Returning from Mendix World - Day One

With the event behind us, Matt, Danny, Rowan, Brandon and I headed to Dublin, Ireland to fit in some last minute sites and culture before heading home. We had to leave early in the morning to catch our train to the airport where Danny and I met up Matt and Brandon who took a later train. Rowan had a different agenda and met up with us later in the afternoon.

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Hamming it up!

Hamming it up!

We took off without incident and had a chance to relax before a day of touring Dublin. Unfortunately I had developed heel bursitis based solely on Google and my symptoms (I’ll be checked by a doc back home) so my day started with significant pain and it only worsened. I managed 25k steps yesterday and each step was excruciating. As I write this the morning after with one day to go, my will to take in the experience is all that allows me move upright. I have genuine flashbacks to my trench foot experience in the Marine Corps and willing myself forward. But enough of that, we had fun so let’s check it out!

 

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Arrival in Ireland 

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We were very hungry so that needed to be corrected immediately! We took a couple of turns and found this back alley cafe, almost like a tent, and decided to give it a try. I can’t recommend this place highly enough! The daily soup and sandwich combo was exquisite!

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With no agenda in mind, we just walked a few blocks and were suddenly at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I might return there later as it is Good Friday/Passover and I’m sure decorated to the nines. It may not be quite as impressive as the Cologne Cathedral, but certainly as much if not more iconic!

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A few blocks later and we were at Christ Church Cathedral! I took a lot of pics but here are a few. I couldn’t upload the panoramic unfortunately but it was a site to behold!

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From there we headed down a road and marveled at the architecture and quaint feeling of the whole area. We took a right at one point to “cut through” to another area and were suddenly in the courtyard of the Castle of Dublin!

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Our one goal for the day was to take the Jameson tour of the old distillery. We were not disappointed as this museum was rich in history, and taught us how to distinguish between whiskey types. I’ve always had a preference for Jameson but I never realized why until now! I just figured it was my Irish roots, haha.

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Stopped for Ice Cream a long the way, yum!

Stopped for Ice Cream a long the way, yum!

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On the way to meet up with Rowan for dinner, we stumbled across a church with a very orange hue to the brickwork (sorry didn’t get the name). Then we saw a large number of young people sitting by the canal laughing and drinking and wondered why that spot in particular was so popular. Turns out there were these massive beautiful swans that migrate for winter and will likely be leaving soon. You can sort of see them in the picture.

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Dinner was at an Italian restaurant where the everything was made fresh that afternoon. We thoroughly enjoyed the food and dinner conversations, especially recounting Rowan’s experiences making it to that point in time from Rotterdam!

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As we walked back to our hotel, I realized that Matt, Danny, and Brandon were all leaving for home in the morning so I took one last pic. What an adventure we have had! Four grown men traveled across Europe together for a week much like young men do at the start of their adult lives. We laughed the entire way and it will take weeks to process all we have done together. Our work carried us through Mendix World where we networked with peers we have spoken to on the phone so many times before but never shook hands until this week. We were there when the announcements were made that will most impact us for the next few years. But most of all, we’ve come out the other side best of friends.

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Rowan and I have one more day in Dublin to take in all we can. I’ll hobble along as best I can and rest when I get home. I’m excited to see my family again; it’s been very long since I’ve hugged them all. I’m not sure if I’ll post a recap of today or not, but I’ll leave now to go see what I can find!

Mendix World 2019 - Day Two

After an amazing day one at the conference, we arrived early at the Ahoy Rotterdam for day two. Johan (Mendix CTO) was set to deliver the keynote and we were excited to see all R&D had assembled for the show. But first, I needed coffee with my kids face printed!

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We assembled in the main hall for the Keynote and Johan did not disappoint! First, he recapped Mendix Studio and Studio Pro, formerly known as the Web Modeler and Business Modeler respectively. Then the bombshells started dropping. The former Sandbox Edition, now known as the Free Edition, removed the user limit of 10 to unlimited. This means that users can create apps without restriction (other than the 90 minute spin down and restart upon a user requesting the webpage) and if IT deems it enterprise worthy, they can secure and support it by updating the app in the Studio Pro Edition and deploying to a licensed node in a few clicks!

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Next he showed off the ability to create an app directly from a spreadsheet upload, where Mendix Studio interprets Entities and Associations to build out your domain model.

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He then spoke about AI and the progression of expected development and use. I joked that stage 5 was the T-1000!

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Most excitedly we got a sneak peek at the Data Hub and this is potentially a game changer. I’ll write more about this in particular in the near future. 

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The release schedule was announced as follows for all of the goodies:

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Johan then gave us a sneak peek at what they are innovating with AR. My colleagues and I came up with a few use cases that our customers would be interested in so I’m going to see about how we co-innovate with them.

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Next was lunch and we couldn’t pass up the chance to grab a hot dog, French style. It was delicious!

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We headed back to the show floor to speak with partners and clients It was great to meet everyone and share our stories of success at EPI-USE.

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Jornt joined EPI-USE, sorry Mendix 😉

Jornt joined EPI-USE, sorry Mendix 😉

Finally, we ended the event with a speech by Bear Grylls and an after party. I missed out on the MVP dinner and they sure did rub it in!

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The event was really great and I’m thankful to EPi-USE for sending us and to Mendix for hosting it. I hope we get one in the USA soon! Now we are off to Dublin for a couple of days of fun before heading home so stay tuned!

Mendix World 2019 - Day One

The day has finally arrived! After an exciting Partner Day where we got a sneak peek, we were excited to join the 5,000 other participants for Derek’s Keynote at the Ahoy Rotterdam. The crowd and venue did not disappoint and we were treated to the new Mendix slogan which I feel captures the spirit of Rapid App Development perfectly: Go Make It

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Derek reminded us of the humble beginnings of Mendix and shared the exponential growth they have seen since starting the Rapid App Dev movement back in 2006.

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Marc Gaell, SVP Global Head of Platfrom and Technologies Ecosystem for SAP, joined Derek onstage to discuss the strategic partnership between SAP, Mendix, and Siemens. Hopefully this assuages the fears some have about those relationships as they are confidentially working together as Mendix has already become the third largest SOLEX SAP Cloud Platform solution. (I believe he said largest but might have been fastest growing). The best part was the announcement of Mendix deployed on SAP HANA (cloud or on-Premier), which opens many possibilities our clients have requested for leveraging their investments and analytic platforms.

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One the clients we have helped train and deliver Mendix solutions for ongoing is CanadaPost, the Canadian postal service. They are lead by Anik Dubreuill who joined Derek onstage to discuss what it has meant to revolutionize and update the technology stack so a 200 year+ company could compete with the like of Amazon. We’ve built some great things together and their team is very talented. I look forward to continued projects that transform the way parcels are delivered to Canadians and possibly change the way this works for others across the globe that follow suit!

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Derek introduced us to a few new features that I’m excited to finally see announced! The Native Mobile allows us to develop apps with Mendix and bolster our offline/feature connectivity by leveraging React and React.js. This is a very big deal and I’m very curious to get some answers to our pressing questions about PhoneGap mobile app conversion pathing, iOS vs Android potential forks and codebase, and offline comparisons.

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The Data Hub announcement is the new tool I am most excited for! I’ve been wanting to architect more microservice solutions but without a proper management tool for the services, I have been reluctant. I have a lot of ideas of what I hope this tool is or becomes, but this is definitely the step needed in the right direction!

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In the afternoon, I was fortunate to speak with Ruben Fechner who is responsible for the great work (which was later awarded with a coveted Impact Award!) at Erie Insurance. They have faced many challenges and pressures in the insurance industry and found like many of our clients that Mendix allows them to deliver more value and better user/agent experiences with the same or even less resources.

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I had to take a break in the VIP lounge and get a cappuccino with our logo made in edible ink!

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The show floor was busy and hustling about were Mendix employees, partners, and clients. I’m told the ratios were 2:1 clients to the rest of us which is great to see that much enthusiasm!

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They gave out Impact Awards to customers for various leadership and results. I was especially proud that one of the winning apps was one that we helped design and deliver with ConocoPhilips!

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After the award, in typical Dutch fashion, a party was staged and good times were had by all. We headed out from there for a strategic dinner at a fantastic Indian restaurant and headed back to the hotel. Another late night and early morning, but we are ready for round two! 

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On our way to Mendix World - Day Three

What an adventure this has been so far and we aren’t even halfway through it yet! Day three was spent in Cologne and then finished in Rotterdam where the conference will be held near Mendix’s base of operations. Here’s what happened yesterday:

We awoke around 8am and grabbed breakfast at the hotel before setting out towards the train station to purchase our tickets that would take us to Rotterdam. 

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Once that was settled, we decided to go check out the Cologne Cathedral which turned out to be just steps from the other side of the Central Station. We were literally stopped in our tracks at the site. What you will see here is a series of pictures that I captured around and in the Cathedral, but I promise they don’t do justice to one of the most amazing sights I have ever witnessed. We arrived during a Mass and were able to listen to the pipe organ belting out melodies for the choir to use as leverage to surround the hall with other-worldly and ancient harmonies. Spectacular doesn’t give this the weight it deserves.

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While we easily could have spent another day or month trying to take in the detail of this World Heritage Site, we had limited time and wanted to see more around the city. Nearby, we found an archway and road that were from 50 A.D. that were built by the Romans upon ruling this land. That is now the oldest engineering I have ever seen or touched in person. 

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We headed to the Rhine to see what could possibly top what we had witnessed to this point, and Cologne did not disappoint. From the amazing waterfront to the old town center, we were amazed at the history and variety of a place that had rebuilt itself from rubble over the last 75 years. 

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We decided to grab lunch before heading out. On our way to the hotel to get our gear, we stopped at a chocolatier and a gift shop since our time in Germany was coming to an end.  We all had to try a piece of chocolate and were not disappointed!

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We set off on the trains to Rotterdam at last and wished farewell to Germany. I might have to come back to this amazing country in the future!

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Finally in Rotterdam, we checked in to the Hotel, met up with Rowan (my boss), watched the back nine of the Master’s while catching up (Tiger!), and went out to grab a bite and meet up with peers I know from the Mendix MVP program (René and Derick) as well as a few others. We had a heck of a time making our way to Mendix World 2019, and now the conference begins! I’ll be heading over shortly to attend the Partner conference and get this started, so stay tuned! 

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On our way to Mendix World - Day Two

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our Day One post! Also I’m creating these posts entirely from my phone on the go so apologies if I have a grammatical or formatting error.

Day two started off well with a much needed rest at the hotel in Stuttgart. We assembled and, after stowing our luggage, headed to what can only be described as picturesque views over a quintessential European meal. We overlooked the New Palace in the background with the Jubiläumssäule in the foreground. What a start!

 

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We then set off to check out the plaza and I captured a few shots to share here: 

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While we could have stayed all day, we really wanted to check out the Porsche Museum. We grabbed a few subway trains and got off at their stop.

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Again, I snapped a ton of amazing pics here but I’ll post the highlights: 

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This was amazing but we wanted to catch the long train to Cologne that wraps around the Rhine. We grabbed lunch from the Food Court of a nearby mall and headed to the station for the 4-hour trek. Here are a few of the shots I captured along the way: 

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We arrived in Cologne and after checking in to our hotels, we set off to find dinner. We stumbled across a small restaurant that seated about 16 total and all ordered a type of schnitzel. The food was decadent!

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With out bellies full, we retired for the evening and grabbed some sleep before our next day of touring Cologne. See you tomorrow!