Review – Mage UnConference 2022
The Mage UnConference has been an integral part of maxcluster's event calendar for many years. In 2022, we were not only on site with a team of seven employees, but also supported the event again as one of the main sponsors.
The Mage UnConf can also be described as a kind of class reunion of the Magento community in Germany. Many familiar, but also some new faces were there on October 01 and 02, 2022. After two years of Corona-related break, the exchange within the community live and in person was a particularly important concern for all participants.
Traditionally, it started with the pre-party on the eve of the UnConf at the Alte Feuerwache, a cozy pub in Cologne's Agnesviertel. When we arrived, there was already a lot going on there, as an accompanying hackathon had already taken place beforehand. We celebrated a nice reunion with friends and acquaintances over delicious food.
The UnConf kicked off on Saturday morning at Tor 28, which has been the established venue for Mage UnConf for several years now. At 10:30 a.m. we were welcomed by the organizing team of FireGento e.V., consisting of Carmen, Rico, Claudia and Fabian. There was an unexpected surprise: Fabian and Rico presented the opening session in Magento orange. This caused quite a stir not only at UnConf itself, but also on Twitter. Chapeau for this great idea!
UnConferences are not based on a fixed program, but thrive on spontaneity. After the welcome, all participants had the opportunity to write suggestions and ideas for potential topics on slips of paper. These were collected on a bulletin board and presented by the idea generators.
Afterwards, all participants were allowed to mark which topics they found particularly interesting with the help of the famous "sticky dots". There was even an innovation in the design: While the stickers had always been simple adhesive dots before, this time they were replaced by adhesive eyes (Saturday) and flowers (Sunday). This way the timetable with the sessions was created.
Themes and sessions
The program schedule included a colorful spectrum of technically oriented topics and talks, but also some discussion topics that made reference to the current situation of the Magento community. Each session was assigned to one of the three lecture rooms with the sandman-inspired names Pittiplatsch, Moppi or Schnatterinchen.
Open discussion about the future of Mage-OS.
Since Adobe has been pushing the further development of Magento Commerce for quite some time, the Magento community is uncertain about the future of Magento Open Source. This is one of the reasons, why a number of members from the Magento community have come together in 2021 to initiate Mage-OS, a hard mirror based on Magento 2. The stated goal: Magento Open Source should remain available and lucrative for store operators and agencies regardless of scale and business model.
The open discussion, which was moderated by Mage-OS co-founder Vinai Kopp and our managing director Benno Lippert, focused on the question of how Mage-OS can become a success. In the course of the session, expectations for the initiative were collected from the community. In addition, it was discussed how Mage-OS can become better known and more professional in the future. The results of the discussion were recorded on a flipchart.
Finally, Vinai gave an outlook on the next steps of Mage-OS. Amongst other things, the initiation of a fundraising via the membership in the Foundation as well as the hiring of a Chief Operating Officer are planned.
Indexer optimisation in Magento 2
In his session on indexers in Magento 2, Christian Münch showed possibilities and tricks for making index management in Magento 2 more efficient. Even for us as hosting providers, there were one or two useful tips to speed up indexing and thus improve the performance of Magento shops.
Christian has kindly shared the slides to his talk online.
Integration Testing in Magento 2.4.5
This programme slot, moderated by Fabian Schmengler and Jisse Reitsma, was about new features and functions in Magento 2.4.5. The focus of the session was on integration testing. With the help of a new helper that Jisse wrote himself, setting up Magento 2 for integration tests can be greatly accelerated.
Fabian also highlighted what has changed in Magento 2.4.5 with regard to integration tests. The most important change is that PHP 8 must be used in connection with the execution of the tests. The tests use PHP functions that are only available in version 8.0 and later.
Black Stories in the Magento Edition
What happens when a cult game meets a shop system classic? This is exactly what Bernhard Leers impressively showed the participants in his session.
The parlour game "Black Stories" is about solving crimes. The game principle is simple: at the beginning, all that is known is what happened. The how and the why have to be found out in the course of the game. The participants ask the moderator questions, which he answers with yes or no, in order to clarify the background of the crime.
In his session, Bernhard adapted the game principle: Of course, it was not about crime, but about solving problems that arise in the Magento context, mostly from a developer's perspective. Bernhard took real use cases and bugs as a starting point, which made the format even more entertaining.
How to manage bigger Projects
Large projects can quickly become confusing. Sometimes unforeseen difficulties arise as well. So realising them requires forward planning and organisation.
That's why some project managers, product owners and developers exchanged ideas on how to successfully manage larger projects. Different methods and approaches were presented and discussed using real projects as examples. The exchange of experiences was very informative and some best practices were communicated.
Diversity and inclusion in the IT industry
Even though there are now many positive examples, the IT sector is still considered a male-dominated industry. Sanne Bolkenstein took this as an opportunity to talk about her beginnings as a lesbian woman in the IT world. She told of challenging situations in her everyday working life that her male colleagues did not question or took for granted. The participants often expressed encouragement and understanding, but also asked many questions.
There was also much discussion about stereotypes and the influence of cultural conditioning on individual perception – Keyword "Diversity Charta". This is also necessary to identify injustices and clear up misunderstandings. The conclusion: only through discourse can the working world of tomorrow be made more diverse and inclusive.
The supporting programme
The Mage UnConf does not only consist of discussions and lectures, but also the "supporting programme" is an essential part of the event. Extensive discussions during the coffee breaks or lunch are just as much a part of the event.
An UnConference makes the coffee break a principle.
– Judith Andresen
Great importance is also attached to the catering on site. Breakfast, lunch and a sweet snack in the afternoon were included, and fresh coffee specialities and smoothies were always available from the barista at the counter.
If your head was spinning after a talk, you could relax a little with a round of table football, at the pinball machine or at the button machine.
The after-show party on Saturday evening took place at the Rheinterrassen with a wonderful view of the Rhine and the cathedral. It was a successful end to the first day of the event with great food and good conversation.
For us, the exchange within the Magento community is enormously important. We had a lot of fun again this year and were able to take away a lot of input from the sessions and discussions. A huge thank you goes to the organising team around Fabian, Claudia, Carmen and Rico from FireGento e.V.! Thank you for working hard year after year to make the Mage UnConf an unforgettable community event! We are already looking forward to next year!
Published on 10.10.2022 | DR
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