DrupalCon, Sydney 2013

With Dries Buytaert , original creator and project lead of Drupal

What a privilege it was to be a part of DrupalCon, Sydney! This was more special to me for the fact that this was the first time a DrupalCon was held outside the United States and Europe.

The event was held at the Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach, Sydney from February 6-9, 2013. As an aside, I must say that the location offered breathtaking views of the blue ocean and the sandy beaches.

Dries Buytaert and the rest of the team had a great time playing cricket on the sandy beaches in between the tech sessions discussing the future of Drupal.

And as can be expected of any DrupalCon, it was a packed house at Sydney too. All early bird tickets sold out in 8 hrs. One can get an idea of the interest DrupalCon, Sydney generated from the fact that the waiting list was 150 people long. If there was so much anticipation about the DrupalCon, Dries certainly did not disappoint anyone.

The event was a huge success and the organisers deserve special praise for the care and attention they gave to both the tech sessions and the participants.

About a fifth of the participants were from abroad and the general consensus was that this was the best DrupalCon yet.

This is the first in a series of posts where I blog about some of my takeaways from DrupalCon, Sydney, and a few comments of my own.

Photography by Tim Miller Drupalcon Sydney- 2013 GroupPhoto


But before I go into the details, let me just mention my first impressions about Dries based on couple of interactions we had. Firstly, I was excited by his sheer passion for Open Source Software in general and Drupal CMS in particular. Secondly, his humility is exemplary. I did not expect the “founder and lead developer of Drupal CMS”(as Wikipedia describes him) to be so down to earth. Lastly, I was struck by the depth of his wisdom, especially considering that he is still in his early thirties. However, one thing that I am not sure of is his cricketing skills, and I intend to find out more about that when we meet next! Since we have a cricket team at our Drupal Development centre in Kerala, India, I could perhaps entice him to a game of cricket and tender coconut water when he visits India next time.

The following are some of the key points Dries touched upon in his keynote address on the opening day:

“Do well, Do good”. Dries remarked that this was his philosophy. He pointed out that most of us in the Drupal community are doing well and making money working on Drupal. And he said that we are doing good to the community with Drupal. He mentioned some projects running on Drupal as examples of the power of Drupal to do good to the communities we live in.

While Hurricane Sandy devastated North- eastern United States in October 2012, the US Government’s response was coordinated via the Government web site running on Drupal. Although there was a huge volume of unexpected traffic, the site remained stable and performed commendably.

Another web site running on Drupal is that of “Stand up to Cancer”, a fund-raising project of the Entertainment Industry Foundation that works to accelerate the pace of research for new cancer therapies.

Al Masry,

The independent news journal from Egypt, is helping people to collaborate with one another to bring about societal change. The web site runs on Drupal CMS.

“We the People” is an American Federal Government initiative through which the Government is committed to responding to any request on any topic that more than 25,000 people show interest in. This initiative too runs on Drupal.

These projects, according to Dries, shows that Drupal is doing well and doing good.

In the second part of his speech he spoke about Drupal 8. I will write about this in my next post. Please stay tuned.

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