YADCWUP or Yet Another DrupalCon Wrap-Up Post
I already posted a conference wrap-up over on the Raincity Studios site but wanted to write a more personal summary of the week here. One of the best things about the trip was the opportunity to hang out with Ariane and Audrey in our cool little flat in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. It was within walking distance not just of the conference centre but also of the White House and many other of the impressive buildings and monuments that DC boasts. Having given ourselves a buffer day between our arrival in the city and the start of the conference, we had a chance to do some sight-seeing, though it was extremely cold those first couple of days.
I had attended DrupalCon Boston and DrupalCon Szeged and the two had been such vastly different experiences for me that I seemed to have lumped my ideas about each into two categories in my head, i.e. "what a DrupalCon NA is like" and "what a DrupalCon Europe is like", respectively. Of course a lot of those experiences were bound up with where I personally was coming from: at DC Boston, I was brand new to the community and really only knew a handful of Vancouver-based drupalers; at DC Szeged, I was presenting a talk, had started participating much more in the community and had extended my Drupal acquaintances through irc, etc., not to mention the fact that there were several Irish drupalers there whom I was eager and delighted to get to know! But the events were also logistically very different - DC Boston was (obviously) in a major city, and the area over which attendees' lodgings were spread was pretty large. The conference centre was off by itself in a location not really accessible on foot from most people's hotels. In Szeged, by contrast, because it was such a small town, everything was walkable - everyone was staying pretty near each other and we all ended up in the same bars and restaurants (and bath houses!) in the evenings. And of course there were much fewer of us. I was expecting DC DC to be more like Boston, a) because of the vast numbers attending (three times as many as Szeged?) and b) because again it was in a major US city. But actually this wasn't the case. The conference centre was in a really central location and most people seemed to have found accomodation pretty close to it. For me, the walk was about 13 blocks through charming neighborhoods.
So the social aspect of DrupalCon DC was really good. As I mentioned in the Raincity post, I attended a Development Seed party (Wednesday night), a Chapter Three party (Thursday night) and a Lullabot party (Friday night), none of which was more than 15 minutes' walk from our place. And there were several other parties on besides - it was a tough choice! Not that I'm really all that into parties in general (honestly!) - it's just that these events do provide a less intimidating forum for getting to know one's fellow drupalers, for those of us who find it hard to just walk up to somebody at a conference and say, "Hi, I'm Katherine... er... we chatted on irc about... er... ajax and stuff... ?". But definitely the best part is catching up with those you have met at previous cons, camps and meet-ups. I wanted to give a big shout-out in particular to Matt Cheney, Stella Power, Boris Mann (we hardly ever see each other in Vancouver!), Adrian Rossouw, Alex UA, Joel Farris, Marco Carbone and Kris Vanderwater - great seeing you all again!
Meeting my Quick Tabs co-maintainer, Pasqualle, was also a big highlight for me. As I mentioned in a previous post , he came on board a few months back and has been instrumental in stepping Quick Tabs up to the next level of awesomeness. We used the code sprint day to discuss and get started on the most important bug fixes and improvements needed in order to finally release Quick Tabs 6.x-2.0. Much work has been done since and I hope to be announcing that very soon.
The one bummer of the week was Steve Krueger getting sick on Day #2, which was really unfortunate but he seems to have recovered now at least. One possible explanation for the drupalflu which has apparently affected several people is the bizarre change in weather that took place over the course of the week - a full 30 degrees Celsius increase in temperature from when we arrived to when we left. Not that I was complaining - between Saturday night's dining out on a patio, Sunday's t-shirt-clad wandering around the Lincoln Memorial (see photo above) and Sunday evening's sitting on the stoop with Ariane reading and watching the world go by into the warm night, it was a fairly magical ending to a great conference week.