DrupalCamp London 2018 – business, code and community

Jack and Gabriele preparing to talk at DrupalCamp London 2018

This year’s DrupalCamp London was probably the best ever. Either you were there for business, for learning more, or for meeting friends old and new. The camp itself was a perfect fit for all roles. Always something interesting, never a boring moment.

The chatbots are here

Saturday I spoke at “Hi, I’m Drupal. How can I help you?”, my sessions about chatbots and Personal Assistant.

Forget everything you know about chatbots. Forget about the session itself being about them: “Today we are talking about your websites, your digital content, how you have been serving it to the public so far, and how you may do it in the future”, through chatbots.

I won’t spoil anything. Check the slides and the recording from the Drupalcamp London Youtube channel.

Yes, a good chunk of it was examples of how you can easily link a chatbot to your Drupal website through Chatbot API – a Drupal contrib module I co-maintain – but the real target audience was the non-technical user exploring this new world and wondering how we can make use of it… without too much work.

The room was packed, and only half were developers.

Come for the code…

New and experienced Drupal developers come to Drupalcamp seeking new tools, methods, knowledge. They attend sessions, take a lot of notes, and ask all kinds of questions without any fear of angering time-pressed speakers.

And then they move into the Sprint room, trying the new Drupal-Docker stack for local development. And they all share their point of view. And it soon becomes a BOF (Birds of a Feather session), so the group moves to the dedicated rooms.

My session on Sunday, “Plugin API by examples”, was all about code.

Do you know what Drupal plugins are? Have you worked with the Plugin API before? Have you ever built a Plugin type yourself? If any answer is no, I suggest you take a look at the slides and the video.

Working with plugins is really easy, understanding when they come in handy is more difficult. Explaining what plugins are in 30 minutes is (almost) impossible! That’s why I tried to answer all the questions giving real examples.

The impression I got from the audience is that the topic is still not widely known. But hopefully the slides and the code examples will help the attendees on their next project.

…stay for the community

One interviewer asked me “How would you describe Drupalcamp London in one word?” I replied without hesitation “Friendship!”.

Thanks to the inspiring opening Keynotes “Do Well and Do Good” by Ryan Szrama and “Calling All Superheroes” by Chris Teitzel, my motto during Drupalcamp was “Ok, let’s focus on the community!”.

A lot of sessions highlighted the benefits, for both business and developers, of attending community events: to contribute back to Drupal, to take a role in the development of the project instead of remaining simple users. This is the “Do Well and Do Good” that Ryan was talking about.

To be a community.

You may not know it, but a bunch of us have been working on running regular events in the London area: Sprints, Talks, Drinks. Last year we created the London Drupal User Group, which now has around 250 members, a calendar of monthly activity, and regular events with an attendance rate of 10 to 20 people.

Recently, we decided to bring back the beloved Drupal Show and Tell, and the response from DrupalCamp attendees couldn’t have been more positive. Everybody was happy and keen to help.

Baddy’s closing session was the perfect happy ending for Drupalcamp London. It was about how Iceland managed to build a proper football culture in the country, leading to the men’s national football team qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. The smallest nation by population to ever reach the FIFA World Cup finals.

How did they do it? That’s for you to find out on Baddy’s recording of the keynote.

How is that related to Drupal? Building a community, and community practices. Helping and being helped. Doing events to get people more involved, so they can be mentors one day. In short, Doing Well and Doing Good.

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