Inaugural New England Drupal Camp in Providence a Recipe for Success

Once again, the Drupal community never ceases to amaze. The power and pull of this one million strong community was present at this years New England Drupal Camp with the highest display of Drupal knowledge, passion, and information. The purpose of this event was to bring the New England Drupal community together to share ideas and interact with one another.

Oomph Coffee Mugs and NEWDCampOomph was proud to sponsor the first annual New England Drupal Camp on November 1st, 2014. Even the weather could not stop the draw of this inaugural event and as the rain trickled down, the people trickled in. Attendees were greeted by sponsor booths, smiling faces, Oomph coffee mugs, and breakfast. The layout was simple, sponsor tables swung to the right and left of the registration desk occupying the lighted hallways. Acquia, Blink Reaction, Brunello, Isovera, Lingotek, Schoolyard and Redfin Solutions were a few of the sponsors represented at this debut event. From die-hard Drupal developers to first year CS students, UX Experts to University Administrators, NEWDCamp welcomed all.

Located at prestigious Brown University sitting atop Providence’s College Hill, NEWDCamp offered a variety of sessions and talks with Drupal as the common thread. Spaced out throughout three campus buildings, the sessions began at 9am. Stephen Cross and Nic Laflin, two of the organizers of the event, spoke in the morning about preparing for the release of Drupal 8, and a Ben Franklin quote aptly named their talk – “By Failing To Prepare, You’re Preparing To Fail.”

Jason Pamental spoke about responsive typography, he actually wrote a book on it! He talked about the state of typography in the responsive age, how screen sizes affect your font, which tools make implementing type easier, and the nuances of typography within the overall design process.

Next up were Oomph’s very own front-end devs, Kathy Beck and John Cionci, giving a presentation on “Owning Your Base Theme.” They touched on the obstacles companies face, pros and cons of creating a base theme, and the process of doing it. Work smarter not harder was the motto of their talk. A base theme helps the company process, grows a cohesive team, and makes developers more knowledgeable about the codebase. They also spoke of giving back to the Drupal community by open-sourcing base themes.

John Cionci & Kathy Beck of Oomph at New England Drupal Camp

Lunch time came and all the attendees gathered in the Kaspar Lunch room to eat and converse, many were looking forward to Jeff Robbins’ keynote speech – “Lessons Learned From Rock ‘n Roll.” Chris Murray, Oomph’s CEO, introduced Jeff and spoke of his illustrious career. Jeff helped develop the Global Network Navigator, the very first web publication. He was the frontman of Orbit, a 90s Boston-based power trio. He later founded Lullabot, a Drupal-focused digital agency. Jeff’s keynote was an inspiring one, a presentation that spoke more of culture and connection than of code and computers. He reminisced about his time on the road touring with his band, talked about criteria for the ideal client and the environment Lullabot strives to achieve, and conveyed that following your dreams and your aspirations will always lead to positive outcomes.

The afternoon was filled with great talks and great information. Dave Sawyer, a solutions architect, showed how to get the most out of the Drupal site search built in functionality. Ethan MacDonald talked about designing for Drupal, deliverables and client expectations. Jason Pamental signed copies of his new book – Responsive Typography. Before you knew it, it was 5pm, the sessions had ended and all headed out filled with great new ideas.

Drinks and food brought the people of NEWDCamp together after the event. There were Drupal lifers, new faces, and everyone in between having a great time at Kartabar, the location of NEWDCamp’s after party. Conversations were in full swing, discussing the day’s sessions, asking and answering more questions, and getting to know one another.

Some of the people who made NEWDCamp happen were Ellen Diamond from H+W Design Co., Stephen Cross from Parallax, Nic Laflin from nLightened Design, and John Picozzi from Oomph, Inc.

Thanks to all who came out, we hope everyone had a wonderful time! We can’t wait until next year’s NEWDCamp to see everyone again and continue to grow this awesome event!!