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SolidusConf 2019: the 3 reasons that made us love it

Alberto vena

Alberto Vena

on 14 Nov 2019 in Solidus, Events, Open Source, Ruby on Rails

8 minutes Read
Nebulab review of SolidusConf 2019 in Salt Lake City

Nebulab is one of the most involved companies in Solidus' growth, and we couldn’t miss this year’s SolidusConf in wonderful Salt Lake City.

The conference format has always been quite unique: two days of talks and two more spent hacking on Solidus with the rest of the Community on whatever could benefit our beloved open-source platform.

What better way for the community to step up and show how much they care about Solidus?

We’ve spent four incredible days in Salt Lake City at SolidusConf 2019, and here’s a recap of what we loved the most about this conference.

1. Transversal topics content

One great thing about SolidusConf is not being too Solidus-centered. At each edition, the Solidus platform is the center of gravity naturally, but the talks cover all aspects of the eCommerce industry. This makes the conference enjoyable both for people that are new to Solidus and for experienced Solidus developers that want to look at new things.

This year was no different, and I’m proud to say that we covered topics well outside the typical eCommerce conferences. In fact, we had presentations about Tech Leadership from Ryan Cromwell, Code Quality Metrics from Ernesto Tagwerker, Accessibility from Jen Luker, Breaking Up The Band Monolith With Emotional Intelligence from Braden Douglass, and Refactoring Legacy Code from Jason Swett.

There were also tech talks on practices that are being used in Solidus apps, but which can also be employed in any Ruby on Rails application. To name a few: Taylor Scott showed How to deploy Solidus on AWS Elastic Beanstalk, automating operations with GitLab CI/CD, and Thomas Sample presented an impressive Ultimate guide on SEO techniques to improve website pages (Thomas is one of the Solidus Stakeholders, and he also made a very inspiring call for technical and financial support for the Solidus platform).

Of course, we had a few talks strongly tied to the Solidus world too. Peter Berkenbosch talked about Solidus' less-known extension points. Joel Saupe presented the work he and his team did to create a useful Solidus JavaScript SDK that interacts with the Solidus API. Sean Denny explained how Solidus stakeholders are bringing Solidus from being dependent on a single company to being “Community-Driven Solidus”, which means a self-organized, financially independent project based on community donations and volunteer work.

2. The opportunity to talk to anyone

Small conferences are fantastic because they give you the opportunity to meet and talk to anyone involved easily: attendees, speakers, and organizers. We had a great time discussing ideas presented in the conference talks, trying to get more information and better understand the motivations behind them.

The two late-evening parties, in particular, were ideal for this purpose. We could hang out in front of a tasty beer (well.. more than one!) in spectacular Salt Lake City spots.

The first party, sponsored by Engine, was at the Quarters Arcade Bar, a place with delicious drinks and all kinds of arcade videogames and pinballs: the perfect place for a bunch of nerds!

The second party, sponsored by Boomer Digital, had fewer video games, but a wider choice of high-quality local craft beers. The Beer Bar context was excellent for creating small discussion groups about Solidus, eCommerce, and our life outside this world! It was so delightful to build real human connections with people from all over the world.

3. Directional and effective for the Community

Another reason why we loved this edition is that we had the opportunity to talk to other Community members about the direction of Solidus.

This is something we discussed a lot both internally and with the rest of the Solidus stakeholders, and we couldn’t be happier to share our current plans with the Community at large.

Curious to know the big news about the future of Solidus? Here you are!

Solidus Extensions

Our teammate Alessandro presented Nebulab’s vision for the future of Solidus extensions.

Extensions used to be second-class citizens, from now on they will become the standard way to build new business value for Solidus online stores.

There’s so much work to do, but now that this goal is public and shared, it will be easier to accomplish it together with other Community members.

If you are curious, here are his talk’s slides:

Solidus Roadmap

We’ve also opened a discussion about the Solidus Roadmap.

It was clear that the Community was expecting something from Nebulab. Being the main contributors at the moment, we have the responsibility to direct the Community’s efforts towards shared goals.

This is important for two main reasons:

  • It helps contributors understand how to prioritize their time;
  • It helps the Community understand what they can expect from the future of the platform, and how Solidus will help them meet their business objectives.

Gregor MacDougall and I, as Core Team members, did a quick lightning talk to explain the purpose and process behind the roadmap’s creation. Instead of starting from the high-level needs of a single company, we created a framework that allows us to do the opposite: we analyzed the market size, segmentation, and trends, competitors, etc. … All these data led to a SWOT analysis, that enabled us to better understand Solidus' weaknesses and threats and then how to transform them respectively into strengths and opportunities.

This conversation continued on the first Hack Day, during which we had our first open stakeholders meeting ever! The main topic was the presentation of the roadmap with a more in-depth explanation of the rationale behind each topic and task.

We are planning to publish an official Roadmap as soon as we reach a consensus on the roadmap’s priorities. If you want to have a voice in the future of Solidus, you can join the stakeholders' group with a monthly donation through Solidus' Open Collective page!

More committed than ever

For us, being part of the Solidus Community is about sharing our enthusiasm for open-source eCommerce with our fellow community members. That’s why we loved attending and speaking at SolidusConf 2019. We learned a lot, and we hope that this kind of initiative will communicate how strong and cohesive the Solidus Community is.

I’m sure to speak on behalf of everyone in the Community when I say that we are now more committed than ever and already looking forward to the next SolidusConf!

Here are some extra pictures:

SolidusConf 2019 Speakers Dinner Having fun at the speakers dinner.

SolidusConf 2019 Salt Lake Marina A quick tour at the Salt Lake Marina.

SolidusConf 2019 Mouintains view Mountains you can see from Salt Lake City.

SolidusConf 2019 Roadmap discussion A frame from the Roadmap discussion.

SolidusConf 2019 Hackdays The Hack Days context was very productive.

Useful resources about Solidus:

Need the help of Solidus eCommerce experts?

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