Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the 2011 Kentico Connection in Denver, CO. Just like last year, it was a great event full of wonderful information and great people. Kentico’s annual conference has quickly become a fantastic community event that every Kentico developer should attend.
This year’s event was geared heavily towards the 6.0 release of the Kentico CMS product. Developers packed sessions led by Kentico technical leaders to discover new and exciting features in the new version. From the opening keynote by Peter Palas (CEO) and Janus Boye (J. Boye founder) to content-filled sessions from Martin Hejtmanek (CTO), Thomas Robbins (Chief Product Evangelist), and Dominik Pinter (Technical Lead), attendees were given in-depth knowledge and shown functionality that can only be found at Kentico’s only developer conference. Business leaders learned valuable information from the excellent sessions lead by Eric Webb (President of Sales & Operations), Karol Karkovsky (Sr. Solution Architect), Neil Powers (Sr. Integration Specialist), and many Kentico partners including Bit-Wizards, Yoodle, Adaptdev, Blue Modus, and Data, Inc.
The conference included two tracks geared to developers and business leaders alike. This allowed all attendees to have a range of material to choose from. Everyone was overwhelmed with the spectacular content and material that each session conatined. Developers were treated with live demonstrations, code examples, and the opportunity to interact and discuss in-depth Kentico functionality with the technical teams that created the product. Business track attendees enjoyed demonstrations of real world examples and learned how to increase productivity and revenue with Kentico CMS.
Bit-Wizards' Vince Mayfield (CEO) and I presented on integrating Kentico CMS and Microsoft's Windows Azure platform. Vince detailed many of business aspects of Windows Azure and Microsoft's commitment to providing a new cloud platform for businesses. I demonstrated migrating Kentico applications to Azure and how to leverage new functionality to increase positivity and profitability. Vince and I discussed the cost savings businesses can leverage with Microsoft's cloud platform and how to transition their Kentico CMS hosting to Azure.
Meeting the Team
One of the best parts of the Kentico Connection is the ability to meet and interact with the Kentico product team. Having known many of the developers for a number of years, I was thrilled last year to meet many of the developers in person at the 2010 Kentico Connection in Prague. This year I was able to meet even more of the team which really enhanced the conference experience and value. The opportunity to discuss the underlying functionality and architecture with the Kentico team is essential to any developer. Prototyping and architecting solutions with Kentico’s business contacts enable companies to understand how to implement the Kentico CMS system and plot a successful project. The power of a face-to-face meeting trumps any phone call and really adds a tremendous value for all of those who attended.
Another great part of the conference was the “Ask the Experts” night. This event allowed attendees the chance to sit and talk with Kentico experts on a variety of topics, including Marketing, Collaboration, Azure, Security, and much more. The team of experts included Kentico technical leaders, developers, and Kentico partners. The event was held in a casual setting enabling attendees to mingle and discuss Kentico topics with all the experts throughout the night. I was an expert at the Azure / Security table along with Dominik Pinter.
This year’s Kentico Connection included an entire day of free training on Kentico’s newest product, the Enterprise Marketing Solution (EMS). This new tool will enable companies to expand their business to the next level with enhanced marketing features including A/B testing, enhanced email marketing, personalized content, lead tracking and scoring, as well as many new features for marketing a company’s presence. A full day of training on this new product added value to the conference by allowing attendees to work with and learn on a live installation of the product. Kentico technical leaders provided step-by-step instruction on many of the features of the EMS product and its functionality.
If the content isn’t enough, the conference also included great prizes from its many sponsors. As a Platinum Sponsor, Microsoft provided a funding, as well as a Mango-ready Windows Phone for 1 lucky attendee. Also included in the raffle were an iPad 2, an Xbox 360, and Best Buy gift cards donated by Bit-Wizards. Attendees were invited to a social event at a local Brunswick Zone for bowling, pool, a round or two of karaoke, and even laser tag! Everyone had a wonderful time letting loose and enjoying meeting the several Kentico employees and partners at the conference. Kentico is working on getting footage from the conference on their YouTube channel
so be sure to check it often for updates!
Oct 10-12 and will be another great conference to attend. If you can make it, I’ll see you there! If not, be sure to attend next year so you can benefit from all of the great content from Kentico's best conference of the year!