Published: 28th Jun 2023

Codegarden, a celebration of community, collaboration and innovation

A tech team trip to Odense, Denmark to the annual celebration of all things Umbraco; Codegarden.

Matt Sutherland - Head of Technology

Over the past few years, we have become increasingly involved in the Umbraco Community, so much so that attending Codegarden this year felt like we were travelling to spend time with great friends, with the event being the excuse to bring everyone together. It’s a very special atmosphere encouraged by Umbraco HQ and ignited by the community itself. 

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As is the case every year, there were some fantastic talks throughout the week, with some common themes which provided a few key takeaways on what will shape the next 12 months in tech (and within the world of Umbraco). 

The first day was the business summit (the day before Codegarden) where we were introduced to some of the next steps on the Umbraco roadmap. 

As part of the evening dinner, there was a keynote speaker, Marianne Dahl Steensen, Managing Director & Partner of Boston Consulting Group. The talk was on ‘Management in a Digital World’ which was fascinating. Marianne gave four key areas to focus on: 

  1. Building more burning desire 
  2. A ‘learn-it-all’ culture rather vs a ‘know-it-all’ culture 
  3. Sustainability, ethics and diversity ‘built-in’ by design 
  4. Value leadership not functional management 

Our MD, Rich McCloskey commented on; “the talk that resonated most was the culture that Umbraco are cultivating on ‘burning desire’ and using this as a driving force to promote effectiveness. Much better to be coming from a ‘burning desire’ rather than a ‘burning platform”. 

Rich And Sean
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Throughout the week, certain topics were consistently discussed – a key topic, unsurprisingly, was sustainability. There was (as ever) some great thinking from Andy Eva-Dale on the subject. It was apparent to see the approach to sustainability had progressed across the year, with similar thinking on sustainable design to my recent article on how ‘we can always be more sustainable’ 

There were also some big announcements from Umbraco HQ. Firstly, announcing ‘Umbraco Commerce’ as the new brand for Vendr (the commerce product that Umbraco recently acquired) and it was useful to get an understanding around the business side of the acquisition and what Umbraco Commerce will mean for our clients in the long term, particularly prevalent as true are in the process of finishing our first Umbraco Commerce project. It was helpful to see the roadmap that is associated with it and the exciting plans to come down the line (headless commerce in particular!) 

On the topic of headless, we also received insight into the Delivery API. Elitsa Marinovska, from Umbraco HQ, walked through how the API (released end of June as part of Umbraco 12) will work and closely align with our existing approach to headless architecture. This wasn’t too much of a surprise as we have worked closely with Umbraco HQ discussing our approach, especially regarding the Aardman project. This approach will also have substantial benefits for our clients going forward. 

Composable architecture and the DXP were two hot topics across the week. We know now a new package has been released (directly by Umbraco HQ) to help manage 3rd party integrations through authorized services. It was great to once again see more of the new back office projects (I am part of the back-office community team so to see the wider audiences positive reaction to what is being worked on by Jacob and the rest of team was really gratifying). 

Overall, it was a brilliant few days, a highlight being that Sean and I were able to share our thoughts on stage on the topic of ‘Decomposing a monolith one API at a time’.  

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We took to the stage to a packed-out room to talk through how the right architecture for our clients is always related to their specific needs. We discussed how depending on the clients’ priorities, it may be the right approach for them to start off with one architectural approach (like a monolith) keeping in mind that this could evolve towards another more long-term direction (like a composable architecture).  

We loved being back on stage again and it was even more rewarding to get some really engaged questions afterwards and across the week. 

Another highlight was being awarded the Umbraco MVP for 2023, joining a list of very influential and talented people within the community, as well as reading some of the writeups that followed the event from newcomers to Umbraco.  

Matt MVP

I’d also recommend this from Mikkel Secher which is a particularly great read on ‘whats so damn special about Codegarden?’