Plone Konferenz Munich a Success
This month, the Plone Konferenz München 2012 took place. I was invited along to the event by the organiser, Philip Bauer from Starzel.de to present a keynote talk. I was only able to make a very quick visit to the conference, and arrived at lunchtime on the second day of the conference, and had to leave towards the end of the third day. The Plone Konferenz is a predominantly German-speaking event aimed at the German, Austrian and Swiss Plone user base. That said, there were attendees from as far away as South Africa and Seattle.
The conference was organised and arranged by the Munich Plone User's Group with support from the Python Software Verband. This community has a long history of running its own events, with the DZUG (German Speaking Zope User Group) conferences that were held annually.
As I arrived at the venue I was blown away by the level of professionalism in the organisation and marketing of the event. There were banners, table covers, door signs, literature stands, and a giant wall mural all emblazoned with the Plone logo and the Plone Konference München logo. Neatly prepared welcome packs were given to us on arrival containing a printed booklet all about the conference, with maps, speaker biographies, and talk descriptions.
There were two parallel tracks running over three days with lightning talks and open spaces scattered liberally through the programme. With over 150 attendees and over 30 talks it was a very nicely sized event. Talks ranged from case studies to more in-depth technical talks on various aspects of Plone.
Liz's keynote on Old Dogs, New Tricks talked about what is coming up in Plone future releases and some statistics on the development. I didn't get to the conference until the day after her keynote, so unfortunately missed it, but had a chance to look over the slides of her talk.
One bit that caught my eye was the graph above of active Plone committers over the years. Recently we have lost a few good developers in the Plone community and some might get the feeling that the Plone development has been slowing. The numbers however show something very different. The trend is definitely growth over the years, and we are experiencing quite a big spike of new developers at the moment, which is very good to see.
For my keynote I wanted to pick up on a theme I first talked about at Plone Symposium East last year on the truly global nature of Plone. Events such as Plone Konferenz and Plone Symposium East are great at providing events attractive to local communities. In my keynote I asked the audience how many people were at their first Plone event, and over half the hands in the theatre went up. This is an amazing statistic to show that events like this are reaching out to new people and bringing them in to the community.
One of the aspects that always amazes me about the reach and power of the Plone community is the number of localised community groups there are. Groups aimed at providing information and support in local languages, regions and markets show just how mature the community is. The goal of my keynote was to really point out to those just coming in to the community that whilst acting and working locally they are actually coming in to a global community. Those that have been in the Plone community for a while know this, but I think it is a point to make explicitly as I think it is unique... even amongst other OSS projects. As I was waiting at the airport to come home, I got a tweet from someone at the conference, which makes me think I succeeded:
One of the highlights for me, was the Plone vs. Typo3 shootout. Typo3 is a PHP-based CMS that has a very active following in Germany. The two 'opponents' were Timo Stollenwerk (Plone) and Sebastian Böttger (Typo3) and was a series of real world scenarios put forward by the compère for each to answer. I have to thank Sebastian for his bravery in stepping into the lion's den, and it was great from a Plone point of view to see a bit more in depth of another system. I was surprised that, despite it's German fan-base and being in a German speaking conference doing a shoot-out in German, that Typo3's admin interface was all in English. Plone, of course, was showing its internationalisation strengths and was in German.
The conference dinner and party was held at a restaurant not far from the venue, and was a great chance to catch up and chat further to everybody at the event. The beer, as usual, was certainly flowing freely for the whole night. A big thanks to the sponsors!
The first videos from the conference have started to be put online already, and the quality is some of the best I've seen for a Plone event, with good editing moving between slides and the camera on the presenter. The rest should be up very soon.
Alas, I couldn't stay for the sprints afterwards, but people had already started working on things before the conference was even over. As I left, Elizabeth Leddy was taking on the task of whipping the Plone bug tracker into shape and closing out a load of old tickets in there.
Nejc Zupan and others were working on a new Plone API which looks very promising. A good sign is they are starting with writing the API documentation first, before even the tests and the code.
This has overall been a fantastic event, and if such a thing existed, a model conference for the Plone community. I hope it is an event that is re-run in future years. Thanks to all the organising team for a great event.
Along with the recent ArtSprint in Vienna, this kicks off a great year of Plone events. Coming up soon will be the Plone Symposium East 2012, in Pennsylvania, USA and Plone Open Gardens 2012 in Sorrento, Italy. Both of which look set to be fantastic events.