Real Life Digital merchandise stand at DrupalCamp London 2017.

We went to DrupalCamp London 2017

6 Mar 2017

Darren Fisher - Developer and Consultant

Written by
Darren Fisher
Developer and Consultant


Did you know?

Pivale used to be known as Real Life Digital, and before that Real Life Design. This article contains references to Real Life Digital or Real Life Design which are names we traded as before becoming Pivale . You can read more about our rebrand here.

Every year this conference seems to roll around more quickly than the last. DrupalCamp London celebrated its 5th year in 2017 and we were there to catch all of the action.

Not only were we in attendance but for the first time we also had a presence as sponsors of the CxO day on the Friday.

Barry stood by the Real Life Digital merchandise stand at DrupalCamp London 2017.

The CxO Day

This year we sponsored the CxO and as a result, I also attended my first CxO day! Whilst Barry has attended 4 out of 5 CxO days, I have never felt the need to attend as I'm neither chief nor officer of anything, but I quickly realised I'd made a big mistake skipping this day for the past few years.

The talks were absolutely phenomenal. Despite some last minute alterations to the lineup - there wasn't a single speaker who didn't deliver something inspiring or thought-provoking.

The first speaker of the day was Professor Andre Spicer (Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Cass Business School City University London) who delivered an excellent breakdown of his published theories around The Stupidity Paradox - essentially an examination of why intelligent people dumb themselves down in corporations - to the long-term detriment of themselves and their organisations.

Another fascinating talk was delivered by Ben Finn OBE (Co-Founder of Sibelius and CEO at Stealth Poker) who delved into how to manage huge issue queues and feature releases in software, in order to maximise profit and keep the users happy.

Stepping in at the last minute to deliver what might have been the talk of the day was Alex Elkins (Entrepreneurship Education Manager at City University London), reflecting on how new businesses can solve real-world problems as opposed to focusing on useless solutions.

And finally, a great interview with Sarah Wood OBE (CEO & Co-Founder of Unruly) wrapped up the day, focusing on how she with her two co-founders turned a grassroots startup into an international success story.

Even for a mere mortal, this was all very inspiring stuff and I'll certainly be keen to attend the CxO day for future events.

It was also great to catch up with Crispin Read and learn more about the Drupal apprenticeship scheme over a few beers. The guys at MWDA are doing some fantastic work to develop (pun absolutely intended) the next generation of Drupal developers.

All in all, this was a fantastic start to a DrupalCamp which I'd wholeheartedly recommend to anyone working in our industry.

A woman wearing a virtual reality headset on a backdrop of a cloudy blue sky.

Saturday's keynotes, sessions and social

On Saturday I bounced between sessions and a spot of networking, whereas in previous years I've spent most of the day attending the sessions.

I attended three sessions of note on the Saturday:

  1. Twig Recipes was a really great session from Mauricio Dinarte. Twig is the "new" HTML template system for Drupal 8 and there were some really great tips and tricks in this session.
  2. Virtual Reality on the Web - Introduction and How to... was my favourite session of the weekend delivered by Wes Ruvalcaba from Lullabot. This talk gave a really quick overview and yet surprisingly in-depth exploration of the native web VR technology known as A-Frame currently being developed by Mozilla.
  3. More than a CMS: Lessons learned from 7 years delivering integrated, mission-critical native Drupal CMS, CRM & BPM solutions by James Abrahams was a fantastic reminder that sometimes integrating third-party systems (particularly CRMs) into Drupal is a missed opportunity to build better systems natively in Drupal itself.

The morning keynote with Matt Glaman from CommerceGuys was also a very inspiring story about one man's journey from delivering beer to becoming Drupal royalty! There was also a gigantic cake for DrupalCamp London's fifth birthday - apparently, the largest ever cake at a Drupal event!

As usual, Saturday was concluded with an evening of drinking and dancing at the Blacksmith and the Toffeemaker with Alex Burrows spinning the decks (well his laptop anyway!)

City University exterior.

Sunday's keynotes and sessions

Sunday was a day of recovery and networking for us at Real Life Digital.

Unfortunately we didn't get to attend any sessions but it was great to see Jeffrey A. 'Jam' McGuire delivering Sunday's keynote on delivering more than just websites with Drupal - a sentiment that we've long been shouting about!

The closing keynote was also a fascinating perspective on open source from Danese Cooper (chairperson of the Node.js Foundation).

After a long and busy weekend, Barry and I were delighted to discover that all of our goodies and giveaways from the sponsorship had been snapped up meaning we could leave nearly empty handed on the journey home.

Until next year DrupalCamp London!

The Vienna skyline at dusk.

Future events

There are some great events coming up in the Drupal calendar that we're interested in attending that you might also want to look at.

As usual, there are camps up and down the country and across the world, as well as specific developer days and front end united meetups but an event has caught our eye this year that we were previously unaware of.

Drupal Business Days in Frankfurt is taking place on the 18th - 20th May 2017 and seeks to bring together the Drupal community with the CxOs of organisations who are interested in getting on board with (or are already working with) Drupal.

The upcoming DrupalCons are in Baltimore in April and in Vienna in September. Whilst we are unlikely to make the Baltimore conference we will almost certainly be present in Vienna this year and hope to see you there too.

Darren Fisher - Designer & Developer

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