Solidus Conf SLC 2019
Published on 11/19/2019
10 min read
With Solidus Conference 2019 behind us, we look back and more deeply analyze all that was shared by our speakers and community over the course of the conference.
Southeast Solidus Conf 2019 Recap
Table Of Contents
DAY 1 - Talks
The first day of the 2019 Solidus Conference started smoothly around 9:30 AM, and once we all gathered in the auditorium, opening remarks began. Once introductions were made, the first talk started, led by Karma Creative's very own Thomas Sample giving us 101 Solidus SEO Tips. Our second speaker was Ryan Cromwell, whose talk focused on vital skills for a tech lead. Next we had Ernesto Tagwerker explain how code quality analysis tools can help you evaluate a legacy code base and direct your initial work on a project. Taylor Scott followed with a detailed talk on tracking the process of taking Solidus from development to production. Next up was a talk on how to properly utilize extensions in Solidus, brought to us by Alessandro Desantis. The final talk of Day 1 was by Peter Berkenbosch, who explained how to use configuration hooks and customize your storefront. With all of the Day 1 talks concluded, we explored Salt Lake City's downtown briefly, and prepared for the next day of presentations.
101 Solidus SEO Tips: The Ultimate Guide
With Thomas, we got a closer look into how we can practically apply SEO techniques into a Solidus store. He produced an abundance of concise, actionable advice in the form of 101 tips and tricks to improve your rankings and increase sales with a Solidus store. He covered new trends in 2019 SEO, like voice search optimization, expanding your social media following, and important algorithm updates.
Making the Leap to Tech Lead
In his talk, Ryan Cromwell taught us how to develop and master the traits of a successful Tech Lead. He defined what the term really means, explained what you can do to improve and become a true tech leads, and how to operate efficiently and intelligently once you've landed the position. Overall, he showed us how to competently lead a software-building team through new strategies and learnable leadership skills.
Escaping The Tar Pit
In this talk, we learned about how to use various Ruby gems for code quality analysis when inheriting a project.
Taking Solidus From Development to Production
This talk was focused on deploying a Solidus application to a multi-container environment on Elasticbeanstalk in AWS. The stack was a Rails application running beside an nginx web server. This will all be executed through Github's CI but other CI platforms will be similar.
Extensions Are Dead, Long Live Extensions!
In this talk, Alessandro Desantis spoke to us about the true place of extensions in the Solidus ecosystem. He spoke about how to best use extensions, the positive effects of their usage, and explained how they were integrated with Solidus. After he had demonstrated how successful extensions have the potential to be when coupled with the platform, he then warned of the challenges Solidus extensions currently face and the best, most efficient ways to deal with them.
Solidus Internals, An Adventure Through Less Known Features
In this talk, Peter Berkenbosch explained how you can use some of the lesser known features and configuration hooks in Solidus to extend and customize your storefront without sacrificing Solidus' vanilla nature.
DAY 2 - Talks
After lunch we got together once more in the auditorium to listen to our final two speakers. The first of the pair was Jason Swett, whose talk focused on refactoring legacy code, defining what legacy code truly is and how to swiftly (and safely) restructure it. The final talk was presented by Sean Denny who spoke about how Solidus' community driven structure will be a boon in coming years for the platform. As the second and final day of talks came to end, we excitedly looked forward to Wednesday
Solidus API: From PWAs to Native and Beyond
Building Accessible Careers
In this talk, Jen Luker explained to us the importance of internal accessibility. She then dived into easy ways to start increasing your accessibility, whether through making your site more accessible to improvements can have a big impact on increasing diversity in our workplaces.
Breaking Up The Monolith With EQ
In this talk, Braden Douglass explored the fundamentals of emotional intelligence in an engineering team and how to utilize tools from the ‘emotional intelligence tool-belt’ to read when a team is ready to deconstruct their monolith. The brain is split in two, half pure logic and half emotional drive. To use them each in tandem, he says you need to master five key skills:
- self awareness
- self regulation
- social skills
Douglass then brought up Conway's law, a theory conjecturing that when a group designs a system, it structures the system after itself. If this is true, then we have to imagine that the organization and streamlining of the team directly impacts the organization and streamlining of the project they are creating.
Quickly and Safely Refactoring Legacy Code
In this talk, Jason Swett went over techniques used to refactor code quickly while minimizing the chances anything breaks in the progress. He stated most people define "Legacy code" as "bad code". He said that, "bad code" could be boiled down to code that's risky or time-consuming (i.e. expensive) to change. Swett explained there's a sort of catch 22 with some legacy code, explaining you can't change the code before you understand it, but you usually can't understand the code before you change it.
His strategy consisted of three parts. The first? Work in tiny steps. He emphasized to trust yourself very little, make changes between tests absurdly small, and never underestimate how easy it is to mess things up. The next step was to keep everything working all the time.
It's always easier to stay on the trail than to leave and re-find it. Save your progress every day and break down your process into multiple small development cycles. Swett's strategy comes together with the final piece: adding tests. It is important to have a fleshed out plan, a coherent team and strong testing tools and infrastructure.
Community Driven Solidus
In this talk, Sean Denny answered the question; what does this new nonprofit, community driven structure mean for the platform long term? This talk also provides an explanation as to why this will actually benefit the platform.
DAY 3 - Community
With the Talks portion concluded, we spent the third day in a sunny conference room on the fourth floor. The morning began with a presentation, outlining the next steps for the Solidus community in the coming year. Once the presentation had concluded, everyone put their head down and got to work. It was so inspiring to see the whole conference band together, share information and help each other out to improve the platform. Solidus truly shines because of its community, and that could not have been illustrated better by everyone working together, all sharing a common goal and all working towards it cohesively.
We concluded the day with a beautiful three mile hike on the Donut Falls trail, a perfect end to an inspiring few days. We leave Salt Lake with a renewed sense of vigor and drive, ready to tackle this next year of work and improvement.