Drupal Camp London 2016

Last weekend saw the fourth annual Drupal Camp London at City University in Finsbury.

In attendance were over 600 Drupal experts from the UK and further afield. As in previous years there was a packed program of presentations and as just as before the standard of talks was excellent. Again many of the sessions were recorded as was the promo video above.

Drupal Camps are just one of the ways that regional Drupal people get to meet up, to exchange ideas and learn from each other. A great deal of collaborative also work takes place during code sprints and it should come as no surprise that this year the emphasis was on Drupal 8 which was officially released in November.

I couldn't get to the business sessions on Friday, but I hit the ground running for the keynote presentation on Saturday morning which this year was by Clifton Cunningham, CTO at TES Global.

Cunningham has a wealth of experience of managing large tech projects, having been the main man behind the Daily Mail's online properties before taking up his current post at the Times Educational Supplement. 

It was interesting to learn how TES uses Drupal and their reasons for choosing the platform. Of particular note was their process of continuous integration which allows all developers at TES to push new features to the live website, where they can be evaluated in real time by real visitors and other members of the team. Because they use a feature branch version control system, if something doesn't work out it can be very quickly reversed.

Becuase there are five tracks of presentations happening at any given time, it isn't possible for one person to attend everything even if they wanted to. Fortunately many of presentations are recorded on video for catch up viewing after the event.

After coffee and some networking, Ron Knight told us how the BBC Store has recently launched a new video-on-demand service where customers can purchase and download most of the corporation's back catalogue of light entertainment programs, films and documentaries. Drupal was chosen for the project because of its suitability for storing complex taxonomy data and it was interesting to hear first hand from Ron about the challenges of building one of the biggest digital media projects of recent years.

Next up was Kristiaan Van den Eynde, a witty Belgian fellow now working for the Deeson Agency in London. Kristiaan has been developing the Group module, an alternative to the hugely popular Organic Groups. This talk was of particular interest to myself as I have been doing quite a bit of work lately with OG. Unlike Organic Groups, Kristiaans approach is completely entity based and he already has a Drupal 8 version of Group that is production ready. 

Last up was Michael Schmid from Amazee Labs, who provided an insightful retrospective of his last five years of running web development agency in Switzerland. I had spoken with Michael earlier in the day about him running for election to the Drupal Association and I found him to be most generous in sharing his ideas about running an agency and of explaining his mistakes and successes along the way.

That's it from London until next year


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