Introducing Gert Gullentops, speaker at the Sitecore Symposium on the 6th of November 2019

Sitecore has selected 2 of The Reference’s own MVP’s, Most Valuable Professionals, as speakers at the 2019 Sitecore Symposium in Orlando, Florida. We are glad to introduce our first speaker Gert Gullentops in today’s blogpost.

Who is Gert Gullentops?

Gert is a Senior Sitecore Architect at The Reference. He has 21 years of experience in web development and 13 years of experience with Sitecore. Furthermore, Gert is a StackExchange (SXA) enthusiast and a regular speaker at SugBelux. In 2017 he was awarded the title of Sitecore MVP for the first time and he was able to get that title renewed in 2018 and in 2019. Gert, also known as “Gatogordo”, is always present on the Sitecore SXA, a platform where developers and end users of Sitecore can ask questions and exchange ideas, and on other online Sitecore community channels.

Hi Gert, welcome! 

First of all, congratulations on your selection as speaker at the Symposium! What does it mean for you to have been selected? 

A lot of extra work. But mostly an opportunity to share knowledge with the rest of the Sitecore community. Also I’m hoping to inspire some attendees with the message I want to deliver.

Why is it such an achievement to speak at the Symposium?
Many people have answered the call for papers, so it feels as a recognition of the ideas in the presentation and the level of knowledge that I gathered with SXA. 

Do you have any expectations about the event?
Learning and connecting with the Sitecore community members will be the main focus for me.  The agenda has some interesting sessions, but my experience with events like these has thought me that I usually learn most when I don’t expect it. As I do talk to lots of people within the Sitecore community throughout the year it is always nice to meet them in person. Sometimes that is even more important than the actual session content. The combination of the content and the social aspect should make this a great event!

What is your presentation about?
On previous Sitecore events, a lot of sessions were given about the basics of SXA and what’s new in version X. I wanted to go one step further: how can you tweak SXA to match your needs? It is based on real stories from a live project – with some extra insights on how the latest evolutions of SXA might change things. 

Why should we attend your session?
The idea of the session is to show that SXA can do a lot more than what is in the box and to take away any fear that might exist that you are bound to the "box". SXA has many nice features and it can be easily extended with rendering variants and/or clones of existing renderings. This session will show how SXA is extensible, even beyond that. From the use case to the result - starting from requirements over why we did this, to how we achieved it. Although parts of the session are rather technical, this approach should make the session accessible and interesting for technical and non-technical people. The story is based upon our journey building the website. And to put the cherry on the cake, I will be showing how the next version of SXA might affect our solution - and how we can extend that.

Do you have a special routine to prepare yourself for your presentation?
No, but now I am thinking that maybe I should … (laughs)

And finally: why do people call you “Gatogordo”?
That is actually a nickname that I have used for a long time already – it comes from the Marsupilami comics where it is the name of a very old jaguar.  I like the comics and I also love cats…  well, I guess I am that crazy cat dude (laughs)

Thanks Gert! All the best at the Symposium and let us know how it went.

Gert is presenting on Wednesday, the 6th of November 2019
01:30 pm — 02:15 pm
Session title: “SXA beyond the box”

Hear about five real-life examples to show you are not bound to "out-of-the-box:" SXA has many nice features out-of-the-box. They can be easily extended with rendering variants and/or copies of existing renderings. I would like to show that SXA is very extensible, even beyond that. We can do a lot --without using NVelocity -- with a bit of custom code. This is the story of a real (live) website and a few real examples of things we added to show how easy it is to build something that is not fully in the box, still using out-of-the-box features. You'll come away understanding the potential of SXA, and without any fear of being limited by boundaries of the box.

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