Today is the last day of Drupal Dev Days in Szeged, Hungary, and I’ve never been more full of the “Drupal spirit!”
One of Drupal’s greatest strengths is the closness of its' community, how friendly and accepting they can be. Drupalcons are highlight events for many, not because of the learning as much as because of the social track: the chance to see old friends and make new ones. Even more important is the chance to experience in person this incredibly friendly community. I always loved the cons because you could approach really anybody, say “hi”, and ask them about their work with the platform. Seriously, anybody. From a new user to Dries himself.
That’s become harder and harder as Drupal has grown more popular. In a convention of more than 3,000 people, you lose that feeling of being able to approach anybody. Instead, people silo into groups. In a best case it’s a group that shares an interest in a sub-system (Rules junkies, Panels proselytizers, Features fans…), but in most cases it’s because of shared connections outside the community. You end up hanging out with the same people you knew before the con. Of course you can still have fun, but that sense of community is lost.
One of the best parts of Drupal Dev Days Szeged was the way they encouraged people to mix, cross pollinate, and discuss. In a conference of 350 people I felt like I spoke to almost all of them. I could approach even the famous visitors and talk to them like a normal human being. I borrowed VGA adaptors from Gabor Hojtsy and Wim Leers, and neither of them batted an eye at it.
This kind of experience is so great, so positive and validating, that I recommend Drupal Camps for everyone. The ticket price is cheap, the location is always nearby, and the culture is fantastic. The sessions are every bit as good as most DrupalCon sessions (many of us use the Camps as a way to practice before the Con), and you will make great new friends.
Tl;DR: Drupal Dev Days in Szeged was fantastic. If you’ve never been to a Drupal Camp event, get your butt onto drupical.com and find your nearest one today!