Keeping Up With the Sitecore Community
Like any great group of developers, Sitecore has a fantastic community that offers assistance, discussion, and meetings via conferences, user groups, and online hangouts. In my experience, this community is incredibly welcoming, and there are plenty of ways to get involved. Here are some of the best ways to interact with the Sitecore community, from the most passive ways to follow along up to the most active activities for getting involved.
Lots of great Sitecore news, blogs, and insights come out on Twitter every day. This is the best place to begin learning who's who in the community. Some people tend to have "Sitecore" in their Twitter handle, but this isn't a requirement for being noticed. Participating in conversation and posting quality content gets you noticed!
To get you started, here are some recommended people and companies worth following on Twitter (in no particular order):
- Jason Wilkerson (@LonghornTaco)
- Michael West (@MichaelWest101)
- Akshay Sura (@akshaysura13)
- Michael Reynolds (@mike_i_reynolds)
- Adam Najmanowicz (@adamnaj)
- Mike Edwards (@mikeedwards83)
- Richard Seal (@rich_seal)
- Mark Cassidy (@cassidydotdk)
- Matthew Dresser (@m_dresser)
- Kam (@kamsar)
- RandyWoods (@RandyWoods)
- Suresh Devanan (@surdev)
- Marissa Dresnek (@MarissaDresnek)
And of course I need a shameless plug to round out this list:
- Sitecore (@sitecore)
- Hedgehog Development (@hhogdev)
- ARKE (@ArkeSystems)
- Perficient Microsoft (@Perficient_MSFT)
- Coveo (@coveo)
- RDA Corporation (@RDACorporation)
Sitecore Community Forums
Owned and operated by Sitecore as the official community forums, this is another place to go for support, questions, discussion, and a knowledge base of information.
As a bonus, Sitecore employees keeps eyes on the community forums, and occasionally drop in to help answer questions or point to resources that can provide assistance.
Compared to Slack and Sitecore Stack Exchange (below), this is not necessarily the most active Sitecore community, but there is still plenty of useful information and great answers to common Sitecore issues.
The Sitecore Slack channel was set up by Akshay Sura, and is full of daily discussion, lots of Q&A, and of course, a random thread. This is the best place to get to know different personalities and reach out for introductions.
To get started, visit Akshay's site to learn more and fill out a request to join: How to join Sitecore Slack Community Chat
Ask any Sitecore 6 or Sitecore 7 developer where they turned for help when they needed it the most. It wasn't Sitecore's hit-or-miss documentation. It wasn't the obsolete Sitecore Developer Network (SDN).
It was someone's blog.
I also followed this path as I was learning Sitecore. Blogging is a big deal for the Sitecore community, since new perspectives, developer tips, and detailed solutions to obscure problems are best served by blogs. Most of the people listed above on Twitter have one thing in common: they blog and share their Sitecore experiences with the community.
Getting started with blogging doesn't have to be hard. If your company has a relevant blog, start there. If you want to make a name for yourself, begin with a hosted platform like Wordpress or Blogger.
Just start writing. Most Sitecore developers will tell you to not rehash what's already been said or done, but there's nothing wrong with providing your own perspective on existing ideas. More importantly, share your Sitecore learnings with the larger community. If you've encountered a problem with Sitecore and managed to solve it, go ahead share it. Someone else may be stuck on the same problem as you.
Sitecore Stack Exchange
Finding Sitecore-specific questions and answers on Stack Overflow was rare back in the day. In 2017, there is a Stack Exchange community specific to Sitecore, and as of this writing, it's still growing quite fast.
Every major Sitecore MVP and developer has their eyes on this, so it's a hot place to be. A lot of useful answers have already been provided, and the community welcomes more questions, so don't be shy to ask.
It can be hard to contribute answers to Stack Exchange if you're not first to respond or have a low reputation score. Being late to the party is okay, especially if you can contribute a new perspective to a problem or an alternate solution that hasn't been suggested.
To get started answering questions, I recommend clicking on the "Unanswered" questions, then sorting by "Newest." This will give you the most recent questions that have not be answered.
Sitecore User Groups
The introverts out there may cringe at this one, but it makes the biggest impact on the community: get out in front of your fellow developers and share your ideas. In person.
There are Sitecore user groups all over the country - both big (75+ members) and small (9 members) - so find the nearest one to you, figure out who organizes it, and ask to get on their schedule. You should have a few solid abstracts at the ready - the more you have, the better variety you can offer various user groups.
Do you have questions or comments about this post? Find me on Twitter: @SitecoreSpark