March 2009
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EPiServer Day 2009 – Stockholm

The wind it was howlin’ and the snow was outrageous.
We chopped through the night and we chopped through the dawn.
When he died I was hopin’ that it wasn’t contagious,
But I made up my mind that I had to go on.

Just come back from EPiServer Day 2009 in Stockholm. I’m pleased to report that this was a truly excellent two days. Interesting presentations, interesting people and an interesting product. There were over 1100 people there, which is extremely impressive in the current climate. Speaking of which, it snowed throughout the event, but not enough to deter the Lesser-Spotted Hardened English Smoker, captured on film below.

Above and beyond the call of Duty

First, the speakers. I was really impressed with the Keynote, Tim Walters from Forrester Research on the Death of WCM. The quality of the thinking from the large research companies is always impressive, but the presentation was given in a relaxed, informal manner which I really enjoyed.

I also loved the “It’s Like Being In A Rock Band”presentation by Andreas Sjöström from Sogeti. It had a very simple message, but presented extremely well. I was glad to discover I still have my passion. Also, the Crowd Surfing presentation by David Brain was enjoyable, and had a few intriguing nuggets. The Trust Survey highlighted how people don’t trust CEO’s very much …

None of these presentations had much to do with EPiServer, but they were great anyway.

The EPiServer specific sessions were also informative, and as usual I was struck by the speed with which they develop things. If anything, the roadmap moves too quickly for me! But it was good to hear that the majority of the focus is on the core products – Content Management and Community. I’m always skeptical of a CMS vendor that trys to expand into too many areas. I don’t need another End-To-End eBusiness Solution. I need focused products that solve my customers’ problems.

I attended another session on EPiServer’s Create+ package, which was far more of a technical deep dive than I’d seen of it before. The X3EPiServer Composer product has gone up a couple of notches in my esteem. For some reason, I’d previously thought that a page was either an EPiServer page, or an Extension Page, but not a combination. This is because of all the demos I’d been shown, no-one had ever combined normal EPiServer properties with an Extensions page. I think a better way to think about it is that the Composer adds a new property type (not page type) to an existing EPiServer page.

As usual, there was a fair bit of socialising. We had a few brews and talked about Life and Content Management. While I was the only representative from LBi UK this year, I was lucky to spend time with collegues from Sweden and the Netherlands. I met a few new Content Management Geeks that I’d not met before, and had some interesting discussions. We sensibly avoided the 2:00 am trip to a late night drinking venue, so I started Day 2 bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Three London based Agencies had been nominated for EPiServer Awards (LBi, Rufus Leonard and Fortune Cookie), and we tried to stick together with the UK EPiServer staff. Unfortunately, our show of solidarity wasn’t enough to bring an EPiServer Award back to Blightly. In an extremely slick Oscars-like ceremony, the 5 awards were handed out. However, the voting felt rather Eurovision-esque, and while the UK received nil point, Sweden bagged 5 out of 5 awards. Earlier in the day, one of the keynote speakers asked the audience if they felt Sweden would be a top IT supplier in the next few years. After taking a clean sweep at the EPiServer Awards (beating 118 entries from 11 countries, if memory serves), they certainly already are. Maybe next year …

Finally, a note to EPiServer marketing. Changing the URL to the Events pages (Upcoming_Events to Passed_Events) makes linking to them pretty painful.

Expect another update from the next EPiServer Event in London Town.

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