Due to some lack of sleep our second day of Orchard Harvest 2012 started a little sleepy, although excitingly. Unfortunately, we missed the biggest part of the first session, because the GPS sent us to Downtown instead of Santa Monica, which is a 25km difference. :)
In case we arrived in time, we would have been enriched by a case-study about organizing Orchard communities: this talk was held by a member of the Orchard CMS Boston group and a representative of the Outercurve Foundation. Eric Schultz's opinion was that the Orchard Hungary Community functions so well, even we could have been on stage (thanks, that's a really pleasant feedback!).
In the second session Sébastien talked about "Theming" and introduced the attendees into the basics of making a theme including tips and best practices.
Pete Hurst's case-study followed Sébastien's session about his StreamUniverse project, which is a series-and-movies streaming portal. Some of the portal's awesome features, such as the system that creates relations between content items, importing and handling media files and other exotics (Science Project, Media Garden) are developed by Pete himself.
Sébastien appeared on stage again: we were introduced to some new features that were created to increase the performance (speed) of Orchard. These are the Contrib.Cache module and the ICacheManager interface through which you can reach Orchard's cache or you can implement your own caching solution. After that, Sébastien announced his newly developed document-database implementation, YesSQL. Due to the lack of time available, this session missed the "Deployment" part, although we already know that Orchard 1.6 will bring a new "build target": the "PreCompiled", which as it's name suggests, compiles the modules into DLL-s and switches off "Dynamic Module Compilation".
This was followed by the most exciting part of Harvest for us: Zoltán's and Benedek's sessions.
First, Zoltán talked about search engine optimization regarding Orchard: how to pass more appealing code to search engine crawlers. This is possible using multiple modules from the Gallery: Google Analytics, WebsiteOwner, Contrib.Cache and the Onestop.Seo developed for Onestop Internet Inc. Onestop.Seo and four other modules will soon be released to the Gallery too!
Benedek's session was about migration to Orchard, content items on one hand, and themes as well. For migrating a blog from WordPress or any other system that uses the BlogML schema the module BlogML/Contrib.ImportExport developed by Nicholas Mayne will help you. On the topic of theme migration (especially from WordPress) the theme TheJournalist is a good example: this theme was imported from WordPress by Sébastien, and the method he used was using the original theme's CSS in an Orchard theme for shape overrides.
The event closing Harvest was the "Hackathon", where we had to form groups and solve problems requested by the attendees of the conference. It was really good to see how can groups of people work together, who just met, but have a common interest in Orchard and in development in general.
Finally, a few words about our personal experiences regarding Harvest:
We were preparing for Harvest for almost 2 months and waited it excitedly more and more every day. When we left the Los Angeles International Airport and experienced first how hot California was, we just could't stop telling each other every minute that "We're in America!". Since we spent 12 days in Los Angeles, we had the chance to visit a lot of interesting places, such as the UCLA, MOCA, PAM, Getty Center, NASA JPL and CalTech. Getting closer to the conference the pressure was bigger and bigger: we wanted to perform well in our presentations, but the friendly atmosphere made our job a lot easier. We also had the chance to meet a lot of interesting people; we especially awaited to meet the members of the Steering Committee: at last, we could shake hands with the most important members of the Orchard Community. /Benedek/
I was very excited to finally meet those prominent Orchard folks that I previously only knew in 2D. Indeed, almost everybody was there who counts. In the end my session turned out well, the hackathon also, so I got home with plenty of new contacts and great vocational (and not just vocational) experiences.
The conference will have its positive impact in relation to Orchard Hungary too: it's much work to do, but as soon as we can show you something (and we'll be able to show many interesting new stuff), we'll report immediately. Oh, and did you notice that 18,2% of the speakers were Hungarian? :-) /Zoltán/