My First DrupalCon§


Having worked for MySQL, the company, and having written about the software for many years, I have perhaps a limited perspective regarding open-source software. I’ve attended several MySQL user conferences and other software conferences. This past week I attended a Drupal conference for the first time. I went to the DrupalCon in Copenhagen, Denmark. By contrast, the tone of a Drupal conference is different from that of a MySQL user conference. The difference is subtle.

At a MySQL user conference, since the software comes from the MySQL company and many other aspects are originated by the company, there seemed to be a feeling that users attend to meet each other, to learn new things, and to listen to what MySQL has to tell them. I believe this last piece has always kept the attendance restrained at MySQL conferences. At a Drupal conference, there is a feeling among attendees that this is their conference, which is true. Their is a greater vibrancy. Drupal is whatever they decide to make it, whatever they want it to be. I found this interesting and pleasing.

I met many people at the conference, particularly from Italy. Some of the people I met share my interests in other areas, such as writing, literature, and photography. Drupal doesn’t seem to attract the same kind of people from a fairly predictable demographics. It has been nice making new connections. I hope to see them all again at future DrupalCons. I should many of the Italians at their upcoming Drupal conference in Torino on October 2, 2010.

I also learned much about Drupal: I’ve only been learning how to use it for a few months now. I attended an excellent session in which I was able to ask many questions and get answers not only from the presenter of the session, but from several people in the audience. Again, there seems to be group effort in everything that is done in the Drupal community.


Since I now work for Acquia, a Drupal company founded in part by Dries Buytaert, who is also founder of Drupal, I spent a great deal of time at the Acquia booth in the vendor exhibition hall. In answering many questions about Drupal Commons and Drupal Gardens, I learned a good bit about both Acquia products. Drupal Gardens was a hit among the people with whom I spoke. They liked particularly that they could use it to create professional looking web sites easily and inexpensively for smaller clients. The would previously either refuse small accounts, or dash off a very basic web site with Drupal, make very little money for their time, and then hope in the ensuing months or years that the client never admits to anyone that they constructed the site, lest they be embarrassed for doing such a slip-shod job. With Drupal Gardens, they’re able to maintain a minimum quality standard without running up their hours on small clients.