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Nagyon szépen köszönöm Szeged!

Three findings on my flight home:

  • Compared with Hungarian, German with its puny three umlauts can pack up and go home.
  • Compared with Ireland, Hungary has much nicer weather.
  • Compared with the pubs at home, in Hungary you can treat four or five times as many people to a beer for the same amount of money.

As you can see, Hungary has the advantage in many regards and I had a great time here at the Drupal Developer Days this past week.

When I arrived in Szeged on Wednesday evening, Drupal 8 coding sprints had already been running for a few days and they’d continue all week. During this time, up to 150 Drupal developers were working to make progress on code and documentation issues. There were 115 commits to Drupal core and after removing 19 blocker issues, we’re now 40% closer to Drupal 8 Beta. Our Git repository traffic was so high that it even triggered drupal.org’s DDoS defenses!

At the event location only, we consumed 5500 sandwiches, 1000 servings of coffee, 240l of beer, 300kg of sweet snacks and 120kg of bananas. The venue was a really good choice. It had all the space we needed, good catering and the WiFi worked well throughout the event. And having the Novotel (with its amazing value for money) right next door is unbeatable convenience.

From Thursday to Saturday, there were a lot of interesting presentations as well as a reprise of the Caching Deep Dive multi-hour workshop that had a lot of success at DrupalCon Prague. Almost every talk referenced the upcoming Drupal version. And although many things are still in flux, it feels to me like Drupal 8 is taking shape.

What drove engagement most was the great community spirit. Everyone was welcome, from the Drupal novice to the long-time core contributor. There were smiling faces all around and you could simply walk up to anyone to have a chat or ask a question. People got together spontaneously, be it to code or to go have dinner. These personal experiences are what I love most about the Drupal community. If you haven’t been to a DrupalCamp yet, go to DrupiCal now and see what’s happening near your place! Go on, I’ll wait here.

My personal highlight was the #AberdeenFreistilCloudBox party on Friday night which I had the pleasure to co-organize. I had contacted Aaron Porter before the event, suggesting we join forces and do something about the community’s lack of awareness of our European Drupal hosting companies that we both had perceived at DrupalCamp London a few weeks earlier. When I met Aaron on Thursday morning, he invited me to join him in scouting for a party venue for Friday night. We looked at two bars in the center of Szeged and decided on hosting (that’s what we’re good at, after all!) the party at the CoolTour Cafe. We were able to make a deal that secured our guests 100 free beers as well as free admission to the concert room where one of Hungary’s best-known Jazz singers was going to be on stage. And when on Friday afternoon the number of sign-ups for the party crossed the 100 mark, Aaron and I decided to throw in another 100 beer vouchers. The party was a success and fun was had by everyone. The title of drink distributor extraordinaire goes to Dave Hall who’s apparently related to a huge Dutch family since he returned every few minutes to grab a voucher for another member of the Needabeer clan.

In the end, I’d like to congratulate the organization team around Kristof van Tomme to a great Drupal community event! I’m thankful for a lot of good conversations, and happy that I overcame my initial reluctance to register and got to be a part of Drupal Developer Days Szeged 2014.

Pushing Drupal 8 forward in Hungary

I'm going!

2014 is the year of Drupal 8 and we’re getting our freistilbox hosting platform ready to host its first Drupal 8 websites. Of course, Drupal 8 will be the central topic of the Drupal Developer Days in Szeged from 24 to 30 March. We can’t miss such an important event, so Jochen will be following DrupalMarvin’s invitiation from DrupalCon Prague last year.

Jochen is going to be in Szeged from Wednesday the 26th to Sunday the 30th, so if you’re there, make sure to say Hi! He’ll be more than happy to get you a beer or coffee, and you can ask him whatever you’d like to know about freistilbox.

And don’t forget to pack your towel!

Heading to DrupalCamp London

Tomorrow, I’ll fly to our neighbor island for DrupalCamp London and Markus is going to join me on Friday. Together, we’re going to breathe some community air again and get a feel for what British Drupal shops need in terms of hosting.

With 600 attendees, DrupalCamp London is going to be an impressive event! There will be 30 community sessions as well as BoFs and sprints across the weekend. I’ll certainly try to at least attend the “Next Generation DevOps” and “Concurrent Programming” talks. I’m also looking forward to the Drupal CxO meet-up on Friday before the actual conference.

For Markus and me, it’s a valuable opportunity that we’ll be at the same place at the same time for a change. That’s why we’ll stay a few more days more after the weekend to do important strategy work for 2014 together.

We’re very excited to meet a lot of enthusiastic Drupal developers In London! So, if you’d like to join us for a pint and talk about your Drupal hosting needs, simply drop us a line via email or on Twitter!

Case study: SMSvonGesternNacht.de

Do you still remember these text messages you should not have sent last night? SMS von gestern Nacht (last night’s text message) does! The entertainment website publishes texts from its users that are simply too good, funny or rad to be read only by their original recipient.

SMSvonGesternNacht.de has been running on freistilbox since 2013. We thank the founding team for their following feedback:

Why we chose freistilbox

Our first contact with freistil IT was already in 2010 when they still offered their hosting under the name DrupalCONCEPT. We were looking for good hosting solutions for Drupal and had found freistil. Back then, we decided on a single managed server from another provider. Over the years, we extended it to a group of three servers. When we planned a relaunch in 2013, the Drupal experts from Palasthotel recommended a switch to the freistilbox hosting platform that they praised enthusiasticly.

Out of experience, we wanted to build on a proven and reliable solution. To learn the detail aspects of freistilbox, we invited Markus from freistil IT to our office in Berlin. In this meeting, we worked out that freistilbox would cover our needs very well. Its caching infrastructure, optimised for Drupal, promised high delivery performance for our many anonymous visitors. At the same time, the price was very attractive; we don’t pay significantly more for freistilbox today than we did previously for our managed servers. freistilbox brings additional advantages, too, for example the developer-friendly design and the fast technical support. The easy scalability is another important factor because our traffic grows steadily.

Our hosting setup

At launch, we started with a cluster of two freistilbox S. Since performance is more important to us than availability, we decided after a short time to switch to a single freistilbox M.

The launch

Our start with freistilbox was a very good experience. With one exception, everything worked out of the box. And the problem that our voting feature at first didn’t work because of the necessary extra cookie was quickly resolved by the freistil team with a custom cache configuration. The target-oriented way we discussed and solved this problem together with Palasthotel in a war room chat conducted by freistil IT significantly increased our trust in the team’s competence.

Daily operation

Hosting on freistilbox is fun because we don’t have to take care of anything. freistilbox simply works and we notice little of daily operations. Our questions usually are answered in much less than 24h and contact with the freistil IT technical support always is a pleasant experience.

If there is a problem eventually, someone immediately deals with it. At the end of 2013, our website suffered from network issues, today our availability is 99,9% even without redundant servers.

Since the launch on freistilbox, our traffic has more than doubled from about 18 million to 40 million page impressions per month. The highest traffic spike has been 1.5 million PI on a single day. The website still runs with full performance without us having to grow our configuration. We’re now considering allowing user logins which would probably require an expansion.

freistilbox leaves little to be desired. Comprehensive statistics that show how well our cluster is working would be a great additional feature, though.

freistilbox clearly holds up to its promise work efficiently, sleep peacefully. When the next vacation comes up, we’ll be able to go on holidays without worrying about our hosting.

Emergency support over the holidays

From this Saturday (2013-12-21) on, our team will be off recharging.

During the holiday time, we’ll only do emergency support. That means we’ll only handle outages and other incidents that impact the delivery of existing websites.

We’ll resume working on tasks that aren’t connected to such incidents on Monday, January 6th 2014.

So, if you plan to launch a new website over the holidays or need other kinds of assistance, please let us know immediately!

Merry christmas everyone!

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