The DrupalCon newbie trinity from OpenSenseLabs - Anmol Goel (Tech Lead), Pritish Kumar (Tech Lead), and Akshita Rawat (Marketing Lead) - attended DrupalCon Prague 2022 and were psyched with the community exposure. We were looking forward to getting to know the community better and meeting familiar faces who we had only heard or read about. This is a quick recap of our experience at DrupalCon Prague 2022.
I got introduced to the Drupal community in 2017. Ever since, I have been learning and writing about the new upgrades, modules, distributions, and the community.
From a non-tech perspective, I always wondered what DrupalCon could be like other than technical sessions and contributions.
When I got my session selected for DrupalCon Prague 2022, I was ready to know the answer.
Our team included Anmol Goel, Pritish Kumar, and myself. Anmol & Pritish were selected as volunteers for the event. It is an opportunity given to a handful of community members who have made significant contributions to the community. I was to speak on effective team management practices, also highlighting our employee-first policies at OpenSense Labs.
All three of us were looking forward to getting to know the community better and meeting familiar faces who we had only heard or read about (for sooo long).
Keynotes and Dries Note
The opening keynote majorly covered the new product updates and why they matter. With CKEditor 5 coming up in Drupal 10 - it was the highlight for me.
The keynote also covered new updates in The Local Inititative, Project Browser, & moving to Git for community contribution, among others.
DriesNote has always been a popular session in DrupalCon. When you sit for a Dries note, it is not just about learning the product growth plan, you experience how much the community looks inward to make it better for everyone.
This year’s Dries note focussed on 2 things:
- How much user-centric is Drupal
- The upgrades to be expected in newer versions
It was interesting when he used his website as a use case to showcase how Drupal is a safer bet (keeping in mind user privacy, owning data, and accessibility) than most of the platforms (esp. social media platforms)
Important product updates included - Recipes, Project Browser, and moving to Git for collaboration (more about it later).
And then our Aha! moment.
Exploring the booths & engaging with the community
We started our quest by hopping from one booth to another and interacting with everyone with who we could. I was amazed at the thought-process behind all the efforts they had put in for their booths, in terms of creativity.
As a Marketer, I was inspired by their ‘hook’ to bring in the audience and show them what they wanted to.
In the Pantheon booth, they were literally printing your t-shirts in front of you.
Dropsolid had Beat Saber in their booth. You could play it all the time and compete with fellow community members for the highest score.
Then Annertech booth, where their team was nice and patient enough to teach us how to juggle (very helpful if you are a Project Manager :P)
1Xinternet had a chill-out place in their booth with a photo competition. Guess who won the photo challenge competition on Day 3.
Factorial was serving really good coffee with a cute unicorn over their booth.
At SystemSeed booth, we met Bran who bought little handcrafted jam bottles he got exclusively for DrupalCon.
Not to forget the open mic, and jamming sessions going on throughout.
As Volunteers & Speakers
Anmol: It was a delightful and wholesome experience attending the conference. Since this was my first community event, I was nervous too. I volunteered as a session monitor for ‘Growing and sustaining an Open Source Drupal Distribution’.
The Q&A for this session went on for almost 30 mins. It was an extraordinary experience by being involved so closely in a session and seeing how the community engages within. This definitely inspired me to submit sessions for the next Con.
Being involved with sessions as a runner, and ensuring everything was in place and done right when the session happens brought a lot of respect for the organizing team. They made the first DrupalCon Europe post-pandemic happen without being located in the same place. Cheers to them!
Akshita: As a first-time DrupalCon Speaker, I was jittery and excited after all it was an opportunity I got after not being able to make it to 2 DrupalCons (was twice selected as a speaker before).
They say the third is a charm. It must be.
I got stage fright when preparing for my session since this was the first event I had attended after the pandemic. And the room was packed. But after hearing so many sessions in the first 2 days and meeting amazing people of Drupal, I was more comfortable when giving the session.
Post-session when someone from the audience reached out to tell me that they really liked my session and learned something from it - made the remaining Con even better :)
The last day of the event was focused on contribution. We worked with Leslie and the team on Project Browser. Project Browser helps new website owners to find modules of their interest from their own website. Here’s how it went.
Anmol: I was looking forward to contribution since I wanted to see how I could bring it back to India and introduce it to new team members. Working with the community on issues and resolving them in real time was an amazing experience. It felt good by doing my bit and giving back to the community.
Akshita: This was my first contribution. I wasn’t really sure what it would be like, since I was looking for a no-code contribution. Found Leslie who introduced me to Project Browser and I made my first non-code contribution by adding and reviewing couple of module descriptions for Project Browser. It was so easy and I will definitely contribute more moving forward.
Our team - Uzumaki 1 - won second prize in Trivia. We had 2 community members joining us - Deepak and Fernando Simoes. For one of the rounds where we answered all the questions correctly, we won a free drinks voucher too.
Meeting these amazing people who make the community and product what it is, genuinely made us feel that we are a part of it. Learnings from the amazing sessions and having non-Drupal conversations with them inspires you to get more involved with the community. In the end, I realized, even as a non-techie, I too can contribute in unique ways, in building the community, and making the product better.
The community I have been part of for so long finally has a face.
DrupalCon was tiring, no doubt at all, but it was an enthralling experience for all of us.