May 19 2019
May 19

For this month’s SC DUG, Mauricio Orozco from the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs shared his notes and lessons learned during his first DrupalCon North America.

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We frequently use these presentations to practice new presentations, try out heavily revised versions, and test out new ideas with a friendly audience. If you want to see a polished version checkout our group members’ talks at camps and cons. So if some of the content of these videos seems a bit rough please understand we are all learning all the time and we are open to constructive feedback.

If you would like to join us please check out our up coming events on Meetup for meeting times, locations, and connection information.

Mar 14 2018
Mar 14

DrupalCon Nashville is coming up and that means another chance to create deeper connections with the Drupal community by attending or facilitating Birds of a Feather sessions (BOFs). The DrupalCon team has summarized what a BOF is on the DrupalCon website:

Birds of a Feather sessions (or BOFs) are informal gatherings of like-minded individuals who wish to discuss a certain topic without a pre-planned agenda. BOFs allow groups to meet and discuss issues and talk out ways to move the project forward. Have fun and learn! BOFs exist to provide attendees with an inclusive, informal environment in which to share ideas freely. BOFs can be serious, and a great way to gather the people you’ve been working remotely with on a project in a space to deep dive on a topic, but they can also be fun as well. Knitting BOF? Why not?!

At this point, you might think BOFs sound interesting, but why would you consider attending a BOF at DrupalCon?

Since regular DrupalCon sessions are recorded and BOFs are not, consider attending BOFs you find interesting in preference to a session - you can always watch the recording later! BOFs are great subjects for blog posts, so take notes and write about them.

  1. BOFs are not presented lecture style and allow for a high-level of interactivity between the facilitators and other participants. The facilitator generally kicks off the topic and framework for the discussion, allowing everyone to discuss the ideas.
     
  2. Due to the interactivity, there is a chance to meet and get to know others in a way that you might not be able to do in a DrupalCon session.
     
  3. Some BOFs are focused on discussions around and determining best practices. These are great ways to look into your processes and know what you are doing well and what you can do to improve. Organizations looking for the value in sending you to DrupalCon can’t ask for more than the opportunity for immediate process improvements post-DrupalCon.
     

Let’s shift gears to BOF planning and facilitation. Why would you want to host a BOF? One reason is that you may have been one of the 900+ session proposal submitters that were not selected - turn your lecture style idea into a BOF discussion! Another reason to host is that you can ensure that a topic you have a passion about has DrupalCon representation, drawing in participants with similar interests. A BOF is also a great way to practice public speaking and prepare for a future DrupalCon session opportunity!

If you are interested in facilitating a BOF, here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of it and ensure that participants have the opportunity for a positive experience.

  1. As a first step, check out the DrupalCon suggestions: How to Run a Successful BOF
     
  2. Plan your BOF with a clear and concise abstract on what you want to discuss. You are marketing your session against others sessions happening at the same time so make sure to attract participants.
     
  3. Submit your idea as soon as possible! The BOF schedule fills up quickly! There is nothing wrong with pulling together an informal BOF in a hallway or lunch table if spaces fill up.
     
  4. When the BOF begins, introduce yourself and clearly state the topic and format for the BOF so participants know how it will work.
     
  5. Have a brief topic discussion to kick off the BOF. This can be an example of your personal experience around the topic, including successes and challenges. This helps make participants comfortable and gives them time to think about questions and ideas to contribute. Keep it brief so you have time for others to participate.
     
  6. After the short introduction discussion, start by asking an icebreaker question to get participant involvement going. It is a good idea to have a list of related questions and discussion items ready in case you need to keep the conversation moving. Many times, the BOF will take off organically and there will be no need to rely on those techniques.
     
  7. Remember, you are the facilitator. It is your job to help give everyone a chance to be involved and to guide the BOF back to the topic if it gets off track a bit.
     
  8. End the BOF by thanking everyone for coming and consider offering some resources or related research to continue the conversation.
     

If you are interested in submitting a BOF idea at DrupalCon Nashville, BOF scheduling opens on March 14th, 2018. Visit https://events.drupal.org/nashville2018/birds-feather for submission details. Remember that the Code of Conduct is in effect at BOFs and throughout DrupalCon events. We hope to see you at a BOF at DrupalCon Nashville!

Additional Resources
Mediacurrent to Present 7 Sessions at Drupalcon Nashville | Mediacurrent Blog
Drupalcon: Not Just for Developers | Mediacurrent Blog 

Sep 22 2016
Sep 22

Giving back to our communities isn’t a new thing for us. And come Monday, five of our team members will be at DrupalCon Dublin. There will be plenty of Axelerant to go around. We’ve got three sessions, each in a different track, and the official event photography team will be led by Michael, our COO.

But before we get into what we’re bringing to Dublin, we should mention that we started to schedule our meet and greets. And we want you to be one of them. Let’s get together at a local brew pub and talk about Open Source problems and solutions in the community:

Let's connect at DrupalCon Dublin

Now, let’s get into what we’re up to. We’re presenting in Front-End, Project Management, and Business tracks at DrupalCon Dublin, so be sure to add them to your list.

Choosing The “Right Agile Methodology” For Your Drupal Projects

Date: 09/27/2016

Time: 14:15 to 15:15

Room: Liffey Meeting 4 | New Relic

Add this session to my schedule!

Shani and Prabhat will explore and compare different agile methodologies and share tips on how to choose the right one so you can accelerate your Drupal project. In this session, they’ll cover effective uses of CYNEFIN, a popular decision-making framework, to differentiate between Drupal projects and choosing right agile methodologies for the same.

Shani and Prabhat will cover:

  • Scrum
  • Extreme programming
  • Feature-driven development
  • Scrumban
  • Kanban
  • Lean development

Expected Takeaways:

A clearer idea of which methodology is right for each project, considering: project size, team size, iteration length, roles and responsibilities, and distributed team support. They’ll also discuss risk mitigation levels and customer interaction.

Growing Via Strategic Account Management Frameworks

Date: 09/27/2016

Time: 17:00 to 18:00

Room: Wicklow Hall 2A | Druid

Add this session to my schedule!

Piyush will take you through our Account Management practice and share some real-life case studies demonstrating how we hit target sales quota by 2-3x and achieved maximum strategic account objectives within the desired timeline.

Have you connected with Piyush yet?

Piyush will cover:

  • Customer onboarding process
  • Kickoff meetings
  • Routine engagement health check-ins
  • Invoicing and collections management
  • Satisfaction surveys and testimonials management
  • Complaint and grievances management
  • Contract renewals and extensions.
  • Opportunity exploration: researching the client, industry, references, social media, etc.
  • Evangelizing clients via social media, digital marketing, and event participations

Expected Takeaways:

  • What is Account Management?
  • What skills and talents are required to excel in Account Management specific to Drupal
  • What activities must be performed to maximize Account Management ROI?
  • What are some of the accountabilities and performance metrics used?

React Front-End For Your Drupal 8 Back-End

Date: 09/29/2016

Time: 12:00 to 13:00

Room: Wicklow Hall 2B | Platform.sh

Add this session to my schedule!

Aliya and Bassam will give a hands-on session. By the end of it, you’ll have learned how to build a decoupled website using React ecosystem on the front-end, using Drupal 8 as the content management system (and a data source).

Aliya and Bassam will cover:

  • How to configure Drupal to expose RESTful resources using Drupal 8
  • Enable CORS support for the domains/port running our React application
  • Authenticate requests using JWT
  • Consume data on front-end using Redux store
  • Pass data from Redux store React components

Expected Takeaways:

  • Be able to build a RESTful API using Drupal 8
  • Use any backend with react front-end

Covering DrupalCon Dublin

Michael has a knack for capturing Open Source events around the world as a way of giving back. He’s been leading the photography for two DrupalCons now: DrupalCon Asia and DrupalCon New Orleans.

He’s coming fully equipped to help the Drupal Association immortalize DrupalCon Dublin for all of us, and you can help. If you’d like to contribute to this process, there’s still time to join the “Official Photography Team.”

And while he’ll be running around the event like a paparazzo, Michael would still like to connect with you one-on-one to answer any questions you have about Axelerant. Be sure to take him up on the offer if there’s something you feel we can help you accomplish.

Want to chat about something? Parth Gohil

Parth Gohil

Parth is Axelerant's Community Manager hailing from Surat. He loves supporting open source communities, piloting single-engine aircraft, and being a Cha-Cha Productions actor.

Feb 25 2016
hw
Feb 25

DrupalCon Asia Day 2 dawned bright and promising. I was excited to know who would win the visualization challenge and hoping it was me. I wanted that Royal Enfield Classic 350. Read about my day 0 and day 1 here.

@Dries checking out the @drupal bike. @DrupalConAsia #drupalconasia #devcontest pic.twitter.com/1EgUETJxGn

— azri (@azrisolutions) February 18, 2016

About an hour or two later, I said this

Awesome! Thanks @azrisolutions, @Dries, @azrisolutions. #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/bjiuMAqYs3

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 20, 2016

I can finally say this. That's @Dries on MY bike. ???? https://t.co/mdrPU91q2d

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 20, 2016

Yes, that’s right! I won this beautiful bike

@dries handing the keys to the winner of azri devcontest @hussainweb @DrupalConAsia #devcontest pic.twitter.com/hsyqCQTdjC

— azri (@azrisolutions) February 20, 2016

Congratulations @hussainweb on winning @azrisolutions drupalcon dev contest, truly deserving @BangaloreDrupal #proud pic.twitter.com/wglMjmb1sU

— Chakri (@chakri_iiith) February 20, 2016

Okay, I went in the wrong order. The day actually started with Holly Ross telling us about Drupal in India.

"Now I'm in future cause I'm in India." – @drupalhross #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/y6vGgBQZso

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 20, 2016

The need is increasing for Drupal talent. – @drupalhross #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/pvH6Kqwolq

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 20, 2016

Thanks @drupalhross for encouraging @DrupalCAP Miles to go :) @DrupalConAsia pic.twitter.com/gcUhgpHByO

— Rakhi Mandhania (@MandhaniaRakhi) February 20, 2016

Come to the sprints tomorrow. #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/eoePSY3x5D

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 20, 2016

After the winner for the developer contest was announced (me), we heard Danese Cooper share her amazing insights into open source and tell us about open source in India

"Make the world better, monetize some of it." #DrupalCon

— Larry Garfield (@Crell) February 20, 2016

"open source is a level playing field." #DrupalCon

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 20, 2016

"You're not cogs in a wheel anymore." #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/fPbaCBuHQY

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 20, 2016

"Reputation is a big thing, I'm this country and in open source." #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/gHllZQu41L

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 20, 2016

Diversity in Drupal #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/c0JeowI2Le

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 20, 2016

That's Drupal and it's a beautiful thing. #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/NSWf6Dbs6b

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 20, 2016

Be transparent. If it's not the best code you've ever written, say that and still share it. @divadanese keynote at #drupalconasia

— xjm (@xjmdrupal) February 20, 2016

.@DivaDanese on #Drupal community: #diversity #niceness #global #balance @DrupalConAsia "best open source community on the planet!"

— Ani Gupta (@anigupta) February 20, 2016

OH: "There's inherent niceness here." Via @divadanese #DrupalCon

— Larry Garfield (@Crell) February 20, 2016

Don't make people feel small when you help them. Make them feel big. Lift them up & they'll lift you. @divadanese keynote at #drupalconasia

— xjm (@xjmdrupal) February 20, 2016

Thanks for the nice words @DivaDanese. You had me shed a tear (and that doesn't happen easily). #dccooper #drupalcon

— Dries Buytaert (@Dries) February 20, 2016

It’s up to us, as practitioners, to hold government to their promise to use open source. @DivaDanese #DCAsia #dccooper #DrupalCon

— Donna Benjamin (@kattekrab) February 20, 2016

"It's not a video game." I can totally identify with this. @DivaDanese #DrupalCon

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 20, 2016

@DivaDanese working for govt is a great idea #dccooper @DrupalConAsia pic.twitter.com/VVLXtDKRaR

— Vaibhav Jain (@vaibhavjain_in) February 20, 2016

Q&A with @DivaDanese by @parth_gohil #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/Va9Jnacm9G

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 20, 2016

Oh, and if something can increase the joy of winning the bike, it was this

You know what is awesome? @hussainweb winning a #Drupal motor cycle at @Drupalcon /cc @azrisolutions

— Dries Buytaert (@Dries) February 20, 2016

You know what makes it even more awesome? You tweeting about this. Thank you! https://t.co/mcL6z2Q5c2

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 20, 2016

We also heard from Jacob Singh about contributions from Acquia and Acquia India

Contributions by @acquia India by @JacobSingh #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/Yg5BpvvBDf

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 20, 2016

Oh, and there is a dance again

Of course the #DrupalConAsia dance number spills out into the audience. #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/8hctX02UJC

— Larry Garfield (@Crell) February 20, 2016

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Then there is a day filled with sessions, BOF’s, and meeting people

Nice meeting you @hussainweb congrats again pic.twitter.com/ewF6cqetfI

— shyam_raj (@shyam_raj) February 20, 2016

Azri team handing over the azri Drupal bike to @hussainweb @DrupalConAsia cc/ @skwashd @drupalhross @joshua_io pic.twitter.com/8V4p9uqal0

— azri (@azrisolutions) February 20, 2016

Team @axelerant taking a class ;) #drupalcon #dcasia pic.twitter.com/VMlG8DYIP4

— Murtaza Alvi (@AlviMurtaza) February 20, 2016

Axelerant Raspberry winner - DrupalCon Asia 2016

I was also a part of the panel discussing contributions and community in India

Contribution vs. Consumption - DrupalCon Asia 2016

Contribute without code? Know who: 1-#UX with webchick,lewisnyman,bojhan 2-help gabor with #Multilingual & translate! #DrupalCon #DCAsia

— Adelle Frank (@adellefrank) February 20, 2016

Asia/India has similar #Contribution issue with being afraid to DO until learn how #DrupalCon #DCAsia

— Adelle Frank (@adellefrank) February 20, 2016

It was time to take the bike out

Here we go. Winner of contest taking this one for a spin #DrupalCon #dcasia @hussainweb pic.twitter.com/GGqoomsmVc

— Isabell Schulz (@murgeys) February 20, 2016

@skwashd and @hussainweb on the azri Drupal bike @DrupalConAsia #sholay #sholaymoment #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/nBnHV8LHr4

— azri (@azrisolutions) February 20, 2016

don't they look cute ? @DrupalConAsia pic.twitter.com/qNRZsq3Ofg

— mortendk (@mortendk) February 20, 2016

And then sprint next day and meeting more people

Hey @drupalconasia – these folks are ready to learn to sprint. He'd on down to the lecture hall complex and join in! pic.twitter.com/Ahk7QKAzT3

— Holly Ross (@drupalhross) February 21, 2016

#DrupalCon mentored sprints. New contributors #FTW! pic.twitter.com/VqOO5o2Egj

— Larry Garfield (@Crell) February 21, 2016

woo we did it,350+ ppls joined us, amazing exp, thnx to all @DrupalConAsia mentors. spl thnx 2 @xjmdrupal @webchick pic.twitter.com/LkPRce7Mkl

— Ravindra Singh (@ravindrasingh01) February 21, 2016

Codesprint @DrupalConAsia @nikunjhk @mohit_rocks @Crell #DrupalCon @axelerant pic.twitter.com/ywQmlgA8Vf

— Mitesh Patel (@miteshmap) February 21, 2016

1025 people came to @DrupalConAsia :)

— mortendk (@mortendk) February 21, 2016

1025 attendees, of which 82% just experienced their first DrupalCon at @DrupalConAsia!

— The Lyf of Barthe (@BartFeenstra) February 21, 2016

Great closing session @amandagonser @RachFrieee https://t.co/BHaYumWXy1

— Megan Sanicki (@megansanicki) February 21, 2016

To everyone involved in making @DrupalConAsia happen – THANK YOU. Best time of my life. You are the most generous community!

— Holly Ross (@drupalhross) February 21, 2016

1025 people attended #drupalconasia! That's almost triple #DrupalCon Sydney. Awesome effort team. pic.twitter.com/yAwBMUHXgu

— Dave Hall (@skwashd) February 21, 2016

First-time contributors #DrupalCon India – Sprints https://t.co/V7xQAPK7lN pic.twitter.com/IavkV6Oszn

— Josef Dabernig (@dasjo) February 21, 2016

Where we come for the code and stay for the community. #drupalconasia #DividedByBoundariesUnitedByDrupal pic.twitter.com/7tm5NSx63B

— Manogna (@ManognaRao) February 21, 2016

I gotta say, 6 DrupalCons down, the gratitude/love from the community in India is truly touching. Thx for everything! It's been incredible.

— Rachel Friesen (@RachFrieee) February 22, 2016

Goodbye @DrupalConAsia. What an incredible time we had. Thank you for your amazing generosity #drupalcon

— Megan Sanicki (@megansanicki) February 22, 2016

.@DrupalConAsia is over, Auntie? But we will have another, na? #HappyDrupalista #DCAsia #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/4xbkq0Ux4D

— Adelle Frank (@adellefrank) February 22, 2016

Thank you sprint mentors at @DrupalConAsia ! pic.twitter.com/yvHTbeItpZ

— xjm (@xjmdrupal) February 21, 2016

Say hi to the Indian #Drupal community #DrupalCon https://t.co/RRLhzjFYNd pic.twitter.com/jJCtMwmrnF

— Josef Dabernig (@dasjo) February 19, 2016

Divided by boundaries but united by #drupal friends from PK @drupakpakistan @m_tanweer @DrupalConAsia @DrupalMumbai pic.twitter.com/1zYenYpBbB

— Rachit Gupta (@tweet_rachit) February 21, 2016

I'm checking out of #DrupalCon and feeling overwhelmed. What a con! What a community! I'm privileged to be a part. pic.twitter.com/x49eGI8EgG

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 21, 2016

Oh, and one more selfie

Here is my #DrupalCon #selfie w/ @parth_gohil, @piyushpoddar, @Crell in background, and photobomb by @drupalhross. pic.twitter.com/AR38NON1KD

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 21, 2016

This DrupalCon was very special to me, not least because it was in India. But this tweet captures it.

This tweet captures everything that Drupal is. It is about community, about people, about love. #DrupalCon https://t.co/2PvLB5h3uJ

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 23, 2016

Feb 20 2016
hw
Feb 20

DrupalConASIA is here!!! I am back in the busy city of Mumbai and in the premises of IIT Bombay, which also saw DrupalCamp Mumbai last year. This time, it is a much bigger conference; in all ways. More people, more sessions, more community, more fun.

Lol I was just about to post the same thing. Good morning @hussainweb and #DrupalConAsia! pic.twitter.com/0vpWPc80hp

— Novella C. (@italiatina) February 18, 2016

As DrupalCon tradition goes, we start on Thursday, 18-Feb-2016, with summits (for business, government, education, and community) and a whole lot of trainings. I was fortunate enough to speak at the community summit about some of the issues surrounding contribution.

@hussainweb speaks about DO contrib tracking at community summit @drupalcon #drupalconasia pic.twitter.com/293Xp0IL7w

— DEVIKA DAS (@das_devika) February 18, 2016

@hussainweb talking about DO contrib tracking at Community Summit @DrupalConAsia #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/gZMyBLQm2V

— Sushil (@thesushyl) February 18, 2016

I was still tired with everything around the con, including the Developer Contest by Azri Solutions in which I was participating, and went back early. The only other thing I did that day was attend Axelerant’s team dinner / party. I also met my old colleagues at Blisstering Solution there.

Finally did it! I submitted my visualizations for the @azrisolutions #devcontest at @DrupalConAsia. #fingerscrossed pic.twitter.com/HDAKWXHagp

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 18, 2016

Next day dawned early but I was still not well and was late to prenote!

Late for #DrupalCon prenote. ???? pic.twitter.com/2eSWmdqpEL

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 19, 2016

The prenote was great, and ended with a dance where almost all of the audience went up on the stage to dance.

"Why is #DrupalCon special?" Hear it from the community. pic.twitter.com/HVguNkl8Lm

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 19, 2016

There are more people on the stage than you can see in audience. This is @DrupalConAsia. #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/JkZSzbW7Fv

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 19, 2016

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This was followed by an introduction by Holly Ross, a guide to pronouncing D8 by Sunit Gala, and then the DriesNote.

269 contributors to #Drupal8 from Asia. #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/UtMEuwreEe

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 19, 2016

How you can get away contributing to #Drupal8 on a Friday night. #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/DgwCwBW9Xf

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 19, 2016

#DriesNote begins pic.twitter.com/YCwp5SG81k

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 19, 2016

"If #Drupal does not do well in India, it will be very sad." – @Dries #DriesNote #paraphrased pic.twitter.com/Vdfx1MnNdt

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 19, 2016

What hair product does @dries use? #DriesNote

— Dave Hall (@skwashd) February 19, 2016

Ah, we've reached the Davos section of the #DriesNote. #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/pmbhn8VE9U

— Larry Garfield (@Crell) February 19, 2016

Of course, Dries had to wear a turban.

@Dries befoe #DriesNote at #DrupalConAsia, putting on turban! pic.twitter.com/M2iO4eCS7a

— Sushil (@thesushyl) February 19, 2016

And who’s up for an yearly DrupalCon in India?

"Totally makes sense for India to have an annual conference" – @Dries #DriesNote Q&A

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 19, 2016

"I can totally see this being the third largest conference." – @Dries, on #DrupalCon in India. #DriesNote Q&A

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 19, 2016

And then the group photo.

Thank you to everyone in the community who is here to support DrupalCon Asia! #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/AEMbcqAl8v

— DrupalCon Asia (@DrupalConAsia) February 19, 2016

We then went to sessions, collecting swag at booths, meeting people, and so on.

@Zaizi @ZaiziAsia #drupalteam with @hussainweb pic.twitter.com/CpF4u2vkMo

— Niraj Meegama (@nmeegama) February 18, 2016

We are talking about migrating a top 50 website in Room 23 at @DrupalConAsia. #DrupalCon @axelerant pic.twitter.com/UCBH5Ov7AI

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 19, 2016

@hussainweb discussing RESTful Panels for legacy #drupalcon #dcasia pic.twitter.com/nUaPPQA8Tu

— Murtaza Alvi (@AlviMurtaza) February 19, 2016

@_agupta_ @lakshminp @hussainweb @skippednote from at #DrupalCon on Migrating https://t.co/LHs5vx3i7N @axelerant pic.twitter.com/ap7UpSx7Pn

— Sushil (@thesushyl) February 19, 2016

.@chakri_iiith and @gokulnk from @BangaloreDrupal discuss community at #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/tEahoDgtMT

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 19, 2016

.@emma_maria88 and the joy of #Contribution !! #DrupalCon #DCAsia pic.twitter.com/GErwYdnJa8

— Adelle Frank (@adellefrank) February 19, 2016

@prestonso giving session in Hindi! pic.twitter.com/TMjaMvTpE6

— Gulab Bisht (@gulabbisht) February 19, 2016

.@mohit_rocks and Ankit discuss design patterns. #DrupalCon @axelerant pic.twitter.com/jSMOuoRsPr

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 19, 2016

New contributors can work on… #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/KV1JKhlBTs

— hussainweb (@hussainweb) February 19, 2016

It was all possible because of the Drupal Association team and sponsors:

.@DrupalConAsia is possible because of a great partnership with IIT Bombay. Thanks to @psunthar pic.twitter.com/iJNwcxPjNh

— Megan Sanicki (@megansanicki) February 19, 2016

A great day making new friends @DrupalConAsia @axelerant pic.twitter.com/sMhp9E6toW

— Megan Sanicki (@megansanicki) February 18, 2016

Still smiling after organizing all the @DrupalConAsia programming for MONTHS. Great job @amandagonser #DrupalCon pic.twitter.com/UgDpFmyXPz

— Megan Sanicki (@megansanicki) February 19, 2016

Be sure to thank @RachFrieee for bringing @DrupalConAsia to India. 1 year of hard work. @DrupalConAsia #drupalcon pic.twitter.com/bTN3X2XYuW

— Megan Sanicki (@megansanicki) February 19, 2016

Oh yummy local snacks. Thanks @axelerant pic.twitter.com/RD9PApREFu

— Megan Sanicki (@megansanicki) February 19, 2016

Such cool #drupal tattoos. Thanks @Blisstering @DrupalConAsia #drupalcon pic.twitter.com/wt41cv7hDA

— Megan Sanicki (@megansanicki) February 19, 2016

I am most thankful for our @DrupalConAsia volunteers. pic.twitter.com/kg6T2uDw0q

— Megan Sanicki (@megansanicki) February 18, 2016

Be sure to thank #drupal volunteers @DrupalConAsia. This team donated a full day to help at registration pic.twitter.com/7CINFU953i

— Megan Sanicki (@megansanicki) February 18, 2016

It was a great day and I’m looking forward to Day 2!

Group photo by Michael Cannon under Share-alike license.

Jul 19 2014
Jul 19

Let's be honest, I spend a lot of time at conferences. Over the past 2 years or so I've averaged more than one speaking engagement at a conference per month, including a half-dozen keynotes. I've also helped organize several conferences, mostly DrupalCamps and DrupalCons. I'd estimate conferences make up more than a third of my professional activity. (Incidentally, if someone can tell me how the hell that happened I'd love to hear it; I'm still confused by it.)

As a result I've gotten to see a wide variety of conference setups, plans, crazy ideas, and crazy wonderful ideas. There are many wonderful things that conference organizers do, or do differently, and of course plenty of things that they screw up.

I want to take this opportunity to share some of that experience with the organizers of various conferences together, rather than in one-off feedback forms that only one conference will see. To be clear, while I definitely think there are areas that many conferences could improve I don't want anyone to take this letter as a slam on conference organizers. These are people who put in way more time than you think, often without being paid to do so, out of a love for the community, for learning and sharing, and for you. Whatever else you may think about a conference or this list, the next time you're at a conference take a moment to find one of the organizers and give them a huge hug and/or firm handshake (as is their preference) and say thank you for all the work that they do.

The venue

There is, ultimately, one overriding factor that determines who is awake for the first session in the morning. The percentage of attendees who make it to the first session in the morning is inversely proportional to the travel time in minutes from bedroom to session room. That means conference hotels trump everybody. DrupalCon Chicago 2011, Sunshine PHP, and php[tek] rank at the top of the list here.

If that's not viable for whatever reason (often capacity), make sure there's ample mixed-cost housing very nearby. Nearby means "within a 3 minute walk". If I have to take public transit to get there then it's not close. DrupalCon Austin did very well in this regard, with two large hotels and an apartment complex with several AirBNB's literally across the street from the main entrance to the conference center. It's not quite as nice as it being all one building but it's a close second.

Another logistical point: Consider traffic flow. I've been at a number of conferences where lines to go up the escalator or stairs, or to pick up lunch, or whatever else are longer than most sessions. Few things are as discouraging as wanting to go to a session but being stuck in a line of people going to the same session... at the other end of the convention center. Logistics are hard. Don't under-estimate the amount of thought that needs to go into them.

Don't make me pay to speak

This has been covered elsewhere in more detail so I will only touch on it briefly here. Most people come to a conference to see speakers. Speakers are your offering, attendees are your customers. Don't make me, as a speaker, pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to come to your conference to give someone else a reason to buy a ticket from you.

I'm not asking for an honorarium. (I certainly won't turn one down, but I've only ever had one conference offer that.) But cover hard travel costs for speakers. Or even just hotel and a a stipend for airfare up to some amount. Something. A speaker is already giving you 10-40 hours of their time to prepare a session before they even arrive at the conference. Given what most speakers can make in the IT field that means they're donating, on average, somewhere around $3000 USD worth of their time to your conference before they step in the door. Respect that.

That goes double for invited speakers. Few things are as insulting as reaching out to a speaker to specifically invite them to speak on a subject on which they are an expert, and then telling them "and by the way, you're on your own dime to get here". As a conference organizer for DrupalCon I've been turned down by a number of very good speakers because we don't cover speaker travel, and I don't blame them. You won't get the best talent on stage if you're going to make them pay for the privilege.

Curiously, in my experience it's the big conferences that do worst here. The PHP community conferences tend to be very good in this regard. Big industry vertical conferences often don't even comp tickets for speakers, which is even worse and makes me want to avoid them. Really, the only reason I'd speak under such conditions is as a marketing expense. Do you want your speakers treating you purely as a marketing expense rather than community building?

I will give the very small < 100 person local conferences a pass here, but once you pass around 300-400 attendees you need to treat your speakers better. I've started avoiding conferences that won't cover my travel costs.

Scavenger hunts

A few small to medium conferences have started doing something quite clever with their sponsors. I think php[tek] was the first, and I've seen Sunshine PHP do it as well. All attendees need to get some kind of "check off" from sponsors, or just top-level sponsors with booths. At php[tek] 2014, for example, attendees who got a (fairly high quality) pin from each of the top sponsors were entered into the end-of-conference raffle for a fairly good array of prizes. At Sunshine PHP this year, attendees who had a stamp on their bingo card from all sponsors with tables got a limited edition yellow ElePHPant, Sunny. At Sunshine PHP last year each sponsor visit was worth a raffle ticket as was each question asked in a session of a presenter. Sunshine PHP also had a bonus for the best tweet of the Sunny the ElePHPant around the conference, which encouraged interaction and shenanigans amongst attendees.

Some sponsors just want to give a sales pitch in return for whatever the checkbox is; others want some small social networking stunt ("tweet at us"), or signing up for a free dev account with their service, or whatever. Always fairly simple and reasonable. But it gives attendees a reason to go to the sponsor area (which sponsors love) and to stick around to the end of the conference for the raffle (which organizers love), and a way to get cool free stuff (which attendees love). It probably won't scale to very large conferences like DrupalCon or OSCON or SXSW, but for the < 500 market it's a really nice touch.

On stage

I've had a wide variety of audio options when speaking, from fixed microphones to hand-held mics to wireless lapel mics. Far and away my preference is for something hands-free and mobile. Headset, lapel clip, doesn't matter. I want to be able to move around and I want to have one hand free for a pointer and the other to gesticulate. A hand-held mic means I am walking around two-fisting electronics (feeling and looking like a dork) while a fixed podium mic means I am chained to one spot where no one an see anything but my head. Let me have the freedom to move and I'm able to give a better presentation. I'd rather speak without a microphone than be chained down.

At the same time, though, let me see my slides. This one was a novel experience for me at DrupalCon Austin, where as a presenter the projector screen was situated such that I could not actually see my own slides. I had them on a laptop in front of me, but many laptop/projector setups force you to use only one display so the projector is the only output (which you often don't know until you plug in). Or I may have speaker notes on my laptop screen instead. Or, as is the case for me, I use a laser pointer to highlight portions of a slide or code sample. If I can't see the screen then I can't do that. That was a rather unpleasant surprise when I started speaking and realized I had to change my plan on the fly. (And no, mouse pointers are not a substitute.)

Let me move, let me see my slides, and give me the room to present, not just talk. It really does affect the energy of the talk very significantly.

Edit, as James Watts reminded me of in the comments: Another "little thing" that matters? Water. The last thing a presenter should be thinking about is tracking down water to drink during the talk. There should be either a pitcher of water and cups or water bottles ready and waiting for every presenter as soon as they get to the stage. I've been at (even large) conferences where, for whatever reason, I had to ask one of the attendees to track down water for me from a water fountain 300 feet away from the session room while I setup my laptop because there wasn't anything closer. Please, this is an easy one. Don't forget the water.

A/V

It's been a while since I've had trouble with A/V at a conference. It almost always works, give or take some fiddling. I do, however, occasionally run into a conference that hasn't tested their A/V properly. The biggest challenge? Open Source conferences that only test their A/V with Macs, not with Linux systems. The irony there is palpable. :-) Most laptops in the world still run Windows. In the odd microcosm that is the Open Source world the closed-source Mac OS X is oddly supreme, though. Linux laptops, in my experience, are a strong second. Most of the top-selling laptops on Amazon these days are Chromebooks (Linux). Organizers, please test your A/V setups before I arrive. I can't be the only person with a Linux system at a developer conference.

A few conferences I've been to have asked me to give them slides to present from the conference's laptop. My answer to that is always the same: No. I have my own presenter remote, my own laptop, and I am not using Apple Keynote. Addendum by George DeMet in the comments: I may also be using a non-standard font that I have on my laptop that is not on the conference laptop. That means I often cannot simply dump my slides on a USB key for you and use a strange remote that may or may not work. (Yes, I've had the conference-provided remote fail on me.) It's especially problematic when that is not communicated until I arrive in the room to present.

Fortunately very few conferences I've been to have made this mistake, so to the majority of you who just provide a VGA cable and power outlet that works first-try, thank you!

Recording sessions

I know there's some difference of opinion on this point amongst various speakers so I won't claim my position to be universal, but my stance is this: Please record my session and please give it away!

I present, most of the time, as a form of teaching. I want to share knowledge with as many people as possible. I want to educate. I want to communicate. Recording and sharing session videos — whether it's just slides or a video of me as well — is a way to reach a broader audience than just the 30 people in the room. That includes other attendees of the conference who are in another session in that time-slot. Don't leave them out in the cold!

It also helps me to be able to review my sessions later. I often give the same talk numerous times and being able to review what worked, what didn't, see which jokes fell flat and which slides I stumbled over myself (always a bad sign) is extremely helpful.

The undisputed king on this point is DrupalCon. Recent DrupalCons routinely have decent quality screen-and-audio recordings up in a matter of hours. That's awesome. You don't need to go quite that far but having videos up within, say, a week is very appreciated.

A few conferences do record sessions but then sell access to them, either to attendees or free-for-attendees but paid for everyone else. I can totally understand the financial reasons to do that. So I'll make you a deal: If you charge money for recordings of my session then I want a cut. If not, let me know that you're doing that before I submit a session so I know not to submit one.

After-parties

Conference-sponsored parties are a somewhat controversial subject in some circles. They can be great for socializing and serve as an extended hallway track, but depending on the type of party they can also drive off certain members of the community (due to age, social preference, or alcohol preference) or (due to large quantities of alcohol) increase the chances of the conference ending up as one of too-many negative stories. Some conferences have done away with them as a result, which is rather unfortunate.

There's two ways I've seen after-parties done well: Big and small. For big, the winner is DrupalCon Chicago. The after-party on the first night of the conference was a sit-down dinner for 800 people at the Field Museum of Natural history in Chicago (Warning: Drupal site and Palantir.net client), followed by a local band playing in the main hall. The acoustics weren't great, but it was overall a classy event and gave people who wanted a bit more quiet the opportunity to wander through the public exhibits of one of the top natural history museums in the country. That's great for large groups but can also be quite expensive.

The important key, though, is that it was large enough to handle the crowd. I've been at other conferences where the after-party (also held at a museum) consisted of two really long lines for drinks, a little bit of finger food, and no room to sit down or talk to people. By the time I got through a line for drinks it was nearly time to leave. No, I'm not kidding. Hosting a party is just as much of a logistical challenge as the conference itself; if you're not up to that challenge then it's better to just not have one at all.

For smaller conferences, Lonestar PHP is the reigning champion in my mind. Their after-party consists of a bunch of tables in the main conference venue (the keynote room), a huge pile of board games and card games, a game console with Dance Dance Revolution or similar, and a small bar in the corner with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. It gives drinkers a chance to drink (without being frat-party-hammered) and non-drinkers something else to do and a reason to stick around other than getting drunk. It's well-lit and quiet enough that those who hate loud spaces like bars (myself included) are not driven away. It's even family-friendly. (A number of conference attendees and speakers like to bring their spouse/kids along, which is great to see.) There's even food, albeit usually not enough. (Conference-goers and locusts often have a lot in common.) Well done, Lonestar.

Twin Cities DrupalCamp is a very close second, as they have a very similar setup. The only downside is it's not in the same venue so it requires a little travel. A number of other conferences have started moving to similar plans, which is great. DrupalCon now has a regular trivia night (although if you're not drinking it can be very slow moving) and Symfony Live tends to have a Jeopardy night hosted by Jeremy Mikola. These are all inclusive, friendly, non-frat-party social options. Props to those conferences that have gotten this right, and those that haven't yet... please start. A loud kegger is not a good after-party.

Encourage the hallway track

Conferences are a wonderful educational opportunity. They do not replace training or mentoring but they can provide a "structured taste" of something new: a platform, a system, a technique, or a concept.

As is often said, though, the "hallway track" is where the real conference is. The out-of-session meetings, lunch table conversations, and chance encounters are where the deep learning happens. Encourage those. Provide space for impromptu discussions. (Some conferences call these BoFs, for "Birds of a Feather". I've never understood the term but meh.) Setup lunch so that people have to sit together and talk, and can hear each other talk. Encourage speakers and non-speakers to hang out together and chat informally.

Even as a seasoned speaker I've had random lunch conversations that have turned into new friends, ideas for articles, or even a deeper understanding of the material I'm about to present. (More on that another time.) You can't force that sort of outcome of course, but to the extent possible provide a fertile ground for it. That, in the end, is what conferences are: A fertile ground for learning and connection and mixing to happen.

Thank you, organizers, for all that you do.

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Oct 03 2013
Oct 03

DrupalCon_Prague_Logo_2013

DrupalCon_Prague_Logo_2013

Coming up to a week  since DrupalCon Prague, caught up with my girls, emails, calls, follow ups and all else… time to reflect.

I stand by my verdict of the 26th of Sept: @drupalcon #Prague No #Munich but No #Croydon either but an informative fun week. That is to some annoyance of a few fellow community members and possibly some folks at DA… folks there was and is no offence intended, someone has to lay it out as it is and I did share the feedback in person with DA and not just tweeted it on my way to the airport HA!

The host city was awesome, the venue was well their congress centre (the best they had to offer I suppose) but the connectivity there sucked! the food though not that important could have been much better, the sessions that I have been catching up on line were good though more diversity is key for the future… representation across the continents please! BoFs were super useful no doubt and some of the SWAG was nice, some just awesome – Acquia and Deeson win the SWAG award!

DrupalCon_Prague_201325 11.51.49

DrupalCon_Prague_201325 11.51.49

Having said all of that the most awesome thing about DrupalCon Prague was the connectedness! on that note Prague won hands down! out did Munich too!

I am going to be at DrupalCon Austin which will be my first DrupalCon across the pond and knowing how conferences go over the Atlantic am sure it will be mind blowing and if not you will hear about it in person. As for DrupalCon Amsterdam… it can be nothing short of epic! but then most peeps who have been to the Netherlands would say that!

It was great seeing old friends and making new ones and looking forward to the next Cons and upcoming Camps across the third rock.

Feb 08 2013
Feb 08

Listen online: 

In this special episode Addison Berry and Jeff Eaton give a report of DrupalCon Sydney, from Australia. The audio is not at our normal quality, but we wanted to drop a quick line out about Sydney while we're here. We chat about the two keynotes that we had, our favorite sessions, and how amazing it is to have a DrupalCon literally by the beach.

Release Date: February 8, 2013 - 4:37pm

Album:

Length: 38:25 minutes (22.27 MB)

Format: mono 44kHz 81Kbps (vbr)

Aug 28 2012
Aug 28

DrupalCon Munich 2012 was a blast! The whole Drupalize.Me team (myself, Joe, and Kyle) went over to Germany and soaked up the Drupal goodness. I had a very busy con, and want to share some of the great things that came out of it. (I'll try to be brief, but wow there was a lot of good stuff just in my little corner of the con!)

My week started off by being part of Bryan Hirsch's Drupal Ladder presentation, as part of the new steering committee we've set up. In addition to spreading the word and continuing to push the Ladder project forward, it spawned a number of really good conversations about how to get people bootstrapped into helping out with Drupal core. As the new lead for the lessons and ladders, I have a number of tasks on radar. First and foremost, we need to get our existing lessons completed and reviewed. In addition to the main ladder we already have on the site though, we also want to create ladders for each component of Drupal 8, and the initiatives that people are pushing to complete. To that end, I attended several core conversation sessions, and talked with folks about how to best put together these somewhat nebulous ladders. In a late night of chatting and beers, we got Gábor Hojtsy to create an outline for a Multilingual initiative ladder, based on the way that he has been getting volunteers up to speed on his work. We still need to fill this out, but it is a great start to getting a prototype initiative ladder created so we can test it out and get more people rolling. I. Am. Stoked. (If you want to help fill these lessons out, please feel free to dig in by getting an account and posting a comment on a lesson in the ladder.)

On day two of the conference I shifted focus a little and spent time talking about local community, both in the form of meetups and camps. For me, local and regional events are the prime place to really flatten your learning curve, and sorting out how to get more of them happening, successfully, is an important piece of Drupal education. I was on a panel called "To Beer Or Not To Beer? Making meetups work," along with Brock Boland, Karyn Cassio, and Paul Johnson, where there were lots of great ideas from the other panelists, and from the audience. I also attended the Plan and run a Drupal Camp while having fun, empowering others, sharing knowledge, and getting enough sleep* session, and the related BoF right afterwards. That focused on a project underway creating a camp "kit," that would not only provide an easy to set up camp version of Drupal's Conference Organizing Distribution (COD), but also branded promotional material, best practices documentation, and eventually a system that can be added to COD to actually have the camp team organize within the site itself, and a timeline with reminders to keep you on schedule for a successful event. Neat stuff!

On the last day of sessions there was a Birds of a Feather (BoF) called "Drupal Training: Good, Bad & Ugly" where we packed the room, and largely talked about what training resources are missing in the community (biggest hit there was assessments and quizzes), and how we might better share the resources we have. That played right into my "The State of Drupal Community Education" presentation, which was the last session of the con. I ran through my results from trying to sort out what free, community resources we have for learning, and supporting teachers. I generated more questions than answers, and we uncovered some other resources. I'm really hoping that conversation will continue in the Curriculum and Training group on groups.drupal.org. Once I get some time, I'd love to rework the group home page to make things clearer and encourage conversation for working together as teachers and trainers, but please feel free to check out the post we've added (thanks Sharon!) with a quick list of current resources out there and give feedback on others we may have missed.

My week wrapped up with what is arguably my favorite part: the Get Involved with Core sprint. To help out the core mentoring team, Drupalize.Me provided a free workshop on the morning of the sprint to get people eased into the community. Things were pulled together at the last minute but we ran with it (huge thanks to Jess (xjm) and Neil Kent!) and we managed to make a workshop of it. Joe, myself, and Cathy Theys walked about 50 people through the steps of getting started (using the issue queue, IRC, local web server, git, and an installation of Drupal 8), very similar to what I did with Kyle at CapitalCamp last month in Washington, DC. The best part for this workshop though, was that once people got set up with all of their tools there was a room of almost 200 people around them working on core issues that they could dive right into. As a matter of fact, two of the people that were in our workshop worked on an issue that afternoon that was then committed to core live on stage at the sprint by Dries himself. That was pretty amazing! I'm super excited for us to do this workshop again at BADcamp, and we're looking at other camps and cons to show up at as well (let us know if you're interested in us coming to your event to lead a community tools workshop). With our experience in two different scenarios, and more time to plan the logistics, I just can't wait to keep it going. It is one of the most fun workshops I've ever done, and it feels so great to see people really getting their mojo going with Drupal tools and the community.

Of course, in addition to great sessions and hard work, there was just the great time to see friends I hadn't seen in a while, spend the beautiful summer evenings in the beer garden, and re-connect with the wonderful energy of the people in this community. This really was a great DrupalCon, and I'd like to thank everyone involved for making it rock so hard. I feel inspired and excited, and am raring to go on a number of initiatives in the Drupal education space. If you want to know more about any of the things I've covered here, please ask, as I could probably go on for hours about any one of these cool things. I also hope to see you at the next DrupalCamp or DrupalCon to talk face to face, and direct our energy together into making Drupal even better than it already is.

Aug 06 2012
Aug 06

The Drupalize.Me team is excited to be going to Germany in just two weeks, for DrupalCon Munich. DrupalCon is always an amazing event with thousands of Drupalers sharing ideas, having fun, and helping to make Drupal even better, both as software and as a community. For our part, we will be involved in several sessions, as well as doing everything we can to make the sprint day successful by providing free training on community tools. What is a "sprint day" you ask? Well let me explain what's going on and why we're so excited.

DrupalCons have always traditionally had an open space on the last day of the conference for sprinting. Everyone in the community comes together and simply works on tasks to make Drupal better, everything from coding for Drupal core, to writing better documentation, to helping out your favorite module or theme. It is a wonderful way to get plugged in to the community and make an immediate contribution. So many people are available to help guide you and bounce great ideas around. The biggest problem that often happens though, is that there are a lot of people working on lots of different things, and it can be very overwhelming for someone who is new to either the community as a whole, or even just new to the concept of a sprint. Another problem we often see that leads to lower attendance in the first place is that many people don't feel that they have the knowledge or tools to contribute. Everyone can contribute, whether you know how to code or not. Figuring out what you can contribute though is often daunting enough that most people stay away, instead of peeking in the door and seeing all the great fun going on that they could be a part of.

Recently the core mentoring team has been working hard to create better organization around working on core to make the on ramp that much smoother for new people, and give people better direction for how they can help. At the same time there is a new initiative called the Drupal Ladder that has been focusing very narrowly on creating step-by-step guides for people who want to contribute. Our team has been involved with both of these efforts in a number of ways. At CapitalCamp a few weeks ago we wanted to add our help in a new way. We created a new, free, half-day workshop to teach people our community's tools. (You can see the outline and resource links from the workshop.) We wanted to have a very relaxed and guided place for people to not just get exposed to the tools we use and how, but to also provide hands-on help and make sure people really felt comfortable. We had a huge turnout at the camp — more than we anticipated — and it was a blast! It was such a success that we're excited to provide the same training in Munich for the DrupalCon sprint. We're still working out the details of the when/where, but we will definitely update you here on our blog, as well as get the word out at DrupalCon. If you will be in Munich, we hope to see you on sprint day, and we'll be there to help you feel welcome and confident as you jump into the wonderful world of contributing to open source.

Oh! We also have some extra fancy, special, limited-edition sparkly pony stickers, just for DrupalCon Munich. We only printed 1000 of them, and they'll only be available at DrupalCon. Once they're gone, that's it. So, make sure you track down Addi, Kyle, or Joe during the conference to get 'em while you can!

Mar 26 2012
Mar 26

The whole Drupalize.Me team was at DrupalCon this past week, and we certainly had a blast! I spent most of my time chatting with people, and handing out our sparkly pony stickers, so I didn't get to see many sessions. One session that I did go to, though, was the Boston Initiative presentation about the Drupal contribution ladder (Learn Drupal), along with one of their BoFs. It got me really interested about the work going on to get more people up to speed with contributing to the Drupal community. I've spent a number of years doing a lot of community work, and what got me excited about Learn Drupal is the great way this has been developed with the Boston community and the plan that they have for next steps. So many community efforts end up sort of wandering in circles at a certain point, including some of my own past efforts around documentation, so the thought, planning, and organization around Learn Drupal is pretty exciting to me.

The short of the project is that the Boston community spent the last six months or so trying out various ways of creating a step-by-step curriculum, or ladder, for working your way through the steps to becoming a contributor for Drupal core. They have started getting a framework in place to provide a guided plan to becoming a contributor, a web site to pull it all together, and an install profile to give everyone the same tools and Drupal environment while working through the ladder. They also have some ambitious goals. Our current percentage of active users who actually contribute to core is hovering around 0.1%. They want to get that up to a full 1% in 2014. They aren't shooting low. ;-)

One of the things that I think is key to the success of this project so far is that it was a focused group effort, in a relatively limited circle, so they could test things out and see what worked well. With that controlled practice they made some good discoveries that they can now articulate and share with other groups. The immediate goals, to be achieved by DrupalCon Munich in August this year, are to get at least 10 more local user groups regularly having meetups where they work through the ladder, clean up the web site so it is more usable, and to get the install profile up to a 1.0 release.

There is a lot of work to do, but I think this is very achievable and I want to help make it happen. I'm going to be introducing Learn Drupal to the Copenhagen Drupal community in April, and in that process also help them fill out the lessons and make sure we have the material we need for other groups to jump in and get started too. I'll also be hopping in the issue queue to help with the important work of getting the web site and install profile into better shape. They have a lot of good pieces in place, but a lot of it is preliminary and we need more hands on deck to get into a truly usable state. In addition to my personal commitment to helping this project grow, we here at Drupalize.Me will also be dedicating some of our regular working hours to helping out too. Look for new free Community videos that match up with the Learn Drupal lessons on the Drupalize.Me site soon.

I hope to see you in the Learn Drupal issue queue or chatting about your local group's involvement. You can become part of the fun by going to learndrupal.org and creating an account.

Oct 28 2011
Oct 28

DrupalCamp Foz 2011
Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil
October 19-21, 2011
Written by Nick Vidal


Photo Credits: Saulo Amui.


I bet Dries never saw so many water drops in his life!

Introduction

The Drupal Latin community has been trying to convince the Drupal Association to organize a DrupalCon outside of the North America / Europe axis since 2009 without much success. One of the last attemps was the Drupal Association planning to hold a DrupalCon together with Latinoware, one of the largest open-source events in Brazil, but it didn't work out and, with 50 days left to Latinoware, the Drupal Association passed the buck to whoever would take up the challenge of organizing a DrupalCamp instead. Obviously 50 days is not a lot of time to organize an event of this magnitude. Nevertheless, I thought it was important to give my best try to prove that we, as a community, can organize a DrupalCon in Latin America! Why is that so important? Because it breaks the long overdue pattern of holding DrupalCons only in North America and Europe. Because it expands Drupal to new horizons and fosters new opportunities in places where it's most needed! If the Latin community can organize a DrupalCon, so can Asia. If Asia can do it, so can Australia. If Australia can do it, so can Africa!

The Venue

DrupalCamp Foz 2011 took place in conjunction with Latinoware 2011 in Foz do Iguassu, Brazil on October 19-21, 2011. Over 4.000 people were part of the eighth edition of Latinoware. The Latinoware venue was Itaipu's Technology Park, situated inside the Itaipu Dam. The Itaipu Dam is the world's largest generator of renewable clean energy. Considered to be one of the seven modern wonders of the world, this magnificent structure is located on the border of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. Besides the Itaipu Dam, Foz do Iguassu is also known for the Iguassu Falls, considered to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The Venue provided by Latinoware was really beautiful, and Latinoware took care of the audio/video equipment, video recording, Internet access, receptionists, translators, security guards, transportation, coffee-break, lunch, and even a Rock concert!

The Organizers

The main organizers of Latinoware were Cesar Brod and Joice Käfer. They both did a fantastic job organizing the event and offered a tremendous support for DrupalCamp Foz during the whole period. They were the ones responsible for convincing Dries Buytaert to come to Brazil for the first time. Also, they negotiated with Latinoware to pay the expenses of two DrupalCamp Foz organizers from Brazil and two DrupalCamp Foz organizers from Latin America.

I was the main organizer of DrupalCamp Foz, and I chose Pedro Faria, a Drupal and PHP member from Rio de Janeiro, to help me. From Latin America, I chose Fernando Paredes Garcia, the previous organizer of the Drupal Summit Latino (that took place in Lima, Peru in January 2011), and Joaquin Contreras, the next organizer of the Drupal Summit Latino (which will take place in Guadalajara, Mexico in February 2012). I wanted to use this DrupalCamp as a meeting point to create a bridge between the Drupal Summits. These Drupal Summits are a demonstration of the power of the Drupal Latin community to organize events.

The Sponsors

Most sponsors need at least 3 months to allocate resources for a sponsorship, but we didn't have that much time, so we mostly had to rely on our own social network to find sponsors and speak directly with CEOs to speed the process. Fabiano Sant'Ana provided our first Gold Sponsorship by putting us in touch with José San Martin, from Chuva Inc (Brazil). Later, Pedro Faria put us in touch with Saulo Amui, from HostSH (Brazil), who offered a Bronze Sponsorship. Next, Leandro Nunes and Alex Weber from Webdrop (Brazil) got in touch with us and offered a Silver Sponsorship. Franz Glauber put us in touch with Bob White from Trellon (U.S.), who kindly offered a Gold Sponsorship. I was able to negotiate a Gold Sponsorship with Jeffrey McGuire from Acquia (U.S.). And finally, Fernando Paredes Garcia put us in touch with Juan Santiago from Santex America (Argentina) for a Diamond Sponsorship. Each CEO had to personally look into this matter and make it happen really fast, so we are very grateful for their amazing support of the Drupal Latin community.

The Speakers

We didn't have much time to make a call for participation neither. We only gave a 2-week time-frame for speakers all over Brazil and Latin America to submit their talks, but the feedback was amazing and we even had to cut some talks in the end. The selected speakers were from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru (as well as Belgium and Greenland). They were: Alex Piaz, Capi Etheriel, Diego Teixeira, Dries Buytaert, Everton Pasqual, Fabiano Sant'Ana, Fernando Paredes Garcia, Franz Glauber, Henrique Recidive, Javier Reartes, Joaquin Contreras, José San Martin, Karim Boudjema, Leandro Nunes, Nancy Contreras, Nick Vidal, Pedro Faria, Rasmus Lerdorf, and Tiago Palacios. Thanks to our sponsors, we were able to offer free accommodation to all speakers.

The Audience

With DrupalCamp Foz 2011 being held at the main auditorium, with a capacity for 1000 people, we had really high expectations. But Cesar Brod, an experienced organizer, warned us that he wasn't expecting us to fill the auditorium, specially with only 50 days to organize the event. And in the end, he was right. This just proves that you can't organize a huge event in 50 days! The Drupal community needs time to organize themselves, to talk with employers, to buy plane tickets, to make hotel reservations, and to gather together. We had everything ready to receive those 1000 people, but we didn't give the Drupal community enough time to come. Perhaps we could have pulled it off on such a short-time frame if the event were to take place in Sao Paulo city over the week-end. But this was Foz do Iguassu, a small city 1000 Km (650 miles) away from Brazil's financial hub, and the event occurred in the middle of the week. Nevertheless, the Drupalers that came were really great, and we also had many newbies attending Latinoware interested in open-source, and this was the audience that we tried to reach.

The Magazine

Perhaps one of the biggest successes of DrupalCamp Foz 2011 was the launch of a Magazine to promote Drupal in Latin America. This was a 20-page full-color magazine with many articles and an interview with Dries Buytaert translated into 3 languages: English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Thanks to our sponsors, we were able to print 5000 copies. In Latinoware, we were able to spread 3000 magazines. Just a few days ago, we were awarded a 2500 USD grant from the Drupal Association to print more magazines and spread them in DrupalCamps all over Latin America! We are already in touch with Drupalers from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru to spread these magazines. Also, in Brazil, we'll be spreading the magazines in the states of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina, Parana, Minas Gerais, Bahia, Goias and the Federal District (Brasilia). So this has been and will be, without a doubt, a big boost in disseminating Drupal in the whole continent.

The DRUP4AL

But the whole continent is not enough for us. We want to help spread Drupal everywhere, specially in places that have so far received little attention from the Drupal community. This is why we also created a new initiative called DRUP4AL, pronounced "Drup for All", with the mission of promoting Drupal in Africa, Asia, Australia, and America Latina. We want to expand Drupal to new horizons and foster new opportunities in places where it's most needed!

But is Drupal mature enough in these places to deserve our attention? We believe that this is a classic chicken-and-egg problem. The more we concentrate our attention in promoting Drupal in North America and Europe, the bigger will the gap get between Drupal adoption in North America and Europe when compared to the rest of the world. Also, there is a tendency for undervaluing the importance of Africa, Asia, Australia, and Latin America. The reality is that, despite the challenges, there are huge markets in these regions. For example, we have Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Furthermore, and most importantly, it's a matter of social responsibility promoting Drupal in these regions, since these are the regions where Drupal has the biggest potential for truly changing people's lives and making the world a better place.

We've just launched this initiative, but within a few days, we have already received support from the whole Drupal Latin Community, as well as the Drupal Community from India, Singapore, and Australia.

Final Remarks

DrupalCamp Foz 2011 was a great event with many initiatives. We only had 50 days to organize this event, but for us this was just a small drop towards making a strong Drupal presence everywhere. We are currently organizing the 2nd Drupal Summit Latino, in Guadalajara, Mexico, and we are preparing to launch a new Magazine during this event. We also look forward to working together with other communities from around the world. There is just so much potential, and we believe that these initiatives will help change the perspective that the core Drupal community has towards the community around them. If we all work together, we can truly change the world and create a better equilibrium in society. I believe that there is no better place to represent this change of attitude than Foz do Iguassu, with the beautiful waterfalls symbolizing the coming together of small water drops from everywhere into this one splendid oeuvre d'art from mother nature. Let's spread Drupal everywhere, and most importantly, let's spread opportunities for all!

Castellano / English

DrupalCamp Foz 2011: Difundiendo Drupal en América Latina y más allá!

DrupalCamp Foz 2011
Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil
Octubre 19-21, 2011
Escrito por Nick Vidal
Traducido al Castellano por @develCuy


Foto por: Saulo Amui.


Apuesto a que Dries nunca vio tantas gotas de agua en su vida!

Introducción

La comunidad Latina de Drupal ha estado intentando convencer a la Asociación Drupal de organizar un Drupalcon fuera del axis Norte América / Europa desde 2009 sin mucho éxito. Uno de los últimos intentos fue el plan de Drupal Association de hacer un Drupalcon junto a Latinoware, uno de los más grandes eventos de open-source en Brasil, pero eso no funcionó y, con 50 días faltantes para Latinoware, la Drupal Association pasó la pelota a cualquiera que tome el reto de organizar un DrupalCamp en reemplazo. Obviamente 50 días no es mucho tiempo para organizar un evento de esta magnitud. Sin embargo, pensé que era importante hacer mi mejor intento para probar, como comunidad, que es posible organizar un DrupalCon en América Latina! ¿Por qué es tan importante? Porque esto rompe el antiguo patrón de organizar DrupalCons solamente en Norteamérica y Europa. Porque esto expande Drupal a nuevos horizontes y fomenta nuevas oportunidades en lugares donde es más necesitado! Si la comunidad Latina puede organizar un DrupalCon, entonces Asia puede. Si Asia puede hacerlo, entonces Australia puede. Si Australia puede hacerlo, entonces África puede!

El Lugar

DrupalCamp Foz 2011 ocurrió junto con Latinoware 2011 en Foz de Iguazú, Brazil del 19 al 21 de Octubre de 2011. Más de 4.000 personas fueron parte de la octava edición de Latinoware. El lugar de Latinoware fue el Parque Tecnológico de Itaipú, situado dentro de la Represa de Itaipú. La Represa de Itaipú es en el planeta el más grande generador de energía limpia renovable. Considerada una de las siete maravillas del mundo moderno, esta magnífica estructura está ubicada en el límite de Brazil, Paraguay, y Argentina. Aparte de la Represa de Itaipú, Foz de Iguazú es también conocido por las Cataratas de Iguazú, consideradas a ser una las siete maravillas naturales del mundo. El lugar provisto por Latinoware fue realmente hermoso, y Latinoware se encargó del equipo de audio/video, grabación de video, acceso a Internet, recepcionistas, traductores, guardias de seguridad, transporte, coffee-break, almuerzo, y hasta un concierto de Rock!

Los Organizadores

Los organizadores principales de Latiware fueron Cesar Brod y Joice Käfer. Ambos hicieron un trabajo fantástico organizando el evento y todo el tiempo ofrecieron un soporte tremendo para DrupalCamp Foz. Ellos fueron los responsables de convencer a Dries Buytaert de venir a Brazil por primera vez. También, ellos negociaron con Latinoware el pago de los gastos de dos organizadores Brasileños de DrupalCamp Foz y dos organizadores de DrupalCamp Foz de América Latina.

Yo fui el organizador principal de DrupalCamp Foz y escogí Pedro Faria, un miembro de la comunidad de Drupal y PHP de Rio de Janeiro, para que me ayude. De América Latina, escogí a Fernando Paredes Garcia, el anterior organizador de Drupal Summit Latino (ocurrido en Lima, Perú en Enero 2011), y Joaquin Contreras, el próximo organizador de Drupal Summit Latino (que ocurrirá en Guadalajara, México en Febrero 2012). Quise aprovechar este DrupalCamp como un punto de encuentro para crear un puente entre los Drupal Summits. Estos Drupal Summits son una demostración del poder de la comunidad Latina de Drupal para organizar eventos.

Los Patrocinadores

La mayoría de patrocinadores necesita por lo menos 3 meses para preparar sus recursos de patrocinio, pero no tuvimos mucho tiempo, así que nos apoyamos mayormente en nuestra propia red social para encontrar patrocinadores y hablar directamente con los CEOs para acelerar el proceso. Fabiano Sant'Ana proveyó nuestro primer Patrocinador Oro al contactarnos con José San Martin, de Chuva Inc (Brasil). Después, Pedro Faria nos puso en contacto con Saulo Amui, de HostSH (Brasil), quien ofreció un Patrocinio Bronce. El siguiente, Leandro Nunes y Alex Weber de Webdrop (Brasil) se pusieron en contacto con nosotros para ofrecer un Patrocinio Plata. Franz Glauber nos puso en contacto con Bob White de Trellon (U.S.), quien gentilmente ofreció un Patrocinio Oro. Yo pude negociar un Patrocinio Oro con Jeffrey McGuire de Acquia (U.S.). Y finalmente, Fernando Paredes Garcia nos puso en contacto con Juan Santiago de Santex America (Argentina) para un Patrocinio Diamond. Cada CEO tuvo que ocuparse personalmente de este asunto y hacer que ocurra rápido, así que estamos muy agradecidos por su maravilloso soporte a la comunidad Latina de Drupal.

Los Ponentes

Tampoco tuvimos mucho tiempo para hacer una llamado para participar. Solamente dimos una rango de tiempo de 2 semanas a los ponentes de todo Brasil y América Latina para envíen sus sesiones, pero la respuesta fue maravillosa e incluso tuvimos que quitar algunas charlas al final. Los ponentes escogidos fueron de Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, México, y Perú (así como Bélgica y Groenlandia). Ellos fueron: Alex Piaz, Capi Etheriel, Diego Teixeira, Dries Buytaert, Everton Pasqual, Fabiano Sant'Ana, Fernando Paredes Garcia, Franz Glauber, Henrique Recidive, Javier Reartes, Joaquin Contreras, José San Martin, Karim Boudjema, Leandro Nunes, Nancy Contreras, Nick Vidal, Pedro Faria, Rasmus Lerdorf, y Tiago Palacios. Gracias a nuestros patrocinadores, nosotros pudimos ofrecer hospedaje gratuito a todos nuestros ponentes.

La Audiencia

Con el DrupalCamp Foz 2011 ocurriendo en el auditorio principal, con una capacidad para 1000 personas, tuvimos expectativas realmente altas. Pero Cesar Brod, un organizador experimentado, nos advirtió que el no espera que llenemos el auditorio, especialmente con solo 50 días para organizar el evento. Y al final, el tuvo razón. Esto solamente prueba que ¡no puedes organizar un gran evento en solo 50 días! La Comunidad de Drupal necesita tiempo para poder organizarse, hablar con los empleados, comprar los boletos de avión, hacer las reservaciones de Hotel, y poder juntarse. Tuvimos todo listo para recibir a esas 1000 personas, pero no le dimos suficiente tiempo a la comunidad de Drupal para venir. Tal vez pudimos haberlo logrado en tan poco tiempo si el evento se hubiera realizado en la ciudad de Sao Paulo durante un fin de semana. Pero esto era Foz de Iguazú, una pequeña ciudad a 1000 Km (650 millas) lejos del centro financiero de Brasil, y el evento ocurrió en el medio de la semana. Sin embargo, los Drupaleros que vinieron fueron realmente grandiosos, y también tuvimos muchos novatos que asistieron a Latinoware interesados en open-source, y esa fue la audiencia que intentamos alcanzar.

La Revista

Tal vez uno de los mayores éxitos de DrupalCamp Foz 2011 fue el lanzamiento de una Revista para promover Drupal en América Latina. Esta fue una revista de 20 páginas a full-color con muchos artículos y una entrevista a Dries Buytaert traducida en 3 idiomas: Inglés, Castellano, y Portugués. Gracias a nuestros patrocinadores, pudimos imprimir 5000 copias. En Latinoware pudimos distribuir 3000 revistas. Hace solo unos días fuimos premiados con 2500 USD de la Drupal Association para imprimir más revistas y distribuirlas en las DrupalCamps DrupalCamps por toda América Latina! Ya estamos en contacto con Drupaleros de Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, y Perú para distribuir estas revistas. También, en Brasil, estaremos las revistas en los estados de Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina, Parana, Minas Gerais, Bahia, Goias y el Distrito Federal (Brasilia). Así que esto ha sido y será, sin lugar a dudas, un gran acelerador para promocionar Drupal en todo el continente.

La DRUP4AL

Pero todo el continente no es suficiente para nosotros. Queremos ayudar a difundir Drupal en todas partes, especialmente en lugares que hasta el momento solo han recibido poca atención de la comunidad de Drupal. Esa es la razón por la que también creamos una nueva iniciativa llamada DRUP4AL, pronunciada "Drup for All" (Drup para todos), con la misión de promover Drupal en Africa, Asia, Australia, y América Latina. Queremos expandir Drupal a nuevos horizontes y fomentar nuevas oportunidades en lugares donde es más necesitado!

Pero, ¿És acaso Drupal lo suficientemente maduro en esos lugares como para merecer atención? Creemos que este es el clásico problema del huevo y la gallina. Cuanto más concentremos nuestra atención en promover Drupal en Norteamérica y Europa, mayor va ha ser el nivel de adopción en Norteamérica y Europa cuando se le compare con el resto del mundo. También, hay una tendencia a menospreciar la importancia de Africa, Asia, Australia, y América Latina. La realidad es que, a pesar de los retos, hay enormes mercados en esas regiones. Por ejemplo, tenemos Brasil, Rusia, India y China. Finalmente, y más importante, es un asunto de responsabilidad social el promover Drupal en esas regiones, ya que esas son regiones donde Drupal tiene el mayor potencial para realmente cambiar la vida de las personas y hacer del mundo un mejor lugar.

Recién acabamos de lanzar la iniciativa, pero en pocos días, ya hemos recibido soporte de toda la Comunidad Latina de Drupal, así como de la Comunidad de Drupal en India, Singapore y Australia.

Observaciones Finales

DrupalCamp Foz 2011 fue un gran evento con muchas iniciativas. Solamente tuvimos 50 días para organizar este evento, pero para nosotros esto fue solo una pequeña gota en el esfuerzo de construir una fuerte presencia de Drupal en todas partes. Actualmente estamos organizando el 2do Drupal Summit Latino, en Guadalajara, México, y estamos preparando el lanzamiento de una nueva Revista durante este evento. También estamos buscando trabajar junto a otras comunidades de todo el mundo. Hay mucho potencial, y creemos que esas iniciativas van a ayudar a cambiar la perspectiva que el núcleo de la comunidad de Drupal tiene respecto de la comunidad a su alrededor. Si todos trabajamos juntos, podemos realmente cambiar el mundo y crear un mejor equilibrio en la sociedad. Creo que no hay mejor lugar para representar este cambio de actitud que Foz de Iguazú, con las hermosas cataratas simbolizando a pequeñas gotas de agua que vienen juntas desde todas partes en este esplendido oeuvre d'art de la madre naturaleza. Difundamos Drupal en todas partes, y más importante, ¡promovamos oportunidades para todos!

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Mar 23 2011
Mar 23

DrupalCon is a Mecca for thousands of companies and individuals that call the Drupal community home and, naturally, several of the Larks attended DrupalCon Chicago earlier this month.

We’re very involved in our local and global professional communities and we participated at DrupalCon Chicago on several levels, from volunteering to organizing to presenting.

Sessions and BoFs (birds of a feather sessions)

Rain Breaw, who heads up our Drupal training program, presented to a filled auditorium on Views Demystified, a Drupal 7 update to her immensely popular session from DrupalCamp LA and DrupalCon San Francisco. Rain was also a DrupalCon volunteer and you may have seen her at conference registration.

Also at the conference was our Director of Business Development, Cary Gordon. Cary is a Board Member of the Drupal Association, the organization dedicated to Drupal’s funding, promotion and infrastructure, and he has been working to help build the Association’s professional events team. You may have seen Cary at the Library BoFs (I and II), the Domain Access BoF and several of the Core Conversations sessions.

As for myself, I co-presented on Building Successful Local Communities: Insights and Best Practices. I also participated in the DrupalCamp Organizing Round Table, where I shared how the Los Angeles Drupal community, already one of the largest Drupal user groups in the world, is dealing with the growing pains of nearly doubling in size in less than a year.

Drupal Fit: Drupal’s fitness movement and support group

For fun, I participated with dozens of others in the Drupal Fit BoF that ran throughout the entire conference. Drupal and fitness might sound like an unusual combination, but as Dries Buytaert, Drupal’s creator and project lead, once told me, “We want the Drupal community to be fit so that we make better open source software.”

During the conference, I recorded several new Drupal Fit interviews that will shine the spotlight on members of the community who are focused on getting and staying fit.

Looking to the future

DrupalCon is one of our favorite events and DrupalCon Chicago was no different. This time, DrupalCon felt like another turning point for the Drupal community. As Rudyard Kipling once said, “I have struck a city — a real city — and they call it Chicago,” and DrupalCon Chicago has without a doubt left a similar impression on everyone who attended and exhibited.

See you at the next DrupalCon at DrupalCon London!

Mar 09 2011
Mar 09

I gave my "Views for hackers" talk at DrupalCon Chicago yesterday. This was definitely the biggest attendance I've ever had in my short experience as a speaker! Thanks everyone for attending and for the great questions. Please rate it at the DrupalCon site, this will help me improve it. Thanks!

Here are the slides as uploaded to SlideShare:

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About Drupal Sun

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