DrupalCon Amsterdam is an open source, community-driven event that gathers more than 1,500 of the top digital minds using Drupal for collaboration, knowledge sharing, friendship, and moving the project forward. The purpose of it is to share expertise, create solutions, build relationships and shape the future.
I was already very excited one week before the conference, not only because I knew that I would be attending DrupalCon for the first time, but also because I was very much involved in all the travel and event planning. When I realized that 27 (!) Amazees were going to participate, my heart almost stopped for a moment. 27 people participating? That means booking flights for them from all over the world, organising accommodation and setting up all the team and client events. Challenge accepted.
Monday morning, October 28th was the day. I packed two huge suitcases, one full of Amazee merchandise: stickers, t-shirts, Amazee Labs ducks, keyrings, backpacks, bike bells and more! Arriving at the airport I already found four other Amazees who also travelled to Amsterdam. We were all super happy and looking forward to our time together.
When we arrived at the hotel after about 3 hours of travel time, it was very exciting for me to finally meet many Amazees I had never met before in real life. After many hugs, I made sure that everyone could check-in at the hotel and I felt relieved when I knew that everyone had arrived well. After we put our bags in the room and refreshed ourselves, we were ready to finally go to the venue. As I love photography, I brought my camera with me to capture all the great moments.
DrupalCon took place at RAI in Amsterdam, the largest conference centre inAmsterdam. Arriving there, we fetched our badges and went to the Amazee Labs Lounge and the amazee.io booth.
The booth for amazee.io was situated near the main entrance and looked awesome! As an open source container-based hosting company, they chose to organize a real container! How cool is that?
Amazee Labs had a lounge in the Exhibit Hall which looked very welcoming. I was very relieved when I noticed that all the furniture arrived and assembled just as we wanted it! (Special thanks to Jason for that!) We had a sofa, two chairs and some bean bags at the lounge. I decorated the tables and unpacked our merchandise and distributed them to the relevant people. Our ducks were especially very popular, they were almost gone by the end of the first day!
As I only arrived after lunch, I missed some events in the morning. On a normal day at DrupalCon, it all starts with a Keynote talk and touches on a diverse array of topics across the Drupal community.
These talks were divided into several topics and categories: business marketing, DevOps-infrastructure, Drupal backend, Drupal frontend, Drupal community, and BOF’s. BOF stands for “Birds of a Feather” and is more of a casual meet-up where like-minded individuals can dive deeper into certain topics of interest.
In the afternoon our lovely Felix Morgan had a talk: ‘The Good, The Bad, and he Data: Marketing Strategies for Open Source Companies’. Unfortunately, I missed her talk (I had to head to our event location for our social evening event) but I heard that she did a fantastic job! Congrats Felix!
Later in the evening, it was time to have some social time with the team. We went to a local brewery! The people were very friendly and gave us an interesting beer introduction. We were allowed to try different kinds of beers and the brewer explained to us how to brew beer the Dutch way. The atmosphere was fantastic. We had excellent burgers for dinner and we even had our own beer tap. The party was on!
Tuesday morning, great weather, a bit tired from last nights’ party, but in a great mood, we got ready for the next talks at DrupalCon.
The conference started off with a bang on Monday with the first keynote from the Drupal initiative leads, but we had the time to enjoy the “Driesnote” in full on Tuesday morning.
Dries announced that the Drupal 9 development branch is available and that 16% of the top 200 modules are already Drupal 9 compatible.
He then pointed out that the future will need to adapt to billions of more internet-enabled devices as the world will gain further access to the internet. Dries gave this advice for the future:
- Be great at structured data
- Manage more diverse data
- Manage 100x the amount of data
- Integrate easily with other platforms
- WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE FUTURE OF DRUPAL?
Looking ahead, we’re almost at the end of the road for Drupal 8, so we need to start planning for the next summit. Dries asked us which initiatives should we, as a community, collaborate on for Drupal 9 and gave us his suggestions.
After the informative Driesnote, we were then led outside for the group photo. From the registration desk, I was informed that we had around 1,450 attendees, so it took a few minutes before we could all throw our hands up for the official snap.
Besides the very technical talks, it was super interesting for me to just sit in the lounge and work with people I normally only see on the screens. Everyone was so excited to finally see each other and even work next to each other, in the same room! The team energy was great. Jamie Hollern and Mattia Simonato were sitting in the lounge as well, preparing their talk and adding the final touches to their presentation. The two were a little nervous, so I calmed them down a bit and provided them with some snacks and hugs.
Jamie and Mattia’s talk was about: “Storybook and Drupal: Seamless frontend integration for decoupled sites”. Both did a great job and the people that attended their talk were very interested in this topic and asked a lot of questions. I took some photos of them during the talk and I was very proud of my boys!
After another interesting day at DrupalCon, we were all very hungry. That's why we decided to go to a pizza restaurant. Some Amazee's turned the night into day and went on to a karaoke bar and had a lot of fun singing and dancing together.
On Wednesday, some people from the team decided to attend the Dries Q&A, where Drupal founder Dries Buytaert addressed the communities questions about future plans, obstacles in the development, and what the challenges are for open source software to compete with licensed software (basically just because those can offer a wider array of toolsets). He also spent a lot of time emphasizing what makes the Drupal community so unique.
amazee.io was a Platinum sponsor and had a short ‘Amazecapades’ performance in the exhibit hall at lunchtime. For a change, this session wasn’t filled with facts about Lagoon, tech talk or sales-y lines, instead, it was a series of short lightning talks and activities with fun life tips.
During lunch, we had the opportunity to talk to many different people and to get to know the team members better. The food at the conference didn't suit my taste, but we picked up some typical Dutch snacks at the supermarket next door: Stroopwafles! (A stroopwafel (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈstroːpˌʋaːfəl] is a wafer cookie made from two thin layers of baked dough joined by a caramel filling) After eating way too many Stroopwafles, I had to take care of a lot of administrative things and get some work done! Four new team members were starting on Monday after the conference… our team is really growing!
Philipp Schmid and Felix Morgan were doing some interviews and video shoots in the meantime. They put a lot of patience and passion into it. It looked super professional.
The conference day concluded with Trivia night. I wasn’t able to participate, but I heard a lot of fun things about it: In the tradition of pub quizzes, there were 6 rounds of 10 questions covering all things Drupal, and a few more questions about general web topics.
Some other Amazees decided to do another “foodie-night”. As I love to explore different restaurants in different cities, I looked into some options and found a great Asian place. Great food, great people - no words needed. Since our team has a lot of energy, many people didn't want to go home even after dinner. Therefore, we went to a cool cocktail bar, where we let the evening end.
Thursday = Contribution Day
Contribution events were previously referred to as code sprints or sprints. In 2018, the Drupal Europe Organization team changed the terminology to "contribution" to be inclusive of all types of contributions and energy levels. The Drupal Project adopted the change in 2019.
A contribution event is a get-together for collaborative work on a project. Contributions to a project can include organizing events, designing a user interface, translating text, writing documentation, reviewing other contributions, finding or verifying bugs and submitting reports, or writing code among many, many tasks.
In the afternoon, some of the team decided to do a short walking tour and to explore some places around the RAI. We discovered many beautiful bridges, canals and great houses. Amsterdam is a beautiful city!
And guess what… in the evening it was time for dinner again! We really have some food lovers in our team. Since we wanted to try something else, we went to a Lebanese place. Almost the entire team was there again, so it felt like another team event! At Amazee, we really love to spend time with each other and chat about work or personal interests. It's like being part of a big, big family.
Some team members already left on Thursday evening or Friday morning. It was very hard for me to say goodbye, especially because I didn't know when I would see them in "real life" again. I hate farewells in general, but this one was very tough.
Nevertheless, some of them, including myself, belonged to the team #drupalconleftovers2019 and spent the weekend in Amsterdam. We spent even more time together. We laughed, sang, danced, explored the city, went shopping, did a canal tour, watched the rugby game (congrats to the South African team!!) and enjoyed our time with Amazeeng people.
My heart is filled with Amazeeness and I already miss our time together. Can’t wait for my next DrupalCon! See y’all there.