Well, the highly anticipated Vancouver EE Roadshow was on Friday. It was attended by (among many others) Rick Ellis, and a very secret guest… me! ;)
Before I even discuss the actual show, the community, or the wonderful city, I’d like to send out a few words of thanks to Kevin Shoesmith, Travis Smith, and Monique Trottier for putting on a killer event. It was very well organized, run, and attracted the type of folks who I love spending time with. Thanks all!
As to the show itself, it was an afternoon of connecting with a bunch of really smart people, who are passionate about what they do, and how they do it. All the sessions were worthwhile, and well done. First was Susannah Gardner, whose talk “Templates and Buckets” was well thought out, and a fantastic demonstration of the over-arching ideas behind any EE site. I wish I could have packed the room with EE-newbies for this one, as in 45 minutes she clearly laid out the flexibility, power, and utility of EE, as well as a few handy tricks and tips! Rick and I gave a talk following Susannah (more on that in a sec), and then after us was ExpressionEngine SEO (they’ve given me much to think about on my own site) and Justin Crawford and Travis Smith wrapped up the day by teaching me and Rick how to build extensions for EE ;) - truly, they did a great job, and while extension building is a bit on the “high-end” for most EE users, I spoke to several people during the (ample) beer drinking afterwards who told me they were inspired to start in on a few of their own extensions.
For our talk, Rick and I weren’t sure what we were going to do, since the conference attendees ranged from people who were only investigating EE, and haven’t even used it, to grizzled EE-veterans who have seen it all and done it all. We opted to give a glimpse into the future of ExpressionEngine, highlighting some of the new features of EE 2 that will allow administrators to customize the control-panel experience for their clients. After I clean up a few loose ends in the actual code, we’ll release another video showing some of this to the world.
The most fruitful part of the day came after the conference, as these things usually do. I was surprised at how engaged and passionate people really were. They view ExpressionEngine as “the home team”, and root for it, support it, and help to shape it into what it is today. I met people from Ottawa, Alaska, Cranbrook, and of course several Vancouver-ites. Each of them, people I’m happy to have gotten to know. Ray and Alli were 2 users who have been with ExpressionEngine since the 1.0 days! Wow!
Seriously, I want to take a moment to thank everyone. The community gives back to us as much as we try to give back to them. After the talk, and over beer, I had this conversation that I think sums up how we stand with respect to EE users:
So wait a minute. For this small conference, you sent Rick (President and bigcheese), and you, and you came thousands of kilometers, and gave up days of your time, and you brought all this (referring to t-shirts and swag) and gave away the EE licenses? I can’t think of any other company on the planet who’d do that.
And the truth is yeah, we did, and we loved it. I can’t wait for the next conference either. Selfishly, I really hope its in Canada also. Go Canada! Way to reprEEsent (oh, clever, clever play on words there - cheap shots at my lack of a humour bone are welcome in the comments).