DrupalCon Lille 2023 Recap

Daniel Lemon / Oct 25, 2023

DrupalCon Lille 2023, held in the picturesque city of Lille, was a gathering of Drupal enthusiasts from around the world. The conference was packed full of inspiring sessions, insightful keynotes, and fun evening events. Check out some of our highlights from the event.

Celebrating Women in Drupal

Before the curtains rose on Driesnote, DrupalCon Lille 2023 kicked off with a ceremony close to our hearts — the Women in Drupal Award. Following its successful debut last year, this award shone a spotlight on outstanding women who have made remarkable contributions to the Drupal ecosystem. Three inspiring winners, Tiffany Farriss (won the Define award), Marine Gandy (won the Build award), and Lenny Moskalyk (won the Scale award), took home the accolades in the three categories, exemplifying the spirit of innovation, community-building, and business growth within the Drupal world.

Women collecting awards on a stage

Image by Daniel Lemon

"Driesnote" - A Tale of Drupal's Journey

In a magical opening to DrupalCon Lille 2023, attendees were treated to the much-anticipated Driesnote. Dries Buytaert enchanted the audience with a unique and captivating tale. He recounted the quest of Drupal, which embarked on a journey to explore neighbouring villages, including Reactopia, Contentville, Squarix, and Edoby Heights. These villages, resembling React, Contentful, Squarespace/Wix, and Adobe, offered unique experiences and challenges. Dries emphasised Drupal's mission to improve the builder experience, making it easier to get started, providing easy-to-use tools, and simplifying administrative navigation.

Stage with a presentation in the background saying Driesnote

Image by Daniel Lemon

In the second part of this tale, Drupal faced the looming presence of the closed web's shadowy figures. Reaffirming its commitment to the open web, Drupal declared "The Open Web Manifesto." Dries discussed a plan to make Drupal more visible to the world, involving the Drupal Marketing Committee. The Drupal community was reminded that they are writing the next chapter of this story together.

Presentation with an image of The Open Web Manifesto

Image by Daniel Lemon

"KitKat and Jägermeister" - Drupal for Global Experiences

Wednesday morning kicked off with the  keynote by Andrea Ostheer of Jägermeister and Arush Kockhhar of KitKat. They shared their experiences of using Drupal to power their global digital platforms. Their insights, challenges, and solutions were not only interesting, but also a lot of fun to hear. It was a refreshing perspective on how Drupal is making a significant impact on global brands.

Andrea, a specialist in internal communication, unveiled the transformative power of Drupal for Jägermeister. With a focus on customised, collaborative, and transparent communication, Drupal served as the cornerstone of their social intranet, enabling seamless cross-border connections.

Arush, a seasoned marketer, shared how Drupal became the catalyst for a much-needed re-evaluation in KitKat's global experience. By partnering with Drupal vendors, they harnessed the power of a new digital platform to enhance customer engagement and streamline marketing operations across the globe.

"Fly Higher" - Fearless Leadership by Sarah Furness

On Wednesday afternoon, in a truly inspiring keynote, Sarah Furness, a retired Royal Air Force (RAF) helicopter pilot and squadron leader, delved into the transformative power of courage. Sarah brought a fresh perspective to the conference by sharing her unique insights on leadership. Fear, the number one obstacle on the path to realising one's true potential, often holds individuals back. Whether it's the fear of failure, rejection, or making mistakes, these fears can be formidable barriers. Sarah illuminated the path to greater collaboration, improved teamwork, and confident leadership, all starting from the same place - courage.

Sarah Furness presenting at DrupalCon Lille 2023

Image by Daniel Lemon

She shattered the myth that leaders are immune to fear and emphasised the importance of openness and vulnerability. She encouraged the audience to take the first steps toward fostering open communication and leading with fearlessness, and at the end of the keynote encouraged everyone to talk about their failures. 

Try this: Share a mistake you made with a colleague

- Sarah Furness, Speaker | Former Combat Helicopter Pilot and Squadron Leader

Her keynote provided invaluable leadership lessons and showcased the human aspect of leadership in challenging situations.

"Drupal Core Initiative Leads" - Update on various initiatives

Thursday afternoon was a treat for all Drupal enthusiasts. Gábor Hojtsy hosted a panel where various Drupal Initiative Leads shared exciting updates about their respective initiatives.

Mike Herchel offered insights into the latest advancements of the new toolbar, while Sascha Eggenberger discussed the ongoing improvements in Admin UI. Chris Wells provided an overview of the current progress of the Project Browser, and Felip Manyer Ballester delved into the Drupal 10 port of localize.drupal.org. Fran Garcia-Linares shared exciting developments related to drupal.org's GitLab integration along with the impressive speed improvements, and finally Suzanne Dergacheva shed light on the Promote Drupal initiative, encouraging everyone to join in the efforts.

This comprehensive overview showcased the continuous dedication to enhancing Drupal's core functionalities and left attendees eagerly anticipating the future of the platform.

Image of the Drupal Core Initiatives panel discussion

Image by Daniel Lemon

Spotlighting Location Associations

The Local Associations Round Table at DrupalCon Lille 2023 was a pivotal gathering of local and regional Drupal association leads, addressing key challenges and strategies for community growth. Their focus centred on fostering local engagement through Drupal camps and meetups, promoting collaboration and idea exchange. Additionally, discussions revolved around creating a centralised platform for Drupal-related resources, enhancing community knowledge dissemination. Efforts to make Drupal.org more multilingual and locally accessible were also in the spotlight, expanding Drupal's global presence. The discussion served as a collaborative platform for local communities to support each other, share insights, and drive collective growth and innovation, reinforcing the collaborative spirit of the Drupal ecosystem.

Trivia Night Triumph

DrupalCon Lille 2023's Trivia Night was an absolute blast! Embracing the time-honoured pub quiz tradition, the evening was filled with laughter and some healthy competition, led by members of Annertech and the Drupal Irish community.

Teams of five to six put their Drupal knowledge to the test, taking on six rounds that covered a wide range of Drupal-related topics, as well as throwing in some general knowledge questions.

Our team's victory was the sweet cherry on top, with each of us winning an Airpaq backpack by FFW. This unforgettable night was a standout social event that added a memorable twist to the conference.

Reconnecting with the Drupal Community

It is always great to meet up with the wider Drupal family and make new connections. The conversation was definitely flowing! The conference offered many talking points and amazing sessions, but what makes DrupalCon truly special is the human connections and shared experiences.

People enjoying drinks sitting on long wooden benches

Image by Daniel Lemon

DrupalCon Lille 2023 was more than just a tech conference; it was an experience of inspiration, insights, and collaboration – if you weren't able to make it, here's a short video I made for the closing ceremony.

We are already getting excited about the next DrupalCon - see you in Barcelona!