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SpreeConf Dublin Recap

Posted on September 05, 2012 by Sean Schofield

Now that we’re back and the jet lag is wearing off it’s time to do a proper wrap up of SpreeConf Dublin 2012. At our first conference in NYC we were suprised to see so many people from Europe show up and decided to host another one a little closer to home for our European users. Since Brian Quinn already lives in Ireland we decided to turn the tables and bring the conference to his native land!

What Went Right

  • Country – There is a pretty cool Ruby scene going on in Ireland and thanks to their incredible hospitality, I suspect there will be more events like this happening in Ireland in the future.
  • City – Great city that was really easy to get around in. Many people brought their spouses, children, etc. and they all had a good time while we were at the conference.
  • Venue – It was much easier having our second conference in a venue that is used to hosting conferences on a regular basis. Everyone seemed to enjoy the unique venue as well.
  • Speakers – We had another strong group of speakers at this conference. I thought the talks were even stronger than our last conference.
  • Pacing – The frequency and duration of breaks was optimized after our first conference. The schedule for this second conference was much better.
  • Variety of Talks – Just like our first conference, we included a variety of talks and included some highly engaging non-technical talks that everyone really enjoyed.
  • Food – The food was served on time and was actually pretty tasty. I’ve never had soup at a conference before and I was surprised we were able to get decent vegetarian options in Ireland.
  • Hotel – The hotel location was super convenient to sight seeing and restaurant options in Dublin. While it was not close to the conference facility it was possible to walk to the conference or take the free Klarna bus.
  • Lightning Talks – The lightning talks turned out to be much better than the hackathon we attempted at the last conference.
  • People – Like any good conference, the highlight was the awesome people who turned out for it. So many great people doing really interesting things with either Spree specifically or Ruby/JS in general.

What Went Wrong

Honestly, the conference went off pretty much without a hitch. I suppose if we tried really hard to come up with a list of “problems” we could name a few.

  • Screen Height – The screen in the front of the room was way too low and the bottom portion of the slides were hard to see for those sitting in the back. This was, however, somewhat mitigated by the screens on the sides of the room.
  • Ambient Noise – The chairs were super squeaky (but comfortable) and the door in the back of the room was extremely loud when opening and closing. On the first day there was also the occasional banging noise coming from the brewery complex. It was noticeable whenever the speaker was taking a long pause and only seemed to effect a few of the training sessions.
  • No Recording – We knew going into the conference that there would be no recording of the talks so this didn’t really come as a surprise. There is quite a bit of logistics (and money) involved in getting this done properly. We are likely to record all of the talks for the next conference if there is sufficient interest (now that we have a little more experience hosting a successful conference for our in-person guests.)

The Next Conference

There will definitely be more SpreeConfs! The second conference really built on the first one and we got a lot of great feedback from our guests. The next conference will most likely be back in the USA. We haven’t decided on a date or location but we’re strongly considering the Bay Area (since we haven’t been to the West Coast yet) as well as Washington DC (since that is where our company is located.) Suggestions and feedback are welcome!

The Slides

The speakers have made their slides available online and they’re available to everyone. Enjoy!

Day 1

Chris Mar – Build, Customize, Sell

Gregg Pollack – A Sip of CoffeeScript

M Scott Ford – Testing Spree Stores and Extensions

Nick Gauthier – Intro to Backbone.js

Day 2

Sean Schofield – The Spree Vision

Brian Quinn – Using Backbone JS with Spree

Erik Michaels-Ober – Cover your Code!

Ryan Bigg – How to be a Good Open Source Citizen

Daniel Honig – Enterprise Spree – Using Spree to build solutions for one of America’s largest brands

Adil Wali: Lessons from the Field: Scaling an eCommerce Business

Paul Campbell: Not available

Yehuda Katz: Eradicating Cruft

Spree 1.2.0 Released

Posted on August 31, 2012 by Sean Schofield

Spree 1.2.0 has now been officially released. We’ve been working on this release all summer and it’s truly been a group effort. There were 961 commits by 32 different authors. Only a few of those authors actually work for Spree Commerce Inc. so that means our awesome community continues to step up and make invaluable contributions. Keep up the great work!

Special thanks to Ryan Bigg who did a ton of work on this release. The authentication changes and checkout flow in particular represent huge improvements to Spree and were a direct result of close coordination with our users who were struggling on these fronts.

Let’s review some of the highlights of this release:

Authentication Has Been Removed

Spree no longer ships with authentication included. Previous version of Spree have relied on a third pary library known as Devise. By removing the dependency on Devise this allows Spree to be more easily integrated with larger Rails applications that may have their own authentication system. For those that are using Devise (or have no strong preference for which system they use), we still have Devise support for Spree. You’ll just need to add the spree_auth_devise extension to your application.

Please see the Authentication Guide for more details.

Changes to the State Machine

Up until now, it’s been a little to difficult to customize the checkout flow in Spree. It was certainly possible but the workaround for doing so wasn’t particularly elegant and was even more difficult to support. This has all changed now with a new DSL for specifying checkout flow. If you’ve made changes to the checkout flow in your application (or if you have been hesitant to do so until now) then you may want to learn more about how this works.

Please see the Checkout Guide for more details

Introducing the Money Gem

In earlier versions of Spree, we used number_to_currency to display prices for products. This made it difficult to change only the currency symbol for all prices across your store. We have improved this by using the Money gem to handle all of the price formatting. Please note this was a last minute addition to Spree that was not contained in the previous release candidates. You can look forward to many more improvements to international support in future releases.

Miscellaneous Changes

There are also a ton of commits related to minor bug fixes and other subtle improvements. Please see the Github compare for a complete list of changes in this release. You can also see a written summary of the changes with additional details in the release notes.

Spree 1.2.0.rc2 Released

Posted on August 14, 2012 by Sean Schofield

Spree 1.2.0.rc2 is now available. The final release for Spree 1.2.0 is expected shortly so we need your help with testing. Please report any issues you encounter. Please see the Github compare for a complete list of changes in this release.

Final release will be later this week – just in time for SpreeConf!

Spree 1.2.0.rc1 Released

Posted on August 09, 2012 by Sean Schofield

Spree 1.2.0.rc1 is now available. The final release for Spree 1.2.0 is expected shortly so we need your help with testing. Please report any issues you encounter. Please see the Github compare for a complete list of changes in this release.