At the beginning of September 2017 the Drupal Association announced that they aren’t going to organise the annual DrupalCon Europe in 2018. Instead of that they focused on discovering a sustainable model for the future.

Community stepping up

After the announcement, European Drupal community was terrified and most of corridor talks at DrupalCon Vienna were about patching this state, which led to announcing Drupal Europe in October. During the rest of the year a group of volunteers from all over Europe worked hard and the European community could met again in September 2018 in Darmstadt, Germany on a new event called Drupal Europe. 
The whole conference was organised by volunteers. Given the volume of needed work during the conference, organisers had called for help and I decided to join the volunteering team. That means that I decided to spend significant amount of time during conference as a room monitor or with some other tasks, basically whatever organisers asked me to do I was more than willing to help them. 

So how was it?

On Monday, the first morning of the conference I started with volunteering as a room monitor in contribution rooms. I was working on getting my contrib modules to better shape. 
Contribution room is a new term introduced by the Drupal Europe team in order to decrease focus on the coding part of contribution, which Drupal really needs and benefits from.
After lunch - vegetarian and vegan food during the week - I rushed myself to invites only roundtable of community leaders. This was one of the things I was most looking forward to. The roundtable was opened by Dries Buytaert, the Drupal project owner, and Megan Sanicki, the Drupal Association executive director.

It was great to hear that almost all communities in Europe are facing the same issues. The main problem was identified as lack of marketing - towards developers, agencies, clients. Later we split into smaller groups - each of the group had to come with at least three quick wins for communities. The most liked wins were hiring part-time marketing person in every community and preparing marketing starter kit for different situations. These issues are now being worked on by community leaders.

Session days

Tuesday started with a new event, the European Splash Awards, designed for agencies and their clients to celebrate their successes.
Next session for me was about the Drupal.org Update, which provided quite extensive description of all services the Drupal Association is running under the Drupal.org hood.

Then I took a place on the session about decoupled Drupal and Gatsby by Joe Shindelar.  GatsbyJS is a static site generator build in Node.js. It combines traditional approach with internal GraphQL and ReactJS. This allows you to add dynamic parts to your statically generated site. You should definitely use it if you want your sites to be blazing fast :)
The first session day ended with party in typical German beer garden. 

Wednesday started with traditional Prenote session. This year’s mix of fun and songs Jam and Campbell pointed out the diversity in our community and that’s what makes Drupal great.

After the funny part a more serious Driesnote took a place. Dries showed all the cool new features in Drupal 8.6, which was released just in the beginning of September. After that we learned some important dates - Drupal 9 development will start soon and the expected release is in 2020, also Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 will end their lifecycle in 2021. If you are using Drupal 8 with well-maintained modules, you should have no problems with updating to Drupal 9.

Important news for the European community was the announcement that DrupalCon Europe will be back in 2019 at the end of October in Amsterdam.

In the afternoon I held my session about Drupal 8 Commerce. In the session I talked about multi currency and different approaches to it. More than 20 people attended my session including Bojan and Matt from Commerce Guys, authors of Drupal Commerce.
The day ended by a Q&A session with Dries and Rachel Lawson. People were able to ask much more questions than during previous DrupalCon’s Q&As after Driesnote. It’s not surprising that a lot of questions were about the upgrade path for Drupal 9 or stability of Drupal and its ecosystem.
The last day of sessions started with a panel discussion about open web. It’s little frightening that none of the panelists thinks that open web is winning.

Then I attended a session about business implications of decoupled Drupal. Michael from Amazee talked about their journey of becoming a Drupal and React agency. For me a quite surprising fact was that they don’t have separated roles for frontend and backend, but people are more universal. Their cost for this makeover was over 300k EUR.
My afternoon was again focused on the community. I attended a BOF about Community landing page where we discussed how to make something meaningful with it. I think it would be great if we could get some level of geolocated data there e.g. displaying local DUG, meetups, zoom into the country on Drupical. Output from the BOF was that a working group will look into data from analytical tools and will try to come up with stories why people are coming to that page.
The very last session I attended was retrospective for Drupal Europe. It was amazing to hear about the route the team had taken. I want to say huge Thank you to everyone who helped to make this conference happen. 

The end

The last day of conference was once again contribution day. Mentors trained a couple of new contributors and taught them about Drupal ecosystem. I focused again on my contrib modules, mostly writing automated tests for them.
I must say that I enjoyed being at this conference, it was great to meet a lot of my Drupal friends and I’m looking forward to meeting you again in Amsterdam.