Reflections from Sitecore Symposium - Day 2 and 3

Day 2 of Symposium was quite a wild ride! Azure, Forms, JSS, oh my! And if that wasn't enough, of course it ended with a bang; first at the Velir Get Together and then at the Symposium-wide after-party at the Omnia nightclub. Whoa was that place lit:

It's dangerous to give a bunch of nerds props and a video camera booth.

I'm including day 3 in this post because A) day 3 only had two breakout sessions and B) I was way too tired after day 1 to post anything (don't tell Dan I went meta in this post). I am excited I got to participate in a post-convention panel with some other Velir experts; stay tuned for the link once it's published.

As expected, there were some cool Sitecore things on display these two days:

  • Headless/JSS, wow is this a game changer for development! If you're not aware, Sitecore JavaScript Services (JSS) is a brand new offering from "Team X" at Sitecore (presented by Alex Shyba, Adam Weber, Nick Wesselman in two different sessions) that allows developers to build a front end entirely in JavaScript, eliminating the need for any Sitecore CD servers while maintaining analytics and personalization. Hot damn! There's way more to it, of course, so check it out for yourself.
    • It didn't hurt that Adam and Alex had the best breakout session in terms of chemistry and storytelling of all the sessions I attended.
  • Sitecore Experience Accelerator has its fingers in everything! It came up in several talks, including Headless Sitecore with JSS, Commerce, and Forms. To be fair, SXA is pretty cool.
  • It was kind of overshadowed by JSS, but Hylke Heidstra (my old buddy from the Pectora days) and Pieter Brinkman showed off the entirely-rebuilt Sitecore Forms, now baked into Sitecore 9 out of the box. Say goodbye to WFFM, as soon as marketers see the new forms they are going to be clamoring for an upgrade to Sitecore 9. I am excited to play with the new forms.
  • People must love DevOps: the "Effective DevOps with Sitecore" panel with Joe Bissol, Kam Figy, and Derek Hunziker was super-crowded; I ended up sitting on the floor. They provided some solid insights on how to use DevOps practices effectively. The biggest takeaway I inferred from this session was nothing really matters unless you spend the time/energy on continuous improvement.

And again, I had some non-Sitecore notes as well:

  • If you are going to have words on your slides, make sure they can be read by everyone in the room. That means no small text! Relatedly, if you are going to zoom in on things, either have the zoom level set ahead of the demo or have practiced how much to zoom in.
  • Please for the love of Jake Johannsen do not read your slides.
  • The fiercest pronunciation battle since "gif" vs. "jif" is "jay-Saun" vs. "Jay-son" (in case you were wondering, the former is correct, and I will fight you over it).
  • At this point, I can no longer make any excuses for not learning React.
  • Question lightning round!
    • If you want to hold questions to the end, say so right away.
    • If you are asking a question, speak slowly, loudly, and clearly.
    • When answering a question, restate the question.
  • Even if you have a lot to cover, don't talk too fast. Your listeners are taking notes and need to understand you.
  • Relatedly, be aware that people are going to take pictures of your slides. If you have animations on your slides, perhaps give a subtle cue that the animations are done and it's time to take the picture (I have so many extra pictures of slides with progressively displayed content).

Welp, that's it. This Symposium was easily in my top two Symposiums (all joking aside, it was really great). I'm coming out of Vegas excited for the future of Sitecore and energized to talk, write, and code more about it in the near future!

ed with dolphin stuffed animal

I brought along my kids' dolphin stuffed animal that converts to a neck pillow and took pictures for them. They loved it.