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Some insight from the DrupalCon Vienna 2017 aka SchnitzelCon

As you might know, this year’s DrupalCon Europe took place in Vienna, the beautiful capital of Austria. Most know it for a lot of imperial buildings, the original ferris wheel, Apfelstrudel or the yummy Sacher cake. But it’s also the hometown of the original Wiener Schnitzel. So you might guess why it was also called the SchnitzelCon (even it was not the official hashtag). So we were pleased to be the host of one week of pure Drupal madness that was organized by the Drupal Association (DA) as also the local community of Drupal Austria.

If you are not familiar with the concept of the official conferences, in short it consists of a local community day (was cancelled by the Association, but Drupal Austria makes it happen again) including a party, three days of conference with many talks and unofficial side events and of course the essential code sprints to make progress with the Drupal core as also various contrib issues. (btw. it would be interesting what part of a DrupalCon interests you most?)

The community day took place at the FH Technikum in the 20th district. Maybe you already know it from the awesome Drupal Camps in 2013 and 2015. The community events were structured in various summits (Business-, Publishing-, Open Social- and Community-Summit) related to the needs of the international Drupal Community as also a Code Sprint and a Drupal Starter Training. For us the most interesting topics were about decoupling Drupal, GraphQL, Media in Drupal Core as also distributions like Thunder. Decoupling Drupal was more or less the dominating topic of this week, but more about that later.

Prior to this year’s Con the DA published a series of blog posts related to the financial issues of DrupalCons in Europe. Cons in Europe and the US differ a lot. While the events in US attracts also the business sector and revenues were above $ 2 Mio, the little brothers in Europe have not half of the revenue which generates yearly losses for the DA. The result: DrupalCon Europe 2018 is suspended and there are ongoing discussions about a new concept for Europe. It would be interesting btw. if you prefer attending a DrupalCon or if you love more the smaller and more informal Camps and Codeweeks? But now back to the SchnitzelCon!

Tuesday was the day! Dancing inserts and horn playing by the one and only Jam (by the way, he plays not only good horn, but proved himself also as a excellent choreographer at the Prenote Training Baltimore) during the Prenote limbered up the crowd and OIDA (Tutorial: Speaking Viennese using only one word) was all around (a bit overused in my mind). Enough Oida.

A highlight of every Con is always the Driesnote, as this talk provides a wide angle about the strategies of Drupal and upcoming features like the Layout Builder or decoupling the backend. In the meantime React is the choice for a prototype project of decoupling the watchdog site. We also experienced with several JS Frameworks and even Angular evolved to a very interesting option, React is also our choice even Facebook can revoke the license. It’s easy to learn and has due to the VD a great performance for high interaction sites. Another part of his session was about a scaling decision that Drupal no longer is orientated at small to medium sizes websites, but sites with high traffic and “richness”.

Enterprise strategy of Drupal

Years ago you most of us would have built every site with Drupal as an enthusiast but nowadays many SaaS Providers do a good job for the smaller wallet. But,...!, In D8 there already several distributions that offers great flexibility that we soon expect there will be many themes to serve custom needs of publishers. Focusing on next level of web applications is the long term goal. As strategies target to fully decoupling Drupal, other essential components pop up to empower the performance like GraphQL. It’s the cherry on top. Thanks to Philipp & Sebastian the project makes good progress.

After this official part most of the crowd floated to the specific session rooms or the exhibitors hall. These events are similar to family get-togethers, as you meet many old friends from everywhere. After a session about the API First Initiative lunch was on my schedule.

At night the official DrupalCon Party started and due to the first Open Source Award the event was a great success, until.. the beer was gone.. Within 15 minutes only 40 people were left. This bug was really bad, even the surprise act “Gudrun von Laxenburg” supported by us was rocking the stage. Who cares, it was therefore a pretty nice party.

Drupal Ball at MQ Vienna

During a Con time flies by and while experiencing much about trending topics, Jo from our Zensations team held his talk on “Beyond Accessibility and Inclusion "Session Video")”. A topic that no one should forget as the Drupal A11y Initiative defined some standards, which should be followed to provide a really great user experience to everyone. Apropos. If you are interested in working with us, just drop me a line or visit our job section. Enough self marketing. This year’s DrupalCon had a lot of great sessions with some easter eggs. Another step in automatization will be AI and Machine Learning, so the insights of Ricardo Amaro.

The closing note was also a Goodbye to Europe for the next time. Thanks DrupalCon for having us.

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