Now that I’m back from attending my first Dev Days event (in Dublin), I’ll take this opportunity to share some of my observations and takeaways. I’ve been part of the Drupal community for a long time - I love the collaboration. While it goes without saying that the Drupalcons are the most visible events that our community holds and local User Group meetups probably the most personal, Dev Days are a bit of a hybrid. For those of you who have not attended one yet its a weeklong sprint like the final Friday sprint at Drupalcons and two days of organized sessions similar to Drupalcamps. Knowing what to expect and a bit of preparation will help you to get the most out of the annual Drupal Dev Days events.
The Dublin Dev Days web site sums up the event rather well:
“The annual Drupal Dev Days is unlike other conferences and camps. With a focus on in-depth talks, demos, workshops and sprints Dev Days provides developers … a chance to learn, make progress on projects and make a big impact on the Drupal project...”
Get there early.
While a few people arrived for the weekend to attend the more formal sessions, most people came for the entire week. It’s not just the great Guinness and romantic city of Dublin that made the event - its the sprints, the opportunity to roll up your sleeves, dig in and help out. This time around there were more patches created to core and key modules during the sprints than there were attendees! While the event does have some sessions, they are secondary to the actual work that gets done in the sprints and for me this is one of the more exciting aspects of Dev Days.
Find a mentor.
If you’re interested in meeting some of Drupal’s most prolific contributors and maybe even finding yourself a mentor, the list of names that attend reads like a who’s who of the Drupal world. Alex Pott, the new D8 core maintainer; Gabor Hojtsy, the D6 core co-maintainer and major supporter of i18n; Addison Berry, a key evangelist in the Drupal documentation and training world and the driving force behind the new Drupalcon Community Summit. If only I could list everyone attending and detail all their accomplishments! If you want to get yourself known in the Drupal community this is surely one event to attend.
The spirit of open source is all about contribution and community. My company, FFW, was a major sponsor of Dev Days and has made a long-term commitment to supporting the Drupal community financially, in community leadership and in code contribution. Sponsoring events like Dublin Dev Days is an opportunity for us to give back to the Drupal project - but so is showing up and rolling up your sleeves. I’m definitely going to be at the next Dev Days, and this time I’m going to make sure to get there early to contribute to the sprints and help out as much as possible. If you plan to attend the next Dev Days and would like some advice to figure out how you can get involved too, write me an email and let me see who I can introduce you to!