On November 16th, the folks at nopCommerce kicked off their 3rd annual conference, aptly named nopCommerce Days 2017, in New York City at the AMA’s New York Conference Center. This was a milestone for the company as it was the first time the conference was held in the United States, where most of their customers and developers reside. The event brought in over 200 attendees from 24 different countries, which is a testament to how widespread the nopCommerce community is becoming.
In attendance were Bayshore Solutions’ Vice President, Eric Cadman and Director of Development, Richard Read. Eric’s mission was to learn more about the business side of nopCommerce, while Richard focused his time on the technical knowledge the conference had to offer. Bayshore Solutions is an experienced nopCommerce Gold Solutions Partner and was named the #1 nopCommerce Solutions Partner worldwide in 2016. We also won the Best B2C Website Award for one of our clients at this year’s conference!
To say we know a thing or two about creating custom ecommerce solutions through their platform is an understatement. As such, it was a no brainer for us to attend their much-anticipated U.S. debut. I sat down with Eric and Richard to ask them some questions about the conference. Here’s what they had to say.
Q: What would you say the overall theme was at this year’s event?
Eric: First, nopCommerce 4.0. CEO Andrei Mazulnitsyn was very excited about the latest version, which was released on November 9th. Second, the message that they’re growing and starting to accelerate in popularity. Look at these stats: 3,000,000 downloads with 30,000 live stores, 215,000 users, 190,000 official forum posts, 1800 plugins and themes from 630 vendors…The proof is in the numbers.
Richard: I agree. The big topic throughout the event was nopCommerce v4.0 and their adoption of ASP.NET Core, which is Microsoft’s cross platform, open-source framework for building modern web applications. Second to that was the amount of the growth they’re experiencing, not just as a company but also within the community that’s been built around the platform.
Q: The conference wouldn’t be possible without the nopCommerce community. Can you tell us more about it and how they support it?
Eric: As an open-source platform, they are fully dependent on their community which is why they invest so much in it. I spoke with the Director General of Tecnofin, an ecommerce website development firm from Mexico and he said (quote), “I answer at least five questions back to the community for every one I ask. This is an example of how strong and dedicated the nopCommerce community is.”
Richard: The nopCommerce marketing team spoke in detail about supporting regular community “meet-ups” hosted by their Partners, like Bayshore Solutions. These meetups offer community users in a certain geographical area access to “experts” via seminars. It’s similar in concept to open houses and the benefits have a real, lasting effect.
Q: Going back to version 4.0, can you shed some light into the move to ASP.NET Core?
Richard: The move to ASP.NET Core means a leaner, more modular framework that can be bundled with the web application. It does not have to be preinstalled on the web server, simplifying maintenance and portability. The integration allows the ability to host on Windows, macOS, and Linux servers (almost there but not 100%), with the potential to reduce hosting costs. The fact that both platforms are open-sourced facilitates more input from the developer community, with Microsoft validating and testing community source code contributions.
Eric: Being that nopCommerce is the only ecommerce provider to do this, it also means there is currently no competition. This is why they’re leaders in ecommerce and this move will keep them current for the next 3 years.
Q: What would you say about the kinds of people and companies that attended?
Eric: There was a wide range of attendees. You had people from large, overseas agencies and then you had small mom & pop operations wanting to learn more about growing their online stores. I met contacts from Mexico, India, Europe and Asia.
Richard: I would say the attendees were made up of 50% developers, 25% end users, and 25% marketing/business development people.
Q: One of the keynote speaker was Scott Hanselman, Program Manager from Microsoft on .NET Core. What were some of the key points he spoke about?
Richard: Scott spoke about how Microsoft has historically generated B2B revenues from Office and Windows Server licenses. So why make .NET Core cross platform and run on Linux servers for free? The answer to this question is in the shift to cloud hosting. Microsoft heavily promotes its Azure cloud hosting platform. Using their services, you can host on Windows or Linux. This way, regardless of your choice of development platform, Microsoft can provide the development frameworks and hosting environments for a broader range of customers.
Q: To close things up, would you recommend others to attend next year?
Eric: Absolutely. There are so many contacts to be made with agencies and developers. You can also get your questions answered right from the source.
Richard: Yes, I would. This a place for those that want to attain more knowledge on nopCommerce and it’s a chance to connect with the community.
--- Interview and write up by Andy Montoya, Director of Corporate Marketing at Bayshore Solutions.