A Tour of Nantes

A short flight and a taxi ride later we arrived in Nantes. Neither myself or Tom had ever been so arriving a day earlier we took the opportunity to do a little exploring, perhaps find a nice traditional cafe to frequent and a bite to eat. After walking for what seemed like forever, we stumbled upon an Irish bar. Not exactly what we were after but we took the opportunity none the less for refreshment before moving on to find food; of which there was an abundance.

Day 1 : Symfony

After introductions and a swift tour of the offices and grounds we made our way to begin training.

The first day was dedicated to extending our knowledge of Symfony. Although it wasn’t designed to give us a complete understand of Symfony, it was essential that we understood the principles that Akeneo is based on. Coming from a PHP / Magento background I think we picked this up fairly quickly and had a small application to show for it.

Day 2 > 4 : Akeneo

From here on in all training was focused entirely on the Akeneo software. Of course, as a side effect of learning Akeneo our knowledge of Symfony would naturally increase. In fact, a lot of what we were about to learn were just Symfony concepts adopted by the Akeneo platform.

We of course knew the schedule before we came but compared to the Symfony training on day 1, the next 2 or 3 days were much more intense with every day packed full to cover as much of the Akeneo framework as possible. Like day 1, the training was not meant to make you an expert. That is something you gain from experience of the platform but it is designed to equip you with knowledge of the most common tasks you will perform when customising the platform as well as clues on where to find parts of the application should you need to.

Starting off relatively lightly with installation and discovery of features we quickly started delving in to fixtures and programatic product manipulation.

This is where the structure of the training was particularly useful.

Personally, I learn a lot by doing and repeating what I have learned until it sticks, rather than just listen to theory, and this was in part the focus of the training. Each topic that we covered was a workshop and so we had to get our hands dirty. For example; we created a new bundle for each topic and that forced us to remember the structure and files required to make those bundles. We also covered a lot of best practice standards. This was not Akeneo specific, but instead something Symfony themselves wish you to adhere as it fits with the philosophy of the framework.

By day 4 we were getting more and more confident. I was asking for beer in French; Tom was thanking people in Spanish, thinking it was French, but who cares; we knew how to override an entity and customise the UI as well as understand reference data!

The Final Day

The final day of training and on to imports and exports. After a small panic thinking the coffee machine had been exhausted of all caffeine, owing to a misinterpretation of “du cafe” to mean decaf, we were quickly back in the deep end. This was arguably the most useful day. Apart from being the culmination of knowledge gained throughout the entire week we knew in the future we will be dealing a lot with imports and exports and this really solidified how we were going to deal with that.

Overall an absolutely fantastic course. We learnt a great deal in just a few (long) days owing a lot to the structure and depth of the material provided and of course, to our teacher for the week, Marie.

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