Bringing Together the Drupal Community

DrupalCon Chicago | chicago2011.drupal.org

Home page of DrupalCon Chicago website

DrupalCon is an international event that brings together the people who use, develop, design, and support the Drupal open source content management platform. More than just another trade show or industry conference, it's a place where designers, developers, business people, and enthusiasts gather to share knowledge and help make Drupal an even better platform to use.

Held in March 2011, DrupalCon Chicago was the largest Drupal event to date, with nearly 3,000 attendees from dozens of countries around the globe. The three-day event featured nearly 90 sessions spread across six tracks, plus a separate core developer conversation track, exhibit hall stage, business event, pre-conference training, “birds of a feather” sessions, and a post conference coding, documentation, and community development sprint.

How We Helped

As a community-driven event, DrupalCon has traditionally relied on support from local Drupal development firms. For DrupalCon Chicago, Palantir stepped forward to assist the Drupal Association by providing organizational support and website services, which included supplying the overall conference branding and identity, as well as design, theming, content, and information architecture for the conference website.

Palantir collaborated on the site buildout with Drupal development firm Growing Venture Solutions, who was responsible for building an extensible conference platform (the Conference Organizing Distribution, or “COD”) that could be reused for multiple events. Prior to DrupalCon Chicago, each conference website had been largely built from the ground-up by each event’s organizing team. While Palantir focused on the site’s front-end presentation and content, Growing Venture Solutions built out the site’s back-end functionality and registration system integration.

As part of the design process, Palantir's design team developed a comprehensive brand identity system for DrupalCon Chicago that was not only used for the website but also for the conference program, signage, badges, t-shirts, and virtually everything else associated with DrupalCon. This identity system incorporated colors traditionally associated with the Windy City and illustrations of gears and architectural elements designed to reinforce the conference’s theme, “Drupal is Everywhere.”

Palantir team members developed the first-ever hybrid mobile app for DrupalCon, designed to work seamlessly on both iPhone and Android smartphones. The DrupalCon Chicago mobile app included complete schedule information, maps of the conference venue, speaker biographies, and up-to-the-minute news updates from the @drupalcon Twitter feed. Best of all, the code for the app is available under an open source license for others to use and share.

Palantir team members worked with others in the Drupal community and Drupal Association staff to help organize DrupalCon Chicago. Palantir principals Tiffany Farriss and George DeMet served as event co-chairs, while others on the team helped out with developing the event program, working with venues and vendors, overseeing publicity and public relations efforts, volunteer coordination, and countless other tasks.

The Upshot

DrupalCon Chicago was not only one of the most logistically complex Drupal event to date but it was also one of the most successful, both in terms of attendance and community development. Proceeds from the conference were invested back into the Drupal community, helping fund initiatives like maintaining the Drupal.org site infrastructure and community cultivation grants.

Palantir’s efforts helped contain the costs associated with DrupalCon Chicago, enabling a larger portion of its budget to go toward these community initiatives as well as scholarships for deserving attendees. As Drupal Association Executive Director Jacob Redding put it, “Palantir.net really stepped up to the plate and helped save the conference tens of thousands of dollars.” As long-time supporters of open source software and the Drupal community, we’re proud to have been able to contribute to its success.

Home page of DrupalCon Chicago website