DrupalCon LA May 2015

29 May 2015
John Doyle

Walking into DrupalCon, all I could see were people, people, people.

Just as everything in North America is a little bigger than here (steaks, cars, even the salads), DrupalCon LA was no exception. DrupalCon is the largest gathering of individuals in the world related to the Open Source software, named Drupal.

The sheer size of the conference found everyone from all walks of life huddling together in discussion. Individual freelance developers working on their own projects mingled with government organisations such as Los Angeles City. Even global corporates such as Pfizer, Time inc and Warner Music were present. Each have particular requirements of varied scale but incredibly, Drupal and the outlying Drupal ecosystem can deliver an appropriate solution every one of them.

Komosion is working with
Drupal as part of our technology roadmap and are immersing ourselves in every facet of its toolset. In order to delve further into this toolset, I spent a week in Los Angeles at this conference, and happily, my expectations of tech-heavy seminars were not entirely accurate.

There were sessions on everything from Drupal 101, to the importance of emotional intelligence in an online space. The overlying message I got out of the conference this year was the increasing maturity of the platform and the Open Source movement behind it. The roster of talent speaking included Matt Asay (VP of mobile at Adobe Systems), Michael Lamb (Director of Marketing Technology Strategy at Pfizer), Erynn Peterson (SVP Audience Products and Editorial Tools, Time, Inc.) and many more. The strategic discussion around Drupal and its use for solving business problems was clearly demonstrated, again and again.

One of the most interesting pieces of information I found from the conference related to the emergence of push technologies and the disintermediation of online content. Dries Buytaert (@Dries), founder of Drupal, highlighted during his keynote that we are moving into a world where there will be less and less reliance on an individual seeking content. The advent of push technologies and 'Machine Learning' is enabling smart content to find you instead. It is a little while off before this will be common-place, but I liken the idea to that little notification icon appearing on my phone when I need to update an app. That will soon become a notification that somewhere in the world somebody published a piece of content that resonates with me. I won't have to find it, ‘like’ or ‘follow’ the publisher - it will be served to me when and where I want to consume it automatically.

The publisher of the content will not know it was written for me. They won't push it to me directly like my phone notification now, but will be able to place the content in context within the web so that the systems that I use for content consumption will serve it to me on a platter leading to truly personalised content streams. Applications such as FlipBoard are the start to this sort of disintermediation of an organization and its content.

It is a pretty heady thought, but one that I personally agree with whole-heartedly. I have often discussed the disintermediation of content on the web and what that means for Komosion as a provider of web CMS solutions and our clients as content publishers.
Why are people consuming the content they do in the way that they do? What tools do I need as a content specialist to understand this information and respond? Is our system responsive to me as a content specialist, but more importantly, to the consumers of my content? How can a publisher remain relevant in a dis-intermediated space? Although these questions are not easily answered, it is comforting to know that the platform we are building on has a vision and vast movement behind it that supports our collective concerns and can harness an incredible pool of talent to help us along the way.

DrupalCon this year demonstrated how it is keeping ahead of the trends in this developing space:

  • 58 countries represented by attendees
  • 20% of attendees were female
  • 17% of speakers were female
  • 373+ Kg of coffee consumed
  • 668Gb of Wi-Fi data consumed in 3 days

Upcoming DrupalCons around the world:

  • DrupalCon Barcelona in September 2015
  • DrupalCon Asia (Mumbai) in February 2016
  • DrupalCon North America (New Orleans) in May 2016