Speaker Profile: Graeme Leighfield

This is part two of a series of interviews with speakers that will be presenting at MODX Weekend, which will take place just outside of Utrecht, The Netherlands from September 19-22. This time: Graeme Leighfield!

Graeme Leighfield is the owner of UK-based GEL Studios, which offers clients design, development, e-commerce, email, and hosting solutions.

Graeme has been involved in the MODX community for around 3 years. Previous to MODX, he had experience building CMS-like features for Invision Power Board (IPB), which is a forum software.

"The chunk/snippet style (of MODX) translated exactly over from what I was used to."

Graeme is happy to help others whenever he a few spare moments and has contributed to the community in other ways, including video tutorials.

"I made the MIGX video tutorials which are now widely known as the main video resource to go to when you are learning MIGX."

You can watch the MIGX tutorial video here.

Graeme sees MODX's biggest strength as the core itself, and the flexible and extendible nature of the platform. However, he notes that version control and e-commerce are among it's biggest weakness.

"Dealing with larger, professional sites, it's kind of a must which many developers are finding ways around to sort this (version control)."

Currently, Graeme is most excited about an impending launch of a recent "massive" Magento e-commerce project that has been in development for approximately six months.

"It's the biggest thing we have worked on!"

He is also busy with several other MODX-based projects. In fact, the growth of his business and how it relates to MODX will be part of his presentation at MODX Weekend.

"I will be talking about how MODX is a great solution for agencies starting out in web development, how it can adopt to your clients as you see fit, and how MODX and GEL Studios have grown."

Speaker Profile: Menno Pietersen

This is one of a series of interviews with speakers that will be presenting at MODX Weekend, which will take place just outside of Utrecht, The Netherlands from September 19-22. This time: Menno Pietersen!

Menno Pietersen is a designer and front-end developer hailing from Den Bosch, The Netherlands. He is a MODX Professional and a MODX Ambassador, and has been using MODX since 2009. He runs the company Any Screen Size, which provides responsive web design and development services.

On my blog DESIGNfromWITHIN, I create MODX (video) tutorials and I try to stay informed and active in the MODX community.

Previous to his adventures with MODX, he tried other content management systems like Drupal, Wordpress and Magento. Eventually, Menno discovered MODX. You can see an example of Pietersen's work over at securesafe.com.

I got introduced to MODX by my former boss. At first I did not want to use it (Wordpress is better right?), but got convinced as soon as I understood templates, chunks and template variables(TVs). Since I started with MODX, I have almost never used any other CMS!

Menno's favorite attributes of MODX are the flexibility, the ability to use your own code, having a blank start, the community, and its overall power. In the future, he would like to see MODX become more well-known, see some improvements to the back-end manager, and more ecommerce options.

I'm excited about MODX 2.3 and the new back-end designs. I'm working hard on themes on my platform, themesmodx.com

Menno has also been improving and refining his workflow as of late. You can see a video tutorial here of his workflow and how you can incorporate these tools too.

His advancements in workflow will be the subject of his talk at MODX Weekend in September. Titled " Rapid MODX Workflow", Menno will show attendants how to speed up, optimize and develop MODX projects using Gulp, SASS, Browser-Sync, Element Helper and Static Elements.

First Schedule Draft now available

A first draft of the MODX Weekend 2014 Schedule is now available!

There are a couple of empty spots, and many session details are to be added, but it should give you a bit of an idea of what to expect from the conference. Over the coming weeks and months we will continue to iterate over the schedule to add more information, shuffle things around and to add new speakers.

Complementing the schedule, we will also start with a Speaker Profile blog series in the next few weeks, in which each of the speakers at the conference will be introduced and their talk will be highlighted. For now, check the schedule here, and get your tickets before March 1st!

Making the conference Partner Friendly

While the MODX Weekend is already looking to become an amazing event for MODXers from quite literally around the world, I noticed a theme last week when both a speaker and an attendee asked about the possibility to travel together with their significant others. While the spouses may not be as interested in the conference sessions, the venue and an all-inclusive weekend away seemingly resonated and, especially when coming from far away, it's more fun to travel together.

After sending out a tweet asking if there would be an interest in making the conference more Partner Friendly, a number of people responded positively both on twitter and in private. As a result, I'll spend time in the coming weeks on figuring out what sort of activities to provide and to figure out the specifics for a special Partner Ticket.

The idea of a partner ticket is to be added on top of a regular ticket. It includes the same all inclusive treatment at the venue with a shared three star hotel room. After breakfast when the conference sessions start for the MODXers, the partners will as a group get together and join some fun activities during the day. At dinner they will reconvene with their significant others and join the rest of the evening programme.

I'm still figuring out the activities, but as the venue is in a beautiful part of the Netherlands and the weather should be pretty good that time of year, it would be silly not to take advantage of that. One activity I'm considering is a guided bike tour around the area, visiting some of the historic and artsy sites in the area.

If you and/or your significant other are interested in this, please let me know by leaving a comment or sending an email. I'm also really interested in any ideas you may have on activities so get in touch if you have fun ideas!

Early Bird Tickets now Available

After months of silent preparations, it is finally time to see what MODXers from around the globe think. Are you ready for an all new, all inclusive conference? Guess what.. early bird tickets are now available!

Early bird tickets will be available until February 28th 2014 - you only have five weeks to get €100 off on your tickets. For only €699 (including VAT), you get a full weekend (Friday evening through Monday morning) of MODX, Web and fellow nerds at a beautiful venue in The Netherlands. All inclusive, with accommodation, food and drinks all at no charge. But it doesn't stop there; there are free bikes and maps available for a tour around the estate, fussball tables for that competitive spirit and live music to enjoy.

So, what are you waiting for?

Purchase your Early Bird Tickets See what's Included

Have any questions about the conference? Get in Touch or leave a comment below.

PS: We're looking for sponsors to help make this event awesome. There are many promotional opportunities available but we're open for creative ideas too! Sponsor packages start at €250 and special tickets are available for sponsors as low as €549. Check out some sponsor options and get in touch with any questions.