On August 22nd and 23rd, members of the Mediacurrent team attended the 4th annual Drupalcamp Asheville. With over 100 attendees convening at the Crowne Plaza Resort, our team experienced quality sessions, code sprints, and meaningful one-on-one coversations. Below are their highlights of the weekend.
The first thing I noticed about Drupal Asheville was the venue. Located in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, it was not your traditional hotel setting. One of the most useful sessions I went to was 'How not to be a Git'. Here I learned git has an autocorrect setting. By enabling autocorrect, Git will automatically correct your mistyped command. If what you typed could have more than one possible correction, it will error out. The Drupal Speed Clinic session was also really interesting. It covered server side tuning, Drupal modules for speeding up Drupal and front end speed tips. If I had to pick a favorite session, it would have to be Digital Signage with Drupal and Meteor.js. This session focused on using Meteor.js with a Drupal content entry backend. The end result was a fantastic application that took data from Drupal and updated any browser that had the web app loaded in real time. Drupal Camp Asheville had a fantastic venue with great sessions. I plan to head back next year.
While most Drupalcamps tend to either fall into an “overly crowded” or “too few attendees” bucket, Drupalcamp Asheville this year seemed to find the right mix of small scale sessions with ample room for one-on-one discussions, and a wide variety of attendees and presentations.
I enjoyed that several sessions focused on integrating outside technologies or libraries with Drupal, such as Meteor or PHP Code Sniffer, instead of just being a core-centric or theme-centric camp, while still providing a couple sessions regarding basic Drupal-only talk. Drupal performance optimization is always a fun topic, and hearing about new modules and Drupal 8 innovations is always a welcome session. The Asheville-area Drupal organization may have out done themselves with this one, and will have a challenge on their hands organizing a larger, better conference next year. My only regrets from the 2014 Drupalcamp Asheville was a lack of dialog with other attendees, but that’s hardly a fault of the camp.
I live in Asheville, and have helped organize and presented at our previous camps, but this year I volunteered in a new way. After having a great time mentoring new contributors for the first time at DrupalCon Austin, I decided to lead a Drupal 8 core sprint for the Friday of our camp. It ended up being a lot of fun and quite productive. My goal for the sprint, since it was attended by folks of all skill levels, was to try and move everyone forward a few steps from where they began the day. A couple of them had never set up a local development environment, used git, or installed Drupal before. Several others were experienced Drupal developers who had never contributed to core. We had a great time, and I’m very happy to say that everyone learned a little something (including me), and we even got a few patches submitted out to the Drupal 8 core issue queue!
The camp had an excellent showing of Drupal talent from all over the country this year, and that was reflected in the high quality of sessions. Overall this year’s Drupal Camp Asheville was our largest and most successful yet, and we’ve already got some big plans for the next one!
From what we can gather from their perspectives, the Drupal community in Asheville is a great one. We look forward to the future developments in Drupal that were presented and to many more Drupalcamps in Asheville.
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