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Plone Conf 2020 Recap

January 27, 2021

Plone Conf 2020 spanned nine days with two days of trainings, two sprint days, and five conference days all hosted virtually on the LoudSwarm virtual event platform. The conference days had a packed schedule with stellar keynotes, three parallel tracks of presentations, lightning talks, and, of course, the hallway track and networking spaces. Admittedly, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of a nine-day long conference. However, the conference was structured as half-days instead of full days and I quickly learned to love that. Like many people I've been struggling a lot with video call fatigue, and so the half-day format allowed me to participate in more sessions overall without feeling completely exhausted.
The opening keynote “State of Plone” was the perfect kickoff. Presented by release managers Eric Steele and Maurits van Rees, it provided an excellent high-level view on the current state of Plone development and especially highlighted new features in Plone 6 including the new default UI, Volto.
I knew that Volto, a new React-based frontend for the Plone CMS, along with Plone’s REST API, was going to change how I approached Plone development. I wanted to learn everything I could about its capabilities and how others were using it. I checked out “Volto Blocks Development Patterns” and “Volto Dexterity Schema and Layout Editor” to see how other developers were building their content-types and blocks. I also caught “Theming Volto Without SemanticUI: Is It Possible?” where learned I could separate the management interfaces from the public-facing views, allowing for the use of third-party themes and libraries.
To ensure I had a diverse conference experience, I made sure to explore the other tracks as well. One talk, “Second Guessing the Single-Page-App Pattern” got me really considering the SPA approach. Towards the end of Day 4, I caught “Oh, the Places We've Been! Plone 2001 - 2020.” It was a wonderful journey that covered not just Plone from its beginning until now, but really put a spotlight on the spirit and community behind Plone.
Of course, I wasn’t at the conference just as an attendee, I also presented two talks: “Building a Multiconference Solution on Plone 5.2” and “A Multi-Submission Importer for EasyForm,” where I talked about incorporating add-ons and building alongside Plone’s existing functionality and add-ons to develop a feature-rich event management system.
One of my favorite aspects of the virtual Plone Conf were the Face2Face video/audio conversations (a LoudSwarm feature) held with the presenters after reach talk. Typically, I’m not one to approach the podium and ask questions at a conference, but the virtual Face2Face room facilitated the same sort of interaction in a way that was much more comfortable to me. I had many questions about Volto, so I made sure to attend every Face2Face. Presenters often went into additional details about their talks and demoed things they didn’t manage to fit into their presentations. Some of the best questions and discussions came up in these Face2Face interactions, and even I felt encouraged to ask questions I normally would have shied away from.
Prior to 2020, I had only attended Plone Conf 2016 in Boston. I warmly remembered that time as a welcoming event with some incredibly smart and passionate contributors eager to keep building upon the Plone CMS and nurturing the Plone community. Plone Conf 2020 was no different. Even as a virtual conference — between the active Slack channels, the Face2Face sessions, and the open spaces — I got to talk to and see many faces both old and new. From the programming to the people, this Plone conf had all the aspects I love.

PS: All the talks are being uploaded to YouTube; check out this playlist to watch them.

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