November 13th found the Meanbee team at the first Magento Live conference, in London. It was a great day for the UK Magento community to show off our passion, not just for Magento but for pushing the next generation of eCommerce experiences.
The right honourable Gary Forman opened the day's proceedings, warming up the audience and performing us a service translating from American English to British English.
The day then split into two tracks of talks, business and technical oriented. In addition there were a number of booths from industry and solution partners to whet your appetite for eCommerce growth.
Kian Gould - AOE Media GmbH
Taking on the job of building a system that can cope with peaks of traffic that the Angry Birds store receives is no mean feat. While it was a talk I had personally heard while at the Magento Imagine conference in Las Vegas earlier in the year, there's so much to the infrastructure that I picked even more tips.
Their educated and innovative use many of the Amazon's web services in order to produce a scalable, heavily cached system with no downtime when deployments are made was inspiring.
They even have performance alerts when the number of orders a minute drops because it probably means there's a problem with the site. A neat idea, indeed!
Read more about the system in Kian's presentation slides.
Alistair Stead - Session Digital
Following from their work at MageHack with MageTest. Alistair and Marcello Duarte are experimenting, but truly making waves in integrating PHPSpec and Behat into a testing framework for the Magento Community.
The silence that went around the room when the floor was asked who performed "Continuous Integration" demonstrates the issue the community is having with getting this process in place with Magento. However, the fact that the room was so full that an extra row of chairs needed to be squeezed in is a good sign that there are good intentions all around. This is great news because as more Magento developers implement this, the better quality solutions that we're going see out there and this can only be beneficial to Magento's reputation.
Jon Jessup - Cloud Conversion
Cloud Conversion is an integration service between platforms such as Magento, Ebay and Amazon with Salesforce. Through building this, Jon Jessup has excelled in his area expertise, APIs. His presentation for Magento Live was a crash course for people that aren't familiar with the power of Magento API. Where there are portions of Magento not open to the API, it has been Jon that has been chasing Magento for them in the past few years. He discussed a little about the different versions and some common pitfalls - great for anyone that wasn't sure where to get started.
He also made some interesting comments regarding the x.commerce platform, something they have experience in after integrating ChannelAdviser. Our understanding is that while it's a great in theory, it's a little over-engineered which is likely to hamper its adoption.
Arush Sehgal - BRANDiD
Arush is the CTO of BRANDiD, a men's clothing subscription service. Using Magento for his own business and being a huge part of the Magneto community in London, he's seen a lot. What he's got beef with is the number of sites that don't put the effort into the front-end development of the site. Often people are too reliant on the front-end provided by Magento and they are scared to think outside of the box because it would require customised solutions.
Arush, in his talk, set an example for the rest of us when it comes to building a custom frontend to a Magento backend. A primary consideration was to decouple the front and rear so that it upgrades can be performed without a need to worry about the frontend of the site being affected.
One more thing.
The challenge given to the audience in the opening keynote was to get Dido, a particular British weakness for Gary Forman, to the event by the end of the day. While it may have seem like we failed, I gave it my best shot so as not to disappoint.
The full set of photos from the day can be seen in the Magento Flickr Album.