Drupalaton 2015 : my perspective
Last week we attended Drupalaton, a Drupal camp in Hungary for the second year in a row. It was so valuable to us last year we couldn’t resist returning, especially after all the great friends we made and met again there. See our blog post from last year Drupalaton 2014.
What is Drupalaton?
It is a 4 day Drupal Camp which takes place on the edge of Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe. It started off as a group of 50 Hungarian Drupalers that knew each other quite well, as a Drupal Camp in the city of Pécs. After it grew the local community decided to move it to Balaton and change the name. After 1 year they decided to open it up to a much wider community, so in 2013 lots of attendees came from neighbouring countries.
Last year in 2014 there were 79 attendees from 13 countries including Belgium, France, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK. This year it was great to see us reach 115 attendees from a more diverse group of countries, many of which re-attending for years (including Pieter Frenssen).
What makes Drupalaton different from other DrupalCamps?
- Sessions - Longer, friendlier & more interactive.
- Weather - At 35C during the trip it was great to make sure relaxation was had. Having the lake a few steps outside the hotel was very much welcomed.
- Social activities - Morning jogs, group meals, evening drinks, boat party, grill party, swimming together on the lake, Go Karting.
- People - The great weather and opportunities for socialising make it an amazing environment to make new and strengthen existing friendships. Some attendees brought their children who also made new friends!
The amazing organisers
We can’t say how much we appreciated all of the organisation effort that went into the event. The team was led by Tamás ‘York’ Pintér, with support from Zsófi Major, Gábor Reisinger, István Csáki. They are the real heroes of the event, and in addition to the months of organisation, they put in lots of additional time from early in the morning until the late night socials. They deserve a huge round of applause.
These were longer than usual 1 hour given at other Drupal Camps & Drupal Cons, but also in a workshop format. These were upto 3 hours in length, people had their laptops out on tables and were encouraged to ask the speakers questions as they went.
This was a lot of fun and also a very good opportunity for attendees to exchange experiences and knowledge with eachother. There was tasty food, beer thanks to the fantastic sponsors. The boat journey was perfectly timed to give a view of an amazing sunset.
Grill party & the Drupalaton song
More tasty food followed, truly a feast which was much appreciated. Here some played poker with Druid's scrum cards and others played with the children, all before we were treated to a perfomance of the Drupalaton song. There were guitars and singing provided by Ruben Teijeiro, Gergely Csonka, Ernő Zsemlye & Tamás Hajas who gave us 'Drupal Get Commit' and the catchy chorus "We’re up all night to get a commit". YouTube video.
5Net from Hungary gave puzzle pieces in everyone’s goodie bags which were used to create a giant jigsaw puzzle with the Drupalaton logo. REEA from Romania brought a unique game Crokinole, in which you slide pieces into circles and knock your opponents’ ones out, during which I won a t-shirt & mug after beating my opponent.
Lake Balaton is a popular holiday destination for the whole family which is one of the reasons many Drupal attendees brought their partners and children. It is very pleasing to see how happy everyone is and how much they interacted with the rest of us during the social time. It is good fun for the whole family and encourages them to all become friends with each other too. Perhaps in future events we could even have sessions for children, what do you think?
Drupal in Hungary
With famous Hungarian Drupalers including Gábor Hojtsy & chx , it was a different environment than you would normally see them in. I was very pleased to find out about how the Drupal community started to grow adoption in the country, especially in the early days.
Drupal in Central & Eastern Europe
Drupal companies in the area are keen to get away from the outside world seeing them as a cheap place to outsource to. They prefer to work on a partnership basis where you gain a relationship with team members, instead of ‘resources’. It is interesting to see that they are increasingly working on local client projects too. I was glad to see many friends again from the nearby countries of Serbia, Romania, Slovakia again from last year as well as other camps. For some local attendees Drupalaton has become an affordable alternative to DrupalCons as wages are generally a lot lower than in Western Europe. It will be exciting to see what happens with Drupal Iron Camp next year in Budapest, an event that aims to showcase the talent of the area and provide accessible Drupal training with low cost tickets.
Tamás ‘TeeCee’ Szügyi has perfected his art of photographing Drupal events with precision and was everywhere capturing it all. He has added photos to this Flickr group. If you have any photos please share them there too.
For 2016’s event the dates have been announced for 11-14th August. Hope to see you all at Drupalaton again next year!