Well CodeGarden, the yearly Umbraco festival, has come and gone for another year and it's getting bigger and better each year.

This was the first time there's been a three-day event which was CodeGarden, with the first day being an ASP.NET MVC bootcamp day which had Simone Chiaretta, Jon Galloway and Steven Sanderson ran two tracks, one for the beginners of MVC and one for the advanced MVC users. I must admit I missed a fair bit as I was frantically going over my code for the keynote, unit testing talk, linq vs xslt battle and Umbraco v5.

But there was some really awesome stuff covered which has given us so really good ideas for v5.

One other excitement this year was that day 1 and day 2 were completely recorded and Umbraco HQ will be releasing the videos soon for everyone to enjoy, and this does include the MVC stuff!

There was also a Flickr stream set up so you can view the photographic history of the three days!

A day of sessions

The main day of CodeGarden 10 was opened by Alexander Kjerulf who is the Chief Happiness Officer of Positive Sharing. It was an awesome start to the day and really got the vibe of the rest of the day running. Alex had some great points, about putting the employees happiness first and their happiness will translate into customer happiness just makes sense. I really recommend that you check out the session.

Next on stage was the man of the hour, Niels Hartvig who had some awesome stats about Umbraco, which is averaging 1000 downloads per day. Wow, really wow... He was then joined by Per who gave a great demo of the released while we watched our.umbraco.org v2. Some of the new features like a new skin (made of sex), better notification and posting solutions (I think I saw some inspirations from stackoverflow there too :P) and the move of the package repo from being an Umbraco HQ managed feature to a community managed feature. Now any package which achieves a vote of 15 or more will be downloadable from within Umbraco itself!

After a round of applause for this years Umbraco MVP's (well done Dirk, Lee, Warren, Richard and Doug!) it was time for yours-truely to jump on-stage for my first-of-three presentations of the day. I gave a quick run down of how to do LINQ to Umbraco to make a simple photo gallery using CWS.

Keynote!

Once I was done it was time for Shannon Deminick to take his turn and show off Examine and then he was awarded the honor of Umbraco Core Member of the Year. Considering all the hard work he's done (Client Dependency, Examine, the new tree, unit tested data layer, and quite a few more things) it's completely deserved and I'm sure he's not going to be bringing that coffee machine to work to share (luckily I don't drink coffee :P).

The keynote was then wrapped up with the announcement that Umbraco 4.1 was not being released, but instead we've bumped the version number up to 4.5, which is now available. It's so damn sweet and you really should check it out. If you're not using this on every new Umbraco project then I think you're just mad!

Once the Keynote wrapped up Shannon was back on stage to give his Examine talk. On the main stage, to a really large audience he went well, and there was some great feedback at the end of the talk. I may be biased but Examine is a day sexy piece of software.

After lunch it was my turn, I gave my talk on Unit Testing with Umbraco, which was to a standing-room-only crowd! I was psyched at the number of people who turned out for it and to keep with my standard tradition of talks I was epicly over time (I blame the fact that we were running late anyway :P). Because of this we took the discussion into an Open Space for the following day.

I'll be posting up the code and a more in-depth look at the topics shortly.

I was bouncing through the other sessions for that afternoon and frantically preping for the LINQ vs XSLT battle which was during dinner (and also trying to get a sneak peak at what Warren was going to do :P).

During dinner the battle was on, LINQ was showing off intellisense and compile-time validation, while XSLT was showing off quick turn around time of editing and near immediate change results. The first round was taken out narrowly by Warren because it is just quicker to hit and Umbraco UI and edit rather than spin up Visual Studio and Cassini. I took out testing as to get a really rich experience it's gotta be Visual Studio and well, that's .NET's domain ;). The last round was a tie, although I debate the validity of an XSLT interacting with a database :P.

The conclusion of the battle was that you really need to find the right tool for the job, parsing XML to do UI is just perfect in XSLT, but for interacting with an external system .NET really can't be beat.

The day of community events

The final day of CodeGarden 10 was the traditional day of open space sessions. And again I was spending the day with my speakers hat on!

First up I was doing a Q & A from my Unit Testing with Umbraco talk, looking at how to use WebForms MVP, debating MVC vs MVP (which I think is a mute point) and avoiding questions about Umbraaco v5.

This was followed up by the session on Why You Shouldn't Use Umbraco. It was a great topic and at lot of good discussion of why Umbraco isn't the always the right tool.

Then Alex Norcliffe and I (well, mostly Alex :P) frantically worked to get the Umbraco v5 talk ready and he just fell short of getting a good code demo working (he did later that day :P). And yet again to packed out room we talked Umbraco v5. We looked at the architecture which we're going with and then doing a long Q & A session to get community feedback on what people want to get from v5. We were really excited with the feedback and we're working really hard to get more stuff sorted for it.

Lastly we finished off the day with the traditional Umbraco package competition and (new this year) the Umbraco skin competition.

Sebastiaan Janssen took out third place with his Image Meta Data package (great for photographers), I took out 2nd place with a package I created for TheFARM, TheFARM Media Link Checker, and Shannon took it out with a multi-tree picker which he wrote that morning for an open-space session, no wonder he's core developer of the year! Big thanks to all who clapped loudly and Microsoft for the XBox 360 prize!

For the skin contest the UI master Warren Buckley took it out with his awesome retro theme of skinning Umbraco to look like a 1990's GeoCities website built by some 12 year old kid. Let's hope he releases it to download :P!

Wrapping up

CodeGarden 10 is by far the most fun festival I've been to recently. Notice how I keep referring to it as as a festival not a conference. This is because it is more about celebrating Umbraco, celebrating the evangelists, celebrating the MVP's and celebrating the community.

Well done to Umbraco HQ for getting it organised and well done to everyone who presented. It sucks that we've got to wait 12 months before we get to do it all again!

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