Getting Crafty at the Dot All Conference

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The world of web is ever-changing, and it can be tough to keep up. The rise of Squarespace, Weebly and Wix has turned everyone into self-proclaimed junior developers, but when our favorite CMS made promises of senior-level coding seminars and Javascript goldmines, Will Browar and I dove in faster than you can spell HTML.

We found ourselves with this wealth of knowledge in downtown Montréal last month for the Dot All Conference, the official conference for Craft CMS. If you don’t know what CMS stands for, it’s content management system, and that’s just the start, because this coding conference is not for the faint of heart. So buckle up for the four key takeaways from our trip up north. 

Craft CMS

Takeaway #1: LAMPstack vs. JAMstack

LAMP: Linux - Apache/​NGINX - MySQL – PHP

JAM: Javascript - APIs – Markdown

LAMPstack and JAMstack are web development architectures coders use to make websites. But while LAMPstack is tried and true, JAMstack is the new alternative in our quest for better website performance. 

That means quicker, easier design upgrades that leave the CMS undisturbed when paired with a headless CMS. This combination? You could say it’s our JAM(stack).

Takeaway #2: Headless CMS

Our old CMSes of the past have come back to haunt us, holding their monitor heads in their hands and riding Segways. Joking aside, that only happens when you don’t update your CMS and plugins.

But have no fear! Headless CMS is here! But what is it? Headless CMS turns your CMS into an API endpoint, which creates one data source for all of your websites and apps to pull from. A classic case of less is more.

Takeaway #3: Automated Testing

Quality assurance (QA) can be tedious and repetitive, but it’s one of the most important aspects of developing a website. If a task is repetitive, there’s a good chance you can have a computer automate it. That’s great for two reasons: 

‣ It reduces the time it takes to manually test websites.

‣ It helps maintain coding quality as the site changes, making websites stronger and more efficient.

You hear that? That’s the sound of website testers around the world rejoicing.

Takeaway #4: Craft CMS 4

Think of something that’s awesome. Now imagine it got awesome-er. That’s Craft CMS 4. The latest updates to Craft include a lot of new bells and whistles, but the three we’re most excited for are:

‣ New field layout options to make the authoring experience more intuitive.

‣ New content view modes to help organize and manage content entries within the CMS.

‣ Increased keyboard control for CMS accessibility. (Who needs a mouse?)

These three things alone are going to add up to hours of saved time and a smoother user experience for content managers. A true win-win.

When we packed up for the five-hour trip to Montréal, we knew we were headed for an eye-opening experience, and Dot All did not disappoint. The next time you find yourself in the middle of a Craft conversation, let us know. We have a ton of new thoughts to share. 

If you hear a rendition of the Shout’ song that never seems to end from a Rochester suburb, that’s just Marc on a Sunday rooting for the Bills. Don’t mention how it sounds, he usually wears headphones while singing.

Marc Hartwig
Senior Web Developer

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