An Umbraco Year In Review: Looking Back at 2023

Welcome back! Another year has passed, and ever since the launch of this blog three years ago it has become somewhat of a tradition for me to look back & reflect on what has been going over over the last year! β˜•

The year 2023 has come to an end, 2024 has begun, and what a year it has been! When thinking of the various highlights (and low-lights) of this year, it became quite an extensive list of activities & changes to mention, so let's get started! Just like previous years there could very much be a chance that I will be the only that be reading this, but in the end reflecting about ones self in the third-person never hurts, and keeps the mind sharp! 🧠

Umbraco Community Day #1

We're starting the year off with a brand new Umbraco community event called "Umbraco Community Day"! This free, virtual event organized by & for the Umbraco community is hosted by the magnificent Poornima Nayar, Callum Whyte & Henk Boelman. In the months leading up to this event I've been messing around with Umbraco in combination with Discord's Bot API a bunch, and what better way to share said knowledge than to turn it into a talk? Even better was the fact that the recording studio was located in the Netherlands, so I was able to do my talk in-person! If you're interested, you can watch it back here: πŸ€–

Umbraco 7 Upgrades & Rebuilds

As part of my job as a Lead Developer & Umbraco Domain Lead at iO, I spent a lot of time working on Umbraco upgrades & rebuilds. With Umbraco 7's End of Life date coming closer and closer, I've had the pleasure of working on various different project that involved both rebuilds & upgrades to the latest versions of Umbraco! Are Umbraco 7 upgrades that much fun to do? Not at all, but working on projects that get the clients involved in the development process and allow you to learn new technologies along the way make it all worth it, and nothing wrong with the occasional challenge! πŸ“ˆ

Codegarden 2023 πŸ‡©πŸ‡°

As the month of June came around, it was time to head over to the biggest Umbraco event of the year, Codegarden 2023! Where last year was definitely a year worth remembering, this year I was able to take a step back and experience Codegarden from a different point of view. Instead of attending as a speaker & first time MVP, I was able to experience it as a 'regular' attendee this year. Tons of amazing talks, chats and friend making, and to top it all off, extending my MVP status by another year! πŸ™Œ

For the full recap of Codegarden 2023, you can read the following blog:

DUUG Meetup #1

Coming back from Denmark with our brains filled with a bunch of ideas, it was time to share those ideas with the rest of the Dutch Umbraco Community. During the most perfect summer day imaginable, firing up the BBQ with over 30 Dutch Umbracians to socialize, looking back at Codegarden while having a drink, and sharing our learnings. πŸ”₯

From iO to uMarketingSuite πŸ“¦

However great the DUUG Meetup may was, unfortunately the evening ended with a bittersweet aftertaste for me, as this would have been the second-to-last day I would be working at iO. An amazing Digital Agency that has accepted me as an intern working towards his graduation, teaching me the ropes of what it takes to work in the field. A crazy journey in which I've worked my way up from an intern to the role of Lead Developer and Umbraco Domain Lead for a 2.5k people organization, that started out 100 people a mere 5 years ago!

During this time I've not only had the chance to learn and work on amazing projects, but I've also got to work together with and for some amazing people, colleagues and friends. I decided that I would like to pursue my passion to get even more involved with and for the Umbraco CMS, with a smaller team, more creative freedom, focus and responsibilities... and to me, the team over at uMarketingSuite was just that; A small, dynamic team building awesome stuff with and for Umbraco! Today marks the first six months of working at uMarketingSuite already! πŸ™Œ

DUUGFest 23 πŸ‡³πŸ‡±

September roles around, and it's time for the biggest Dutch Umbraco User Group event of the year, DF23! With sessions about Headless, AI, Web Components, Personalization, Automation, and more, it was definitely a great turnout! Catching up with all the Dutch and non-Dutch Umbracians about our favorite talks of the day was another great way to keep in touch! For the full recap of DF23 you can read the following blog:

Umbraco UK Festival πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§

The Dutch Umbraco Community may be one of the biggest ones in the world... but the UK Community is just a tad bigger! Over the last few year's I have heard great stories about the Umbraco UK Festival, and this year I was excited to be able to attend myself! Together with my boss Leon we've enjoyed a three-day trip over to the UK for some hacking, socializing, amazing talks, and a bit of time left for some sightseeing in the city of London! I could go on and on about UmbUKFest in this year in review.. but I've already done a full recap!πŸ˜‰

For the full recap of UmbUKFest you can read the following blog:

DUUG Meetup #2

It's November, and the second DUUG meetup of the year was just around the corner, this time hosted by Perplex & uMarketingSuite in the city of Arnhem. With Umbraco 13 & 14 in the pipelines, we turned the meetup into a great excuse to start hacking with both version of the CMS! With everything new backend related in Umbraco 13, and ofcourse the brand new back-office itself with Umbraco 14. I've used this opportunity to mess around with the creation of custom Contexts in the new Umbraco back-office using Lit & Vite for a custom back-office package. πŸ“¦

After wrapping up the Hackathon, it was time for some food, and then two talks to fill the evening. The first one was given by Alfred from Frontis, talking about openAI integrations in Umbraco, and the creation of content based on AI requests, intriguing stuff! The second talk was given by yours-truly, talking about the brand new Headless API introduced in uMarketingSuite as of version 1.25! 🦁

Umbraco Community Day #2

The last Umbraco event of the year for me is the second iteration of the free, virtual event, Umbraco Community Day! A great opportunity to meet Henk, Callum & Poornima (and Arnold!) in person again, and to give a more complete version of the uMarketingSuite Headless API talk! Curious to watch the session back? It's available on YouTube!

Not only can you find my talk over on YouTube, all the other amazing sessions are available as well, so be sure to take a look:

24 Days in Umbraco πŸŽ„

And last but certainly not least, it's time to wrap up the year with 24 Days in Umbraco, the yearly advent calendar with 24 wonderful articles involving Umbraco and it's community. In line with my talk over at Umbraco Community Day, I've written an article called "Headless Personalization using uMarketingsuite" for this year's 24 Days, going into further details on how you can use the uMarketingSuite Marketing API & Umbraco Content Delivery API to personalize your content in a headless environment!

You can find the full article here:

And that's a Wrap! πŸŽ†

2024 has begun, and looking back it has been an extremely busy year! A bunch of events, meetups, a brand new job, and a bunch of things learned & shared, just to mention a couple of of things that stand out. Like previous years, time will tell what this year will have in store for me, but I won't sit still! Focusing on my mental & physical health as priority #1, setting various milestones that I wish to achieve, more events I'd like to speak at, but also taking a step back as much as possible in between everything that will be going on and enjoying the peace & serenity by not having to be involved in 'absolutely everything'.

I have always been one to want to get involved and have a say in everything that's going on, but over the last year I've learned that it can be very joyful to take a step back and just watch. Not having write a new blog every single month (whether you have something you'd like to share or not), attend every single virtual meetup, or feel like you need to take charge in every single thing out of your control. It's okay to let loose and miss out, because when you do, you'll start enjoying the things you truly care about even more! πŸ’–

Thank you so much for making it to the end of the reflection, and let's make 2024 an amazing year together!πŸ₯‚

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me over at my socials available at the Contact page πŸ˜„