Working for: Colours
Country: Works in the Netherlands, lives in Belgium.
Time working with Umbraco: Since 2008 (Umbraco v3)
Working for: works at (and is a co-owner of) Vokseværk
Time working with Umbraco: Since 2009 (Umbraco v3)
Working for: AKQA (previously known as DIS/PLAY)
Time working with Umbraco: Discovered Umbraco in 2006 (Umbraco v2.1.6) - Working with it since 2007 (Umbraco v3)
Your favourite Umbraco moment?
That’s really a tough question for us to answer since there are so many special moments to choose from.
Dave: There are many, but if I need to pick one it would be receiving the Package award for my Nexu package.
Chriztian: Everything about the pillow fight between XSLT Rebel Alliance and Razor Empire at Codegarden 2011. The t-shirts, the metal band, the insane covering of everything to prevent rogue feathers getting into e.g. vents and gear. It was grand for sure!
Jan: When I first discovered Umbraco back in 2006 I was not posting on the forum for a long time because I was afraid of being ridiculed and making a fool out of myself. So I did not take the plunge to start asking questions for around a year or so - The forum was hosted on Yahoo groups back then but I was only reading the posts and did not ask my first question until it moved to “YAF” (Yet another forum) before we had the Our site. But when I finally did start asking questions I got a lot of help from the community and especially Dirk De Grave spent a lot of time helping me out and sometimes almost did all of my work for me. Never did he make me feel silly or stupid despite my lack of knowledge. That inspired me to try and start out giving back myself. Before I dared to ask questions I had a life-line on MSN who was Morten Bock that was kind to take time explaining to me how I could debug my XSLT macros when all I saw was an XSLT error, which left me clueless as what to do. So thank you guys #h5yr :-) - Oh and also a big #h5yr to Umbraco’s grand ol’ man Doug Robar who wrote the guide on how to run Umbraco using the “Cassini” web server. Without it I’m not sure I had ever started my Umbraco journey. I spent a week figuring out how to install the damn thing and I was really confused about IIS and permissions and what not. But that guide made a big difference for me.
As a team: Everytime we learn that an author of a 24 Days article is being invited as a Codegarden speaker based on the article they have written for us. That’s always special and fills us with pride.
What about Umbraco keeps you coming back for more?
It’s been mentioned a lot before and it will probably be mentioned a lot in the future as well. But the community truly is what makes it all so amazing and special for us. And being able to help to expand the circle by offering newcomers (as well as old timer of course) the opportunity to write an article for us is a huge privilege. Despite it sometimes being hard work to think of new people and watch out for people who are new to Umbraco, breaking the ice and have them write for us can be hard work it’s totally worth it and really rewarding.
It also always puts a big smile on our faces whenever people do a shoutout for out @24daysInUmbraco’s Twitter account outside of the season because they found the information they needed on the calendar site.
What are you currently working on?
Well, we’re obviously busy running the calendar these days making sure a new article is ready for being published every day at 09:00 AM (CET).
Apart from making sure the publications run smoothly we always try to implement small or big improvements every year. This year we have been working on making use of the tours to guide our authors on how to set up their articles. We needed to tweak things a bit to make it work as we wanted to. But then it’s a good thing to have Mr. “Tours” on the team - Aka. Dave W 😉
We have had service worker implementation on our todo-list for nearly 2 years now - It’s not that we don’t know how to do it, it’s just that we need to find time to sit down together and have it implemented. If we don’t make it before the end of 2018 we will make it happen early 2019 - The idea simply is to make it possible to select one or more articles to be available for offline reading if you’re on a commute to or back from work. Much like Una Kravets does it on her personal blog.
Furthermore, we really should make it easier on ourselves to answer many of the frequent questions we get from our authors when we approach them the first time.
Jan is currently also working on arranging an Umbraco meetup in Aarhus on December 11th where HQ’s very own Stéphane Gay pay us a visit to talk about Umbraco V8.
Dave is prototyping some package ideas and work projects.
Chriztian is working on quite a few projects on Umbraco Cloud these days.
What are your top 3 best tips for an Umbraco newbie?
- It’s ok to feel shy and have a hard time to get out of the comfort zone but please do try - It becomes easier over time. So if you’re going to Codegarden or a meetup, set up a goal to talk to 1-5 new people you have never met before. You’ll make some new friends and next time you attend an event you will feel a bit more comfortable and reaching out to new people will not be so intimidating anymore. We know it’s not as easy as it may sound; we have all been there - It takes effort and it becomes easier over time and that awkward feeling may never disappear. It’s ok. Embrace it and try to have fun 🙂
- In the online universe, one should definitely follow the #umbraco hashtag on Twitter since there is a lot of active Umbraco people on there and make sure to keep an eye on:
- Community corner by Owain Williams.
- See/Listen to UmbraCoffee by Callum Whyte and Marcin Zajkowski.
- Subscribe to the Skrift newsletter and of course read the magazine done by Janae Cram, Erica Quessenberry and Kyle Weems.
- And make sure to get some official Umbraco training!
- Get involved and contribute in whatever way you can. It can be by helping people put on the forum, writing a blog post, doing pull requests to the Umbraco documentation or the Umbraco Core etc.
What is on your desk?
On Chriztian’s desk at work: Octocat, a Rubik's Cube and one of two giant GitHub coffee-mugs 🙂
What books are you reading now?
Jan is currently reading Jason Grigsby’s newly released book “Progressive Web Apps”, which he finds an extremely interesting topic and is really annoyed that Apple seems to just be ignoring this huge game changer for now.
Last month he read Laura Kalbag’s “Accessibility for everyone”, along with Heydon Pickerings “Inclusive design patterns” book since accessibility is an important thing to be aware of when building websites and apps and he is now more confident in the steps to take in order to ensure better accessibility from the start of a project.
He is planning to put some of his newly gained knowledge to effect doing pull requests to the Umbraco core improving certain aspects of accessibility when time allows 😉
Chriztian recently finished "Creative Selection" by Ken Kocienda, which is a fascinating look behind the scenes of creating the first iPhone.
What’s your most memorable meal?
When Dave was on holiday in Cuba. He was on a trip with a zodiac on a jungle river and ended at a sugar cane plantation for a meal. The only thing on the menu was stuffed chicken with rice. Turned out they had to go out and catch the chicken before they could prepare it. Took about 2,5 hours before the meal was ready but it was worth the wait. Or maybe drinking rum for 2.5 hours clouded Dave’s judgment.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all of you!
A massive H5YR to Dave, Chriztian and Jan 😀! If you’d like to connect with them, you can find them on Twitter: @dawoe21, @greystate, @TheRealBatJan
And don't forget to treat yourself to a dayly Umbraco related story each day until Christmas by following 24 days in Umbraco.
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