DrupalCon München roundup

We're back from DrupalCon Münich. We attended the conference together with ezCompany and Helpermedia and here is a roundup of our week!

First of all, München looks like an amazing place to live. We decided to drive down south with three cars, which is very doable in about 8 hours from Breda in the Netherlands. We decided not to stay at the Westing Grand (the hotel which is located at the venue itself) but arranged a great appartment using airbnb, where we stayed with eight people.

The conference started with some big news: four large European Drupal shops (Krimson, Maerra, NodeOne and Wunderkraut) have decided to join forces together into Wunderkraut, not unlike the merger we have seen at DrupalCon Denver where Phase2 merged with Treehouse agency. Large companies (enterprise level) want to do business with large service providers, or as Dries said in his keynote: Elephants like to party with elephants.

Drupal 8

Last DrupalCon (Denver) was all about mobile. This time, it's about Drupal 8. Drupal 8 is to be released one year from now, around the next European DrupalCon in august 2013 (which by the way will be in Prague), and there is still a lot of work to be done before the feature freeze (1 december) and the code freeze (1 feb '13). But Drupal 8 is moving fast and its exciting to keep up with all the changes.

There is a lot of buzz in all of the initiatives like the Blocks & Layouts prototypes or Twig (the new theme system for D8). And then there is SPARK, the new way to edit content inline using the Aloha editor which is capable of some amazing HTML5/CSS3 stuff. If this happens for D8, it will be another huge usability boost.

Other Drupal 8 initiatives are being worked on simultanously, but Dries also raised a word of warning: time is becoming a factor and he will be forced to say no to certain issues if they aren't a priority for the release of Drupal 8. As an example, he mentioned the annotations patch (which uses doctrine annotations for plugin discovery) and took quite some time to complete while not being a critical issue for the development of D8.

Keynote: Fabien Potencier

Fabien Potencier (Symfony project lead) didn't talk about the Drupal + Sympfony integration this time. Instead, he had an inspirational talk about how he learned programming on an Amstrad microcomputer and got involved in the web development business. It all comes down to passion: the job of web developer is hard, and you won't make it if you're not passionate and willing to learn something every day.

Session highlights

Some highlights of the sessions we attended included Commerce Kickstart 2.0. The next version of the kickstart distributions which gives you a fully featured, themed and configured Drupal commerce store website even filled with some demo content. If you're into e-commerce, be sure to check this out. Also, keep an eye on the CommerceGuys marketplace which is to be launched somewhere in the next months and will provide a SaaS solution for Drupal commerce, not unlike Magento Go.

Another great session was about building interconnected sites with HTML5 microdata. Great explanation how the grammar of microdata works and how you can easily enhance your Drupal SEO using rich snippets using a module. The second part of the sessions explains more advanced techniques with interconnected sites.

A fun and refreshing session was given by Brian Teeman: one of the Joomla! founders and featured speaker. Brian didn't compare Joomla and Drupal, but he did talk about the way the Joomla community works (its all about the people) and which directions Joomla is heading (there is no plan). Great English humor and presentation! Too bad the room was only half full.

The session about decoupling content management had an interesting idea on the future of content management systems and how they can be decoupled into a user interface, framework and storage. In other words, the project is about decoupling these things and to make it for example possible to use Drupal as a framework but use another system for the UI and another for storage. In that context, the Create.js project is trying to become a user interface system which can be used by any underlying CMS. It's inline editing functionality do make its goals somewhat overlapping with Spark.

All the sessions are available as video on blip.tv (and embedded of each session page) and most presentations are also available for download on each session page. The last one I would recommend is Mark Boulton's talk about "Redesigning the CERN". Mark Boulton is a graphic designer and was one of the people who helped redesigning drupal.org a few years ago. His presentations are always great.

If you're looking for more, checkout DrupalRadar's roundups (day 1 -day 2 - day 3). For pictures, checkout the flickr.com drupalcon pool or Google+. Our stay ended thursday night with the Drupal trivia night quiz, which seems to get more popular every year! Next DrupalCon is in Sao Paolo (december), then Sydney (februari), Portland (may) and Prague (august)

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