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Join us at DrupalCamp Limerick!

Since DrupalCon is going to come to Dublin in fall, the Irish Drupal community has decided to move its main DrupalCamp out of the capital this year. Thanks to the generous offer of Johnson & Johnson to host the event, we’re going to meet at DrupalCamp Limerick on May 13 and 14.

DrupalCamp Limerick will take place at the IDC on the University of Limerick campus. We will focus on developing with Drupal, bringing together developers, themers, end users and everybody interested in learning more about this powerful and flexible framework backed by one of the world’s most innovative open source communities.

In case studies, everyone interested in Drupal can learn about of real-life examples of using the CMS. You’re welcome to bring your own questions and get them answered by the community. In small-group discussions, we’ll tackle the topics that you’re interested in. And of course, we’re going to visit a few of Limerick’s great pubs to end the day with even more great craic.

That should be enough reasons to come to Limerick in May, don’t you think? So don’t wait, go right to the DrupalCamp Limerick website and register!

Where business and community come together

For the first time, a DrupalCamp directly addressed both businesses and the developer community in Germany (and its German-speaking neighbours). And it was a great success. Taking place in Heidelberg from April 8 to 10, the Drupal Business and Community Days ran a business-centered track with expert presentations in parallel to a community track in which Drupal developers worked on Drupal code and documentation.

The Business Days […] will be an opportunity for the German-speaking Drupal Business Community to get together, and work on strategies for growing Drupal within Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The Community Days […] will be international, with participants from all over Europe. The Community Days will be English, German, and hopefully a few more languages. The community event will have a focus on core, translation, and D8 User Guide sprints.

Why did the event team around Drupal Company Erdfisch choose this kind of topic split? They wrote about their reasoning on the event website:

In Germany, Drupal has an amazing developer community, but it is not as well known as a business product as it is in other countries. We need to work on that!

They did a great job. And having business relationships around Drupal proved helpful quickly: When the venue’s internet connection didn’t hold up, Erdfisch was able to get the University of Heidelberg to offer space at their data center so the development efforts could continue.

You could tell from the high attendance of the business track that providing products and services around Drupal is an important topic for businesses in D-A-CH. In Germany, all the leading Drupal businesses have realised that the market is big enough and treat each other as colleagues even though there’s competition. This opens up the way to share experience and learn from each other. A rising tide floats all the boats, and as businesses we can only benefit from conferences like this one. That’s why we were happy to support the event both as a sponsor and as active participants.

The freistilbox team had planned to attend in full force but unfortunately, I had to stay at home fighting a nasty virus that afflicted the whole family. In consequence, I wasn’t able to give my talk How not to be afraid of your own success. Instead, our friends at the Palasthotel stepped in with a great session about their new Drupal development workflow.

In total, 118 people ranging from interested in Drupal to enthusiastic for Drupal attended the conference. After it concluded, praise for a great DrupalCamp came not only from German attendees…

…there were also people from Canada (!)…

…from the Netherlands…

…from Belgium…

…and probably a few more countries — it was a great weekend for the international Drupal community.

The freistilbox team had lots of fun meeting old and new friends, and we also learned new stuff. So, thanks a million to Erdfisch for organising a great DrupalCamp! We’re looking forward to the next Drupal Business and Community Days!

Meet us at the Drupal Business & Community Days

From April 8 to 10, the beautiful city of Heidelberg will be the location for the first Drupal Business and Community Days in Germany.

With a different format from usual DrupalCamps, this event aims at kick-starting Drupal business in Germany and building on both the German-speaking and international Drupal community, literally at the same time: there will be a business track and a community track running in parallel.

The Business Days part will be an opportunity for Drupal businesses to get together and work on strategies for growing Drupal within the DACH region. While Drupal has an amazing developer community here, it is not as well-known as a viable option for businesses as it is in other countries around the globe. This lack of professional reputation is what this track is going to improve.

Under the track’s motto From acquisition to maintenance, Drupal experts will share their experience on business topics such as lead marketing, hosting, infrastructure, quality assurance and support. One of these talks will be Keine Angst vor dem eigenen Erfolg (Don’t be afraid of your own success) in which our CTO Jochen Lillich will shed some light on how to tackle the daily challenges of running a business-critical Drupal website.

Taking place at the same weekend, the Community Days are going to be quite international with attendees coming from all over Europe. Based on the Sprint format common at DrupalCamps and DrupalCons, the Community Days are going to focus on improving Drupal core, translations and D8 User Guides. For participants who have not yet contributed code or documentation to Drupal or feel just a little bit rusty, there will be mentors to help them get started.

The freistilbox team is going to attend in force; this’ll be one of the rare opportunities to meet Markus, Philipp and Jochen at the same physical location. And since we know what actually drives DevOps practicioners around the world, we’re sponsoring one of the coffee breaks.

If you’re part of a Drupal business in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, you don’t want to miss this event. See you in Heidelberg!

I <3 DrupalCamp London

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the fourth instalment of DrupalCamp London. It’s grown from humble beginnings in 2013 to one of Europe’s most important Drupal gatherings. This year, more than 500 Drupal fans met at London City University to attend the CxO Day on Friday and/or the community talks on Saturday and Sunday.

The CxO Day was a good opportunity for leaders of Drupal-based businesses to meet and exchange experiences. I especially enjoyed Vesa Palmu’s talk Growing your agency: Organic, mergers and acquisitions about the different ways to grow a business; lots of good advice!

Over the weekend, the wider Drupal community came together to listen to talks, work on Drupal 8 and enjoy the Hallway Track (consuming more than 100l of coffee and 400 pastries in the process). Clifton Cunningham’s enthusiastic keynote was a great start, although I’m afraid that his insights into building a big web application developed in-house doesn’t 100% apply to Drupal; for example, you can’t just split up Drupal into microservices maintained by separate teams. The following sessions held by community members were much more Drupal-centric, of course, and most of them touched on the upcoming Drupal release 8 in some fashion. Since I’m not a developer, I chose quite often to engage in hallway conversations instead of attending presentations. From the few I did attend, I took away these points:

  • After learning about Bigpipe in Drupal 8 with Cache and Bigpipe and about AuthCache in Don’t Varnish over the cracks, I just can’t wait to see our customers flip the afterburner switch for their authenticated website visitors!
  • It was interesting to see a more modular approach to what we do with our laptop script in Provision your Mac with Ansible.

In parallel to the sessions, some developers (a whopping 70% of which were female) gathered for the Sprints, group coding sessions that resulted in 2 solutions to Drupal 8 issues being Reviewed & Tested by the Community. Well done!

For me, the highlight of every DrupalCamp is always the people. I met lots of familiar faces and again managed to confuse a few new acquaintances with my peculiar mix of German and Irish accents. I thoroughly enjoyed DrupalCamp London and will make sure to register early as soon as DrupalCamp London 2017 is announced. Thanks and congratulations to the #dclondon team for another great Drupal community event!

Launching the freistilbox Dashboard

It has been a planned feature right from the start. But many months went by and it sort of became the Duke Nukem of the web hosting world. I’m talking about the freistilbox self-service web user interface, of course. Often requested, often promised, never delivered. Now the time has finally come to prove this mythical creature actually exists!

When we started freistilbox as a two-founder team, we didn’t have the capacity to both build an enterprise-class web hosting platform and run a serious software development project at the same time. So we decided to focus on the hosting platform first and do the customer dashboard “a tiny bit later”. Little did we know that our growing number of customers would keep us busy building new platform features and improving the existing ones for quite a while…

At first, we didn’t worry too much because being in close contact with our customers has been and will continue to be a central aspect of our strategy. In fact, each support request asking for a new website instance was an opportunity to learn what our customers were doing and to help them get started quickly. But with every new customer, it became clearer that this approach could never scale. Not having a self-service interface caused confusion and frustration for our customers and an ever increasing amount of support tickets for our tech team. There was no way around it — we had to make a change.

The name of this change is “freistilbox Dashboard” and we’re launching it today! Simply go to dashboard.freistilbox.com and sign up for a user account.

If you’re already using freistilbox, don’t worry about the fact that when you log in for the first time, you won’t see much. That’s because your new account is not yet associated with your freistilbox resources. So, as soon as you’ve signed up, simply use the support chat button in the lower right to let us know, and we’ll connect your account with your existing hosting resources.

By the way: We plan to add this live chat to our official support channels and we’re using the Dashboard beta phase as an opportunity to put it through its paces.

Beta phase? Yes, the freistilbox Dashboard will be a work in progress for some time. It currently offers only a view of your basic hosting details and you can’t make any changes yourself yet. But we’re already testing its self-service features internally and will make them publicly available in January.

We’re very excited to finally be able to provide you with a customer-friendly web interface that spares you the effort of keeping your own list of website details and sending support requests for every little change. We admit that it’s taken us a long time to get this far, and we apologize for all the inconveniences.

We’re determined to keep our current momentum and will continue adding new features on a regular basis. If you’re curious what we’re working on at any given time, simply visit the public freistilbox Dashboard roadmap [Update 2016-02-22] issue queue and development milestones. We’ll happily consider all your feature requests, so please don’t hesitate to give us feedback and let us know what you’d like to see next!

Do you have any thoughts about the launch of the freistilbox Dashboard? Let us know on Twitter!

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