MageTestFest was awesome!

It has been already 2 weeks - time flies. But I felt it was still a good idea to share with you my (and our) thoughts on MageTestFest - the Magento developer conference we organized November 15th to 18th. Because it was awesome!

4 days of focus and fun

It was a blast. There were 4 days - 2 days of workshops, 1 day of conference and 1 day of hacking. And all 4 days had a specific vibe, energy, that was both fun and focused: Testing was the main topic. And everybody was focused on that topic for four days long: It was not only scratching the surface but going in-depth from the inner workings to the meditating thoughts.

Running up and down, but pushing forward

I have to be honest: As an event organizer, I was running up and down so much that I did not see any complete talk. However, I'm familiar with a lot of the topics (unit tests, PHPUnit, BDD, clean coding, refactoring), though not a TDD guru. And while I missed out on all of the technical content, I understood that one topic was driving attendees into the next topic. It felt like an energy was building up, slowly, step by step, to push developers forward towards a better understanding (and practice) of test development.

Some numbers and a vibe

The vision was a success. And the vibe was tremendous. At the first day, there were already 40 developers listening to Sebastian Bergmann (PHPUnit) and putting PHPUnit to practice. While the day was meant as a workshop, it felt more like a hackathon. The second day, Mathias Verraes introduced a new format: Kind of a brainstorm, without actual code, without laptops, but with a mind focused on describing the domain (that we're then trying to describe in code).

Well, and then, the main conference day started with about 160 developers.

Opening video

When everybody was seated, the song of Sonne (Rammstein) blurted out of the speakers, and the subwoofers made sure that everybody was awake. At the same time, a movie was played - with some intro text and minor effects. Somebody in the audience (thanks, Lukasz) recorded the opening video (plus my excellent stumbling act, see below), so take a peek: https://vimeo.com/244251681

Many have asked me whether they could see the movie. They can't. Because it's not a movie. In the tradition of open source, I'm more than happy to share the secret with you: It was simply a song (Sonne by Rammstein) played through the main audio, while the screen showed my laptop with a full-screen presentation creating using RevealJS. On top of the regular RevealJS slides, I also created a background with moving lines - this was based on CSS3 animations. It was a cheap, low-level but very effective way of creating a perfect intro.

Stumbling

This was the part I was most nervous about. When the opening video stopped, I walked to the stage, starting to talk. But when I went up to the small stairs, I stumbled and fell hard on the ground. It actually scratched my left hand and right shin and I also bruced my right thumb. The falling was real. But it was fake. I practised stumbling across stairs quite a bit and became good at it - so good that it still hurts.

It was part of an act, where I got on my feet again while swearing What The Fuck. After this, I could not get my presentation working with a weird Wireless Transmission Failed error. So I asked the audience for their thoughts (with an error Testing Public Interface on screen). And finally I pointed out that the letters WTF are similar to MTF (MageTestFest) by rotating the W. You can guess: I had fun in preparing this.

Conference day

The conference day was great as well. Unfortunately, one the speakers (James Cowie) was unable to attend due to personal circumstances. But the other speakers were able to fill in the gaps. Some impressions from the audience:

If there are more blogs, let me know and I'll add them to the list.

Soundtrack

During the conference day, we also played a soundtrack that I personally picked. Some songs were really cool and gave additional atmosphere. Some songs were also skipped due to things. I wanted to create a Spotify list but for unknown reasons this is hard. So here is a list of the songs anyway:

  • Vespertilio from Batman Begins soundtrack
  • Docking from Interstellar soundtrack
  • Sonne by Rammstein (main opening)
  • Sonne by Rammstein (auf klavier / on piano)
  • Something_I can never have still by Nine Inch Nails
  • Kaiowas by Sepultura (unplugged)
  • Waiting For The Miracle by Leonard Cohen
  • Tibetan monks chanting (unknown source)
  • Chosen Pessimist by In Flames
  • The Promise by Chris Cornell
  • Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden (acoustic)
  • Sabotage by Beastie Boys
  • Permanent Solution by Paradise Lost
  • Bittersweet by Apocalyptica
  • 99 Luftballons by Nena
  • Freestyle by Bomfunk MCS
  • Galvanize by Chemical Brothers
  • The Future by Leonard Cohen

During the after-party, we played a Spotify list "Elektronischer Untergrund".

Contribution Day

The final day of MageTestFest - November 18th, 2018 - was all about a hackathon slash Contribution Day. There were about 6 Magento core developers present to guide people into using unit tests, fixing issues through GitHub, applying the sneak-preview version of the new Magento Functional Testing Framework (MFTF). There were many cool things being done, but I had to admit: This day was a torture for me because I was dead-tired. But it was thrilling to see that so many devs were still into coding and learning about testing. It was worth it!

Photos

There are photos available on Flickr to give an impression of all 4 days. We hired a professional photographer for the main conference day. Those photos can be seen in the Main Conference stream. On top of this, we also collected lots of photos from Twitter, WhatsApp and hacked phones and added them to a Social Media stream.

In total

In total, MageTestFest was a big success. The extreme focus on testing proved to be worth it: Many developers came home with practical tips and ideas, and are now already busy putting this into practice. This made MageTestFest not just a generic conference, but actually a full-blown learning experience for all attendees.

We had a blast! And we hope that you are on board next time as well!