What we learned from DrupalCamp Timisoara 2010

DrupalCamp Timisoara 2010 was a suprising event. When we first started talking about it, during the early days of Drupal Romania Association, there was a common worry about how much interest does Drupal raise in Romania. I was initially pretty reserved about the number of people we could gather. At that point we did not had any idea about what Drupal means professionally in Romania.

When the camp started we had about 220 people registered in the site. At the end of the first day, we thought that more than 120 people really came. We were wrong, there were 163 people, from more than 10 countries, many of them being professionals developing with Drupal. One of the best things that we learned at the camp, is that there are lots of Romanian web agencies developing with Drupal, and they do it very well. We already face a growing market for open source CMS-es, and somehow Drupal stands up when it is about complex applications.

We also learned some good to know and think about things, when running a conference like DrupalCamp, as participants offered useful feedback. Thanks, we learned a lot from you! Here is a summary (briefly, many other ideas and critiques appeared and we'll consider them):

  • unconference more: we somehow got a little far away from the standard DrupalCamp format - unconference. Participants suggested having open sessions instead of relying on scheduled sessions. We have to think about BoF next time.
  • session levels: developers love code sessions and geek subjects! Camps should gather local Drupal dev communities, and geek sessions are good for this, but they should also enlarge the communities. Making Drupal bigger means showcase, usecase and beginner sessions. We had some great showcases from Dream Production and Reea lads but we somehow missed the beginner and usecases sessions. We probably dissapointed the Wordpress group of developers who came at this camp. Next time, we'll take more care about you!
  • developers do not rule the world: code sessions and geek stuff issue again, designers, managers and philosophers need more love. We have to encourage sessions in more applied areas and provide BoF spaces for the issues that make you rock on but we totally forgot about.
  • socializing: we had a tight schedule and long conference days. Might be a good idea to have a three days event with more space for games, chats, gossips and a corner with free lager.
  • on location lunch: as Maria Diaconu was saying, "do not compete with the lunch!". We had a pretty small lunch break with people going to the city center to eat. Lots of time wasted! Next time we will think about hiring a catering company and charge participation tickets.
  • T-shirts rule: lots of people asked about t-shirts! Worth thinking about it next time and unleash a design contest...
  • details (nobody was peeky!): attention to small details make a great event, from the lounge to the toilets...

Overall, the start was good, and I hope to see even more interest in the future. Most probably the next event will be a Drupal Usergroup Meeting somewhere in September, after the DrupalCon Copenhagen ends and Drupal 7 is launched (hopefully!).