It’s nearly Symposium time!

It’s October – which means we’ve only got a few weeks until this year’s Sitecore Symposium. Are you signed up? I am, and here are some of my reasons why:

It’s way more affordable this year!

Historically, Symposium has been a pretty expensive week. The ticket cost was a bug chunk of money, but you also had to travel to the venue. For people outside of the United States, that could end up costly. And you’ve got to factor in expenses like accommodation and food as well. For a lot of people, these costs were prohibitive.

So one side effect of the whole pandemic thing is that this year’s conference is virtual. That gets rid of all those travel costs. And because there’s no venue to rent, the ticket cost is significantly lower too. In fact you can attend some of the sessions for free this year.

Sitecore have some really interesting sounding content

Some of the main sessions that are particularly interesting to me are:

  • We get a business update on Sitecore generally from the new boss, Steve Tzikakis. This is our first opportunity to meet Mark Frost’s successor, and find out about his vision for Sitecore over the next few years. And I’m interested in hearing what he’s got planned. [Day 1 – 10:20—10:50am (CDT)]
  • Second is the “The Road to Product Innovation” session being given by Tom De Ridder and Desta Price, covering future updates and changes we’re likelky to see in the Sitecore product suite. As someone who’s primarily focused on implementing stuff using their tech, this is a Must Watch session for me. [Day 1 – 12:50—1:15pm (CDT)]
  • Also on the future architecture side, Alistair Deneys and Andy Cohen are talking about “Content as a Service“. As Sitecore work towards their transition to a SaaS product, I suspect this new CaaS acronym has the potential to become pretty important to everyone working with their products. [Day 1 – 3:10—3:40pm (CDT)]
  • It’s not all about the future though. Looking at stuff we can use now, Bart Plasmeijer and Rob Earlam are talking Kubernetes in “Containers & AKS: Taking Sitecore 10 to the next level“. While I’ve wrapped my head around the core of Docker, Kubernetes and production container deployments are still new to me. So I’ll be interested to see what the official approach to tackling this is. [Day 1 – 3:10-3:40pm (CDT)]
  • Nick Wesselman and Oleg Jytnik are discussing “How to develop with the new ASP.Net Core rendering SDK“. In combination with the move towards SaaS / CaaS and containers, this is going to be one of the key technical changes in our future: How .Net developers can take a leaf out of the Javascript devs book, and get to grips with a headless development model. [Day 2 – 12:40-1:10pm (CDT)]
  • And of course, who can forget that we have Leslie Odom Jr singing to (with?) Paige O’Neill. Has everyone been learning their Hamilton lyrics? Clearly you’ll want to be on the Zoom where it happens! *badoom tish* (I’ll bet I’m not the first person to make that joke) [Day 2 – 2:45-3:30pm(CDT)]

And there is a load of great community content too

Of course! Because the community always brings great content to these events. A few sessions that have caught my attention so far are:

  • Bringing his best session-title game, Neil Killen has the snappily titled “Insufficient facts always invite danger, Captain!” session to talk about monitoring your containerised environments. Docker is something many of us (including me!) are learning to work with right now, and performance monitoring is something I’m interested in. So that’s doubly interesting. [Day 1 – 3:10—3:40pm (CDT)]
  • Jimmy Rudley and Kelly Rusk are talking about containers too, in their “Contain yourself: Why Kubernetes” session, which sounds like it will have some useful info for technical people looking to work out how to persuade management that a move to containers is a good idea. [On demand session]
  • But before we all end up in containers, upgrades are still a thing though. And Alex van Wolferen sounds like he’s been addressing this challenge at scale. His “How we upgraded 100+ Sitecore environments to 9.3 in an automated way with zero-downtime” session wins both the prize for the longest session title, and piques my interest because upgrades are a thing I still find myself dealing with. [On demand session]
  • Similarly, despite SaaS and containers, there’s still a fair amount of Solr in my work life. So I’ll be interested to see what Mahendra Singh and Surya Narayan have to say in “Is your Solr knife sharp enough for production?” I’ve spoken about the basics of running Solr before, but I’m always eager to learn more about the best ways of managing it in production. [On demand session]
  • Something else I’m new to, but needing to get up to speed on fast is Content Hub. And Akshay Sura and Sumith Damodaran are conducting “A symphony between Content Hub and Sitecore XP using Content Hub Connector“. The connector wasn’t covered by the training I’ve done so far, so I’ve got something to learn here. [Day 2 – 1:30-2:00pm (CDT)]
  • And last, but by no means least, Shelly Benhoff is discussing “Choosing the right option for building your Helix Solutions“. While a lot of my focus above has been on future software changes and infrastructure, a good codebase is still core to getting your site to work well. And getting your Helix solution off to a good start is key to that. [Day 2 – 1:30-2:00pm (CDT)]

And something social?

To be honest, I’m not quite sure how the social side of the conference will work this year. The “Sitecore Lunch” online meetings have become a big thing recently, so I’m expecting to some conference-related calls along those lines, to try and replace the “corridor conversations” that are an important part of the physical events. And I note Sitecore have left some gaps in the schedule for “Activity breaks” – whatever that will be… But I’m interested to see how all that pans out.

So that’s why I’ve booked. Why haven’t you?

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