2014! The baseline for a great future

von Ivo Lukač -

So another year has passed. It has passed so quickly probably because we have been so busy. Each year the Netgen team surprises me with all the things achieved and this year was the best so far. The new year has started so it’s time for a short recap, just like for the last 3 years: 2011, 2012, 2013.

During the year, we wrote monthly reports about our work. Those are precious to us - we can look back at the past year and recollect about all the things we managed to do. The goals for 2014 were simple: do great work for our clients and be more efficient, improve engagement even more and hire more people. More efficient we were - 25% higher income with more or less the same number of people proves that. What is great, too, is our exports ratio which is now roughly 75%. The engagement level is hard to measure, but it feels like we improved. More about that later. And, finally, we started to hire new people at the end of the year. Some of them will start to work in the new year, but all the effort to hire them was done in 2014. An important prerequisite was to change the office location in order to prepare for more people. Vjeran was the main organiser of location change in March and he did a tremendous job of giving our company a great new home. We also improved the internal process and prepared for smoother onboarding of new people. We established a selection process (kudos to Edi and Petar), so now we can grow more easily than before.

Investing in Partner Relationships

One of the most important things we did in 2014 was investing in new and existing partnerships.

  • Our long-term partnership with eZ Systems consists of being part of their core teams  which are building the new eZ Platform. Petar was on this full-time all year and he is currently the top contributor on Github), while I contributed as a member of the innovation board. Additionally, Edi and Ivan contributed by testing releases and, finally, we gave the eZ Core team the possibility to spread the eZ know-how with workshop slots on the Summer Camp.
  • We established business partnerships with Keyteq (Norwegian web agency) and Prime (Swiss web agency) in order to help them with our eZ Publish expertise. We are looking forward to working with them on the new projects in 2015.
  • We strengthened our ties with Locastic (Symfony and Sylius gurus from Split, Croatia), Effectiva (Frontend and Javascript gurus from Zagreb) and Infomar (Linux performance and security gurus from Zagreb) in order to offer even more expertise on the whole web stack.

At the end of the year, we had a great local partner summit where we discussed how can we work together even better in the future. Also, a few more partnerships are being discussed as I am writing this because we want to strengthen our support and devops operations. Regarding devops, we finally moved completely to git at the beginning of the year, kudos to Edi and Tomislav.


Open-source software is what we mostly use, so we try to share back in the same spirit, as much as possible. Some useful extensions and bundles were released by Edi (ngsymfonytoolsngclasslistTagsBundle v1.1), Petar (EzFormsBundle) and Ivan (htmlpdfapibundle). I have probably missed a few. There is a lot of stuff in the queue to be shared, and the everlasting problem is finding time to do it right.

We were active with blogging, having published 27 posts. I would emphasize:

Actually, we hit the 100th blog post mark at the end of the year. So I will use the opportunity to mention a few older posts. Tomislav‘s post about responsive tables and Edi's post about filling PDF forms in PHP, both from 2013, are the most visited posts on our blog so far. My post about eZ Publish persistent variables from 2011 is holding the 3rd position. Petar's already mentioned blog post about fetching content in the new stack is 5th all-time, but the most visited one in 2014. Two posts from Tomislav's "Confessions of an Apprentice" series are in top 10, 6th and 7th overall.

There were 4 of The eZ Publish Show episodes, in which we discussed different things related to eZ and even broader. The next show is already in the queue and should be announced in a few days. Hope to have more episodes this year.

We organised yet another Summer Camp in Rovinj at the beginning of September with double branding: eZ Publish Summer Camp and PHP Summer Camp. It was the biggest camp so far with 90 people in total. Plans for the next one are already in the works, hope to announce venue and date at the beginning of February.

We managed to record many workshops as videos. Some of them are already available on our youtube channel and the rest should be published during January and February.  

To help us organise this and other events, we hired Maja in December. We are glad to have her on the team so that we can pull off even more in 2015.

We attended other events:

I am especially proud of our student summer practice where we planned to train 2 students, but in the end managed to have 9 of them. It proved itself to be useful as one of the students, Zvonimir, is now working as an intern at our Osijek office. Check out the full story here.


We worked on a lot of projects, some through our partners, some for our clients directly. We are building a platform for topics sites for our biggest client, ProSiebenSat1 Digital. We have launched 2 sites so far: fem.com and advopedia.de. Great work by Vjeran, Hrvoje T, Hrvoje K and Marko.

We did an interesting project in Africa - the official Republic of Togo news portal. The interesting part is that it was proclaimed the best government site in Africa :) Exquisite work by Igor, Hrvoje and Marko.

Also, during 2014 we started to use two new technologies:

  • Sylius e-commerce solution based on Symfony was combined with eZ on one Keyteq project we did together with our partner Locastic
  • Akeneo PIM was successfully implemented on one project

These solutions will make our e-commerce capabilities much stronger.

Info about the other projects can be found in our monthly reports on Facebook.

In 2013, we started building our eZ Publish toolset in order to be more productive and efficient. The work accelerated in 2014. With each new project we saw the gains which forced us to invest more time into this. The important step was done in Q4 when Edi refactored 98% of the legacy toolset into a new stack bundle. Some stuff is still missing, as those are not supported in the new stack, like “collected info” features. Those will be implemented soon in some other way so that we are ready for the eZ Platform. We hope to release more information about our toolset during 2015, maybe even share it partially.

We also had to make a couple of hard decisions. Most importantly we decided for an exit strategy with Theatron projects (POS and ERP solution for theaters). We should close the operations completely during 2015, but first we need to secure the smooth transition to other systems or other support for all clients.   


As 2014 was coming to an end, we spent more and more time working on the strategy for next year(s). Since we have a 4 member board it’s crucial to have the vision about the future completely in-line so lots of discussions were due. By the end of the year, we updated our company vision document (Igor might soon share it on the blog) and agreed on our midterm strategy. I will not reveal any details now, it will be unfolded when the time comes.

Tactically, in 2015 we plan to:

  • focus more on developing our toolset so we become more productive on our projects and the projects we work on for our partners
  • invest more in mastering technologies we use, find and learn other tools that can increase efficiency
  • push the engagement even more: share more, show more, teach more, help eZ Systems push the community to the new eZ stack
  • grow! Btw, we have already started that :)


Let’s go!



I mentioned all the members of our team except for our dear office manager Davorka. All this work would have been much harder without her commitment to everyday operations and keeping the company up and running smoothly :)


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