SyliusCon 2023 summary

The 2nd SyliusCon was all about getting together with the community and channeling a new burst of energy into the development of our dear e-commerce framework and its ecosystem.

The community remains strong, together

I’d like to start this article by congratulating new Sylius company owners - Damian and Mikołaj. As we’ve been told, organising the 2nd SyliusCon year after the 1st edition was one of their main ambitions for the first months under new management.

Why? Well, simply because they understand that communities are the biggest power of open-source technologies. The very fact that Sylius ecosystem has held it together through the turbulent half a year without leadership speaks for itself.

The energy that flows between people involved in Sylius is priceless. I’ve seen a great mixture of scouts wanting to learn more about the solution and true doyens that have 10+ years of experience with this framework. Not to mention there are already dozens of folks that have been around for more than 5 years, which to me is one of the ecosystem maturity proofs.

Even without big marketing budgets and spectacular revenues, these community members stand with Sylius for the good and the bad. Naturally, they appreciate the exceptional quality of the technology but I believe it is even more about the values that people of Sylius represent.

We simply feel good with each other, sharing the same perspectives on software craftsmanship, human-centric problem solving, and a rather informal but savvy approach to sales and customer service.

Weaving the net(working)

Oh my, we’ve had so many quality conversations! It made us realize again how dear this community is to us.

Sylius Core Team meeting

It all started from the Sylius Core Team meeting that we organized as Commerce Weavers the day before the conference. I am proud that our company has such an influence on the core development. My colleagues Łukasz, Mateusz, Grzegorz, and Jan were joined by Francis, Victor, Loïc, and Jakub.

Together, they have discussed many issues crucial for the development of Sylius. The main topic was the approach to the new payment processing architecture. Details should hopefully be announced in the Sylius roadmap later this year.

No matter the outcome, it’s always super valuable to meet this international group of experts. Thank you for being with us a day before the conference!

The Sylius Core Team in action.

The before party

Then, at the before party, the true networking started. I was finally able to meet and greet many fantastic people. Starting from the ones who helped me secure some of the most interesting deals for Sylius Plus during my time at the Sylius company. I refer here to Max from Brille24 - the top online optician in Germany (and 6 other European countries), and Andrei from Freshful by eMAG - the leading e-grocery in Romania, operating in Bucharest. I was glad to meet his colleagues Emilia and Gigi, and hear their Sylius instances are doing well. ;)

There was also another Romanian that I was probably the most excited to see - Gabi Udrescu. As a Product Owner, this guy has been responsible for one of the longest-standing (10+ years!) Sylius instance in the world - a duty-free cosmetics store BestValue. Throughout my whole Sylius career, Gabi has been an endless source of feedback and valuable information. Ever since we left the Sylius company, he’s also been very supportive to us and we are happy to get him involved in our upcoming project.

For my next drink, I joined a person that I first met 5 years ago when I was responsible for forming the first Sylius partnership in Czechia. The agency was called manGoweb (now 3BRS) and is known for its Sylius plugins. Their CEO Johan turned out to be a great guy from day one and guess what - nothing has changed. Still open, humorous, and in love with beer. That’s why we love Czechs. <3

As always, I also enjoyed a lot meeting Stefan Doorn, who happens to be one of the most experienced Sylius community members. He's been maintaining a Sylius-based website for a Dutch company Topjaloezieen for over 10 years as well. We’ve grown fond of each other, sharing a passion for electronic dance music (cannot be any different if you live in Amsterdam!), among other hobbies.

Finally, it was great to briefly talk to Przemek from Sylius, Sebastian from Mollie, Daniel from Gally, and Stephan from bitExperts, and say hello to many others as well.

The conference

Apart from the booth (which I’m dedicating a whole paragraph later in this article), our presence was marked by the presentation from my partners in crime and Sylius Core Team members - Mateusz and Łukasz. They talked about “Typical pitfalls of Sylius development” and how to cope with them. As always, they generated a unique chemistry between them and the crowd. There was a lot of laughter but also deep and valuable reflections. I’m proud of you guys!

It goes without saying that as longest-active Sylius maintainers (9+ years!) our Commerce Weavers duo has seen plenty of projects and helped countless teams. Some of the problems that they have encountered happen more often than others. Most recently, they have learned how to solve many of them when working with our clients.

Speaking of who, it’s always good to meet your customers and partners in person. Even better, when you hear only positive feedback about the quality of our services. Thank you all!

Łukasz informing Alfons Martin that he has beaten his best score in our RC car racing competition. Alfons is the Tech Lead of our key client - Raiffeisen Networld. This is how you do proper account management. ;)

Our key client Raiffeisen Networld was represented by three developers - Alfons, Florian, and Dodo. We also met Daniel and Johannes from Sulu who collaborate with us and the Austrian Sylius Partner Fusonic on Mofakult, a Swiss website with motorcycles’ accessories that we maintain. Another representative of our partner was Piotr from WTG Innovation. Together, we provide support for a major agricultural machines provider in Switzerland.

I’d like to also mention Radek from BitBag, Marcin, Kamil, and Paweł from Ergonode (btw. congrats for a great product!), Dominika from Adyen, Loic from Emagma, Bartosz from Bamiz, Radek from ArsCreo, Cezary and Łukasz from Spyrosoft, Maciej from Centuria, Kuba from Snowdog, Paweł from Vanilla Reply, Ivo from Netgen, Ibes from Studio Waaz, Helena and Olivier from Synolia… It’s impossible to remember all the conversations but overall it was a very productive and upbuilding experience!

Separate greetings go to new members of the Sylius company. It was especially great to meet fresh marketing & sales guys - Emil, Adam, and Patryk. Keeping my fingers crossed for them to bring more business to the whole ecosystem. ;)

About that, we were also happy to collect a few interesting leads from Poland and Germany. Great to know medium and big online businesses are still interested in Sylius. Let’s see what will come out of it!

The afterparty

What can I say? It was a cherry on the cake of the whole day full of fun. The next day hurt me a lot but it was worth it. Anyway, the later it got, the less I remember. But my best memories are:

  • Shuffleboard - I’ve thought carling is only to be played on the floor with the help of brooms… Well, I’ve been wrong! Google it and search for the closest possible place to play this simple, yet exciting game!
  • Exchanging various industry insights with Kuba from Snowdog but also talking about accessibility as one of the key technology values among other things (I was still sober)
  • French bowling and dancing like crazy (especially Jaques and Maxime from Monsieur Biz )
  • Drinking vodka from a juice glass with Łukasz and Vladislav from oXy, another Czech agency
  • Listening to Ibes from Studio Waaz singing the Athletic Bilbao anthem (I love how proud Basque people are about their country!)
  • Ivo from Netgen ordering 1 liter-sized pints of beer for everyone who made it to the after-afterparty ;P
  • a lot of hugs, kind words, and shared love. :)

The day after… ;)

The last day of our stay in Poznań was dedicated to brainstorming on our software product, which vision is getting more and more shape every month. As many of our community friends still spent their time sightseeing in Poznań, we could get together one last time before everyone traveled back home.

This time we finally had the opportunity to get to know a bit better more people from Emagma, another agency very loyal to Sylius (one of its early adopters). If you follow Sylius-related news closely, you must have noticed that they were the ones to organize the first Sylius meetup in Toulouse after a long break.

With Mateusz who was a speaker there, we still believe it was the most professional community event that we have ever seen in the Sylius ecosystem’s history. We know Emagma’s CEO Loïc well enough to understand this is not the last time he’s doing something great for Sylius. ;)

Let’s appreciate the ones that stayed out of the picture’s frame - Loïc, Florent, and Mateusz

Open Source Commerce Alliance?

Honestly, I was so busy managing our booth and networking that I only attended one talk (partially). It was the one by the famous ex-Magento’s and current Shopware’s global evangelist Ben Marks called “Community and Chaos: Why Open Source Wins Commerce”.

In short, Ben noted how the MACH Alliance is a great marketing phenomenon and said open-source-first solutions should think about their own strengths instead of trying to get to this luxury society.

I couldn’t help myself and asked Ben if he saw any chance for open-source e-commerce platforms to collaborate instead of competing. This would both comply with the core value of the Open Source Initiative itself, which is knowledge sharing and be absolutely unique in the always-competing world of closed-source solutions.

Guess what he answered! Apparently, they’ve been already working at Shopware to come up with such an alliance concept and are planning to announce it during their presentation at SymfonyCon, Brussels, one month from now.

Sylius’ CEO Mikołaj Król already confirmed that Sylius wants to be part of this new movement from day one. I couldn’t be more happy to hear that as I’ve always been a big fan of collaboration and sharing instead of hiding the know-how of solutions, and, this way, stopping innovation.

Can’t wait to see Ben on stage again in Brussels!

It's always about the right actions at the right time

Your conference entertainment partner

Our vision of becoming an entertainment partner of IT conferences is becoming more and more real with every event.

After the first successful presentation of our own RC car racing track at the API Platform Conference in September, we were delighted to expand the idea of serving fun to event attendees at SyliusCon.

This time, we had even more space, with a large chess set and PlayStation. At lunchtime, people played FIFA, chess, and RC cars at the same time, with a dozen more attendees surrounding our space.

Commerce Weavers means fun

Overall, we’ve had 37 unique contenders. Some people got our addiction and tried several times to beat themselves over and over again… but we left only their single best scores on the [board]( Kudos to BitBag’s representatives Damian and Emil, and Łukasz from Spyrosoft for getting the three best places!

I think we can safely say that we’ve created our first-ever conference chill zone. And it’s just the beginning. We can already confirm having the most original booth at the upcoming SymfonyCon. See you there!

To sum up, we feel like SyliusCon was a great experience and we are looking forward to the next year full of fruitful events, including the 3rd edition of the Sylius conference that is said to happen in France.

PS. Our special gratitude goes to Sebastian and Konrad. These two guys are the main organiseres of the largest PHP conference in Poland - the PHPers Summit. Those who have ever attended it must have recognized the same event space - International Trades of Poznań, the same awesome barbecue catering, and even the great quality of the merch. Thank you guys for using your resources to provide the best possible experience for the Sylius community!

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