Pentaho Community Meeting 2017 Impressions

  12 Oct 2017

What a PCM this was! High attandancy rate, perfect organisation, high quality talks are just a few key points. What a glorious way to celebrate the 10th anniversary!

While I will not go through everything that was presented at PCM, I want to highlight a few points:

Let’s start first with a big THANK YOU to IT Novum, the organisers of the event in Mainz: Without a doubt, it was the best organised PCM so far. When I received a welcome pack as presenter, I already knew they were extremely serious about the event. It’s not to say that any other organisers before them were not, everyone tried quite hard, but the team from IT Novum set the standard really high.

It was the biggest PCM so far: The high registration rate already sparked some interest. I was a bit worried tough since in London for our local meetups we usual have a high registration rate but less than half of the people do actually show up. As it turned out, my worries were totally unnecessary: The big main presentation hall was packed with people and it was really great to see how much this event has grown over the last few years. There were familiar faces from the last few years, but also quite a few new ones (unsurprisingly).

There was a stronger focus this year on code quality and standards (Slawo’s talk on Automated Testing with PDI, Hiromu’s PDI Git Plugin, Matt’s PDI Unit testing plugin and my own presentation on Git and Standards (totally unbiased here of course)), which is overall a sign that the product is used in bigger projects. Overall this should not be question of on the project size tough, standards and best practices should be followed always.

There wasn’t the “I heard it first hand from the product developer” kind of moment like at earlier PCMs (the be fair this kind of stopped about 4 years ago or so). Does this matter? This is kind of difficult to answer: While this originally always added to the excitement and it felt like there was a direct feedback loop between the product developer and the community, ultimately today Pentaho/Hitachi Vantara operates in a different way. The company has grown a lot and is now part of an even (a lot) bigger company. The product is used in a many large organisations these days, Pentaho/Hitachi Vantara doesn’t just sell software any more but has over the last few years build up a services arm. These day presentations cover more the various use cases of the product(s), which is quite interesting to understand.

Networking: The PCM ultimately is all about talking to your colleagues from all over the world, understand what they are up to and how they solve business problems. I always find these conversations very interesting and quite often you learn something new or get some new ideas on how to achieve a certain outcome. I personally walked away with a long list of things I want to look into.

Presentations: There were loads of interesting presentations. The room for the technical track was completely packed. There was a long line of presentations on Saturday and I was really quite surprised that the audience enthusiastically manage to power through all of them. Normally you always have someone falling asleep and others drifting off, however, this didn’t happen this year. There were even a few presentations on Friday, since it proved problematic to fit everything into Saturday’s schedule.

The hero: At an event like PCM, there is always someone who stands out from the crowd. For the past two years this has been Hiromu Hota: He managed to surprise everyone this year again with revealing the PDI Git Plugin. He got a standing obation by the audience; many came to him to give him a handshake and tell him what fantastic work he has done for the community.

In a nutshell: I honestly enjoyed this event - it was amazing. And yes, I’ll definitely attend next year’s one as well. There are already a few suggestions for next year: Barcelona, Madrid, Geneva and Prague were mentioned. We might vote on the location via the new community page and then announce the winner.

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