DrupalCon Prague 2013

Last week, Markus and I returned from DrupalCon Prague back to our desks in Germany and Ireland, respectively. It was a fun event and I’d like to tell you about my personal highlights.

First of all, DrupalCon is the biggest event for the Drupal community and the perfect opportunity to see and meet all the people that make Drupal a great open source project. Actually, meeting people was the main reason I flew to Prague. Especially in terms of customer contact, talking in person can’t be beat. The more if they praise our services in front of a lot other Drupal business people. ;-) That’s why I had a great conference start at the CxO meeting on Monday.

The fun continued early Tuesday morning (sadly, too early for many) with Tutti fan’ Drupal, a musical play in which ‘The N00b’, a young, inexperienced web developer meets 'The Client’ who needs a website. The hilarious piece also featured The Drupal Community on a Bad Day, Drupalgeno and Drupalgena as well as The Drupal Community on a Good Day. I had a lot of laughs and learned that the highly sought-after Drupal Talent also includes fabulous singing voices.

Later, in his State of Drupal keynote, project founder Dries Buytaert explained his vision: Drupal is bigger than technology. It’s an idea. So, before going into detail about what’s happening around the next major release of Drupal 8, Dries listed what he sees as the most important drivers for our activities:

  • We’re changing the world.
  • We help individuals build a dream.
  • We give small organizations a big voice.
  • We give enterprises a new idea.
  • We inspire wonder and delight.
  • We admit no boundaries.,

Especially for me as someone who isn’t directly involved in Drupal development, it was highly interesting to see what technological changes Drupal 8 will bring. And I was amazed by the community support this new release enjoys: With more than 1600 contributors, Drupal 8 in its current pre-alpha stage already has more than twice the number of people involved than Drupal 7 when it was finally released!

The second reason I attended DrupalCon was because I had volunteered to curate its DevOps session track. For months, the DrupalCon content team had done a lot of work to make sure that conference attendees got to select from a wealth of high-quality talks on many different topics. I’d like to thank all speakers I got to work with before and during DrupalCon for their willingness to stand in front of a crowd and share their knowledge. After all, sharing is an integral part of DevOps culture.

During the week in Prague, Markus and I had many valuable conversations with our customers. Not rarely, we got critical feedback on our Drupal hosting platform. While criticism isn’t as easy to accept as praise, it’s essential for us in order to achieve better service quality, so we appreciate your constructive openness.

Although Prague was my third DrupalCon, it was the first time I attended Trivia Night on the last conference day. Organised by my new home team, Drupal Ireland, this entertaining event drew so many Drupalistas to the Hilton Hotel that we ended up sending away people because the room was stuffed with more than 100 people. Alan, you did a tremendous job as MC!

As it is tradition, at the end of this DrupalCon the location of next year’s DrupalCon Europe was announced and we’re looking forward to see what the passionate Dutch Drupal community has in store for us. Another important European event, the Drupal Developer Days, will take place in Szeged, Hungary; you’ll probably see us there, too.

Not so long ago, I had some doubts if attending DrupalCon for me still was worth spending the time and money. DrupalCon Prague got rid of them. I’ll see you in Amsterdam!