DrupalCon New Orleans 2016DrupalCon New Orleans is in the books, with more than 3,100 attendees. We now also know that DrupalCon is coming to Baltimore in 2017 and I’m nothing short of excited! This also means that us Baltimore area Drupal people have some work to do.

For anyone that hasn’t spent time at a DrupalCon (Drupal convention in the long form), these are week-long events that occur in a different US city each year. There’s also a European variety and some years have seen a DrupalCon that travels to Asia-Pacific or South American cities. DrupalCon is a compression chamber of Drupal learning and networking. I met many new friends and business peers. DrupalCon is also a place to find some great talent.

Many people arrive in town for DrupalCon a few days early to take in the city. Sponsors and exhibitors set up booths on Monday while various vertical-specific summit meetings occur. Sprints at DrupalCon are concentrated efforts to work through code, documentation, or other discrete initiatives for Drupal-related projects. These are held throughout the week, mainly Monday and Friday. Keynotes open the day on Tuesday and Wednesday, with information about the state of Drupal and some goofy antics. Tuesday through Thursday have sessions that follow one of a few tracks, which continue to grow each year. This year we saw a new track for Project Management and I think most would agree that it was quite successful and educational. Parties and social events allow us all to relax, geek out, and meet people from around the world. I find DrupalCon to also be a great opportunity to grab some great local food and drinks with old friends and new. Thursday’s closing session is the time they announce the next year’s DrupalCon, which was a pleasant surprise to find out that it’s coming to Baltimore. We also enjoyed a second line funeral procession and party for the death (end of life for community support) of Drupal 6. Some people may choose to stay a few days after DrupalCon, again to enjoy the city and it’s offerings.

Since sessions tend to be the more focused learning initiatives, I usually keep an eye on these as they get scheduled a month or so before DrupalCon… and I would advise the same to anyone going to DrupalCon. I’ll add all sessions (with time zones set appropriately) to my calendar as “tentative”, and mark the sessions that I definitely want to attend as “out of office” to share with coworkers when I’m not available for calls. This year I attended sessions on technical project management; solidifying vague requirements and unknown user needs; and two sessions on the multilingual features of Drupal 8. These topics are of personal interest to me since I continue to work on multilingual Drupal projects and as a solutions architect, I create and see out build plans. I also attended a Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) session–a special type of session that’s more of a group conversation than a lecture–that discussed Drupal VM. Drupal VM is a platform that makes deploying a virtual environment for development of Drupal projects using things like Vagrant to make things easy and uniform. I wish I could have attended more sessions, but thankfully the main (not the BoF) sessions are recorded… so are things like a keynote. If you’re thinking about attending DrupalCon and want a sample of these, or you’re just interested in the material, go check out these recordings. I know I’ll be doing that over the next few weeks to catch the sessions that conflicted with those I attended.

Overall it was another fun and educational DrupalCon. I am grateful to have the good fortune to attend and hope that you, our wonderful blog reader, take the time to attend our hometown DrupalCon in Baltimore next year! Unleashed Technologies and many other local agencies will be present to help network and educate fellow Drupal lovers!

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