Mark Everard

Hello, I'm Mark – a PhD physicist turned technologist / architect.

Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

London Episerver Developer Meetup Spring 2017 is March 23rd

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Hopefully this won’t be news to anyone, as you should have received an email direct from the Episerver developer mailing list. Wait, what do you mean you haven’t signed up? Do it now!

Where and when?

Thanks to RedWeb who are kindly hosting (and Episerver too), we’re having another Meetup on the 23rd March 2017

Help us out / lightning talks

I’m always keen to hear your ideas and feedback about our Meetups. Help me out and spend a few minutes to fill in the form below

Leave us some feedback to help make these Meetups better

I’m equally as keen to get some contributions for you all. It will always be better if you are willing to share a little of the cool stuff you’re working on. Just like last time, we’ve got a slot for some 5 minute ‘Lightning talks’. The idea being it’s a chance to……

  1. Tell us about something useful to the community (without the overhead of pulling together a presentation and slides). Why not just crack up Visual Studio and show us a demo, or talk us through a good blog post you’ve seen.
  2. Practise your presentation skills in front of a very friendly audience….

We had some good contributions last time. Hopefully we can get a few more this time. If you’re keen but don’t know what to talk about then let me (episerver@markeverard.com). I’ve got a few ideas you can use.

Don’t forget to tell us you’re coming

Please sign up on the Eventbrite page to book yourself a place. We’ve got limited space but will always try to accommodate as many of you as we can.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/episerver-developer-meet-up-spring-london-tickets-32322422235

See you there 🙂

 

Written by mark

March 8th, 2017 at 10:29 am

Posted in Community,EPiServer

London Episerver Developer Meetup Spring 2016

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Spring is on its way (think daffodils and lambs) and so is Episerver’s next Developer Meetup.

Zone have very kindly offered to host the meetup at their laid back offices in Kings Cross. And Episerver will be supplying the pizzas and beers – after all, it’s not a meetup without it.

We have a great line up, covering some exciting new features in Episerver and looking at what it coming too

Episerver Forms

In the Winter Release 2016, Episerver Forms were officially released! Finally, a replacement for XForms! Janaka (from Episerver) will talk through different form examples you can build, re-using them, and customized rendering for display channels, personalization, multi-language and permissions. As well as the new four elements added after Beta; Date time, Range, Rich text and URL.

Commerce Promotion engine

New UK EMVP, Jon Jones, will take us through the new promotions engine in Commerce.

ASP.NET Core 1

(AKA ASP.NET 5) There are big changes coming soon to the ASP.NET framework. We’ll be taken through some of the changes and how Episerver are redesigning the product to take advantage.

Sign up now!

As always, RSVP through our Meetup page, and please let me know if you’ve got any good ideas or want to contribute in any way. Remember, its your group!

 

 

 

Written by mark

February 15th, 2016 at 8:26 am

Posted in Community,EPiServer

The real cost of owning a development team

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This post was first published on LinkedIn Pulse on 18th September 2015 –The real cost of owning a development team


 

Development teams are expensive. There, I said it. If you want a high-performing development team then be prepared to invest.

I’m not just talking about salaries. You’ll also need to equip your team with high-quality hardware and the expensive software tools they need to deliver the solutions you want.

This isn’t news to many organisations. It’s actually not hard to get those bits right, and there are great benefits from having those skills on-tap in-house.

Just putting a bunch of developers in a room, shouting "Go!" and occasionally rewarding with pizza will rarely get you the high-quality solutions you desire.

 

It’s about the people

What many places struggle to get right is the investment needed in the core of a development team. The people.

Development teams require leadership, mentoring, structured career paths and personal development plans. Just putting a bunch of developers in a room, shouting “Go!” and occasionally rewarding with pizza will rarely get you the high-quality solutions you desire.

Other creative disciplines beyond development perhaps have this slightly easier, as it’s seen as ‘obvious’ that those teams need the room to think and learn.

Take for example a creative design team. They have to work to understand and consume the latest design trends, so they can stay current and produce great work. In my experience this learning need is rarely questioned, perhaps because the design output from those teams is more tangible than the abstract “code” output from a development team. Regardless, the underlying learning need for each team is identical and should be addressed.

Time and direction

The real key to growing your development team is time. This investment allows the team to step back from their primary output and dive into the new technologies and ways of working that could speed up delivery or increase the quality of the technology output. Both valuable outcomes.

Time alone though isn’t enough. You also need leadership and structure. That could be achieved by having a team with a broad mixture of experience, or via a more dedicated architect / lead role helping to bridge the gap between requirements and solutions, helping drive a coherent technology vision.

Again, to those of you working in the industry the above may not seem like rocket science; and really it shouldn’t be. However there are still too many places where there is a attitude of throwing more developers at a problem to get to a solution.

It doesn’t have to be expensive

There are many ideas and ways to give your technology teams the opportunity to learn and improve. Many of them are not as expensive as you might imagine.

  1. On the job training – code / peer reviews are an ideal opportunity to not only increase the quality of the solution but also to share knowledge and build team resilience.
  2. Coding katas – give the team the ability to constantly hone and sharpen their skills by setting aside time for them to regularly practise small development tasks. There are great examples online.
  3. Open source – encourage the team to contribute to an open source project. Here they will learn how to apply their skills in a different environment and learn from fellow contributors. This is even more valuable if your organisation uses open source software. What great karma; to be giving as well as receiving.
  4. Meetups – there are a growing number of outside events encouraging like-minded people to meet up and discuss common skills, techniques and frameworks. Why not encourage your team to participate? Better yet, get them to disseminate what they’ve learnt internally to the rest of the team.
  5. Certification and training – if you have some training budget then paid-for courses not only demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to growing individual skills but are beneficial to your delivery too. Online training courses are relatively cheap and offer a wide variety of subjects.

There’s value to getting it right

Development teams have a very specialised need for learning and growth. Owning a team comes with a heavy responsibility to get this right.

After all, I’m guessing mediocre isn’t your ambition and you want your development team to produce high-quality bug free software? In which case, isn’t it only reasonable to support them and make sure they have everything they need to succeed?

Written by mark

October 7th, 2015 at 10:00 am

Confimed talks for the London Developer Meetup

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One week to go until our next Meetup on 3rd June at the Shooting Star near Liverpool Street.

Have you RSVP’d?

Confirmed talks

“Nested queries with EPiServer Find” – Danie De Kock.

A look into some of the more complex queries and scenarios that can be performed using Find.

“JavaScript Concepts for the EPiServer Developer” – Ben McKernan.

Learn about some of the key JavaScript concepts that developers should know when extending the EPiServer UI

The UnPanel – a panel of opinionated experts will discuss a range of hot EPiServer development topics, set by the audience and seeded by myself!

Hope to see you there

Written by mark

May 27th, 2015 at 3:06 pm

Posted in Community,EPiServer

London EPiServer Developer Meetup Summer 2015

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I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since our last get-together!

Again the EPiServer landscape has changed a great deal since our last Meetup, with approximately 26 continuous releases delivered across both CMS, Commerce and Find (and of course the merger with Ektron)

We’re still finalising talks so stay tuned. If you have something you wish to talk aboutor contribute, please do get in touch.

RSVP

You can sign-up to attend via our Meetup group

Sponsor

Thanks to our sponsor OPUS recruitment who have organised the space, and also the food and drinks.

opus

 

 

 

Written by mark

April 28th, 2015 at 9:08 am

Posted in Community,EPiServer

Content Icons for EPiServer

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One of the nice features that came along with the new CMS editing interface from EPiServer 7 is the ability to define icons for Pages and Blocks. These icons are used within the new editing interface and give editors a more visual way of deciding which is the right content element to use and create in their site.

Alloy examples

The Alloy Templates starter pack contains a selection of purpose designed images, and demonstrates how useful this can be.

Page icons in EPiServer 7 Alloy templates starter pack

The reality

The horrible reality that I’ve found is that often designing these icons becomes a low priority task for designers and that the below is an example end result! Which lets be honest, doesn’t really help editors too much.

reality-icons

A solution

As part of the project we’re working on at the minute at Marie Curie, we’ve designed a suite of 55 icons for our own implementation. However, being the nice kind-hearted souls that we are (it comes from working in a charity), we’re sharing our work in the hope that fellow CMS implementors will them useful.

CMS-icon-index

The icons can be downloaded here, or are available on a GitHub repository in case you want to contribute some additional icons to the set!

If you use them, why not return some kindness by donating some money to our cause.

* The icons are a derivative of an icon set by Michael Reimer from http://www.bestpsdfreebies.com. If you’re in need of any other icons, you should check out his site.

Written by mark

November 17th, 2014 at 10:00 am

Posted in Community,EPiServer

PageStructureBuilder for EPiServer 7.5

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If there was an award for the best EPiServer extension produced by a member of the World community; that didn’t gain the recognition it deserved. Of course, my own Personalisation Engine would win hands down 😉

Coming in a very close second would be one of Joel Abrahamsson’s masterpieces. This one lesser known than PageTypeBuilder, Truffler or PowerSlice, but one that solves a common CMS challenge equally as elegantly.

PageStructureBuilder was a solution Joel put together to automatically organise EPiServer pages, meaning you could define areas of your site that would ensure its content was arranged into a predefined structure. The obviously use-case here being ‘news’ type pages that would be stored in a date hierarchy (Year > Month > Day > News Article).

The solution was originally built against CMS6 and PageTypeBuilder, so I’ve forked Joel’s original solution and upgraded it to work against EPiServer 7.5 and the native strongly typed page implementation.

Available on EPiServer Nuget now.

 

Written by mark

June 10th, 2014 at 10:00 am

Posted in Community,EPiServer

London EPiServer Developer Meetup Summer 2014

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Many of you have been asking when the next London EPiServer Developer Meetup would be…… If you keep reading then you’ll find out (spoiler – its Tuesday 10th June)

It’s been a year since we last met and there is much to catch up on. As we were all getting to grips with version 7, EPiServer released 7.5, including a new way to handle media files. There has been further large feature enhancements and consolidation and integration of the Commerce product, and a move to near continuous delivery; with new features for all products being delivered direct to our doorsteps (aka Nuget feeds) every few weeks.

To help us find out all of the latest news, EPiServer have sent some of their top techys across from Sweden to tell us all about it – (thanks to all who made this possible).

We’ve got a very full programme of talks, networking and refreshements so we’re planning on starting a little earlier at 6pm at our friends Nansen.

1. Chris Sharp, Nansen – Commerce 7.5 Markets
Configuration, customization, development, usages, and purposes of the Commerce 7.5 market system.​

2. Magnus Stråle, EPiServer
Commerce & MVC – some simple patterns. Also, Frequent EPiServer releases – how & why.

3. Shahram Shahinzadeh – Visual Studio integration and Azure
Intro to the new Visual Studio integration based on NuGet and installing EPiServer CMS sites with one click. Also, highlighting which EPiServer modules changed because of Cloud considerations (DB, Event provider, blob provider, cloud license, etc.).

Those details for your diaries.

  • Tues 10th June 2014, 18.00– 20.30ish
  • Nansen – 109-111 Farringdon Road, London – (directions)

Looking forward to seeing you there. Please RSVP on our Meetup page

http://www.meetup.com/EPiServer-London/events/183813602/

Written by mark

May 19th, 2014 at 8:38 am

Posted in Community,EPiServer

Slides from the London EPiServer Meetup Summer 2013

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Below are the three presentations we had from the London EPiServer Meetup Summer 2013 hosted at Syzygy. Thanks to all that came and especially to Youtse @EPiServer for organising refreshments, and to Fabio and Syzygy for being generous hosts and of course to Phil and Mark who presented.

Phil Pursglove gave us a glimpse into the world of server side debugging using the ‘Glimpse‘ plugin, and showed a work in progress Glimpse plugin for EPiServer.


POSSIBLE‘s cloud expert and published author Mark Rodseth took us on ‘A walk through the clouds’,  giving a high level overview of ‘The Cloud, Microsoft Windows Azure and experiences building a cloud platform’. You can buy Mark’s book here.


Finally Mark Everard (that’s me folks) proclaimed “I’m not a child anymore.” Though actually it turns out he was talking about ‘Non-hierarchical content retrieval using EPiServer Find’.


Written by mark

June 14th, 2013 at 11:52 am

Posted in Community,EPiServer

London EPiServer Meetup Summer 2013

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The Johnson Building

Well the weather might not reflect it, but it is soon to be summer and so time for……. another EPiServer Meetup!

Syzygy have kindly put themselves forward to be our hostess with the mostess, and as usual they’ll be beer, pizza and some good tech-geekup opportunities.

  • Thurs 13th June 2013, 18.30 –21.00 ish
  • Syzygy – The Johnson Building, 77 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8JS – (directions)

So far we’ve have the following confirmed speakers (your ideas or contributions are more than welcome), with the final talk confirmed soon.

Talks:

  • POSSIBLE‘s cloud guy / expert – Mark Rodseth will be talking us through Windows Azure and the current options for hosting EPiServer in the cloud.
  • Stalwart community member Phil Pursglove will explain using Glimpse as tool for in-situ production debugging
  • TBC

Also I want to discuss some ideas and get feedback about possible formats for future Meetups.

RSVP on our Meetup page. I’m looking forward to seeing a few familiar faces again and also meeting some new ones……

http://www.meetup.com/EPiServer-London/events/120746062/

Written by mark

May 23rd, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Posted in Community,EPiServer