What We Learned from DrupalJam: Open Up 2024

A Recap of the Largest Drupal Event in the Netherlands
What we learned from Drupaljam: open up 2024

We celebrated the 20th Drupaljam with over 330 participants in Utrecht, the Netherlands. This year's edition was extra festive due to the presence of Dries Buytaert, who delivered quite a personal keynote. The day was filled with interesting presentations, insightful workshops, stimulating discussions, and panels. What is the takeaway from DrupalJam 2024?

What we learned from DrupalJam: open up 2024
Image credits: Mario Gerssen | Drupaljam: open up 2024

The Past, Present, and Future of Open Source

In his opening keynote, Dries Buytaert commemorated his early activities as a programmer. Illustrated with old photos of Dries as a child, a teenager and a student, he showed the audience how his growth was accompanied by the growth of Drupal as a CMS for others. First, Dries was working maliciously on the beauty of the code of his platform. Next, he shifted his focus onto the collaborators who started working with the code. From there, Dries began to look at the code through the end users' experience of the now many Drupal products that are now available.

What we learned from DrupalJam: open up 2024
Image credits: Mario Gerssen | Drupaljam: open up 2024

Drupal Startshot is the next step in the evolution and can be seen as continuous in this growth. Startshot is designed as a 'no code' solution for building websites. It will be possible to build, launch, and maintain a Drupal website with minimal technological knowledge will be possible with it. The project is made possible by bringing together Project Browser, Recipes, and Automated Updates. Starshot will stand next to Drupal Core, which will continue to be the best option for complex web applications. Dries passionately invites people to help make Drupal Starshot a success.

Open up

DrupalJam embraced the theme Open Up to stimulate collaboration with other open-source communities. Drupal has friends, competitors, and many dependencies with other open-source software. Six open-source community leads took the stage to discuss 'The Past, Present, and Future of Open Source'.

The panel consisted of Dries Buytaert (Drupal), Mathias Bolt Lesniak (TYPO3), Emiel Brok (SUSE), Johan Janssens (Joomla!), Ben van 't Ende (Age of Peers), and Patrick Jenner (Open Source Solution Architect). The panel build on the opening keynote of Dries exploring the open source world: where we come from and what lies ahead. With SaaS and corporate software on one side and the opportunities (and threats) of the Open Source world, where are we heading?

What we learned from DrupalJam: open up 2024
Image credit: Jean Paul Vosmeer | Drupaljam: open up 2024

The panel discussed the need and ways for PHP-based projects to support each other. They further discussed the use of licenses and a re-evaluation of existing business models. It was also clear that we need to create new business models to better suit the needs of open source in a changing world. The panel found collaboration to be the key to finding the best approaches to convincing governments and large organizations about the benefits of open-source systems.

International collaborations

Open Up also refers to working past the borders of countries and continents. The Dutch Drupal community is known for its strong interest in international collaboration. At DrupalJam, this commitment resulted in a 'Drupal in Europa' panel. Baddy Sonja Breidert, Imre Gmelig Meijling, Lenny Moskalyk, Björn Brala and Esmeralda Tijhoff discussed the international collaboration of local boards and the potential of the Network of European Drupal Associations (NEDA). Furthermore, the panel discussed how the Drupal Association can help local communities and vice versa. The panel agreed that the Drupal Association has worked to 'open up' itself and is looking increasingly for true international collaboration and representation.

What we learned from DrupalJam: open up 2024
Image credit: Jean Paul Vosmeer | Drupaljam: open up 2024

The panel further noticed a need to help local groups worldwide maintain a professional appearance since this reflects the Drupal brand. This is also something the Marketing group has identified as a working field. The protection of the 'Drupal' trademark is needed. Still, the panel also voiced the need to keep the threshold as low as possible for volunteers to become active and organize their Drupal events and online groups.

The Local Association EU Sites Project is a wonderful example of a project aimed at lowering the workload of local volunteers and improving the Drupal trademark. Using the same codebase and modern design, local associations can now share the workload to develop and maintain their websites while simultaneously presenting themselves with a unified and recognizable front, thus improving the experience of Drupal as a professional brand in their local area.

A delightful surprise was Joi Garrett's attendance. Garrett is working on the recently launched Local Associations Initiative. Garrett held a meeting for Drupal groups in Asia on June 11th, which was attended by seventeen individuals. She is now working on the upcoming meetings for North America and Australia.

Image credit: Eelco Romeijn | Drupaljam: open up 2024
Customary group photo from the event. Image credit: Eelco Romeijn | Drupaljam: open up 2024

20th Anniversary

This year marks the 20th edition of DrupalJam. Bert Boerland, one of the founders of Drupaljam, calls this year's anniversary a testament to the vibrant community that continues to evolve and innovate in open-source technologies. 

From its humble beginnings in Roy Scholten's office basement with 40 attendees, where pizzas fueled our late-night discussions, DrupalJam has grown into a cornerstone event for the Drupal and broader web technology communities.

—Bert Boerland; Founder, Chair, drupal.nl

Organizer Jean-Paul Vosmeer spoke about the goosebumps he felt when a video with a montage of the past 20 editions of DrupalJam captured the entire audience at the start of the event. 25 Speakers shared their experiences and knowledge in breakout sessions, discussing subjects like AI and Drupal, Accessibility, or the upcoming Drupal 11 update.

Jean Paul Vosmeer commented,

‘The rooms were packed, and attendees returned with excitement and new ideas, eager to implement what they had learned. The energy and enthusiasm in the breakout sessions were tangible, adding another layer of richness to the overall Drupaljam experience.’

—Jean-Paul Vosmeer, COO & founder, React Online, 'Goosebumps and Celebration: A Journey Through the 20th Edition of Drupaljam'

The day ended with a delicious BBQ sponsored by Stichting Drupal Nederland and a hilarious PubQuiz led by Bert Boerland. The prize was a free ticket to Drupalcon Barcelona.

What we learned from DrupalJam: open up 2024
Image credit: Mario Gerssen | Drupaljam: open up 2024

On his LinkedIn page, Boerland reflected on DrupalJam, stating:

‘Looking ahead, I envision DrupalJam becoming even more open and inclusive, welcoming not just technologists but also artists, influencers, policymakers, and anyone passionate about driving positive change through technology.’

Photo by Jean Paul Vosmeer from Drupaljam: open up 2024
Image credit:  Jean Paul Vosmeer | Drupaljam: open up 2024

Images used in this recap are the copyright of respective photographers whose credits are given beneath the photographs. These are shared via a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License and form part of the album, https://photos.app.goo.gl/Y4RT7vYXFighnfWo8

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