DrupalCamp North 2015

Microserve's picture
Jul 27th 2015

This past weekend was the first DrupalCamp North event, held in Sunderland, North England - a collaboration between the Drupal North East, Drupal Yorkshire and Drupal North West user groups. I was attending both to represent Microserve as a delegate, and also as a speaker and a sprinter.

The Sprints

The sprints were already in full swing when I arrived on Friday afternoon, with some people having been there from the beginning of the extended sprints on Wednesday 22nd. There were a mixture of experienced sprinters, mentors and new contributors, working on a number of issues relating to front-end issues, Rules in Drupal 8 and Drupal 7 contrib modules. We also had new people mentoring for the first time!

I took the time to follow up on some Drupal 7 and 8 core issues that I’d looked at previously, and started looking at a new Drupal 8 issue and a feature request for Drupal COD (the conference organising distribution). I also helped people get their local environments up and running with Drupal VM, find their way around the issue queues, and confirming user accounts on Drupal.org. I enjoy sprinting and mentoring at sprints, and I'm looking forward to getting the first Drupal Bristol sprint organised next month.

We were at a total of 2,998 contributors to Drupal 8 during the sprint, and over 3,000 by the end of it. In the days following, the total was as high as 3,016. Events like DrupalCamp North and Drupal GovCon (that was happening in the US the same weekend) are vital to getting new contributors to the Drupal project. If you want to learn to contribute to Drupal core, find a mentor and go to a local sprint (see groups.drupal.org or www.drupical.com to find events in your area).

The Keynotes

David Rozas

We were treated to a sneak peek of David's community keynote that will be at DrupalCon Barcelona in September, which is about the importance of both code and non-code contributions to open source projects, with a focus on the Drupal community. David and I spoke at DrupalCamp London earlier this year whist I was working for the Drupal Association and working on the user profiles on Drupal.org.

It was great to see some of the results that have come from his research, and some of the work that I did highlighted as an improvement in highlighting and promoting offline contributions such as community mentoring.

I hope that the version in Barcelona goes as well.

Holly Ross

I enjoyed seeing a Drupal Association presentation from the other side of the screen - the last few Camps that I attended as part of the Drupal Association, I was the one doing the talking!

The main take-away for me from Holly's talk was how the Drupal Association is supporting local events such as sprints and DrupalCamps worldwide, such as Shanghai and Ulkraine. In the UK alone, the Drupal Association has provided support for DrupalCamp Brighton, Front End United and DrupalCamp Bristol this year.

If you or your company aren't members of the Drupal Association, I'd recommend that you become an Individual or Organisational member, or apply for the Supporting Partner programme, and help support the Drupal project and the Drupal Association. If you haven't already, you can also still donate to the Drupal 8 Accelerate fund to help release Drupal 8 faster!

The Sessions

My Session

My session was about Sculpin, a static site generator written in PHP. It's built on Symfony components and uses YAML and Twig, the same as Drupal 8. As well as being used for building static sites, it is also useful when developing HTML prototypes for projects, or just as a playground for learning and testing things with Twig.

I thought that the presentation went well, although it seemed like a lot to cover in a session and I felt that slides didn’t really show what Sculpin would actually do in the background. If I’d have had time, it would have been good to have included a demonstration at the end of the talk, but we were running a little behind schedule.

One interesting question that I had following the talk was about building multilingual sites with Sculpin. It’s not something that I’ve done before, but it seemed like an interesting idea, and is something that I’ll give some thought to in case that situation occurs.

I’m going to be giving the talk again as an internal skill swap session soon, as well as at Unified Diff next month, and I’m going to try it more as a demo or tutorial rather than a presentation, with just me and an IDE and maybe a couple of slides. On my journey home, I started building a Sculpin demo site that I’ll use for the next talk, with different tags for different pieces of functionality. This means that people will be able to see exactly what Sculpin is doing in real time and it easier to comprehend.

Other Key Sessions

Emma Karayiannis - Contribution: Getting involved and coming back for more.

Emma is passionate about sprinting and contribution, and also a great mentor. This session was immediately following David's opening keynote about contribution, so it flowed nicely.

I enjoyed seeing this session again with some updated content since DrupalCamp Brighton, but the result was the same - everyone wanted to go and sprint!

Jeni Tehan - Ansible and Install Profiles

As a keen Ansible user for some time, I was great to see a talk about Ansible but also how to can relate to Drupal to perform maintenance tasks such as running Drush commands, but also for tasks like dropping and re-creating and importing a database as part of a migration before running the migration scripts - something that I hadn't thought of doing before. I made sure to speak to Jeni in the "hallway track" later that day and discuss some of the things in more detail, which came in useful as I've just started a Drupal migration project and I've put some of those tips into practice.

Bart Feenstra - The Drupal 8 plugin system: extensibility for all

This was a great insight into the way that things are being done in Drupal 8. Having standardisation will be a big advantage, I think, so that once you've learnt one system you've learnt them all rather than the slight differences between systems that exist in earlier versions of Drupal.

I'm really excited about the move to object-orientated code and modern PHP techniques in Drupal 8. Hopefully it will be released soon so that I can start using it for real.


I really enjoyed the event and it was definitely a successful Camp in my opinion - we even had a fly-over from the Red Arrows at the end of the Saturday.

Having just had DrupalCamp Bristol, and being one of the organisers of the Bristol user group, I found it very interesting that the three user groups who had separate Camps last year would hold a joint one this year, and got me thinking again about how user groups can better communicate and collaborate with each other, as well as with different groups such as PHPSW. I'm glad to say that following the Camp, we've restarted some discussions that we had at DrupalCamp London around this topic, and steps are being taken.

Hopefully I'll make the trip North again next year for the 2016 DrupalCamp North, wherever it's held.

Rick Donohoe's picture

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David Rozas

Aug 17th 2015 - 2:08pmreply
David Rozas's picture

Thank you very much for the post and for such a nice review of my presentation, Oliver! This is very encouraging to carry out with my research :-)


P.S.: There is a typo on my last name, a missing "s" ;-)

Oliver Davies

Aug 17th 2015 - 3:08pmreply
Oliver Davies's picture
Hi David, Thanks for pointing out that typo, it's been fixed now. Sorry! See you in Barcelona. Oliver

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