At the beginning of September 2017, the Drupal Association announced that in 2018 it will not organize the annual DrupalCon Europe. Instead, it focused on creating a more sustainable model for the future.
Strenght of the community
This announcement took the Drupal community by surprise. The community have already started coming up with ideas during the DrupalCon in Vienna on how to make up for the cancelled event. This is how the Drupal Europe came to life in October. During the year, many volunteers from all over Europe worked hard on making it possible for the European Drupal community to meet in September 2018 again. They named the event Drupal Europe and it took place in Darmstadt, Germany.
The entire conference was a product of many volunteers. Because there was a huge amount of work and the organizers needed every help they could get – I decided to join the volunteer team. I spent a lot of time supervising the rooms and performing other important tasks. In short, when the organizers needed a bit of help I was more than willing to lend a helping hand.
How did it all go down?
On Monday, I volunteered to monitor the contribution rooms and I was trying to improve my contribution modules. Contribution room is a new term coined by the Drupal Europe team that presents other ways of contributing, not just by coding.
After finishing my delicious lunch – vegetarian and vegan food served during the week – I hurried to the round table, where the leaders of the European Drupal communities were seated. It was one of the things I was genuinely excited about. The discussion was opened by Dries Buytart – founder of Drupal – and Megan Sanicki – executive director of the Drupal Association.
It was interesting to hear that most of the communities in Europe are facing the same issue. The main problem being the lack of marketing targeted towards developers, agencies and clients. Later, we split into smaller groups – each group had to come up with 3 simple solutions for the community. One particular solution was to employ a marketer on part-time in every community or prepare a marketing package (bundle) for different situations that may occur. The community representatives are currently working on these issues.
On Tuesday, the day started with an event called the European Splash Awards, where agencies and its clients celebrate their collective achievements.
The next lecture was the Drupal.org panel which gave extensive insights into the available services offered by the Drupal Association under the Drupal.org brand.
Afterwards, I went to Joe Shindelar’s lecture where he was talking about decoupled Drupal and GatsbyJS. GatsbyJS is a static page generator built on Node.js. It combines the traditional approach with the internal GraphQL database and ReactJS. It allows you to add dynamic elements to your statically generated page. You definitely should take advantage of this if you want your pages to load at the speed of light :)
Wednesday started with a “warm-up” Prenote. In this year’s combination of entertainment and music, Jam and Campbell highlighted the diversity of our community – and that’s what makes the Drupal community so great!
The fun part was followed by a more serious event – the Driesnote. Dries showed all the new functions of the Drupal 8.6 system that were introduced early in September. After that, he revealed some important dates – e.g. the development of Drupal 9 will begin soon and its release is expected in 2020. The life cycle of Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 will come to an end in 2021. If you are using Drupal 8 with well-maintained modules, you should have no difficulties switching to Drupal 9 in the future.
Another important announcement for the European community were the news about DrupalCon Europe returning to Amsterdam at the end of October 2019.
We are delighted to announce the next #DrupalCon Europe will be in Amsterdam 28 Oct - 1 Nov 2019. For news and updates be sure to subscribe to our email list https://t.co/Osq2vENWBw #DrupalEurope #DriesNote pic.twitter.com/XgmAHFa8B0— DrupalCon Amsterdam 2019 (@DrupalConEur) 12. septembra 2018
After lunch, it was my time to take the stand. My presentation was about Drupal 8 Commerce. I was talking about the issue of using various currencies in ecommerce and explaining different approaches in order to tackle this problem. I had an audience of more than 20 people among who was Bojan and Matt from Commerce Guys – the founders of Drupal Commerce.
The day ended with a Q&A panel led by Dries and Rachel Lawson. Participants had much more room for questions in comparison to the previous DrupalCon. It’s not surprising that most of the questions were inquiring about the stability of Drupal, its ecosystem and the overall direction of Drupal 9.
The last day I attended a lecture about the impact of Decoupled Drupal on the business of Drupal firms. Michael from Amazee was telling the story of how they simultaneously became a Drupal and React agency. It took me by surprise that they don’t divide assignments based on frontend or backend tasks, but the developers are more versatile. This change cost them more than 300,000 €, though.
My afternoon was again in the spirit of community. I participated in BOF where the community landing page of drupal.org was discussed and ideas were presented on how to improve it. My opinion is that the data should be geolocated to a particular visitor, e.g. displaying local DUGs, meetings, or displaying a particular country on Drupical. The result of the BOF was the conclusion that a workgroup would analyze available data and would try to create user cookies that would interpret why users came to the mentioned page.
The last lecture was about the retrospective view on Drupal Europe. It was amazing to hear the story of the whole team. I would like to thank everybody who helped to organize this great conference.