Right around the corner

The Symposium in New Orleans is starting next week! I've been looking forward for the event for months now. The idea of walking around and knowing that you have something in common with everyone in the building sounds like fun.
And New Orleans is a pretty nice city with a lot of history of course! Not only famous for its Jazz music but also for its food. I'm definitely going to try Jambalaya!
I'm leaving on Wednesday and will be attending the event on Thursday and Friday (15 & 16th of September).
Have a look at the full conference agenda.

What I'm looking for

2 days packed with different sessions and some hard choices to make on what to see and what not. Since I'm more technical, I'll probably be joining the Developer sessions.
Below are the ones I'm looking forward to the most!

Day 1

  • Dreams Achieved: xConnect - Thursday 1:00pm–1:45pm
    The xConnect is an API that will allow you add tracking/collecting of data to external Sitecore application. I want to know more about this since it's a feature often requested by our clients. An easy to use API would really help out!

    What the Session Description says:
    Are you up nights pondering how to collect the torrent of incoming web, point of sale, kiosks, mobile, and IoT datasets? Do you ponder how to
    analyze and leverage this data to provide contextually relevant experiences? Welcome to xConnect—the transformative API that enables collecting and acting on information from any touchpoint and corresponding behavior. Learn how to integrate data from each touchpoint and do it well.

  • Better Together: Sitecore on Azure - Thursday 2:00pm-2:45pm
    I haven't done a lot of projects on Azure yet. To be honest, I'm currently working on my 2nd Azure project. So go ahead, overload me with the newest updates on Azure & Sitecore!

    What the Session Description says:
    Peanut butter and jelly. Biscuits and gravy. Sitecore and Azure. Come explore the latest Azure updates within Sitecore. This session will walk you through how to provision Sitecore in Azure, deploy your customizations, scale to handle load, and manage your environment.

  • In the Fast Lane: SXA for Sitecore Developers - Thursday 3:30pm-4:15pm
    SXA stands for Sitecore eXperience Accelerator lets you create reusable, templated UX layouts and components to get your website up and running. It's a new feature of the newly released Sitecore 8.2 and I'm wondering how they implemented it.
    We already use reusable components and the Habitat framework is also a great example of reusability. So how does it work?
    You can already read about SXA on the Sitecore documentation website.
    I am a little bit held back at the moment since the known issues for Sitecore 8.2 list a fair amount of bugs. Probably a lot of them will be fixed in Update 1 later this year.

    What the Session Description says:
    In this technical session, we will do a quick lap of SxA and look at how it speeds up your website production. Before crossing the finish
    line, we will do at pit stop to examine some of the ways you can extend and customize SxA to ensure that the final result benefits from
    increased efficiency and deliver the tailored solutions your customers expect.

Day 2

  • Path Analyzer X-Files - 14:45am-11:30am
    Using data from xDB can be dounting. The Path Analyzer makes everything a little bit more understandable. The first time I saw the Path Analyzer though, it really looked overwhelming. But its just one of the Sitecore tools you need to get accustomed to. Use it and extend it to your needs! And that is what this session is about. Sitecore 8.2 introduced an Enhanced XPath Analyzer. And I'm looking forward what Alex Shyba and Adam Weber will be presenting on this topic in 100% pure Javascript!

    What the Session Description says:
    Who needs Scully and Mulder when you can join two Sitecore technical demo gods to see the new capabilities of Sitecore Path
    Analyzer, a next-generation tool for visual data exploration and analysis on top of Sitecore Experience Database. You’ll learn how we
    applied hot JavaScript technologies, including d3.js and react.js, and see the new front-end developer workflow used while developing
    on this completely new stack. Find out how we optimized performance, and all kinds of crazy futuristic things you can do with this
    technology. Prepare to be amazed and converted to a JavaScript developer if you are not one yet!

  • Keeping Hackers Out: Secure Application Development for Sitecore - 11:45am-12:30pm
    Security is not important, said no one ever. MVP Bas Lijten is giving this presentation. It's an altered/improved session on the one he gave in SUGCON Copenhagen earlier this year. I saw it back then and found it very informative. By giving some nice examples on how to hack your site and fixing the vulnerabilities, you'll learn a lot on how to tackle your existing or current Sitecore projects!

    What the Session Description says:
    Your Sitecore installation might be hardenend, but that doesn’t mean jack to a hacker. This session will explain the basics on secure
    application development for Sitecore, to make your websites safe. Using lots of demos, a Sitecore MVP from customer Achmea will
    show you common security vulnerabilities, their root causes and how to fix them. You’ll learn why you should invest in security, how
    easy your site may be to hack, how to fix vulnerabilities, and how to write code that’s secure. You’ll walk with source code goodies,
    free to use.

  • Supersize It: How to Expand the Testable Surface of Sitecore - 1:30pm-2:15pm
    Having a testable solution is not a nice to have but a must. I've already dabbled around with FakeDB but think that would be nice to see some hands on examples. I'm also curious what the "hidden surprises included in the next release of Sitecore" are!

    What the Session Description says:
    It’s not a Whopper to say that unit testing is critical for software flexibility and health. But applying this technique to Sitecore, a system
    with significant hooks into both the data and presentation layers, requires a little secret sauce. This session, presented by a Sitecore
    Technology MVP from Sitecore partner Velir, will cover several of these approaches in-depth, including the Glass Mapper ORM
    system and the Sitecore FakeDB project, as well as a few hidden surprises included in the next release of Sitecore. In addition to code
    examples, you’ll supersize your skills with testing techniques to help you build cleaner, more modular, more maintainable solutions.

  • Breaking Bad (Habits) with Sitecore MVC - 2:30pm–3:15pm
    Have I been using Sitecore MVC wrong? Or am I just doing it the right way? What are the wrong ways? I'll definitely learn something here and would love to give my collegues an insight on this after the Symposium!

    What the Session Description says:
    More and more Sitecore developers are using Model, View, Controller (MVC) solutions, but—surprise—not everyone is using MVC & Sitecore the right way. This session by Sitecore partner Americaneagle.com will give an overview of MVC, how Sitecore implements it and a review of best MVC modeling principles. You’ll see how applying these practices will lead to a more scalable item architecture. You’ll be on your way to creating consistent reusable code, and use a template architecture/design. The result?
    Content entry that’s easier to manage, and access to all of Sitecore’s marketing features. Bonus: Code samples that really cook.

  • Not Just a Cool Party Trick: Sitecore Federated Experience Manager - 2:30pm-3:15pm
    Same time as Breaking Bad (Habits) with Sitecore MVC.!
    I've always been intrigued by FXM and even did a presentation on it for my collegues. But I haven't used it for a client (yet). Will have to make a hard choice between Breaking Bad and this session!

    What the Session Description says:
    Sitecore Federated Experience Manger (FXM) is a cool product, no doubt. But can you use it as an integral part of your platform and not just as a cool party trick in sales demos? Find out how at this session presented by Sitecore partner Avanade. You'll see an actual
    production demonstration of FXM in use, and hear the backstory on what you can and can't do with FXM, and, most importantly, how to develop with it. This session will help answer your questions and remove conceptual barriers, making it easier for you to move forward with this FxM.

One more thing to look forward to...

Apparently there is a Beer Crawl on Thursday... I'm not saying I'm a big drinker, but I can handle a few beers. And you'll receive a souvenir beer stein :-)

Beer Crawl, Thursday, 5:30 – 6:30 pm, Hyatt Regency Partner Pavilion, Elite A, Level One
Join us post-sessions and taste locally crafted beer from NOLA Brewing and Abita Brewing Company. The complimentary tasting souvenir beer stein is yours to keep and as will be all the contacts you'll make with Sitecore movers and shakers. This event is sponsored by RDA Corporation.

See you at the Symposium!