Magento Developers Paradise 2016 – Opatija, Croatia

Create Hosting was fortunate this year to attend the Magento Developers Paradise (25th April – 28th April 2016) in beautiful Opatija, located on the Adriatic Coast in Croatia. This year it was organised by the good guys and gals at Inchoo, with support from the Meet Magento Association.

For those that don’t know, Developers Paradise is an annual event for the Magento Community. For the past 7 years, Developers Paradise has brought together like minded Magento developers and folk from around the world for lots of code. And fun. In the sun. Over 250 delegates attended from countries as far as Brazil, New Zealand, Canada, USA, and a diverse Europe.

This year the focus was on Magento 2, so it was a great opportunity to get immersed.

Road to Dev Paradise

Since meeting Inchoo’s @tomislavbilic at the 2010 Developers Paradise in Majorca, I’ve always been interested in Croatia. Who would have thought that 5 years later, Inchoo would be organising this years conference.

Coming from New Zealand, it’s a long way to travel, and usually jet lag eats into any quality time. So for this event, I arrived a few days early to settle into the new timezone (being 12 hours out). And to see a little of Croatia.

Flights to Croatia are well catered for by Emirates, with a 17 hour non-stop light from Auckland, NZ to Dubai, and then a 6 hour flight from Dubai to Zagreb. It was an easy drive from Zagreb to Opatija – well once you get used to being on the other side of car the road to New Zealand. The roads in Croatia are well sign posted and the newly built motorway (toll road) is fantastic. It’s known as Europe’s most beautiful highway, and once you’ve driven on it I’m sure that you’d agree. In total, it’s about a 36 hour trip from NZ. I was a bit slow on tweeting, but check out tweets from other delegates on the twitter hashtag #RoadToDevParadise.

The venue for this event was the Milenij Hotel “4 Opatijska Cvijeta”. Translated into English, the “4 Opatijan Flowers”. It’s located in the heart of Opatija and includes four magnificent villas that are named after Opatija’s best-known flowers.

Just in-front of the hotel runs the famous 12 kilometre Franz-Joseph Promenade (Lungomare). This is a beautiful, non commercialised seaside walkway that connects the small fishing village of Volosko, passing by villas, hotels and restaurants, parks and beaches all the way to Lovran. It’s full of character, and the fresh sea air is very welcoming.


The Hackathon was on the preliminary agenda, lead by Damian Luszczymak and it was a full house with over 40 developers working in teams of 3-5.

Even though I’m not a hardcore coder, I was welcomed in as an “observer”. I used the time to setup Magento 2 and work through common setup issues – thanks to gurus like Talesh Seeparsan and Bill Curtis, I managed to succeed before time was up.

There was a steady stream of free drinks, plenty of water and tasty sandwiches.

Some highlights from the hackathon:

Admin Menu Manager – an extension for customising the menu structure in Magento Admin to suit personal preference.

Reviews API – implements the API for ratings and reviews (missing from Magento core).

EAV Cleaner – used to clean up your Magento database by removing orphaned, unused and wrongly added attribute, attribute values and settings; ported to Magento 2.


Final Words

Magento is built on a great community, and it was great to see that community thriving. This year’s Magento Developers Paradise brought together great minds from around the world. There’s a unique culture that evolves when you mix up such diverse groups. A big shout out to the Inchoo team for organising such a great event.

It was great to see such honesty and openness to debate Magento 2, to discuss the problems from the past and ultimately drive the future of Magento.

It also feels like the “community driven” aspect is stronger for Magento. Certainly since Magento wavered off-course in 2010 with eBay, PayPal and the x-commerce ecosystem (and all that it entailed). It seems back on-track, without all of those distractions and red tape. To the community, the company seems more simpler now, more mature, and it has perhaps learned from its mistakes – and that is evidenced in the discussions. Yes Magento has grown bigger ears. Thanks Ben!

I enjoyed the willingness of others to share knowledge, to debate, to brainstorm and work together. Co-opetition is a good thing.

It was also re-assuring to see some of the larger extension vendor developers getting involved. Companies such as Aheadworks, Mageworx, Sweettooth, Yireo and Inter_Net (apologies if I left you out – drop me a line). These companies seem forward thinking and are working strongly to improve the standards of Magento extensions. Which is why I’m really pleased to see the emergence of a developer network such as ExtDN (see I’m sure too that more extension vendors would have been present if not for the conference clash with Magento Imagine conference in Las Vegas.

So it is with great enthusiasm that we dive into Magento 2. The knowledge gained will help Create Hosting to develop and continuously refine our Magento hosting platform and services.

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