The TYPO3 Eastern Europe Conference took place in Cluj, Romania on October 31 and November 1, 2014. Andrea Herzog Kienast describes the atmosphere, how we party, and how we are very serious in our work we do for TYPO3 even when we dance.
It is the second time “TYPO3 Eastern Europe” is organised in Romania. The event aims to bring together TYPO3 developers and agencies from the Eastern and Western Europe, creating stronger ties between them, encouraging the Eastern European developers to participate in the community and promoting TYPO3 in the region, where it is still relatively unknown to web developers and the market in general.
In October 30, before the main event, we had a workshop in the nice Old Casino of Cluj-Napoca aimed at the Romanian public authorities, especially representatives of the municipalities from Transylvania and regional government. The workshop was organized by Arxia in partnership with the Cluj-Napoca City Hall and Cluj IT Cluster, which unites IT companies, universities and the administration from the region.
With the participation of guest speakers from the Netherlands and Germany – Jos Kruis, ICT Manager of the Municipality of Ede and president of TYPO3Gem (Dutch TYPO3 Municipality Organisation), Hans Olthoff from AlterNET and Jochen Weiland from Jweiland, the Romanian public sector learned about the benefits of TYPO3 in creating a better relationship with the citizen.
Wednesday, October 29:
I traveled from Germany to Cluj on Wednesday. There is absolute nothing to tell about the journey, everything worked fine.
For all people who had already arrived in Cluj, a nice dinner was organised in a typical Romanian restaurant. We learned our first lesson: if the sauces in the menu are explicitly shown you should order too, if you want to prevent having dry food. The next step was the 'Klausen' pub. When we entered the room we heard lots of Germans talking – very young guys. They told us they live in Cluj and study dentistry at Cluj Medical University in the “best Party City of the world”. The Cluj Medical University is pretty well known and that brings a lot of students to Cluj.
Thursday, October 30:
The day started very early because we need to go to "Vechiul Casino“ for the Municipality Workshop.
For the Romanian universities and municipal offices the idea of using Open Source software was not really self-evident. But the topic brought them there anyway. We heard and learned a lot from the Dutch speakers Hans and Jos about how Open Source software is used by public services in the Netherlands – and also why they do use Open Source. The Netherlands, I think, are the leaders in Europe or perhaps in the world regarding the use of Open Source in the public space. They put the use of Open Source software for public services in a law!
When the workshop was over – in the early afternoon – we went to the old town of Cluj for some sightseeing. The weather was great as the picture clearly shows.
We enjoyed the weather at a bar sitting outside in the garden with some cups of great coffee and started talking – about TYPO3. We exchanged some ideas about alternative or additional code sprints, exchanged experiences concerning deployment and updates and talked about things we think need to be done in TYPO3 CMS. Back at the hotel I wrote an email to some guys about the code sprint idea and focusing on FAL (File Abstraction Layer) and probably in January in the Unperfekt Haus, Essen.
The Cluj nights are cold in this season so we took a cab back to our hotel. Taxis are always available in Cluj and they are very cheap (for us).
At 8 in the evening we all met in Cluj old town for the Welcome Party. For me it was great to meet all the guys from last year again. I meet a lot of TYPO3 community members, no matter where they come from, throughout the year, even the guys from Eastern Europe. Only the Swedish guys I only meet once a year in Cluj, funnily enough. It was a warm and welcoming party with lots of new people to talk to. Discussions were ranging from everything surrounding TYPO3, our unpleasantness with politicians, our families and of course having great fun as the most important part. As you can imagine, the evening was long and the night was short. We all had to get up early because of the official opening of the conference next morning.
Back at the hotel some guys liked to have a last coffee or drink. Unfortunately the bar is closed after 11.00pm, even with the receptionist sitting next to the coffee machine and the fridge with drinks. Incredible for a city that never sleeps.
Friday, October 31, Halloween:
Before reaching the registration desk we were welcomed by a very well-known person who offered us some real Transylvanian blood to be well prepared for the following night. You should know that Cluj is a City in Transylvania.
The conference was opened by Daniel Homorodean from Arxia in Cluj. Daniel is the main organiser of T3EE. This Friday we had different topics on the schedule like NEOS, TYPO3 CMS, community software and so on.
In the coffee breaks you could hear lots of discussions between all the attendees from different countries in our community. The talks resounded with everyone and there were some really deeply discussions going on.
Later on we all needed to prepare ourselves for the party in Halloween style. Most of us changed into our halloween outfits. As you can see on the pictures (see flickr.com for more photos, #T3EE14) some guys needed quite some time to prepare themselves for the party.
At 8.00 pm we went to the event location which was prepared in Halloween style. The stairs where really scary. Going out for a smoke or going to the toilet also required taking the stairs, scary stairs. There was plentiful buffet. It was so dark inside however that we were not able to see the food. But nerds know what to do in case of a darkness emergency.
If you only watch our pics on flickr you will see lots of party pics and not really a lot of conference pics. The reason is: during conference we had to work and no time to make some photos. The evenings gave us a lot of time to take pictures though.
It is a party – we danced a lot had some drinks – but in the breaks we discussed lots of TYPO3 stuff. Remember: we are really international people and on events like this we can exchange our experiences and talk to each other – this is IMHO very important for our community. A little example: a guy from Sweden told me about his dashboard extension – a thing we really would like to integrate into the core. So the next day he showed it to me and back home I contacted him with the responsible persons for this project we had been working on at TYPO3 User Experience Week. So if only half of us could do stuff like that, this could be a great advantage for TYPO3.
Saturday, November 1:
OK, we all showed up brazenly healthy of course this morning, fit for the last day of the conference.
Listening to all the interesting talks my brain was in pure overload. All the exciting talks in the coffee breaks provided another dose. I was very happy to have one hour to rest and arrange all the stuff which was moving around my brain.
After the conference we all went out to “Fabreca de bere”, which is a famous brewery in Cluj.
Over there I met some strange people, who love to put a mobile phone into a glass of beer – and it still works! Ok, it might look like we only drink beer and eat – but you are wrong. Yes, we had food and drinks, but we all shared our TYPO3 experiences and talked about important stuff. Especially for the T3Rookie project I found lots of people who like the idea and want to support the T3Rookies. And I was able to get some input on the special problems with apprenticeship in different European countries.
It is really hard to get fully across what we do at an event like T3EE. You will never fully get the picture if you have not been there. But we like to tell you anyway what it is like not having been there.
We can do great conferences, make a party, we dance, but – we are very serious in our work we do for TYPO3 – even if we dance!