A look back at this year's SugarCon, SugarUNCon, and SugarCon Code Sprint

sugarcrmdevelopers —  April 11, 2011 — 1 Comment

There’s a lot of buzz coming out of SugarCon this year, from upcoming product features in 6.2, acquistions, partnerships ( and then some ), IBM, and growing the Sugar ecosystem. While these activities definitely caught the wind of the industry analysts, I think some pretty amazing things happened during the festivities that should really excite you as a community or partner developer.

Looking back on the week ( and previous weekend ) here was my personal highlights:

SugarCon Code Sprint

John Mertic talking like he knows something about unit testing...

This isn’t the first time we’ve done a code sprint, but by far it was the largest one we’ve ever done. Combine over a dozen partner developers alongside 30+ members of our engineering, support, professional services, and product management teams ( and add a bit of beer ), and out comes some amazing projects that end-users should start seeing in the next couple major releases. Here’s just a small sampling of what came out of less than 48 hours of coding:

  • Ajaxifying major areas of the UI to make page load performance 2-3x faster than before
  • Enhancing the global search added in 6.0 to provide details of the search results
  • Making it easier for administrators to get up and running with Sugar by adding tools to do mass user creation
  • Further building upon the Activity Streams to make it a tool to replace the aging audit feature in Sugar, bring this feature into ListViews and DetailViews as well
  • Making more items in the app use the Ext custom directory framework, meaning modules being installed on an instance won’t step on existing customizations. This also enables many of these customizations available thru Module Builder and Studio.
  • And many more…

It was a long week, as pointed out by Sugar engineer dtam ( who somehow ended up in a box ), but was also rewarding. I think every attendee had great takeaways from the weekend, and it gave all of us great momentum leading into SugarCon.


Beach Blanket Babylon at SugarCon

This is my third SugarCon, and each year it gets bigger and better. With over 800 attendees, SugarCon literally consumed every square inch of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, which kept the excitement high. The solution showcase was packed, and with 8 parallel tracks of great talks from partners, developers, customers, and Sugar employees. I was able to participate in the evening activities, and stopped into a few talks ( which was unfortunate since there were soo many I wanted to see but wasn’t able to ), and was blown away at the positive feedback about SugarCRM in general from everyone.

Like I said, I wasn’t able to participate in the main part of the conference as much as I would have liked to, but that was due to the next item on my list…


"Rob the Viking" talking about the External API

The idea for an uncon has been brewing with me for a while, since we have so many people come up to us a Sugar technical people asking questions or needing some sort of advice with developing on the platform. It also seemed like the main conference was always a bit out of step with what developers were looking to get out of the experience, as the focus turned more and more away from that audience. So I proposed doing an uncon, where all the developers could hang out and talk about developer stuff. I liked the format of an uncon for this, since I didn’t want anything too structured so we could capture the “hallway track” effectively. Our SugarCon marketing team was all about the idea too, so they gave us a room to make this happen. Although it wasn’t in the most ideal location ( I think we should have had shuttle service to help get there 😉 ), I think everyone that wanted to be a part of it was and gained a lot from being there.

If you missed it, you missed:

  • Learning about PHPUnit and how Sugar uses it
  • Performance testing and tweaking SugarCRM
  • Deep dives into the MVC, SugarFields, Sugar Logic, and External API developer APIs
  • Saw Ken Brill show off all sort of things from his sack of Sugar code
  • Participated in some great discussions about the future of the platform, the application, and the community

The last item was another great highlight for me, which segues into my next highlight of the week…

Sugar Community Roundtable

As most of you are aware of, we haven’t paid nearly the attention we should have been to our developer and open source community. Much of this has been since we’ve been doing a lot of internal reorganization over the past 18 months, but we wanted to use SugarCon as the  launch platform for getting our community back going again. So I conceived the idea of doing a roundtable meeting with everyone interested, to help carve out the future of the Sugar Community. I hope to do a more thorough blog post on this later this week to keep the discussion going, but basically we talked about where do go with all of our existing web properties ( SugarForge, Forums, Developer Portal, etc ) and what the future direction of SugarCRM CE should be. Stay tuned as I will do a recap on this and open up for feedback on the ideas proposed during the roundtable

Seeing all my colleagues again

The Sugar Techincal Team

It’s been nearly 4 months since I’ve last seen many of my colleagues ( and for rest of them it’s been many months more ), since I work remotely for SugarCRM in Northeast Ohio. For those of you who don’t know, SugarCRM is a very distributed company with most of our employees based in either Cupertino or Munich, but also much of us scattered all around the United States. We have Skype and IM, but it still doesn’t take the place of having some great face to face time with everyone to just hang out together. We are fortunate to come together just about once a quarter, and it helps us work better as a team to be able to catch up and meet. I think engineer Jon Whitcraft really captured it best, saying simplying “I Love My Job“.


I can’t thank everyone enough for making all of my favorites from the past week very memorable and very rewarding. Thanks to everyone who came, participated, and gave feedback on how you felt everything went. We have amazing people both working for and with SugarCRM, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Sugar Developer Blog » Blog Archive » SugarCRM 6.2: How our community helped make it happen - June 10, 2011

    […] begun opening up our development process to our partner developers, holding two successful code sprints that has enabled us to more easily indentify and resolve the problems coming up out in the field. […]

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