Last weekend, my colleagues Fabian, Sandro and I attended the MageUnconference Netherlands in Utrecht. It was the first Magento Unconference to take place in the Netherlands. As a member of the organizing team behind MageUnconference in Germany, I was especially interested to see how a different team interpreted the unconference idea. It has been a great weekend with lots of input so it really is no surprise that the next edition is already being planned.

A welcoming, open community for anyone interested in Magento

Located at Fort aan de Klop in Utrecht, MageUnconference Netherlands started on Friday evening. With drinks and campfires it was really easy to settle in the “Magento event mood”. For me, it felt a lot like a revival of MageTitans Italy thanks to all those friendly familiar faces. In addition, I also met a few more of my Twitter crowd in person.

Prepare your batteries: program from 9 am til open end

Weekends like this bring back memories of school trips and summer camps. They also test how much you are able to do with little or no sleep.
On Saturday morning, the real unconference program started: gather ideas, briefly explain them, vote and organize the day’s schedule. Even as one of the few non-devs at the event, I was able to attend sessions all day long that provided great input for my work.

Len gave an introduction to Mautic, an open source tool for marketing automation

Len gave an introduction to Mautic, an open source tool for marketing automation

Developers’ expectations of extensions

The discussion on developers’ expectations regarding third party extensions led to a lot of note-taking on my side. For our Solr integration, we try to make it as easy as possible for Magento developers to implement and use Solr as a product search. Providing a documentation is a good start, but there is more to consider. To name a few buzzwords: installation methods, support response time, updates, SLA. There are still some open questions, for example the currently ongoing switch from Magento Connect to Magento Marketplace. Fortunately, there next events are already being planned.

Insights into different markets

Together with Guido, I offered a session on the cultural differences between European e-commerce markets. From popular payment services to shipping time expectations and the outstanding Dutch postcode validation, we covered a lot of ground. Our discussion group represented three nationalities. There were more nationalities present this weekend, but with four parallel sessions you can’t expect them all to show up to your session 😉

*My explanation of the turned V sign is not really spot on. If you’re interested, check this Wikipedia page.

Eat, Sleep, Learn, Obstacle Run, Repeat

A really cool extra on this Saturday was the obstacle course. At first glance it looked like a bouncy castle (which would have been fun, too), but actually it was much better. Thanks to Elgentos and Peter Jaap for this great addition to a cool weekend!

Lessons on Security on Sunday

After the barbecue on Saturday evening, Sunday started with a little MageWalk around the Fort, watching different birds going about their business. Did I mention that I really liked the location?
On Sunday, I spent quite some time thinking about security and communication around security issues. With Talesh (check out his sessions on security!) and people from byte (you know Magereport, right? If not, make sure you do!), we had a great discussion on the recent events around a public list of Magento based stores that fell victim to credit card skimming. Also, Talesh’s combined security talks provided some really helpful tips on how to prepare yourself for a security leak. I absolutely advise everyone to make yourself familiar with his Magento centric Incident Response Plan Template. Not just because it might entitle you to being hugged by Talesh, but because we all are responsible for making this web a safe and secure space.

There still are some unanswered questions after this weekend

  1. Who is this mystery baby?
  2. magebaby

  3. Is there any way to prevent smelling like smoked ham after you sat by a fireside?
  4. What shall the girls wear in response to the guys wearing dresses at Meet Magento Romania?

If you consider attending MageUnconference Netherlands 2017

Fort aan de Klop is a great place for such an event. It’s both close to the city center of Utrecht and surrounded by meadows, trees and water. With the next MageUnconference Netherlands coming up next summer (25th – 27th August 2017), you could even camp around Fort aan de Klop. If you have to convince your family to let you go to Utrecht, why not take them with you? The city is beautiful!

Utrecht October 2016

Thank you!

On a personal note, I’d like to thank everyone involved for a lovely weekend with so many friendly people. It’s always a pleasure to meet with such a diverse group of people with all kinds of different talents, e.g. egg blowing. A huge thank you to Sander, Monique, Guido, Nadja and Sabine, who made all this possible! You did a great job at bringing the spirit of MageUnconference to the Netherlands!

I’m looking forward to see you all in Cologne next spring for the next MageUnconference!

Sonja Franz

Author: Sonja Franz

Sonja Franz is the Head of Communications at integer_net. She especially enjoys organising events. Sonja is a Magento Certified Solution Specialist for Magento 1 and Magento 2 and has been awarded as a Magento Master in the category “Maker” in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

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