In the past few days I attended Drupal Down Under 2012 and wanted to write about my impressions of the conference from someone new to Drupal's perspective.
Brilliant, the location was central to Melbourne, this was especially good due to it being my first time in Melbourne so I was able to go and see the sites outside of the regular hours of the conference (I recommend this pub, Equinox, its a student pub and has cheap drinks, great meals and a solid outdoor area to watch the world go by......... and back to my impressions.).
The two keynotes that I saw where Dries Buytaert and Dmitri Gaskin.
On the first day we had Dmitri Gaskin give a inspirational keynote on his "Growing Up With Drupal". Dmitri talked about his beginnings as a java developer to program a lego robot he purchased after going to a robot convention. He then was thrown into the Drupal spectrum by his school who wanted to develop a website. Dmitri then learnt as much as he could through online resources and finally the community. He submitted his first patch during this project and the rest is history. Dmitri is a seasoned member of the Drupal community and regularly speaks at his local Drupal Camps. He also prides himself on being the creator of the fabulous "drush make", and for that I would also like to say thankyou! Oh, by the way, did I mention he is now only 16 years of age! Through Dmitri as a test case I have come up with the following equation for when one should start Drupal (or Development of any kind). Take the age you think would be the youngest age you could start developing and minus 10 years off that! There you go, you now have the age you could have started developing and making the world a better place.
On the second day we had a very informative keynote on the future of Drupal by its creator Dries Buytaert. The two topics covered were related to where Drupal is heading in the future and his predictions on Drupal in the Business space (Small, Medium, Large Business). Dries explained that he believes that Drupal is well placed with Medium Businesses and will continue span out into the top levels of the Small Business market, while also gaining ground in the lower end of the Large Business spectrum. Dries then went on to explain the primary focus of Drupal 8; Ease of Use (WYSISYG and Mobile). Drupal 8 is going to have greater mobile support by providing HTML5 by default and we will see a greater presence of WYSISYG for the data entry folk. There are quite a few more and I recommend going to the Drupal Down Under site (when posted) to view Dries keynote.
I had no idea what was going to happen going into this event. I had seen the sessions on paper but had no idea on the format or of the community in which would attend. I attended the following sessions:
- Views API Exposed
- Field, Widgets and Fomatters - Oh my!
- Drupal 7 Theming and Template Inheritance
- Node.js and Drupal
- Responsive Design
- Poppin Forms that Client Love
- Ezy-bake Drupal: Cooking sites with Distributions
- Building an awesome e-commerce site in 25 minutes without losing your soul)
First and formost I would like to say that all of these sessions where really well done and taught everyone something new. There are two standouts for me and those are:
Node.js and Drupal - I went into this session with no knowledge of what Node.js was, I had heard around the web about this Node.js but what was it and what does it give me? For now it gives Drupal fast information streams to users. The examples used where an update to the Drupal Watchdog to make posts appear in real time and a realtime pop up for users to see that a new comment had appeared on a subscribed node. I am really looking forward to seeing where this project goes and I cannot wait to do some work with it myself.
Ezy-bake Drupal: Cooking sites with Distributions - Having only just come off working on Rowlands Group's first Distribution: Open Music Festival, I was super keen to see how other members of the community got to a working solution on creating a Drupal Distribution. I definitely learnt a lot of valuable inside knowledge from members of the community that have already worked with Distributions and I believe that this knowledge will only make Open Music Festival better. I will be posting a How-To on how to make your own Drupal Distribution later on down the track.
Drupal Down Under 2012 was the best conference I have been to. I had a great time seeing this amazing Drupal community that we have in Australia and look forward to seeing everyone again in Drupal Down Under: Sydney.
I would finally like to thank the organisers and speakers at the event. It would not have been this amazing without amazing people running the show and contributing. I wish to also extend a big thankyou to the interviewee's for the Drupal Yarns podcast and to apologise to those that we could not get to for interviews. We look forward to getting these podcasts out to you, the community, so you can listen to the truly talented people that I we met at the conference. If you wish to have an interview with us and have it appear on Drupal Yarns please don't hestitate to sent us get in touch.