WizGuild

MageHack 2012 London

I wanted to write a blogpost about MageHack 2012 London (magehack.com) but somehow failed until now. I’ll be brief as it was long ago and the memory is fading fast.

There was a pub warm-up event on the Friday before the event, with beers and schnitzel (a guy grabbed the last one just before me), sausages, mash… we’ve discussed our plans, trying to find out who will be possible project owner, who will join, and basically who’s who. Enjoyed every second (OK, not the last schnitzel) of the evening, despite the fact that it was a rainy-cold night and Emese my dear was lost in the concrete jungle and I had to walk 10 or more extra minutes to grab her and became soaking wet.

Next day I was early – or at least I was on time – at the Google campus! I was really curious about the place, seen photos, heard people chatting about it briefly… definitely worth a look. Nice, inspiring environment, big, airy rooms, tons of interesting ornaments, pool table, fantastic collection of books, just gorgeous!

Organisers were there, coffee too – I’m not a coffee person – food was late after an hour of tinkering and chatting I started to feel that I don’t want to present my idea about the data migration project. It was a lovely idea, others told me but there was no real interest, I still had no team to implement it.

Food arrived, we had our little morning exercise to carry everything in… and we had food for about 80 people (poor Mitch ) so it took us to bring everything in a while. After having a nice breakfast I started to work within the established parameters and scribing my idea on the paper patafixed to the window.

Now that was a bad idea. I’ve realised how bad my marketing was. Not just compared to the others, it was simply rubbish. No clear communication of the intent, no sign of order, plan, blueprint, anything. It was not clear at all and I couldn’t help it any more, it was there, on the paper, no backspace, no cancel button, no eraser. Learn from this, Sam, next time prepare better.

I decided to find the best project to work on. I’ve seen Alistair’s testing framework as possible winner – every good developer knows testing is important – but I could not spend two days working on something I would not use in the near future (unfortunately). Second and most interesting idea was the console. As I choose and started to talk about the idea with the guys I realised I chose well. It was simple idea but without precedence, it had lots of possibilities, it was geeky enough for me to identify with the project.

I was not the project owner, Marcell did a pretty good job in it, so I decided to help with my ideas and experience where there we needed it the most – frontend. Attila, my junior developer was in the team, too, I’ve tried guide and help him to understand the tasks and setup the environment on his machine, he had his fight with git rebase with every commit.

Three software architects, my goodness! Marcell, a fellow Hungarian Magento specialist, his colleague Narayan and myself. I enjoyed working with such experienced and insightful team. We worked well together. Olubajo, their mid-level programmer helped us, even Attila was able to finish a small feature. I’m definitely not a frontend developer, but I know jQuery well – well enough… don’t judge the result.

After few hours of designing and coding we already had the first working prototype! We were so ahead of others late afternoon my team members went home, left me alone with the code and some cider. I had some staff to work on – hotkeys, wizard, callbacks, error checking – so I spent the night well. I had a breakthrough around 2:30, too early to stay awake but late to sleep enough. Having sleeping bag with me – not like others  – had 3 hours of sleep then I was coding or at least agonising in front of the screen again.

After breakfast and the team members back we were on track. We all felt epic. We even had time to prepare for the demo, Marcell presented our project, and we could see from the dropped jaws that we won. No, we did not, as Alistair worked even harder and made amazing stuff with his team, but we brought home second prize with few points difference.

I will join the next MageHack event, it’s not a question. I might have a plan, might not. Doesn’t matter.

Update: Schnitzel is not as good as in Vienna, we had a Christmas meetup there, I make better ones.

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