Our review of DrupalCamp Bristol 2016

We were kindly invited to become a sponsor of DrupalCamp this year and after hearing about the success of last year’s event we had no hesitation whatsoever in getting involved.

Prior to the event we interviewed a number of the key speakers and organisers; feel free to have a browse below:

Our chat with DrupalCamp Bristol
Drupal 8 – when is the right time for you?
Super Collaborative Design Processes for teams
Is your web presence accessible to everyone?

As the first recruitment sponsor to be a part of the event we were keen to show the attendees that we offer a different proposition to the other understandably much-maligned, hapless recruiters out there. We were pleased to be welcomed by organiser Rick Donohoe in his introduction as knowledgeable, honest and ‘good guys’. It was great to see so many of our clients and candidates across the two days we attended whether it was on ‘Business Day’ on Friday or the more developer focused ‘Conference Day’ on the Saturday.

We sat in on many of the talks across both days, keen to learn more about Drupal 8, its features and impact within the digital tech world. Kicking off the weekend at the smartly decked out Lantern room at Colston Hall was Jeffrey ‘JAM’ McGuire, Open Source Evangelist from Acquia who delivered a really engaging session on the value of Drupal 8 to business, loading up vital info that could be passed on to clients at important pitches. It was a surprise to hear that Drupal currently makes up over 2% of the world’s websites and there was some really interesting info in particular about the exciting benefits of BigPipe from Drupal 8.1.

We also sat in on Léonie Watson’s talk on accessibility which was really entertaining, stacked with movie quotes on-screen to bring to life her points on how, without a huge budget, you can reach a much wider audience using captions and subtitles as well as the benefits of incorporating accessibility from the start of the process. Following a very tasty Friska buffet lunch, we jumped back in later on for the Q & A Panel with representatives from WWF, Ofgem and the charismatic Andrew Godleman (Multi-talented Consultant/Scrum Master/Dev Mgr/PM) who was sporting a fantastic show-stealing tailored purple suit, fielding questions on the application, adoption and success of Drupal within their respective organisations.

The day was finished with drinks at Colston Yard where we picked up the tab. Accounts of the night and early morning finish were very sketchy as we set up our stand at Bristol University’s School of Chemistry venue for Day 2. Spread across 4 lecture theatres we decided that no theatre trip would be complete without popcorn and sweets, so we were more than happy to provide both along with our advice on the local tech market of course.

Jeffrey ‘JAM’ McGuire and top developer from the Netherlands, Chris Jansen, opened the day with their session on Open-Source contribution. This was a real highlight for us as they gave really useful information as to the why and how both businesses and developers should and can contribute to the Drupal community. Chris covered the many ‘roadblocks’ to contribution and the best ways of contributing including code, reviews, documentation and sponsorship. There’s no doubt that we’ll take much from this hour to discuss with candidates and clients when we’re back in this week. JAM listed a whole load of benefits to businesses who give their employees time and encouragement to contribute that everyone should really consider, we hope to pick his brains on this again in the near future….

Next up we saw Ashley Johnson from the digital agency, Access from Manchester, who told us what was in his Project Management toolkit. It was great to hear more about the benefits of Slack, Float, InVision and Jira amongst others. After another stellar lunch and more sweets we popped in on Justine Pocock’s talk on work-life management and the advantages of brain dumps, self-management and ‘finding your tribe’ –the group of people who inspire your work, whether you know them or not. After the well-fought quiz we packed up and headed for Zero Degrees for drinks and a natter. Everyone was buzzing from all of the inspiring talks and full of ideas to take back to their work and it was great to hear really positive feedback on the event and make new connections.

We found DrupalCamp Bristol to be hugely valuable, both from a learning and networking point of view. It was brilliant to see such a thriving community of technical and non-technical Drupal enthusiasts and see such a high calibre programme of speakers. We came away with the view that Drupal 8 is clearly fantastic and as if we didn’t know already; there’s some superb digital businesses and top class technical talent in our city.

Roll on 2017!

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Head Of Tech (Permanent)

CTO/Leads, Developers, GreenTech

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Mike Harley