Hosting the first NZ Wagtail meetup

04 May 2016

Springload recently organised the first Wagtail meetup in New Zealand. Two years ago Wagtail and Django became a fundamental piece of our technology stack. In the last few months we’ve seen a growing interest in Wagtail, so this meetup was both about spreading the word and bringing the community together. We hosted around 25 people, and had great talks and demos from our dev team members – Josh, Jordi and Rich. We’re happy to report that the event was a success!

Meetup magic

We created a Meetup Group for Wagtail a few weeks ago and (as of right now) already have around 40 members. It’s great to see that there’s burgeoning interest in Wagtail – a fresh alternative to other CMS’s like Silverstripe, Drupal or Wordpress. Providing pizza from our friends at Pomodoro plus drinks probably helped to attract some attendees too.

Pizza is always a good idea

We were pleased to meet people with such different backgrounds – Drupal developers, Ruby developers, Python/Django developers and even a Mezzanine (a Django-based CMS) user/developer. There were also some familiar faces from the Python Wellington Group. What a great start!

What we talked about

Josh gave a mini history lesson about Wagtail, from the early days when Torchbox open-sourced it to the latest developments. He showcased a bunch of high-profile sites running on Wagtail and did a virtual tour around the globe. This gave everyone a clear understanding of who’s using Wagtail and who’s involved in its development. We also had a glimpse of some upcoming releases and got to see the awesome work Josh has being doing on the front end side of things, like these:

Josh, Jordi and Rich in action

People were pleased with the Wagtail admin interface in general and keen about the future improvements, especially page revision diffs and support of page translations. Very exciting!

When Josh finished, Jordi got his hands dirty and showed off some of the most exciting features while guiding the audience through the code. We put a up a very simple demo of Wagtail with only a couple of page-based classes (we found the other demos available out there a bit too heavy). He demonstrated how easy is for developers to work and tailor Wagtail to fit users’ needs – from your models declaration to plugging in external packages such as Wagtail ModelAdmin. There was a lot of “It just works” and If you need to do X well, you have Django!"

Building a Wagtail community

While we highlighted the non-technical aspects of Wagtail, we think the dev community around it is extremely important. We’ve found that one of the benefits of Wagtail is its openness – and how easy is to start contributing to it. There’s clear documentation, and the Torchbox team is responsive and approachable. Answers to questions in forums or issues in Github are usually only a few hours away (depending on your location, of course).

Until next time

Given the great response to the meetup and the ongoing interest on Wagtail we’re going to organise more events in the future. Wagtail is a great CMS solution and open source project. If you didn’t make it to the meetup, please join the group and we’ll see you next time. Or if you want to discuss any other Wagtail-related matter, get in touch.

Some useful links: