Another year, another Drupalcon

29 September 2017

The Big Blue Door team are just back from a wonderful week in Vienna, after another exciting Drupalcon Europe. Drupal is the Content Management System of choice for most of the projects we undertake, and the annual conference is always a highlight of the year for us. Between our various team members, we have now been to over twenty Drupalcons between us!

Drupalcon ("Drupal Conference") Europe is the second-largest "get together" in the world for Drupal specialists (behind Drupalcon North America) and is a chance for Europe's best and brightest to meet up and exchange knowledge, case studies, and updates from within the web world and, specifically, within Drupal.

The Community surrounding Drupal is a vast and invaluable resource for most Drupal companies, and it includes individuals from across the whole business process – not just developers. Specifically, business owners, project managers, and administration staff are all a part of the conversation during the week, thus enabling conversations and sessions across an extremely diverse set of subjects.

The first keynote, as always, was given by the founder of Drupal – Dries Buytaert. As CTO of Acquia, Dries is still actively involved in the Drupal Community, and Big Blue Door are proud to be Acquia Partners. Dries’s keynote, entitled “The State of Drupal”, is an update on the current progress of Drupal as well as giving an outline of upcoming changes in the Content Management System. Dries was able to demonstrate some of the cool new features coming up in Drupal’s new versions, such as the Settings Tray which will make the process of editing content across a Drupal site much more straightforward and quick. Six months from now will be the launch of Drupal 8.5 which includes a very cool “Layout Builder” plugin simplifying the administration interface for building module pages with different layouts for each section. Dries also included his analysis of where he believes Drupal is currently ranking amongst other Content Management Frameworks and it is very obvious from his analysis that Drupal 8 ranks amongst the best CMFs available on the market at the moment, both from a usability perspective and from a feature-set perspective. As always, Dries also highlighted areas for improvement within the community as a whole, and outlined some proposed steps we might take as a Community to resolve some of these issues to constantly be improving Drupal.

Big Blue Door team in Vienna
Most of the Big Blue Door team, with the large inflatable Druplicon logo.

The rest of the conference is a mixture of sessions and talks from other speakers from around Drupal-related agencies and clients. Some of these were very technical, such as a talk on Immutable Infrastructure, and some focussed on Project Management or Business Leadership, such as a talk covering Agency Workflows. In addition, like last year in Dublin, there was a Devops channel, giving companies an opportunity to share their progress with cutting-edge technologies such as Docker, Vagrant, and Terraform, all of which we at Big Blue Door are already using as part of our workflow.

In addition to activities within the working day (roughly 9am til 6pm each day), Drupalcon is also an opportunity for the whole Big Blue Door team to meet up away from a work environment and build team relations. Given we were in Austria, schnitzels and Austrian beer have been a compulsory part of our week! Our team has recently expanded to include a dedicated Devops Engineer, and it was a pleasure to have him with us this year for his first Drupalcon as well.

Arguably one of the most interesting announcements from the week is that next year there will not be a Drupalcon in Europe, for the first time in over ten years. Numerous reasons have been cited for this, but the Drupal Association (which leads the organisation for the ‘con) have decided to take a year off to gather feedback from various sectors of the community so as to ensure Drupalcon 2019 is as worthwhile as possible for everyone involved. This process of gathering feedback is already under-way, and it’s great to see the Drupal Association focussed on improving this already-invaluable week.

The next large-scale Drupal event, therefore, is to be Drupalcon Nashville in April of next year. Before then, however, will be our own local camp in London – to be held over the first weekend of March. We look forward to attending Drupalcamp London to catch up with old friends and new, and learning and sharing more experiences working with the Drupal Content Management Framework.


Header photo credit: Drupal Association