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ExpressionEngine Dev Conference

Tuesday, July 24th 2012

After attending my first EECI last fall, I left feeling somewhat disappointed, thinking I didn’t learn as much new EE information as I thought I was going to. Don’t get me wrong, there were a few talks I really enjoyed which expanded my ideas of what was possible with EE, but before I started my pilgrimage to the meca of EE’dom, I figured a good majority of the talks would be on this level. On my flight home, while thinking about my expectations about the conference, I realized that the issue was not that the topics or presentations were of poor quality, but that what I was specifically looking for were more advanced topics that are probably a little out of the spectrum of topics required for a general ExpressionEngine event like EECI. What I was looking for was more of a EE Developers Conference - An event where EE developers and EE Add-on developers could gather to to discuss bleeding edge topics in the realm of EE.

First, let me say that I am not trying to belittle or downplay the importance of EECI or other more general EE conferences. When I was at EECI last year, all of the presentations and speakers did a wonderful job, and at any general technology event, it helps to have a wide-range of topics so everyone working in the EE ecosystem can benefit from attending and learn something they can apply to their own workflow. That being said, I think there is also room for another EE conference.

Why have yet another EE conference? Two big reasons come to mind:

One, which I’ve highlighted above, is that EE is becoming such a large platform that at any generic EE conference the topics covered are very broad. Topics can range from content strategy, to writing markup, to control panel user experience, to how to run an agency. For many people, these non-technical topics are not greatly beneficial or challenging.

Two, as many people have said, EE is evolving (has evolved?) to more than just a cut and dry content management system, and into a platform capable of building robust web applications. Like any other platform or product out there, the progression should be discussed amongst the people who use the product the most, and we should collectively be working to build bigger and better. The EE Reactor initiative is great, and we are fortunate to have some great developers working on the team, but for those of us not involved, the conference would be a great way to organize how the community thinks the platform should progress and provide a platform to discuss and organize our thoughts on the direction we would like it to head.

As I’m sure most of you who are reading this are aware, there was a big uproar in the EE community over the past week. EE developers and community members are tired of the expanding list of bugs EllisLab has done a poor job of managing, and are tired of the general lack of communication coming from the top about this issue and many others. While I don’t want to take any heat off of EllisLab, I do think it would be beneficial if the EE development community had the opportunity to organize itself and provide a constructive and thought-out plan to how we want to see changes implemented and how we want to see the platform progress.

Yesterday, while browsing the #eecms hashtag on Twitter, I found a few other EE people (@airways, @RealJustinLong, @dan_decker) discussing an EE Dev Conference and it was encouraging to know that other developers in the community came to the same conclusion, and that there is serious interest in getting the wheels turning on a Dev Conference for EE. Awesome.

Now the questions are Who, What, Where, and When.

  • Who is interested? Would EECI people also be interested in a Dev Conference? Would people be willing to travel to both if they we’re scheduled within a month or two of each other? Are people willing to wait until next year for the event?
  • What kinds of topics do you want to hear? Purely add-on specific topics, or topics for general template development, but that push the bounds of what is possible with EE? What about some of the items mentioned above focused around organizing the developer community around progressing the platform, is that of any intest?
  • Where… I’ve heard Chicago and Minneapolis both mentioned. Both sound great to me, but I also live in Chicago :)
  • When. This goes back to the question, would people want to attend this and EECI, or does this event need to be scheduled after EECI. I would assume that before EECI might be a little too soon for some people, but that is also a possibility.

I obviously think an EE Developers Conference is a great idea and would love to put things be put in motion to making it happen. From the discussion I saw on Twitter yesterday, I think there is quite a bit of interest in making it a reality, so keep the dialogue going and please reach out with any feedback. Feel free to comment below or reach me on Twitter @bryant_


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