Last Call Media at BADCamp 2014

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Tom Fleming
Senior Developer

BADCamp has been on my Drupal bucket list for some time. Along with NYC Camp and the more official DrupalCon events, BADCamp has seemed like a must-attend event for anyone who has invested some portion of their lives in the Drupal community. So, I was thrilled that I had the opportunity to fly from our rural western Massachusetts office out to sunny/foggy San Francisco to attend the big event. From the sessions to the interactions with other community members to the venue, BADCamp 2014 did not disappoint.

Especially when considering that BADCamp is a free event available for anyone to attend, the quality of the speakers and the content of the sessions were top notch. Anyone from beginners to more advanced developers looking for new perspectives could find something to attend and someone to learn from at this event. Much like a DrupalCon, many prolific core committers and contrib maintainers could be seen sprinting, giving a session, or conversing with other Drupalers.

Inside the iHangar
Inside the iHangar.

Greeting attendees throughout the iHangar venue at the gorgeous Palace of Fine Arts were room names heavily influenced by Nintendo’s Mushroom Kingdom, staying consistent with the 8-bit retro video game theme of the website. Rooms with names like Bowser’s Castle, Rainbow Road, and Haunted Mansion, complete with skull-shaped candle centerpieces, greeted attendees as they meandered toward their next session. Pinball machines were also located inside the venue, but if video games weren’t quite your thing, rental bikes and free massages were also available for those waiting for their next session or taking a break from a code sprint.

Complementing these amenities, the venue location itself was a sight to behold. An ample number of benches, along with impressive wi-fi range and a backdrop of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz allowed some time for me to work and take a moment to ponder in front of the 160-foot rounded dome of the Palace, which was the site of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. 

A BADCamp stage inside the iHangar
A BADCamp stage inside the iHangar.

The largest celebration of its kind at the time, this exposition celebrated the completion of the Panama Canal, a major engineering accomplishment involving the contributions of several nations that came at the cost of many workers’ lives. And for many San Franciscans, the Exposition was the city’s opportunity to show the world that it had recovered after the devastating earthquake damage that left the city in ruins in 1906.

Software engineering does not typically share the civil engineering narratives of accomplishing great things at tragically high human cost. Instead, we use the tools and facilities gifted to us by our ancestors to collaborate and build things that are far more abstract, far less tangible, and overall, physically safer to construct. Nonetheless, we build great things, and the collaborative accomplishments and struggles of the Drupal community as it pushes its way toward Drupal 8’s release were ever present.

Palace of Fine Arts
Palace of Fine Arts.

In Chris Shattuck’s keynote, he intriguingly questioned Drupal’s continued relevance. The panel “How can Men be better Allies for Women in tech? #HeForShe” openly and bluntly discussed some of the barriers to meeting the industry’s need for greater inclusivity. There was of course also a session on Backdrop, a Drupal fork that incorporates many changes from Drupal 8 while maintaining a more procedural API that closely resembles Drupal 7.

For Last Call Media, this camp was a great opportunity to interact with other passionate shops and individuals, learn a little more from everyone else, and get excited about what is to come. We look forward to seeing everyone in San Francisco again next year.

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