erdfisch Blog

DrupalBCDays Heidelberg 2016 - Community


We at erdfisch are very excited to announce that the Drupal Business and Community Days will take place in Heidelberg, Germany from 8-10 April 2016.

This is part of a series of blog postings explaining what we want to achieve with this event.

Business and Community Days - a new format

Firstly, a few words about the format of the Business and Community Days, because the format is slightly different from a usual Drupal camp. Over the years, a standard Drupal camp weekend format has evolved, where on Friday there is a business day, and then the community part takes place on Saturday, and Sunday morning.

For the "Drupal Business and Community Days" we are trying out a different format for the first time, with two separate tracks running parallel:

  • The Business Days are on Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning - in Heidelberg, this will be an opportunity for the German-speaking Drupal Business Community to get together, and work on strategies for growing Drupal within Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In Germany, Drupal has an amazing developer community, but it is not as well known as a business product as it is in other countries. We need to work on that! (Please note - the Business Days part will take place in German language).

  • The Community Days are also on Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning. It will be in English, German, and hopefully a few more languages. The community event will have a focus on core, translation, and D8 User Guide sprints. We want to make it as inclusive as we can. If you have not contributed code or documentation to Drupal up to now, or if you are a little rusty, there will be mentors here to help you get started!

The rest of this blog post is about the Community Days.

Community Days in Heidelberg

The dream is to have an community event which has a "mini-Dev-Days" feeling, or the kind of feeling that we get on the Friday (Sprint Day) of Drupalcon - where everyone gets the chance to work on a piece of Drupal, making it better. A feeling of everyone being productive together.

I've already mentioned how awesome the community is in this part of the world. I moved to Germany from London three years ago, and I have always had the impression that our developer community here is excellent. What we need to encourage more, is to make the community wider. It can be hard sometimes to find a way to get involved, especially if you are not primarily a developer.

Making sprints more accessible

One of my Drupal heroes is Jennifer Hodgdon. My first large-scale Drupal event was Drupalcon London in 2011. I was still quite fresh to Drupal (I had been developing on Microsoft ASP.Net up to that time). I was full of enthusiasm and energy, but short on understanding. I discovered that going to the presentations wasn't so satisfying for me, but that the BoFs (Birds-of-a-feather sessions) were where the action was. I went to a BoF on Documentation and Jennifer said "come to the code sprint on Friday".

At the code sprint, Jennifer single-handedly managed about 40 people, putting us together with each other in small groups so we could help each other make progress. The two people in my little team are still my friends today. We worked on documentation patches and learned a lot together. It seems so strange writing this, but I felt a kind of "high" knowing that my changes would go into Drupal and then be on millions of computers some day. That was the day I felt "committed" to Drupal - I knew that it was a thing I wanted to continue to work with in the future.

At the other Drupalcons I have attended (Munich and Barcelona) the Friday was always the highlight. On that day, you meet great people. In 2014 I went to the Dev Days in Szeged, and it was the same feeling but for a whole week!

So that's what we are aiming for with the Community part of DBCD16. Let's see how well we can achieve it. We are helped by the fact that the location is so good - we have accommodation and food on-site. Heidelberg Youth Hostel was the location for DebConf15 and the Debian people loved it. You can read more about our location here.

Drupal 8 User Guide Sprints

If I'm honest, you will not likely find me in the "hard" sprints. Over the past few months, I have been contributing in my free time to the Drupal 8 User Guide project, which is being led by Jennifer Hodgdon and Joe Shindelar. The aim is to have an open-source, version-controlled guide for Drupal site-builders. Once the English-language guide is ready, every language community can start translating it into their own language. So we will end up with a user guide for site-builders all over the world!

Every contribution to the guide gets a full commit credit and helps your company's ranking on its page (you can see my very, very modest efforts here).

Featured community participants

We asked Jennifer and Joe to nominate people in Europe who could help with a Drupal 8 User Guide sprint - so ifrik and batigolix will be joining us for that.

My partner-in-crime for the Community Days is my awesome erdfisch colleague Tobias Stöckler (tstoeckler). Tobias is closely involved with core, so will have more to say about the core code sprints in Heidelberg!

Tobias and I were kindly allocated a budget to invite some community members to join us. These are people who have done a lot for the Drupal community in Europe. So I'm pleased to say these people will be joining us too: zsofi.major, emma.maria and ckrina.

Hope to see you there, too! Get your tickets here.

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We're looking forward to welcoming you to Heidelberg in April!