Bonus chatter: What will you be doing at Symposium, Jeremy?

It’s only a few weeks until Sitecore Symposium kicks off for this year. My presentation is taking shape nicely (more of that later) but I’ve also been considering what I’ll be watching from the rest of the conference… So if you’re looking for inspiration, or still on the fence about buying yourself a ticket, here’s what I’m looking forward to around this year’s event:

What will I not be doing? Sitting on this beach... Alas...

Mostly I will not be sitting around the hotel beach – because there’s way too much interesting Sitecore stuff to do. So in no particular order: I’ll be enjoying the keynotes, riding some roller coasters at the party, giving out stickers and badges I made, meeting up with all the community people I usually only get to tweet at and hanging around the partner pavillion at my employer Kagool’s stand. A busy few days…

But it’s the breakout sessions that really justifies travel to this event for me. And my current plans for what to watch are as follows:

  • Punch it, ChewieTuesday 13:30 – Matthew Dubbe & Jason St-Cyr
    As Sitecore continues its transition from “all in the web app” monolith, to modern cloud-focused software, the number of roles involved in a deployment keep growing. That can lead to friction between a client’s desire for performance and the hosting costs implied by all the roles. So I’m really interested to see what Sitecore themselves have to say about getting the best performance out of an installation.
  • Managing technical debt while implementing Helix principlesTuesday 14:45 – Chris Nielsen & Matt Skepner
    Working for a partner that picks up its fair share of “rescue” projects, other people’s technical debt is a pretty core part of my working life. As the summary for this session points out, most of the discussion around Helix focuses on the “start from scratch” scenario. So I’m keen to learn more about how that debt some of our projects inherit can be managed as we try to help them with the transition to helix.
  • A Sitecore upgrade story: Opportunistic DevOps improvements that strengthened our cultureTuesday 15:40 – Subbu Ramanathan & Samson Williams
    I’ve worked on a collection of v7/v8 to v9.x upgrades recently, so I’m keen to broaden my understanding by seeing how other people’s experiences and practices differ from mine when doing this. And the session mentions test automation – which is a topic that I’m always keen to hear other people’s practical experience with, as it can be a hard sell to some clients and managers, despite its benefits to developers.
  • The containerised mind: Working with Sitecore in containersWednesday 10:30 – Stephen Pope
    Containers are the new hotness in development circles, and Mr Pope is always found at the cutting edge of Sitecore development – two things which combine to mean this should be a really interesting talk. I’m keen to see containerisation become a standard development pattern – as it can make my job (where I currently have fourteen different client instances on my laptop) a lot easier to manage. With the recent announcement that Sitecore will start offering support when their product is running in containers, I’m keen to find out what the best practice ideas are here.
  • 10 cool things to do with Federated AuthenticationWednesday 11:35 – Kern Nightingale
    I’ve done a couple of deployments of Sitecore’s Identity Services recently, but other than “plug it in to Azure Active Directory” I’ve not had the chance to do anything interesting with modern approaches to user authentication. I expect to find myself in some discussion about public-website-user authentication in the not so distant future, so hopefully I can pick up some interesting ideas from Kern, which may be of use when I’m planning for customer discussions.
  • Extending Sitecore using serverless architecturesWednesday 13:30 – Rob Habraken
    Serverless is something I know a bit of theory about, but have little understanding of the practical detail for. So this session could be a really interesting learning experience – with some ideas for how to help solve client problems in novel (but maintainable and scalable) ways.
  • Sitecore Helix patterns, anti-patterns and smellsWednesday 14:35 – Derek Correia & Nick Wesselman
    I’ll be honest – I have some… strong opinions… about some aspects of Helix, and I think I see a lot of bad attempts at it when dealing with client codebases. So the latest thinking from inside Sitecore is interesting to me. I’m keen to see how the concept of Helix is evolving, and get some ideas for dealing with the difficult edge cases.
  • UI test automation of Sitecore sites with SeleniumThursday 10:45 – Stefano Tempesta
    As I mentioned above, test automation is a topic that interests me. As with Helix, I have some ideas about how it should be done for Sitecore, so I’m keen to hear someone else’s take. Maybe it will reinfornce my ideas, or maybe it will challenge my position – but either way it will be interesting to see another take on this.

And I couldn’t let this go without a shameless plug for my breakout session. I’m talking about the basics of SolrCloud for Sitecore this year. Some background on why you’d use it and how it works, the planning you need to consider before using it, and the details of a basic deployment. Plus I have some (hopefully) useful new scripting goodness to introduce you all to, which might help your deployments of SolrCloud become simpler.

I’m on the DevOps track, at 09:40 on Thursday morning:

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