Last month I attended and spoke at the 3rd annual Kentico Connection conference in Denver, CO. This was my second time attending the conference, but first time presenting at it. As expected it was a great event. I meant to get this blog post out earlier, but it has been a crazy past few weeks at BizStream as far as deadlines go.
Day 1 – Keynote and New Features
The first day of the conference had a great introduction to the new features of Kentico CMS 7.0. Much of this information was not exactly new if you followed the 7.0 RC announcements, but it was great to hear the product dev's talk about these features first hand. Seeing the new Advanced Workflow in action was pretty amazing. You can really tell the people that work at Kentico care greatly about the quality of their CMS.
I took a quick snap with my mobile phone during the opening keynote speech by Petr Palas, CEO of Kentico. Next year I am going to have to remember to bring a real camera.
I attended the business track on day one. My business, partner Mark Schmidt, covered the technology track. But I'm glad I saw the sessions I did. Kentico formally announced a new offering, Kentico EMS+. EMS+ is a fully hosted version of Kentico EMS on Windows Azure. This SaaS offering allows Kentico Customers to deploy an EMS site on demand, leverage cloud computing, and pay a single monthly fee for everything.
Myself as well as a few other Kentico Solutions Partners in the room gave some strong feedback back to Kentico on this offering . We shared a few concerns on how EMS+ might compete with some of the Solutions partners and Hosting partners in the room. Not every detail is worked out at this point with EMS+ so I will give Kentico the benefit of the doubt on this topic, for now.
My favorite portion of the first day was the product planning session I attended. During this session the group of attendees were able to suggest, to Kentico developers directly, additions to the Online Marketing modules of the product roadmap and/or features or tweaks they would like to see. There were some great ideas by all attendees. Things that I think Kentico will follow up on and eventually implement.
The Night Life in Denver
Just like last year, Kentico sponsored a social event at the end of day one. This social event featured an "Ask the Expert" session over food and drinks at the Brunswick Zone. The Kentico product developers were ready and willing to answer any questions of the attendees. They were also ready and willing to take you on at Laser Tag and Bowling. It was a great mix of business and fun.
This is also where the Kentico community really shined. I sat in a few round table discussions on best practices and tips that different Kentico users were giving each other. We also had quite a few laughs too. The good local brews had nothing to do with that I'm sure. I'm also happy to report there was no Karaoke performances this year.
Day 2 – More Sessions and the Partner Showcase
The second day of coverage featured many great sessions in both the technical and business tracks. In the morning I switched it up and attended the technology tracks. The Kentico developers ran through the improvements to Smart Search functionality of Kentico, and new EMS API functions. The Smart Search upgrade is very welcomed. You can now create your own custom indexers and control the search at very specific level.
The afternoon business track was dedicated to the Partner Showcase. The partner presentations focused on real world implementations of Kentico CMS and got into the details of how various Kentico CMS Solutions Partner had helped their clients achieve success with their various web projects. It was really interesting to see how different Partners implement these solutions. The only downside of the format was that all of the presentations were in the business track side, even though a few of them were fairly technical. Next time I hope that Kentico does a better job of separating out the technical and business sides of the showcase.
I also gave my session on Integrating the World with Kentico CMS during the Partner Showcase. I spoke on just 3 of the many different integration options that developers have with Kentico CMS, the Integration Bus, Social Media Auto Publishing, and using REST with Kentico. You can see them and download my slide deck from the presentation is available at this url.
I think that the session went spell. I had a decent sized audience, and received a few good questions at the end of it. Most importantly I hit my time block right on the nose, and didn't push the marathon session any longer. I even heard a few laughs during my time. I hope that means that some attendees like my sense of humor.
I hope that at least a few people learned a thing of two. I really enjoyed being a part of the conference.
Once the partner showcase ended, day two closed with a session on looking forward to Kentico CMS 8 how Kentico has grown since last year, and the obligatory conference raffle for an iPad.
My Presentation at Kentico Connection 2012
I was surprised that all of the presentations in the partner showcase were recorded. We did not know ahead of time. So if you missed attending you can actually see it here:
And like I mentioned, if I ever find the time, I will release a generic version of my Bitly Integration Bus module. This blog will be the place to find it.
Wrapping up the Wrap Up
Like I mentioned I am extremely pleased with how well the conference went. There are a few things that Kentico could do better next year, but any conference always has those. All and all Kentico Connection 2012 lived up to it's billing. It is the best way to get in touch with Kentico, network with the Kentico community, and learn what's is coming next for Kentico CMS and Kentico EMS. I am glad I attended and will be returning next year.