Fantastic Time at DrupalCon Copenhagen!

Fantastic Time at DrupalCon Copenhagen!


A few weeks ago, I embarked on my first overseas trip to go to Copenhagen for this year's European DrupalCon. It was my 4th DrupalCon to date, but I've been wanting to attend one of the European ones for a while, as they have a reputation for having a different vibe than the North American ones (and of course so I could finally see some of Europe!)

The Core Dev Summit (+ Code Sprint Day)

Like the last conference in San Francisco, it was prefaced with the Core Developer Summit, which is a full day of presentations, discussions, and code sprinting on the core Drupal platform. The Core Dev Summit is the single day (twice a year at this point), where a good number of the people who work on Drupal core come together to take a step back and discuss in-depth any ideas or concerns. This often leads into some dedicated sprinting on core related issues (as well as some of the most crucial contributed modules).

I attended mainly for two purposes: to keep on top of what all the core developers are up to and get some face time with them (since I usually only talk to them online), and to make sure there was some representation from the Drupal Docs team there.

Core Developer SummitCore Developer Summit, by Morten Wulff

I've been working on the online Drupal documentation a lot lately, helping to prepare the it for the Drupal 7 launch, and ended up leading an impromptu docs sprint when several people volunteered to work on the handbook for the second half of the day. It was great to get some help from both people who were new to docs as well as a couple fairly hardcore long time developers. Big thanks go to Djun Kim (aka. puregin) for working on the handbook page for the new-to-Drupal-7 File module, and to Ken Rickard (aka. agentrickard) for working on the new-to-Drupal-core Field and Field UI handbook pages. It was fantastic having help from some great developers writing these, and Ken actually found a pretty big permissions bug while writing the page.

Just goes to show Greg Dunlap (aka. heyrocker) was right when he said:

...when you write documentation, you are forced to take a bit of code and really understand it. You [read] through it, make sure it does what you're saying it does, and test it. Guess what happens when you dig into code that deeply? You find bugs!

And because it's so encouraging (and true), I have to add this other bit he posted:

If you are interested in getting involved in core, working the docs queue is the single best way to do it. You find bugs other people miss, the patches are generally easy to get committed, you get used to the issue queue and creating patches, and best of all the patches are enormously valuable. Get to it!

(Off-but-on-topic, Angie Byron, aka. webchick, just put up a great post on contributing documentation on the Lullabot blog today, go read!)

Neil Drumm (aka. drumm) who works on the API docs and is currently helping manage the redesign was there as well, so I got to review some of the in-progress redesign with him. The redesign team has been doing a fantastic job, and I'm really looking forward to the relaunch and some of the freedom that will be afforded by having a separate subdomain for documentation.

I was also really pleased to get the opportunity to participate in a discussion about the CVS application process, which was has been a hot topic recently. Sam Boyer (sdboyer), who is working on the Drupal git migration, led a discussion to get feedback from many long time core contributors. Mainly, we talked about what is still broken in the process, what needs to change, and what small but effective changes could be made during the git migration to help improve matters. Main suggestions focused around ideas about how to manage namespace and numbers of modules, how to mentor new applicants, and the need to recruit more reviewers.

The post-conference Code and Docs Sprint Day was also extremely productive even though I was feeling a bit off and had to lead the docs sprint from back at the apartment! We did a kickoff over Skype then worked over IRC the rest of the day, and powered through a TON more of the core module handbook docs and some work on the install and upgrade guides. I really missed not being able to work in-person with everyone, but still want to thank all who turned up and cranked out some awesome docs work, namely: Steve Kessler (DenverDataMan), Alex Pott (alexpott), Barry Madore (bmadore), Marika Lundqvist (marikalu), Miro Scarfiotti (smiro2000), Paul Krischer (SqyD), Carolyn Kaminski (Carolyn), Khalid Jebbari (DjebbZ), and last but not least Boris Doesborg (batigolix) who I am really sad not to have met in person, as he worked a bunch with me on the D7 Help initiative over the winter. Next time! You all rock, hope to see you around the docs queue and IRC till the next con. 

The rest of DrupalCon...

I had to agree with what I'd heard about the European cons, as I did feel a lot more of a community vibe (probably due to the smaller size, being the same size as my first DrupalCon in Boston in 2008), and did not see a lot of the corporate aspects that have become part of the North American cons of late. Those are, of course, part of Drupal's growth, but they do change the atmosphere.

The sessions I went to were all really fantastic. I think my three favourites had to be:

  1. Lin Clark's (linclarkIntro to RDF and the Semantic Web in Drupal 7 - The RDF talk that finally helped me wrap my head around RDF! (slides, video 2)
  2. The Managing a Drupal Consulting Firm panel (video) - Todd Nienkerk and Aaron Stanush (Four Kitchens), Thomas Barregren (NodeOne), Vesa Palmu (Mearra), Matt Cheney (Chapter Three), Liza Kindred (Lullabot), Eric Gundersen (Development Seed), and Tiffany Farriss (Palantir) sharing stories and tips for how to be a successful and happy Drupal consulting firm. Great ideas, and bonus high comedic value!
  3. Jeff Miccolis' (jmiccolisFor Every Site a .make File - great review of .make files and associated development practices (couldn't find the video, if anyone knows where it is, comment please!)

And though I didn't attend it, Amitai Burstein's session on Group, which is the Drupal 7 iteration of Organic Groups  was the crowd favourite, and highly recommended as one to watch online.

What else can I say? It was a fantastic week with a bunch of fantastic people. As @timbertrand put it:

"Dear Proprietary Social SW Vendor -
this is only a taste of our development team"

DrupalCon Copenhagen Group PhotoDrupalcon CPH Group Photo, by Morten Wulff (Even better viewed large)

See you next time!