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uProfile December 2023 - Sean Thorne

A Journey from Code to Community

Uprofile Sean Thorne Black And White Head Shot
Written by Sean Thorne

For this month's uProfile, Sean Thorne, a seasoned Senior Full-stack Developer hailing from Bristol, UK, shares his thoughts on what the Umbraco Community means to him. As an integral part of the team at True and with five years immersed in all things Umbraco, Sean's journey so far has seen him get stuck into forum help, speak at events and collaborate with others to create useful packages. Sean's story is a testament to the spirit of teamwork and shared passion within the Umbraco Community. As he navigates the realms of sustainable coding and envisions a greener digital future, join us in uncovering the layers of Sean's Umbraco journey.

  • Name: Sean Thorne
  • Pronouns: He/Him
  • Company name: True
  • Role: Senior Full-stack Developer
  • Country/region: Bristol, UK
  • Working with Umbraco for: 5 years


Sean Thorne, Umbraco developer at True Digital

My journey into the Umbraco Community

My involvement with the Umbraco Community was a natural progression after working with Umbraco in a professional capacity. I was initially drawn to the community due to its reputation for being supportive and engaging. And, as I began to interact more, meet fellow Umbraco developers and explore what the community had to offer, I found a wealth of knowledge and a network of professionals who were not only adept at resolving issues, but were also keen on sharing insights and collaborating on projects. The warm and friendly welcome was also very appealing!

The community events, forums, and discussions have since become a valuable place for me, providing a platform to both expand my understanding and to contribute back to the community. Moreover, the spirit of camaraderie and the collective aim towards making Umbraco better for everyone has been a motivating factor to stay active and contribute wherever possible.

Sean Thorne speaking at Codegarden 2023

Sean speaking at Codegarden 2023

My three 'hats' of contribution

I feel like I wear three hats, as it were, when considering how I like to contribute back to the Umbraco Community. And I'm deeply passionate about each one - the helper, the craftsman, and the evangelist.

As a helper, I enjoy engaging with the community on forums, Discord, and Twitter (X), actively seeking and responding to questions. It's immensely gratifying to be able to craft solutions for my fellow Umbracians and contribute to their success.

In my craftsman role, I focus on creating packages that aim to enhance the overall Umbraco experience. These efforts stem from a genuine desire to add value to our community, providing tools and solutions that make the Umbraco journey smoother for everyone involved. I especially love to collaborate with others to create something helpful.

Lastly, as an evangelist, my enthusiasm for Umbraco shines through as I eagerly spread the word about its wonders. The goal is simple but significant: to contribute to the growth of our community and help others discover the full potential of this robust content management system. I believe that by sharing our experiences and insights, we can collectively elevate the Umbraco ecosystem and create a more vibrant and supportive community for all. This comes in the form of speaking at meetups and events, rallying my colleagues and company to host meetups and help organise local meetups, as-well-as putting myself forward to help steward the upcoming revamped Umbraco Virtual initiative.

Sean Thorne attended CODECABIN 22 - here he is with his fellow CC23 attendees

Sean Thorne attended CODECABIN 22 - here he is with his fellow CC23 attendees

A virtual collaboration

One of my proudest moments since becoming a part of the Umbraco Community has to be, without doubt, the virtual collaboration with Owain Williams, sparked by a single Tweet!

Despite never having met in person, we teamed up to create and release a package; MediaColourFinder. A package which adds a custom property editor to images that allows it to select the prominent colours inside of the image from the focal point, this is useful in determining the best colour text to use (dark, or light for a11y) and also for styling backgrounds based on that image. This was a venture that epitomizes the spirit of the Umbraco Community and teamwork.

The day we unveiled our package to the community was a celebratory milestone for sure! It really shows the magic that can happen when shared passion meets digital camaraderie.

And this kind of collaboration, friendship and knowledge-sharing that makes the Umbraco Community so appealing. It's a hub of continuous learning and support. The shared enthusiasm for problem-solving and the open collaboration on projects keeps me engaged. Every interaction is an opportunity for growth, and the light-hearted humour amidst the challenges makes the journey enjoyable. It's this blend of knowledge-sharing and community spirit that keeps me coming back for more.

Sean Thorne at Codegarden 22 holding an Umbraco Award given to the company he works for, True, for their work on the Aardman website

Sean Thorne at Codegarden 22 holding an Umbraco Award given to the company he works for, True, for their work on the Aardman website

Things I'm currently working on

Community-wise, I am in the process of developing a practical package for Umbraco platforms, designed to flag stale content, prompting timely updates to ensure relevance and accuracy. It's about maintaining a well-curated digital environment.

Work-wise, I am diligently working on a travel site project, crafting a platform that ties together various destinations, facilitating a more streamlined planning process for travellers. Although distinct, both ventures provide stimulating arenas for applying creativity and technical skills, with each day presenting a new set of challenges and learning opportunities.

Sean with his True colleagues, Rich McCloskey and Matt Sutherland, at Codegarden 23

Sean with his True colleagues, Rich McCloskey and Matt Sutherland, at Codegarden 23

Wondering how to get started?

It can be daunting stepping into a well-formed community. But here are some things I've learnt along the way, condensed into three top tips:

Explore Core Features:
Familiarise yourself with the core functionalities of Umbraco by exploring the back office, understanding the content structure, and getting a grip on the built-in tools and features. This foundational knowledge will provide you a solid base as you navigate through your Umbraco journey.

Utilise Support Channels:
Whenever you hit a roadblock, don't hesitate to seek help. The Umbraco community is known for its supportive nature. Leverage the forums, seek guidance on Stack Overflow, or if you have a support plan, reach out to official Umbraco support. The collective expertise within the community is a invaluable and can help propel you forward.

Explore Umbraco Marketplace:
The Umbraco Marketplace is a treasure trove of extensions and packages that can significantly enhance your projects. Take time to explore the marketplace, and you may find solutions that can streamline your workflow, solve specific challenges, or add new functionalities to your Umbraco setup. It's a great place to get inspiration and see what's possible with Umbraco. And, it could help you find a gap to create your own package!

Sean enjoying the fun at Codegarden 23

Sean enjoying the fun at Codegarden 23

What's on the horizon?

In the midst of evolving digital paradigms, sustainability emerges as a pivotal focus. In the Umbraco Community, I am eager to spearhead and partake in dialogues and initiatives that underscore eco-friendly coding standards, energy-efficient hosting, and a sustainable digital ecosystem at large. The aim is to create or contribute to packages that optimize website performance for lower energy consumption, thus helping in reducing the digital carbon footprint.

Moreover, I am drawn towards exploring the intersection of emerging technologies like AI and machine learning with sustainability. There's an exciting potential for harnessing intelligent analytics to optimize resource allocation, minimize waste, and enhance energy efficiency in digital infrastructures.

As a long-term aspiration, fostering a culture of sustainability within the Umbraco Community and beyond, and blending technical expertise with sustainable practices stand as my guiding lights. Through continuous learning, community engagement, and a commitment to sustainable digital practices, I aim to contribute towards a greener digital future.

Sean with his well-trained dog, Remy. A Chocolate brown Cocker Spaniel

Sean with his well-trained dog, Remy.

What do I get up to when I'm not creating code?

Well, I'm a registered and qualified dog trainer, and my furry companion is not your average pup - he's trained to sniff out explosives and weapons. So, you can imagine, a standard dog walk for us takes on a whole new level of excitement and responsibility!

Outside the daily grind, I find my therapeutic escape in playing Cities Skylines. There's something incredibly satisfying about the creative process of building cities; it's my own little world-building haven.

A few fun facts: I'm fluent in British Sign Language. I would LOVE to learn to fly a plane, it's top of my bucket list. And, as a child, I was an extra in the film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but my scene was cut! Oh well, better stick to coding!

Stay in touch!

I mainly use X and LinkedIn.


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