As soon as we became aware of the upcoming event, we immediately made reservations for our team. Initially we planned to send the whole team of developers, but due to certain issues with Polish visas we did not manage to apply all necessary documents within such a short period of time. Of course, all of us were disappointed, but there was no other way out, so it was agreed to send me as a sole representative who would keep the rest of the team updated via the Internet.
Fortunately, the hotel where the meeting was to take place is located in the very city center, just 10 minutes walk from the train station, so I had an opportunity to do some sightseeing as well.
The meeting was to begin at 2pm but the participants started to arrive in advance, about an hour before the beginning. The hotel administrator kindly provided us with the access to the hotel WiFi, and the participants started to exchange greetings with each other and discuss the future of E-commerce and Prestashop. Soon appeared the hosts of the conference who invited us to the conference hall. While waiting for the equipment to be tuned, we had some spare minutes to study Prestashop brochures and booklets.
According to the plan, the event was to be divided into 3 stages: the first stage was a 20-minute presentation of Prestashop, the second stage was devoted to questions of the participants, and the last, the longest stage, was decided to leave for discussions and talks between the participants at the dinner table.
So, the conference began. The presentation described the history of Prestashop, its rapid development in the eCommerce world, some major dates and numbers were mentioned. Also certain features were described as well: such as multi-store, multi-shipping and multi-language. Although most of the facts are quite familiar to those who work with Prestashop, the information was still quite useful.
Then the second stage began, which was devoted to the questions. The guests from France spoke English fluently, which made life easier for those who did not speak Polish.
Soon it appeared that most of the participants were directors and managers, and just a few developers were present. Since the directors kept silent, most of the questions were asked by the developers. The problems under consideration could be interesting for anyone who had any development experience for Prestashop: whether a new responsive theme is going to be issued, why the templates are so difficult to customize, why multi-stores have so many issues and problems.
Some guys asked if there are any plans to organize certification in Poland and they were promised that in the future there will be organized special training courses, a certification program, as well as online training courses on the integration with Prestashop.
Another question was if there are any plans to develop unit and functional tests for Prestashop. The reply was ‘yes’, although no estimates were given because the company has other priorities right now.
One of the participants draw the attention to the fact, that currently Prestashop is a very inflexible CMS which makes the programmers use only conventional and routine ways. And asked if there are any plans to change this. But the response was that although this issue will be taken into consideration, this is still not the focus of the company’s attention now. The prior goal right now is to create a monumental and functioning eCommerce system, the guests said.
But let’s not forget that the main purpose of the meet-up was not to solve some technical problems but to unite people with common interests.
There were no more further questions, and the participants followed to the next room with coffee and pastries, continuing making acquaintances with each other on the way.
In an hour the meeting resembled a buzzing swarm. Everyone was sharing views and experiences. Someone was attempting to find a team of developers and describing the requirements for Prestashop, others were talking to the hosts trying to find out how to move businesses to Prestashop from some other CMS more effectively. In general, the meet-up was a success: the conference helped developers find customers, while customers were able to find experienced Prestashop developers.