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'80s Outfits, Umbracians and Flamingos: The 8th Umbraco UK Festival

Report by our Festival First-Timer, James Dimmer. 

Lead photo: @umbracoUKfest

I was pleased to be able to spend last Friday at the 8th Umbraco UK Festival in London. This is one of the largest Umbraco events across the globe, and though it wasn’t overseas, the train journeys to and from the venue sure made it feel so! 

The Festival

The event was hosted at London’s iconic Barbican Centre by Cogworks, (luckily only a short walk from the tube station). The event reflected the nature of the Umbraco community - open: everyone sharing knowledge, collaborating on different ideas, having fun and building the community. This year’s theme was the ‘80s (which I am too young to know of!)

We began with a Welcome from Adam Shallcross (Co-founder of Cogworks) and then a quick game of ‘Coglympics’, to get everyone ready for the day: 6 of our fellow Umbracians were called up to the stage and put into pairs, with the aim being to dress your partner in the most 80s style clothing within 90 seconds and tweet a picture to the festival’s Twitter account (@umbracoUKfest). With everyone in the mood to enjoy some sessions, workshops and meetups, the day was off to a great start!

The Talks

These were the ones I attended, all really useful :

Translating Umbraco
Kevin Jump talked through the options available for creating and implementing multi-lingual sites, the challenges that may crop up when doing so and how to avoid them. The two main options being multiple sites or a single site in terms of the content within the Umbraco CMS.

How to get the website you need built
Pete Duncanson took us through the questions that should be asked, right at the start, to get the website you need, then how to make sure that the product being created and delivered is correct, and finally how time during this process can be best optimised.

Securing Umbraco
Sebastiaan Jensen took us through his tips and tricks for making Umbraco sites as secure as you can. He went through SSLs and ways of protecting yourself against some of the more common attack methods. During this he also mentioned some of the standard procedures to follow during the process of making your site secure.

The need for speed
Dave Wostenborghs gave a talk on slow running code and how to make it up to 3000% times faster! He went through example pieces of code and provided examples on pinpointing performance bottlenecks within an Umbraco site and how to optimise the code for its purpose. One of the main points being that when a new version of Umbraco comes out, it will most likely have some performance optimisations itself, so staying up-to-date with your Umbraco version is very helpful! (this also applies to the above-mentioned Security talk)

The final scheduled activity was a Keynote by Niels (Umbraco HQ Chief Unicorn), he gave a review of the growing Umbraco community and their plans going forward to 2018 for Umbraco. I was impressed to see how the community has expanded over the last 12 months and the contributions that have been made by the community to the Umbraco product itself.

You can see a schedule of all the available sessions here: 


During the day there were scheduled breaks to catch-up with those you’d already met, and to talk to those who had hosted the sessions or attended sessions you’d missed. The day concluded with an After-Festival party at a nearby pub.

I learned a lot from these sessions and had a wonderful time talking to our fellow Umbracians at any opportunity. Hats off to the friendliness of the Umbraco community!

Finally - A big thank you to Cogworks who arrange the Festival each year.

James Dimmer