Some highlights from Drupalcon San Francisco

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Drupalcon San Francisco was great. Here is some of what stood out to me, in no particular order:

  • Tim O'Reilly's keynote was great (see link for it in comments). It put perspective on where Drupal fits into the larger world and reminded me that I actually came to Drupal for a reason, not just for technology or Drupal itself. While listening to the keynote, I couldn't help but think that Dries' personal push for RDF in core (which I've seen some head-scratching about from some) might owe part of its genesis to his own talks with O'Reilly.
  • The presentation YOU SHALL NOT PASS: Managing Expectations and Boundaries of Clients is one of the hidden gems of Drupalcon. If you're not project managing your clients/work the way they describe, you're doing it wrong (or at least for less money, more aggravation, and less satisfaction!).
  • Larry Garfield's session Objectifying PHP was a wonderful session for anyone who is ready to move to the next level with object oriented methods (pun intended) and practices.
  • The money, as well as the number of people, and type of people involved with Drupal these days has definitely changed the feel of the conference as compared to earlier ones I've attended. This is true even comparing it to DC which was only last year, let alone the first one I went to 4 years ago (OSCMS). There is no good or bad implied here, just worth noting since it has implications (and things will likely continue in this direction for a while).
  • For the past year or so it's been cliche to say, 'No one person one can know everything about Drupal anymore'. For me the new saying is, 'No one person would even *want* to know everything about Drupal anymore'. There are vast, vast knowledge areas within Drupal that have their own following, experts, and activity levels. Don't get me wrong, it's *all* extremely interesting, but gazooks...
  • For now videos/screencasts for presentations (they don't all seem to have them) can be found by going to this page and clicking through to the individual presentation page you're interested in. UPDATE: Videos posted here too.
  • Hottest Drupal-related career: Project/QA manager. The need for developers and themers, is plenty hot of course, but I'd be willing to bet that at least some of the larger Drupal-based companies/shops would choose a competent project/QA manager over a competent developer if forced to choose only one.
  • The way Drupal 7's $page array, hook_page_alter, and drupal_render works, simultaneously makes me want to use Drupal 7 RIGHT DARN NOW, as well as makes me wonder just how horrifically these features will be abused. (who needs a custom theme anymore - Garland with a bunch of hook_page_alters should work just fine, right) ;)
  • If you want the sneak peak for the next North American Drupalcon, look no further.

If you have a highlight you'd like to share please leave a comment.

22 April, 2010

How to have a fun and successful time at Drupalcon

Very soon 1,399 of your best friends will be converging on Washington DC to talk about all things Drupal, web, business, yada yada yada. What could be more fun than that?! Well, for some people, believe it or not, the thought of so many people or the thought of having to do anything particularly social with people that they don't already know, is a bit overwhelming/unappealing. Under normal circumstances I fall into this category. Starting a couple years ago at my first big Drupal function, however, I made a deliberate decision to try to overcome this tendency. As it turns out that was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. The effects which have followed "forcing" myself to go say hi to more people than I normally would back then are still with me to this very day.

Hopefully anyone reading this won't confuse what I'm saying as an endorsement to run up to everyone they've ever wanted to meet and harrass them - if you're already a social butterfly - you probably don't need to force yourself to be more social - that would just be obnoxious ;-). But by all means if you're hanging around somewhere - don't hesitate for a second to say hi to whomever is around you. ("So what do you do with Drupal?" is always a nice starting point)

Couple more tips:

1) If you need to, remind yourself that if all of this sociability sounds like too much work and all you want to do is float around a bunch of people anonymously - you could have just stayed home and tracked the conference online!

2) Whether gardening or heading to a convention - when you're planting seeds - it will probably take the seeds some time to even spout, let alone turn into a blossoming tree. Some seeds might not even ever get going. So plant many of them and don't worry to much about tomorrow, today. You'll enjoy yourself more and likely be more enjoyable to talk with.

1 March, 2009
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