Lee Kelleher

umBristol: Hack Night (May 2014)

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Last Thursday evening we held our first umBristol hack-night. We decided to leave the format of the evening to be an open/clinic style, where anyone could ask questions and guide the focus of session.  It turned out that there wasn’t much hacking, but there was a wealth of knowledge to learn and share.

Jonathan started off by showing us an extension he’d been working on called AutoRouteTemplate – its aim is to provide a non-developer to access URL parameters in their templates with minimal code. An example of its usage would be a member profile page, where the username is part of the URL structure and the value would be easily accessible within template code.  Jonathan is looking to release his code in the near future.

Next there we talked about who’d used Umbraco 7 and which packages they were using… with the firm favourite being Archetype! John hadn’t seen Archetype before so we gave a few demonstrations of its uses – included the always impressive “nesting Archetypes within other Archetypes” ;-)

In a similar vein, Dan and Barry suggested that we took a look at Vorto – a multilingual property-editor. Which although I was aware of it, I hadn’t actually tried out, so we gave it a spin.  All were impressed with its functionality and potential, especially when we added an Archetype within a Vorto property! ;-)  If you want to hear more about the Vorto package, watch the recent uHangout interview with Matt Brailsford for a demo.

We looked a various new features of Umbraco 7, including List View.  Someone ask a question about the Scheduled Publishing functionality, but despite best efforts we weren’t able to get that working on the night. Not sure if there is an issue with the scheduler or that we were doing it wrong? :-(

I gave a short demo of my content-POCO-mapper package, called Ditto – from showing how to map simple content property on a POCO, to mapping complex values (from Archetype) using custom .NET TypeConverters.  I’ll be releasing Ditto very soon, hopefully before CodeGarden ’14.

Speaking of CodeGarden, there are a few #umBristol folk attending this year, so we shared a few stories from past CodeGardens and talked about which sessions we were looking forward to at this year’s event.

Towards the end, Jonathan showed us the Reddit areas that he’d created for /r/UmbracoCMS and /r/UmbracoPackages.  If you are a Reddit user and are interested in getting involved, but sure to subscribe to those Subreddits!

Overall the “hack-night” turned out to be more of a casual knowledge sharing session, which I think we were all happy with. Hopefully we all learned something new.  I’d like to give a large thank you to John C. Scott for initiating the hack-night idea and for providing sponsorship of the venue. #h5yr