Back in mid-November, which now seems like a lifetime ago since it was before the time of turkey and pie, I spent the better part of a week in downtown Boston at Alfresco Summit 2013. Since I started working for Tribloom at the beginning of December 2012, this was my first time at an Alfresco conference. Before I went I was looking forward to matching some Alfresco names with faces, but beyond that I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew the conference had been renamed to Summit after being called DevCon in the past, but I didn't know whether that meant the focus would be non-technical or a mix. In the end most of the things I learned weren’t technical but nearly all of them made me come home to Colorado excited to work with Alfresco in 2014.

Things I learned at Alfresco Summit 2013

  • I want to spend more time hanging out with the people of Alfresco, from the CEO to the VPs to the engineering staff.
  • I need to look up the Snowbound VirtualViewer, because the glimpse of it I got from from Kyle Adams during a Lightning Talk was pretty fantastic.
  • My favorite session on Wednesday was the Digital Asset Management panel with panelists from the New York Philharmonic, UC Berkeley, and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. These organizations use Alfresco in widely divergent ways and it was a treat to get glimpses into their different content worlds.
  • Other people at Tribloom were adamant that I shouldn't attend Summit alone, but it took me a while to figure out why it was so important for me to be there with my friend and colleague Chris Paul. It wasn't until I got there that I realized how great it was to attend with someone who had been to many Alfresco events before and could provide me with introductions to Alfresco staff. Chris was able to introduce me to people like Jeff Potts, Rich McKnight, Richard Esplin, Jared Ottley, and more. Meeting all of these Alfresco staff members made me feel like a real part of the Alfresco community for the first time.
  • My colleague Amy Currans is popular with the Alfresco crowd. Very popular. Every time I met someone new at Summit, it went something like this: “Hi Laura, it's so nice to meet you! Where’s Amy? I haven’t seen her yet. She’s not here?! Why isn't she here?” (Sadly, Amy couldn't be at Summit because she was manning the Tribloom booth at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas.)
  • Andrew McAfee and Dries Buytaert were both inspiring and entertaining speakers, but on the whole I enjoyed the keynote sessions with Alfresco executives and staff most. I especially liked the session with the demo of Alfresco 4.2 including behind-the-scenes Records Management, because I've spent some quality time with Alfresco RM 2.0 and the new RM 2.1 is a big leap forward in terms of making a connection between living editable documents and records that are being managed with DoD 5015.02 compliance.
  • I would have enjoyed more technical sessions on Wednesday, since I'm a programmer and a nerd, but it was also fun to look at the world from the business perspective in some of the sessions.
  • It's hard to pick a favorite session from Thursday, because I attended several that were great. I think it comes down to a toss-up between Nathan McMinn's session on Inspecting Alfresco, where Nathan ran through several tools that can be used for debugging and inspection of Alfresco, and Pat Myers' session on using the document capture software Ephesoft directly with Alfresco through Share actions tied to Ephesoft RESTful APIs.
  • On that note, Ephesoft has RESTful APIs that can be used to trigger classification, extraction, and more from inside Alfresco or other web applications. The only thing better than pushing classified and extracted content from Ephesoft into Alfresco is doing the classification and extraction in place on content that's already in Alfresco.
  • I met several Alfresco executives over the course of the conference, and they were consistently energetic, thoughtful, and responsive to the needs to customers.
  • Boston in November doesn’t show off the city like October or May or July would, but I always love visiting the part of the country where I went to college. Plus I managed to get in two bowls of clam chowder and a lobster roll while I was there, and that more than made up for the fierce chill on the first day of the conference.
  • I'm looking forward to Summit next year. I just hope it's not held the same week as AWS re:Invent again, because I hated seeing the disappointment on the faces of all those people who asked where Amy was.

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