bianco. Review: it’s strong (owing to the fact that it’s mostly vodka) but tasty
  • The Cache Channel Service – Cognac, Coca Cola and a splash of Bourbon (“slightly wild”, bourbon is the “S”) Review; really tasty and most definitely the most popular drink of the evening
  • The TCM – Tequila, Cachaça and Peach Juice. Review: sweet but very tasty
  • The Nude (named after Nuno) – Tia Maria, Baileys and Milk. Review; like a milkshake so one is enough for me
  • The TCDL – Tequila, Drambuie, Coke Cola served Long
  • The TDSE – Tia Maria, Tequila, Sour Domingo (I wrote this, not sure if it is correct) and something else I forgot to write down…

And needed to say there was much frivolity which from time to time turned into a jam session:

MVP Retreat: Day 1

View from the hotel

From yesterday, in a castle somewhere near Lisbon, the SDL Tridion MVPs have come together to discuss the year past and the year to come. The SDL Tridion MVPs are selected by a community panel and they come yearly, from across the global, to mostly Lisbon to attend the meeting. Everyone flew in on Thursday, with some coming a long way and others making a short hop from near by European destinations and I can say everyone was tired from their travels.

The day was started after lunch with a review of 2012 from Nuno Linhares which covered what the community has produced as well as the work done on Stack Overflow and the campaign to have a dedicated Stack Overflow site for Tridion. There was a brief touch on the community webinars and what, if any changes, are needed for 2012-2013.

From a technology perspective Bart Koopman gave us an overview of External Content Libraries (ECL) for SDL Tridion 2013, which is a way of connecting external content into SDL Tridion for use with your regular Tridion content. This is a further development for the Documentum connector that SDL released some time ago.

It does not sound like much but it took a long time for us to cover and was all interesting. From the sessions, I have many questions and changes that I need to think about. High on my mind is how to expand the reach of the community past the size we have right now, a strong community but it is those on the fringe of the community and how we can get them strong as individuals in SDL Tridion. Not an easy question to answer but something to work on in 2013.

 

Off to SDL Innovate

This year I am excited to be once again attending the SDL Innovate conference. Held in Santa Clara, California on 5/6 March, this yearly event is a great coming together of customers, employees and industry experts that are connected in some way to SDL.

This year, rather than just attending I will be part of the community panel that will engage and discuss website related matters with anyone who is interested. I do this, I guess, on a daily basis to even those who are not interested so it will be good to do this in such a great session as I hope we are going to have.

Kicking off the session will be CMS community glitterati, Ian Truscott, who will share the future of the SDL Tridion platform. Then we will follow that with a discussion with community panel (Chris Summers, Frank van Puffelen and Nuno Linhares) on pretty much any topic relating to Tridion that the audience wants to raise. Last year I met some really interesting people who had lots of interesting questions and I hope that there will be a similar group with which to discuss Tridion.

If you are a SDL customer and have not yet decided if you want to join the conference, I can strongly encourage you to do so and don’t forget to attend our session! You’ll find us towards the end of the day on Tuesday 6 March.

You can follow the goings on at SDL Innovate via their twitter hashtag.

SDL Tridion Community Webinar – November 2011

At the recent MVP meeting in Lisbon, where a collection of 11 community members get together to talk about components and schemas from dawn till dusk, I volunteered to run a series of online community webinars.

So in November we’ll see the first of these sessions which we hope to repeat over the course of 2011/2012.

So what is the idea? The idea is that anyone can join in and if desired present on a community organized and driven event. The sessions, covering 10-15 minutes, can cover any topic related to a SDL Tridion (e.g. a recently implemented project, bit a useful template). It can be in demonstration or slide format… or both.

Towards the end of October I will post here on the final format of the sessions but we are looking for community volunteers to present the sessions. Do you want to present something? If so, comment on this post and I will get back to towards the end of October.

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