Coding in the countryside: My CODECABIN '23 retreat experience

Ravi Motha
Published September 25, 2023 by Ravi Motha – Developer & Umbraco Community MVP
A group photo of all Codecabin attendees

Ever wondered what CODECABIN is all about? It's an annual retreat orchestrated by the Umbraco luminaries – Matt Brailsford, Lee Kelleher, and Lucy Brailsford. This year marked its triumphant sixth edition, bringing together Umbraco enthusiasts from across the globe for a weekend of camaraderie, brainstorming, and collaborative coding in the tranquil setting of a converted cattle shed in Yorkshire.

A view of the Peak District from the cabin

Attendees hailed from Sweden, Austria, Southern Spain, Denmark, and all corners of England, making it a diverse and vibrant gathering. New faces mingled with seasoned CODECABIN veterans.

Discussions take place inside the converted cattle shed

While I was fortunate to secure a spot, my colleague Roy Barber couldn't join us due to a last-minute illness.

My expectation was that most discussions would revolve around Umbraco v14 and the latest developments in the back office workflow. However, the weekend's agenda had been meticulously planned and discussed on a Trello board in advance. Activities ranged from invigorating hikes to cozy movie nights.

Indeed, the first day saw lively debates on topics like missing data types and maximising the back office's potential.

AI then took center stage with discussions on how it's cautiously being incorporated into code tasks and development, mainly to expedite code searches or adapt existing samples.

While discussions unfolded, participants were free to dive into coding challenges or collaborate on proof of concepts for work-related issues.

But CODECABIN isn't all about coding! Fierce games of pool and a thrilling table football match (unlucky Lotte and Laura) kept the competitive spirit alive. 

Pirate games winners' photo: L-R: Andy Boot, Lucy Brailsford, John Seto, Ravi Motha & Rich Jackson

Beyond these impromptu activities, there were organised events like morning runs (not my cup of tea!) and scenic hikes through the local countryside.

Special moments deserve a shoutout! Karl Tynan hosted a fun quiz night, featuring gem hunts and beer pong. Andy Boot, a surprise sharpshooter with cannonball-like ping pong balls, led our team to victory.

Sunday carried the Saturday spirit forward, with discussions spanning various topics and engaging show-and-tells, including Richard Ockerby's insights into segmentation.

After an incredible three days, we returned home with newfound friendships, a treasure trove of knowledge, fresh ideas, and exciting prospects for the future.

A huge thank you to Karl's Kabs for shuttling us to and from the station, Lucy B for the delectable food (Sunday dinner and crumble were divine), all the other organisers, including Lotte and Lee, and Mike Masey for burning through five (!) Yorkshire puddings in one sitting.

A sample of the delicious Codecabin food courtesy of Lucy Brailsford

If you get the chance, don't hesitate to apply for the next CODECABIN. I know I will!

CODECABIN at Grindleford in the Peak District

Further reading: Joe Glombek, Alina-Magdalena Tincas and Rachel Breeze review the event, and umbraCoffee guests talk in more depth about CODECABIN '23. 

Picture credits: Alina-Magdalena Tincas, Andy Boot, Mike Masey, Bjarne Fyrstenborg.

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