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Ungathered Thoughts

Drupal South + Potato Week

A couple weeks ago I took leave to travel to Sydney for Drupal South, present a session on Recipes, and enjoy the community and culture that Drupal South makes possible.

I do feel so lucky to be part of this community. Especially these days, when travel is less frequent and things feel more isolated down here in Dunedin, I value highly the chance to be there, have personal conversations with people I interact with online, and soak in the ideas and vibes of the people who I share the space with. I also miss the folks who aren't there, or have even moved on. That's all a good feeling.

Often I've come back from a conference excited, tired, and dropped myself straight back into everyday workload. That is a terrible idea! What happens is all the amazing ideas and realisations get washed over by day to day work challenges, and between post-conf exhaustion and whatever's in your inbox on return, I find a lot can be lost. This year, the week following the conference was a short one in my region - Otago Anniversary Day and Good Friday had collaborated to set up a three day week. I wrote "Potato Week"[1] on the calendar, booked that as leave, and took the time to let myself relax and reflect afterwards. (And to improve a few things around the house. It's been a great break!)

So - hmm, some thoughts on the conference.

A talk on Drupal Recipes

Recipes is a new tool for delivering configuration (more to come) to Drupal sites. It's exciting as it targets both a recurring need for site operation, and addresses a challenging specific detail of Drupal's current stack. I wanted opportunity to understand this better and even contribute to its progress, but didn't have a work opportunity to explore it in depth. I assigned myself some Conference Driven Development, where you propose a talk on a topic you don't yet know much about, then are obliged to learn enough to deliver a talk on the day. That was my first in-person conference presentation in a few years, and it was great - the room was nearly full and the feedback was engaged and positive.

Recipes aims to address a challenging feature of profile development, and I was happy to see Heike and Dave from Sparks were interested to see what that might offer the Sector Drupal distribution. If you're keen to explore Recipes more, let's chat!

Leaders dinner

There was a Drupal Leaders Dinner the Tueday before the conference, and I'd had opportunity to attend this the previous year in Wellington as well, due to my role on the Drupal South Steering Committee. The attendees were all leaders or decision makers in their respective organisations, including representation from lots of local agencies as well as Tim Doyle of the Drupal Association and Dries Buytaert the It's a great idea, based I think on the Drupal CEO dinners of Europe, and there's a really good energy of enthusiastic sharing and collaborative exploration between businesses. The discussions were interesting, the menu was amazing, and Mike kept things rolling with the Drupal Agency Survey results presented to the group. Valuable insights!

Something I noticed here especially, and which was tangible at the conference as well, is the strength of collaboration between industry businesses in Australia - where Drupal is doing great things! Australia's contribution game is strong, and the industry there seems really healthy. I love that, and I'm interested to know what we can do to develop this further in Aotearoa as well. (If you have thoughts, get in touch! Are there ways that the community could facilitate this better?)

Contribution cultivation

DrupalSouth has a sprint day, and while I was only able to be there the first half day, it was a great opportunity to share knowledge, assist debugging, and spin the flywheel a little on the tasks in my contribution queue. This spurred a few folks to respond in kind on the issues touched, which is a good return; recognising the multiplier effect available here, some reflections for me to study on cultivating contribution from community.


I'm reflecting on the folks I know in the community who I resonate with, and on what.

What am I focused on? What tech did I come away with in my mind?

Areas I'm enjoying myself in development at the moment are -

And more ...

There's much more to say, but I feel like I've infodumped a lot here already and I can't cover all of it! Personal reflections such as the resonances we discover in realising that someone else just is really into that thing you're into, huge and important topics such as how institutions can find deep trust in how their data is shaped and stored by the systems they select, and complicated things such as what it means for a software community to be community led, or to find common goals. Maybe I'll come back to those.

I'm grateful to have had the chance to be there - thanks team! Looking forward to next time - and to all the connections in between.

If any of this hits a note for you, reach out - you know where to find me :)

  1. I really don't know where "Potato Week" came from but I may hang on to that too 🥔 ↩︎