DrupalCon Europe 2023 started off today with over 1200 attendees in Lille, France! The energy in the building was amazing to see. Attendees started off exploring booths and took a chance at the Acquia claw machine to get some swag as the event kicked off with a welcome brunch in the exhibition area. It was great to meet old friends and new folks excited for what the week holds.
The opening ceremony has seen celebrations with the Women in Drupal Awards. Congratulations to the winners: Tiffany Farris, Lenny Moskalyk and Marine Gandy! There was also sad news with two key European community members passing away this year. We remembered Hagen Graf and Franck Deroche, both of whom died too young and were so impactful for Drupal. For a community that is as much about the people as the technology, it was heartwarming to see this recognized.
The highlight of the day was the Driesnote! This time Dries Buytaert brought a fairytale about Drupal, the shapeshifting hero, who wanted to make building easier in the village. So Drupal took a trip around the neighboring towns to see what others may do better to learn from them. Seeing some great solutions and some problems/limitations elsewhere, Drupal brought many of the great things back to the village to make the inhabitants' lives easier.
Practically speaking Dries explained the value of the ongoing Project Browser Initiative and the Automatic Updates Initiative. He showed the current work on redesigning the administration toolbar and field configuration. Dries also announced a brand new initiative to improve the page building experience. This is in the early stages, doing exploration with some mockups to start with. Finally, several exciting directions were announced about the marketing of Drupal, including a brand refresh in the works, which was very well received.
I went to a few sessions diving deeper into the topics. There was great interest in the Project Browser session on how it works with Composer and how will it make finding smaller modules easier as well. There were multiple sessions on layout building today, I went to the Gutenberg demo and workshop and got to see a lot of the possibilities that users of Gutenberg could unleash on their sites, especially when integrated well with Drupal.
At the end of the day, the Acquia sponsored welcome reception was a good way to continue to mingle and say hi to more of the people I was looking forward to meet and get to talk to even more.