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The Community Teams Virtual Get-Together

An Umbraco HQ visit gone virtual

Written by Ilham Boulghallat

Since we started the Community Teams initiative, we have made sure to plan a yearly visit to Umbraco HQ in Odense for all members of the teams. This year, we did two things differently: We moved the visit to a virtual setup, and we had the pleasure of including for the first time ever the Accessibility Team. Sure we did not get the chance to meet the new members in person, nor were we able to take group photos at the HQ offices, but all the teams still managed to get a full-experience working together and getting early access to some of the latest projects Umbraco HQ is working on. Let’s see how the virtual sessions went!

3 Days, 5 Community Teams

On the 17, 18, and 19th of November, the 5 Umbraco Community Teams - Accessibility, Core Collaborators, Documentation Curators, Unicore, and Package Team - got together virtually. 

While these teams do regularly meet and have their own separate roadmaps and goals, the annual get-together, previously a visit to the Umbraco HQ offices, is an opportunity to dedicate full days to work in sync and to benefit from cross-team collaboration. 

It is also an opportunity to revisit the goals set up a year ago and discuss the plans for the coming year. Not to forget, a great way to get to know each other better and welcome the new team members.

But before we dive into what these three days covered, let us hear directly from some of the attendees. Their reasons to join the teams and the highlights of the virtual get-together - straight from their home offices:


A busy agenda and a full day dedicated to Accessibility

While each team will bring you up to date on what they are working on in their update blog posts, here are some of the highlights as shared by the teams themselves:

The Accessibility Team 

Who attended?

  • Mike Masey
  • Rachel Breeze
  • Jan Skovgaard
  • Danny Lancaster
  • Matt Wise
  • Niels Lyngsø


Accessibility team virtual get-together

A virtual team photo including Umbraco HQ CMS Manager, Filip. 

What were the main takeaways? 

Most of the Accessibility (A11Y ) Team were able to attend and we enjoyed a full day discussing progress so far, as well as our plans moving forwards. Here’s a brief(ish) summary of what we covered:

We want to make it a goal for the next version of the Umbraco backoffice to be WCAG 2.1 Level AA compliant as standard. In order to do this, we’re hoping to assist the frontend devs at Umbraco HQ however we can. As part of that help, we also want to ensure that there is a safe space for accessibility-related communications between the community, HQ and the team in general.

As a team, we also want to put more effort into raising awareness around accessibility. The way we’re going to try and do this is to create more A11Y related content for the Umbraco community, for developers and non-developers. We’d also like to help out the Core Collaborators team in regards to checking accessibility when reviewing PRs.

On top of this, we’ve also set ourselves a bit of an ambitious task to put together some accessibility educational workshops for Umbraco HQ, the Core Collaborators and the wider Umbraco Community. We have a fair bit to work out in terms of this, but ideally, we want something that will cater for developers and non-developers. We’d like to try and get something together in time for the Global Accessibility Awareness Day on Thursday, May 20th, 2021, but it will depend on our availability between then and now.

We’d also like to investigate ways to improve the Umbraco backoffice frontend build process to check for syntax related A11Y issues, among other general improvements to the process moving forwards.

Finally, we spent some time reflecting over the past 18 months, which was incredibly encouraging to see how far we have come. 

The Documentation Curators 

Who attended?

  • Marc Goodson
  • Sophie Neale
  • Busra Parnell
  • Damiaan Peeters
  • Jeavon Leopold
  • Sofie Toft Kristensen
Umbraco pencil and paper icon

What were the main takeaways? 

We had a lot of things on our agenda which we wanted to discuss during this year’s Community Teams get-together, and we managed to cover most of it, as the two days really flew by - like they usually do!

The biggest highlight was all the talks the team had around how we should handle the documentation for the next major version of Umbraco - you know, the one that will run on .NET Core 💪 It’s a BIG topic as well as it is a BIG, big task that lies ahead of us, both for the D-team at Umbraco HQ, the Unicore community team and for the documentarians - both HQ and community.

We made a decision - albeit a bit rough around the edges still - on how we’re going to be handling these docs. As changing the main framework is a major shift for the Umbraco CMS, we thought it was also a chance to make some major shifts in terms of the documentation. So, without putting it in too many details, we’ve decided to move the new, upcoming docs to a new (and temporary) platform. Sounds exciting, right? A lot more will be shared about this in an upcoming blog post from the Documentation Curators.

Other highlights? The two days were really good and productive, and as always, it was good to meet/reunite with the other community teams to share ideas and thoughts. 

The Core Collaborators 

Who attended?

We were happy to have all the new Core Collaborators team members participate:

  • Joe Glombek
  • Laura Weatherhead
  • Michael Latouche
  • Nathan Woulfe
  • Owain Williams
  • Sebastiaan Janssen 
Code icon

Additionally, throughout the two days we had some of the honorary team members drop in as well:

  • Emma Burstow
  • Kenn Jakobsen
  • Poornima Nayar

What were the main takeaways? 

After a kick-off validating our mission and goals, we took a deep dive into the work involved to review and merge a pull request. With the team being brand new, we wanted to make sure that everybody knew the moving parts and how they could be most effective with their time.

From there we worked on ideas to better engage with the community. One of the interesting ideas was to send new contributors a questionnaire to learn more about them.

Apart from that, we also came up with ideas to have fewer bottlenecks in the contribution process. We have the luxury of having a very active group of contributors which is becoming a lot to handle for a small team. By using some more automation we want to give better feedback, especially to new contributors. Over the course of the two days we worked on:

  • A better overview of the open PRs and the state of those PRs
  • Reworking our issue / PR templates when you create a new issue or PR on GitHub
  • Closing “stale” (created long ago) issues and PRs automatically, with an easy way to re-open them when they are still relevant
  • Automatically assign the contributor badge on Our Umbraco to new contributors

This became even more relevant after having a session with the Unicore team. Eventually, that team will need us to take over incoming PRs for when Umbraco is on .NET Core, which will put even more work on our plates.

Of course, it wasn’t all serious work, we had to have some fun as well! The first day concluded with a fun “How well do you know your steward” quiz in which everybody was left guessing which of the stewards has a twin and which one of them is terrified of butterflies... 😅

Over the next few weeks, we’ll keep working on the ideas we started and we’re looking forward to working with all the wonderful incoming contributions for the next year!

The Package Team

Who attended?

  • Lotte Pitcher
  • Richard Ockerby
  • Kevin Jump
  • Dave Woestenborghs
  • David Brendel
  • Jesper Mayntzhusen
U Package Team 500X500

What were the main takeaways? 

We kicked off the virtual get-together by going through our mission and goals from last year - back then we were a brand new team still figuring out what to do, so we did a short retrospective on the goals and how we have done the past year. We were quite happy with the result, looking back we have managed to do lots of things!

We also did a few sessions with the Unicore team. Both teams felt it is very important to ensure the transition to the next major becomes as easy and straightforward as possible for package authors, and we are super excited to collaborate further when the project starts looking at the package system.

We also wanted something concrete as an outcome, so we decided to release the first “official” release of our tool UmbPack - v1.0.0. UmbPack has been around for almost a year now, and has started to be adopted by many package authors; we feel it is stable enough to no longer be in a beta state! 🎉

Finally, we wanted to do a bit of a hack session - it is not often so many team members are together and have the time to work on something, so we started working on a new package. It is still in its early stages, so more info will come once we have something to show, but we believe it will be very helpful! 

The Unicore Team

Who attended?

  • Emma Garland
  • Benjamin Carleski
  • Andy Butland
  • Steve Temple
  • Simone Chiaretta
  • Bjarke Berg
Unicore Team

What were the main takeaways? 

The main focus for the Unicore Team was on the importance of coordination with the other community teams which led to some interesting cross-team collaboration sessions. 

We had very productive talks with the Documentation Curators about how to document the changes in the new version. We also had some very insightful exchanges with the Package Team about our technical challenges with the current package format. And finally, we opened up the discussions with the Core Collaborators about how they can start helping with testing and reviewing PRs for the Unicore Project.

Besides the productive hours we spent collaborating with the other teams, we have also spent time looking into optimizing the experience when running Umbraco on Linux.

Reach out and Get involved

A friendly reminder that the Community Teams’ initiative is meant to support the contribution efforts of the wider Umbraco community. So remember that, even if your name is not listed on the Teams’ pages, your involvement plays an important role in the work they do and we always encourage and appreciate when you get involved - H5YR! 

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