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SpreeConf DC Re-cap

Posted on May 29, 2013 by Lynne Brehmer

Our third SpreeConf was a great success! It was great to be able to get together with Spree users from around the world. This was our largest SpreeConf yet, and everyone loved the fantastic talks and networking opportunities. We are so proud of — and grateful for — our enthusiastic Spree community. It’s what keeps us going and makes Spree so special.

The Sessions

SpreeConf DC included two days of training and talks. The speakers went into depth about their experiences with Spree and provided valuable insights about how to optimize both the technical and business aspects of an e-commerce store. Here are some of the highlights.

Day 1

  • Chris Mar - In Chris’s talk, Fun with Shipments, Chris discussed the new, cutting edge split shipments functionality included in Spree 2.0. We learned how to set up a complex fulfillment situation shipping different types of products from multiple locations based on complicated rules.
  • John Feminella - Gave insight into the future, talking about Better, Faster, Smarter Cloud Deployments with Docker (but then cautioned against using it in production too soon).
  • Peter Berkenbosch - Gave a great introduction to TDD Spree, giving tools, tricks, and examples, creating a real life situation with a breaking test and then walked through fixing it.
  • Denis Ivanov - Perfecting Your E-commerce Frontend using fairly simple improvements; using the best possible CSS selector, minimizing and parallelizing http requests, and using semantic html to improve your visibility on search engine result pages.
  • Eric Koester - Spoke about Capitalizing on the Micro-preneur Revolution, discussing the movement towards freelancing and free agency, including how to be succesful as a free agent.

Day 2

  • Sean Schofield - In discussing Spree 2.0 and Beyond, Sean introduced the crowd to the big changes in Spree 2.0, discussed Spree’s recent accomplishments. Sean also previewed the Rails 4 efforts, the partnership program, upcoming efforts to improve performance, the Spree integrator, and more!
  • Brian Quinn - Brian impressed everybody by Introducing the Spree Integrator, showing how stores and their developers can automatically route order, product, and user events to various endpoints. Brian’s efforts at a live demo were hampered by the wifi issues, but he was able to show detailed examples of what the open source endpoints will look like.
  • Gregor MacDougall and Clarke Brunsdon - talked about Large Scale Migration to Spree: A Case Study, describing how they helped a large store with lots of problems, detailing the process of deciding their migration path, and giving some general migration advice.
  • Ryan Bigg - In Open Source War Stories, we heard about the explosion in Github and User Group activity, some major bumps in the commit graph, and more!
  • Nick Gauthier - Showed off Rails 4 In Action highlighting additions, removals, and improvements, explained the new caching scheme and changes in thread safety, and then took a lot of really good questions about other Rails 4 features.
  • Alex Nemeroff - Hugh & Crye: The (Re)Birth of an Online-only Brand – Gave a thorough look at the opportunities and pitfalls in redesigning and relaunching an e-commerce site. Using Hugh & Crye — a successful menswear brand — as a case study, Alex conveyed the lessons learned from that experience and offered useful takeaways along with a discussion of concrete results.
  • Sandi Metz - Provided lessons from her book Practical Object Oriented Design during her Magic Tricks of Testing talk. She broke unit tests down into 6 categories, and explained how we should test each one.
  • Adil Wali - In Lessons from the Field: Scaling an E-Commerce Business Adil closed out the conference with a thought-provoking look at the state of e-commerce today. He encouraged everyone to think differently about their businesses, disrupt the competition, and accomplish something big.

Ignite SpreeConf Gaming Gala

We hosted the first Ignite SpreeConf Gaming Gala at Stoney’s Upstairs the Sunday evening before the conference. It was a great way for Spree community newcomers to break the ice and for existing community members to reconvene with old friends. We had several tables of River Dragons and Ticket to Ride going. Congrats to our gaming champs – Ted Lilley and Michael Sevestre.

Lightning Talks

This year’s lightning talks, sponsored by Zencoder, were preceded by a cocktail hour which was successful in providing some liquid courage to the lightning talk speakers. The cocktail hour was complete with the legendary SpreeConf whiskey (well, almost complete — our special blend from the Isle of Arran in Scotland was delayed in customs so we had to offer a substitute instead). We had a record number of people sign up for the lightning talks this year including several first time public speakers. Nick Gauthier did an amazing job as MC and kept everyone to the 5 minute time limit. Here’s a photo of most of our lightning talk speakers.

Rails Girls DC Photo and Lunch with Sandi Metz

We set up a special itinerary for Rails Girls DC members which included a photo shoot with Sandi Metz on the morning of Day 2 followed by an off-site lunch. During lunch we had a great group discussion covering topics from how to process the overwhelming amount of information required to stay on top of the latest programming trends to whether the word “girls” should be included in the Rails Girls name. Everyone left really inspired with two or three ideas about how to become a better programmer. We’d like to give a special thanks to Sandi Metz for her support of Rails Girls and Spree. Sandi will be a coach at the Rails Girls DC workshop in June.

Happy Hour

SpreeConf Day 1 concluded with a happy hour at Policy DC sponsored by Braintree. Before the happy hour a group of SpreeConfers ventured to the Washington, DC legendary eatery – Ben’s Chilli Bowl. The happy hour was a buzz with the energy and momentum of the day.

After Party

The SpreeConf after party was held on the rooftop of Lost Society in DC and was sponsored by the Rails Dog team. It was a perfect evening to take in the skyline view of Washington, DC and relax after an intense two days of learning. We really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know all of the SpreeConf attendees better at the party and to learn about your Spree projects.

SpreeConf Photos

We’ve uploaded all of our photos from SpreeConf DC to our Google+ page. Take a look through them when you get a chance and add your own to the gallery.


We’d like to thank all our sponsors for their support of Spree and SpreeConf, especially Contegix, our premier sponsor.

The Next Conference

SpreeConf has become a really valuable opportunity for developers, designers, and store owners to get together and talk about the latest trends in e-commerce and how to make them come to life using the Spree platform. We are so excited by the energy and momentum from this SpreeConf and we can’t wait for the next one! We’d love your suggestions and feedback on where you’d like to have the next SpreeConf and when. In the meantime let’s keep the energy and momentum going. Keep those contributions coming!

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