CodeCabin 2023: Thoughts and learnings from Umbraco’s developer unconference

Headshot of Delia Burnei

Back End Developer

2 minute read

Delia shares her experiences and takeaways from this year's CodeCabin unconference, where Umbraco developers meet to share knowledge, trade ideas, and take inspiration from the great outdoors

Earlier this year my colleague Matt Wise told me about CodeCabin, and suggested as a fellow developer, I could really learn and benefit from attending this year's event. 

So, what is CodeCabin?

CodeCabin is an Umbraco Unconference where for 3 nights, 20 developers gather to learn new things and share knowledge and experiences. It's also chance to get away from the hustle and bustle and into a distraction-free environment. 

For me personally, CodeCabin was an icebreaker. It made me feel comfortable talking to people from different backgrounds, showed me that normal developers like me are doing amazing things for the community and encouraged me to learn and become one of these people who are making a difference.

During this experience, I was also lucky to be joined by my colleague Rachel Breeze who has supported and encouraged me from the start.

Delia and Rachel standing together and smiling, with green hills in the background

Kicking off the event

After a 4-hour drive, I arrived at The Cattle Shed in Peak District where CodeCabin is held every year. As we waited for everyone to arrive, I got settled. And then it was time to meet and greet.

Then we had a presentation, showing the CodeCabin schedule. I was excited to see the planned open discussions along with allocated time for hands-on experience and other group activities, including games with prizes to be won.

After everyone arrived, we spent some time getting to know each other. It was very interesting to meet people from different professional backgrounds and see the way they are using Umbraco, including their experience and feedback, things they are working on, challenges they are facing and what they would like to achieve and contribute.

What we did

The time spent at CodeCabin was both productive and motivational. Whilst there, we discussed the work and contributions of developers in the community, and that pushed me to want to do more and inspired me to make a difference. CodeCabin was also a great motivation to do more work on the open-source space in the near future.

Some (but by no means all) of the topics we have discussed during CC23 were:

  • How to implement better FE-JS frameworks for websites. The discussion was around lightweight frameworks like Alpine JS, Vue, and React but with emphasis especially on Alpines JS, and the best approach to choosing a framework for projects. Keywords search was suggested as a useful method in cross-matching project needs to identify the best framework
  • Headless websites, their pros and cons, and whether they’re likely to become the norm
  • Segments and how to use and apply them
  • Optimisation and caching in Umbraco websites. We discussed other considerations apart from speed when talking about optimisation
  • Building better and more extended data types for Umbraco
  • Umbraco Builds - LTS or STS and many more interesting topics and smaller chats emerging from one main discussion idea

After the discussion, we enjoyed an interesting hacking session where I learnt how to create a new extension for Umbraco, and began work on it – something that’s currently in progress and which I’d love to finish soon.

The next morning we went for a walk on Froggatt Edge, where we relaxed, enjoyed amazing views, and had some great discussions. I also almost fell in a small creek while trying to step on the stones to cross it…

A photo of Delia jumping over some stepping stones on a river

…But the view at the end was totally worth the risk!

The CodeCabin group standing on top of a hill

After a day of walking and thought-provoking discussion, it was time to head back to enjoy a games night where our skills, knowledge and tenacity were tested to limits by our talented host Karl.

So…Would I recommend CodeCabin?

Certainly! CodeCabin is certainly a worthwhile experience, with much to learn. It’s a different kind of conference too, with less time spent seated, and more focus on sharing,  collective learning and how we in the community can make a difference.

For me personally, it was eye-opening in that it showed me that people I look up to reached their achievements through consistency, hard work and passion.

I am hoping that next year I will be able to participate again, and this will give me an opportunity to showcase my own contributions to the community, and the work I’ve been doing to make a difference.