Our Highlights from DrupalCon Europe 2020

Since we have been working in a remote setup for more than ten years, we always look forward to the yearly DrupalCon so we can finally see each other again as one team. This year, despite everything going on with Covid-19, we wanted to keep up the tradition and bought tickets for the whole team. Unlike in previous years, DrupalCon Europe 2020 took place as a digital-only conference.

For this virtual DrupalCon, we decided to not fall into the work-trap but fully focus on the event and the sessions. We created a Miro board with frames for each team member to document sessions while they happened. We also created a DrupalCon Slack channel within which people would start threads for a session they were in, so we could chat about what we found interesting. Personally, I found reading this very helpful because if I was in another session, I would still immediately know if there is a session I would want to watch later.

DrupalCon Europe 2020

Advantages Of A Virtual DrupalCon

Being able to meet the Drupal community in person is a highlight for us each year. However, in this year's virtual setup, we found quite a few advantages:

  • One of the major advantages for me personally was that sitting at the computer while watching sessions allowed us to take better notes than usual and made it possible to chat within our team in Slack as well as with other attendees in the sessions' discussion chats
  • The coffee was better and there was no line to get it
  • No chance for Drupal Flu
  • Bluetooth headphones allowed us to do stuff while still listening
  • Better networking during sessions: In a single room you can't really talk to someone sitting next to you or on the other side of the room. But in this virtual setting, you can
  • More sleep, less commuting
  • Saved money and CO2 for transportation and accommodation
  • People who are shy to speak in public can ask questions

Disadvantages

Of course there were some challenges with this years setup:

  • No great networking opportunities between sessions. The discussion chat was disabled as soon as the session ended. If you wanted to contact a person via Meeting Hub, you were out of luck if they didn't see your connection request.
  • Not being able to collect giveaways or play fun games at sponsor booths
  • Not being able to do sightseeing in an exciting city
  • With family being around, you are more likely to not attend evening events with your team
  • Documenting in Miro and Slack prevented me from using Twitter for sharing more about the event into the world outside of DrupalCon

Tips For Your Next Virtual Conference

We did block our team for DrupalCon but there was the occasional private appointment that we should have planned for another week.

  • Block the conference days to be able to focus on sessions instead of work
  • No work or private appointments during DrupalCon session hours you wouldn't have made while in another city
  • If you have anything planned for the evening with other attendees, be able to take part as if you were in a room together. Get a babysitter, let your partner know you are not available etc.

Our Team's Favorite Sessions

Almost all sessions were recorded and will be publicly available in about a month after the conference. If you bought a ticket, you may log back in to the EventsAir platform and find the session video there. The videos of our favorite sessions are available by the Drupal Association for the public on youtube.

Tom

Steffen

Dennis

Luca

Stefan

Lucio

Andre

Siavash

Simone

Andreas

Anja

The main topics I took from this DrupalCon were personalization/DXP (Apache Unomi, Mautic, Smart Content Paragraphs), the Gin Admin Theme and Digital Signage.

The following sessions are on my to-watch list after hearing good feedback from others:

We would like to thank all volunteers, the Drupal Association and Kuoni for making this an unforgettable event. 

Anja Schirwinski
  • CEO

Co-founder and CEO of undpaul. Project manager, account manager, front end developer, certified Acquia developer and author of Drupal 8 Configuration Management (Packt Publishing).