Umbraco UK Festival 2023: A triumph of community and insight

Ravi Motha
Published November 9, 2023 by Ravi Motha – Developer & Umbraco Community MVP
Umbraco CTO and keynote speaker Filip Bech-Larsen on stage

The Umbraco UK Festival is a one-of-a-kind in the tech calendar combining the warmth of a close-knit community and an overwhelming sense of positivity with incredible talks.

The Festival is a two-day event that includes a partner summit, hackathon, and more than 20 sessions at the main event.

This year marked a return to a more standard-sized event, and it was the first since the pandemic, making it extra special. It was heartening to see both familiar and new faces, all brimming with the same level of enthusiasm.

These gatherings provide an opportunity to build and maintain relationships in the community, showcase Umbraco to my colleagues from dotcentric, and celebrate innovation and learning.  

Dinner, drinks, and socialising at Boxpark Shoreditch for the pre-party

A partner summit and hackathon to warm up

While our Tech Lead Jacob Spencer was attending the Partner Summit on Thursday, I joined the other Umbraco developers at Hugo & Cat in Shoreditch for the hackathon to contribute to the open-source project.

I always find the hackathon to be a great occasion to learn, solve problems, make connections, and collaborate with others in the Umbraco world – and this time was no different.

The hackathon was followed by a small get-together for dinner and drinks at Boxpark, Shoreditch, then on to Glitch Bar to join the Umbraco Partner Summit for the official pre-party genorously hosted by Umbraco HQ. 

A sustainable main event

Organisers The Umbraco Foundation chose New Inn Yard in Shoreditch, London, as the venue, and it didn’t disappoint. I was impressed by the venue's convenience and their commitment to eco-friendliness. They eliminated single-use plastics and everything was recyclable - setting an excellent example of sustainable actions. Everyone gratefully received a reusable water bottle and hat when they arrived.

Abhi presenting her talk, My journey as a woman in tech, on stage at Umbraco UK Festival

Women in tech and other highlights

As for the talks, dotcentric had a strong presence at the event, with Abhipsa Nakarja delivering a well-received presentation about her journey as a woman in tech. Although I might be a little biased, Abhi's talk was a standout for me.

The Festival balances technical presentations with more human and community driven talks and Abhi’s talk was a great example of how Umbraco embraces inclusivity and gives everyone an opportunity to make a meaningful difference.

Abhi talked positively about the benefits of diverse teams and the many different roles available to women in the industry. Keep an eye out for more to come from Abhi on women in tech. From what I’ve been told Abhi's just getting started!

Another talk that stood out as a highlighting the human element of tech was by Rachel Breeze on escaping the developer rut. Based on Rachel’s own experience, the talk delved into the resources available to developers for breaking free from stagnation, both personally and within our teams. Rachel discussed how we can leverage our development expertise to motivate the upcoming generation and escape the cycle of stagnation in the process.

Laura Weatherhead's talked us through a use case for creating, parsing and converting a custom property editor for the Content Delivery API in Umbraco v12. Laura’s talk illustrated the concept of customising content for multiple user groups at the property level and examined the most straightforward way to deliver it to the front-end framework.

If you want to find out more about Laura’s relationship with Umbraco and her hopes for the future, read her brilliant article in the latest edition of Skrift magazine.

Another highlight for me was the talk from Louie Richardson on leveraging Astro, a tool I hadn't come across before for static site generation. He discussed its integration with Umbraco to boost performance and sustainability.

Wrapping up

Overall, the event offered a well-balanced selection of talks and interactive sessions, despite some challenges from the storm affecting speakers and travel plans.

It was fantastic to catch up with so many friendly Umbracians. It’s left me feeling invigorated and reenergised about the Umbraco community and its direction. Looking forward to Umbraco 14 and the adventures that lie beyond in 2024.

Finally, thank you so much to the organisers of another hugely successful UK Festival.


If you want to find out more about how Umbraco can help grow your organisation, talk to us at dotcentric.

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