For me, one of the most rewarding events in the Magento ecosystem is an unconference. Early October (few days ago), I attended theMageUnconference in Cologne. Here's my take.
I've been at various MageUnconferences already, plus a Shopware Unconference organized by the same team - Carmen, Fabian, Claudia, Rico (and Tobi) - so I know the concept. Instead of having speakers statically talk about their own topics, at an unconf, speakers & topics & audience make up for a dynamic whole following unconferencing principles.
Apart from the great concept of an unconferencing - an agile way of applying the principle of demand/supply to speaking slots (amongst other elements) - it is also about the socializing: Drinking a bit too much sometimes (hence, the words KnockoutJS have been tattoed in my forehead), raw voices but definitely a lot of laughter. It is about seeing old friends again, but definitely also about making new friends. And lots of tech stuff.
The topics were not all technical: On the first day, Sanne Bolkenstein of Hyvä did a talk on diversity. In tech, there is quite a number of female developers, that gain little visibility, which could again be scaring away newcomers. Sanne explained the psychology behind this and explained (for instance, by using the wheel of privileges) how this could be turned around as well. I loved the discussion, where not everyone needed to agree. One key point was that paying attention to how things being phrased, would be welcoming people from minorities.
Another non-technical topic was a discussion on events (led by Sonja Franz and Jeroen Boersma). It started off with a question how the community was doing in general. And it quickly led to a brainstorm of things that we can do to improve the ecosystem: This ranged from organizing events (obviously) to working on a clear documentation to introduce the Magento ecosystems to beginners. A similar thing is underway already with Mage-OS, but other ideas included also simple Markdown files on GitHub.
On the second day, I setup a hallway-track (well, in the end having lunch with 4 friends) about FOMO and parents. As a fresh parent, I have learned quickly that trying to attend as many events as possible is simply conflicting with family life. Therefore, I needed to make choices (and I chose family). Many other parents are in the same position and therefore FOMO is a thing. We just had a chat to share experiences. Simply nice.
There were numerous technical topics as well, of course. One talk by Maria Kern and Christina Stass was about reusing Hyvä TailwindCSS styling in the Luma-based checkout, which led to a brainstorm of clever things to automate this. Together with Fabian Schmengler, I had a talk on integration tests: Faster test runs, my Integration Testing Helper and the new PHP8.1 Attributes to help setup fixtures faster.
Julian Nuß had a talk on RectorPHP (and a tiny bit of Psalm). Fabian Ros talked on SSH agent forwarding and how this could create huge security issues if sysadmins were not aware of the security implications. And Simon Sprankel talked about the mechanisms of static content deployment.
All in all, I learned a lot - mostly from the discussions and the little tips & tricks that came out of it. But it was also simply fun to sit in a room with fellow devs and brainstorm about things. Just as if COVID never happened.
Carmen, Fabian, Claudia, Rico - thank you so much for organizing this great unconference. It really is an inspiring event, the way that you put it all together. And it definitely was great seeing you all again.
MageUnconference NL 2023
Final note, even though I'm not able to duplicate what the MUC DE team does (and I shouldn't), I decided to have a roll at this anyway: In July 2023, Yireo is organizing another MageUnconference Netherlands. The venue in Utrecht is booked. An early site is operational and the first tickets have been sold. If you like MUC DE, you will hopefully like MUC NL too: mageunconference.nl