Its often been said that the best way to get involved in the Drupal community is to dive in head-first and see where to help out. For the past year or so I’ve been nervous about giving my input on support forums and editing documentation. Always questioning my knowledge, I took the easy route by encouraging others to do so first. DrupalCon London was the first time I participated in a code sprint (well, documentation sprint), and I have to say that I’m a believer! Heather James wrote an excellent blog post highlighting why this past Con’s codesprint was one of the best yet. Participation was high, people were enthusiastic, and progress was made on the Drupal 8 task list. Besides myself, Tavish and Logan worked on the i18n code and submitted patches during the sprint. I met a few other first time sprinters, all of whom were impressed by the sense of community and action in the room. Contributing back, in any small measure, is not only easy, but also has that feel-good kick.
DrupalCon London was also my first European Con. Chicago was my first convention, and over the past year I’ve attended a few Camps. What struck me most about London was that the size of the event really changed the dynamics of attendees. Being smaller in size, less corporate in feel and more developer-oriented, London felt more like a Camp than a Con. Sure, there were the promotional activities for sponsors (insert Evolving Web plug here) and swanky parties, but there was also more opportunity to interact with fellow Drupalers. BOFs were a great place to strike up a conversation on an interesting topic, and the core conversations track channelled discussions on key Drupal topics. Having a smaller venue and fewer attendees meant it was easier to meet people, see them again over the course of the week, and continue that conversation which started over a pint or two.
I came away from London thoroughly impressed with the dedication and hard work that people put into Drupal. Its more than a source of income to many - its that release at the end of a long day. As I turn my attention now to DrupalCamp Montreal, I can only hope that we have more opportunities like London to really encourage people to get together, get involved and make Drupal better.
I’m not a developer, and I didn’t come for the code, but I’m definitely staying for the community.
Thanks to Pol Dell'Aiera for the picture of Fairfield Halls