In the wake of the locally organised 2011 and 2012 Drupal Downunder conferences, the Drupal Association has announced that next year Australia will host an official DrupalCon in February.
DrupalCon Sydney will be held in Coogee, 6-9 February, and will be headlined by Drupal creator Dries Buytaert. The theme will be "Growing Drupal Downunder".
Owen Lansbury, managing partner at Drupal shop PreviousNext, and Ryan Cross, a founder of Web developer CrossFunctional are heading up the organisation of the conference from the Sydney end.
"Ryan and I had already volunteered to run the next Drupal Downunder in Sydney and when Dries was here in Melbourne in January he encouraged us to talk to the Drupal Association to make it a formal DrupalCon," Lansbury said. The two are donating their time and resources to help organise the conference.
"I think that [DrupalCon Sydney] definitely puts this region on the map in terms of Drupal adoption. What we've seen at the past two Drupal Downunder events was that attendance doubled between each event. We expect attendance to double again for this event."
Lansbury said that he hoped DrupalCon will be attractive to people that might be using Drupal but aren't aware of the community behind the open source CMS. "This is an opportunity for them to come along to an event like this and connect with the community and not just view Drupal as solely a piece of software. It's the software and the people behind the software."
"I think the key aspect of Drupal that's very different to any other platform is that by attending a DrupalCon you'll actually be in sessions with the people who are actually critical to the decision making around where Drupal is heading," Lansbury said.
Drupal adoption has grown significantly in the last two years in Australia, Lansbury said, particularly in government. There's also been significant uptake in education and media.
DrupalCon Sydney "will be a very big focus on what's coming next with Drupal 8, which is aiming to be released next year," Lansbury said. "I think the biggest takeout people will get [from the conference] is that it's actually something they can have a strong influence over. The more involvement that they have with the community the more there will get out of using the product itself.
"I think the other component to it is the opportunity for people using Drupal in the local region to really showcase what they're doing with it. Because it can provide such a flexible framework to build complex websites with, you're really seeing some very different things being done with Drupal across different verticals and a lot of the cross-pollination of ideas that come out of an event like this will really benefit anyone who is using it for their own projects."
DrupalCon Sydney will be held 6-9 February at the Crowne Plaza, Coogee Beach. Rohan Pearce is the editor of Techworld Australia. Contact him at rohan_pearce at idg.com.au. Follow Rohan on Twitter: @rohan_p Follow Techworld Australia on Twitter: @techworld_au