Karma Creative

Solidus Conf SLC 2019

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

1. 101 Solidus SEO Tips: The Ultimate Guide

Thomas Sample

2. Making the Leap to Tech Lead

Ryan Cromwell

3. Escaping The Tar Pit

Ernesto Tagwerker

4. Taking Solidus From Development to Production

Taylor Scott

5. Extensions Are Dead, Long Live Extensions

Alessandro Desantis

6. Solidus Internals, An Adventure Through Less Known Features

Peter Kerkenbosch

Day 2

1. Solidus API: From PWAs to Native and Beyond

Joel Saupe

2. Building Accessible Careers

Jen Luker

3. Breaking Up The Monolith With EQ

Braden Douglass

4. Quickly and Safely Refactoring Legacy Code

Jason Swett

5. Community Driven Solidus

Sean Denny

Day 3

1. Summary

DAY 1 - Talks

The beautiful interior of the SLC Public Library, where Solidus Conference 2019 was held

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.


Thomas Sample walks through 101 actionable SEO tips

101 Solidus SEO Tips: The Ultimate Guide

Thomas Sample

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.

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Ryan Cromwell explains the traits of an affective tech lead

Making the Leap to Tech Lead

Ryan Cromwell

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.

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Ernesto Tagweker outlines how to successfully inherit an old project through Ruby

Escaping The Tar Pit

Ernesto Tagwerker

In this talk, we learned about how to use various Ruby gems for code quality analysis when inheriting a project.

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Taylor Scott simplifies the lengthy process between development and production

Taking Solidus From Development to Production

Taylor Scott

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.

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Alessandro Desantis goes over the essentials for using extensions in Solidus

Extensions Are Dead, Long Live Extensions!

Alessandro Desantis

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.

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Peter Berkenbosch explains how to use some of the lesser known features of Solidus in an easy, streamlined way

Solidus Internals, An Adventure Through Less Known Features

Peter Berkenbosch

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.

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DAY 2 - Talks

Salt Lake City’s beautiful Wasatch Mountain range

Day 2 began with a talk from Joel Saupe, who spoke about the process of Solidus API and introduced a new javascript SDK to interact with it. After his talk concluded, Jen Luker stepped up and gave an impassioned talk on why it's necessary to create increased accessibility within all of our shops and sites. The last talk before we broke for lunch was given by Braden Douglass. He explained how an engineering team requires emotional intelligence to improve function, and how you can utilize emotional intellect when "breaking up the monolith".

The gorgeous view from the library entrance

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

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Joel Saupe discusses the highs and lows of using the Solidus API

Solidus API: From PWAs to Native and Beyond

Joel Saupe

Joel Saupe's talk centered on the highs and lows of using the Solidus API. Some people aren't even aware it exists, but through his talk he shone a light on how useful a tool the API can be. He explained how he built extensible JavaScript SDK, which ended up enabling him to develop Solidus backed PWAs, native apps, and more.

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Jen Luker walks us through the vitality of internal accessibility

Building Accessible Careers

Jen Luker

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.

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Braden Douglass talks about the needs for emotional intelligence when tackling large projects

Breaking Up The Monolith With EQ

Braden Douglass

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
  • motivation
  • empathy
  • 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.

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Jason Swett spoke about the smartest ways to refactor code gently

Quickly and Safely Refactoring Legacy Code

Jason Swett

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.

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Sean Denny gives us the low down on this past year of Solidus, and delves into the path ahead for the community

Community Driven Solidus

Sean Denny

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.

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DAY 3 - Community

Salt Lake City’s beautiful city hall next door

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.

Everyone comes together on Day 3 to work on the platform together

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.

The beautiful Donut Falls hike

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