All posts by Michelle Sanver

We can all learn from the Drupal community

I started hearing about Drupal 8 back in 2014, how this CMS would start using Symfony components, an idea I as a PHP and Symfony developer found very cool.

That is when I got involved with Drupal, not the CMS, but the community.

I got invited to my first DrupalCon back in 2015. That was the biggest conference I have ever been to, thousands of people were there. When I entered the conference building I saw several things, one of them was that the code of conduct was very visible and printed. I also got a t-shirt that fit me really well – A rarity at most tech conferences I go to. The gender and racial diversity also seemed fairly high, I immediately felt comfortable and like I belonged – Super cool first impression.

I as many other geeks have social anxiety, so I was still overwhelmed with all these people, and I did not know who to talk to. Luckily Larry was there so I had someone to hug.

I went to many great talks as there were a lot of tracks – Including the Symfony one where I was speaking. A conference well worth going to for EVERYONE, this is also something that I like: They try to make every DrupalCon affordable for everyone.

That evening I felt a bit shy again and stood somewhere, all on my own, and couldn’t see the two people out of thousands, that I knew. Then someone walked up to me and just started talking to me, making me feel welcome. I said I don’t do Drupal at all and they said that that’s nice! We talked about what I do and they were very interested.

This year I went to a local DrupalCamp here in Switzerland, drupal mountain camp, it was an event a lot more focused on Drupal, as you could expect, so I did not attend as many talks as I did at DrupalCon, but again the inclusiveness and the atmosphere was in the air – I felt so very very welcome and safe (Except maybe when sledging down a mountain…).

They mentioned the code of conduct in the beginning of the conference and then proceeded to organise an awesome event with winter sports around it.

I spoke at DrupalMountainCamp giving an introduction to Neo4j, a talk I have given many times with various results. People were extremely interested in graph databases, the concepts and how they work and they asked a lot of questions. Again – When I told them I don’t do Drupal noone even tried to convince me to start, that is where our communities differ a bit.

I think that we can learn from Drupal, embrace our differences, and each other, and accept that we do different things and we are different people and it doesn’t matter because that is what makes community work, that is what makes us awesome. Diversity matters, Drupal got this.

Thank you to the Drupal community for showing how to be inclusive the right way and how to not try to convince someone to try or be someone they are not, but rather support that person and try to learn from them, this is the best behaviour a community could ever have.

And hugs! So much hugs.

Conferences that are parties with talks – PHPBenelux and SunshinePHP

I recently read this tweet by @CalEvans, I couldn’t have said it better myself. 

“Sunshine PHP

http://bit.ly/1zsFMwK 

@adamculp threw a party in Miami and a conference broke out. :) #ssp15”

When I return from a conference, I feel like I return from a party, I’m exhausted but I will always have had the time of my life. 

Continue reading about Conferences that are parties with talks – PHPBenelux and SunshinePHP

Happy birthday Ada Lovelace

On the 10th of December 1815, that is 199 years ago, Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace, was born. She is more commonly known just as “Ada Lovelace”. She is often seen as the founder of computer science and as the first programmer in the world.

Her upbringing and the way she got into computer science is quite amazing considering the time she lived in. Her mother supported her and brought her up as a scientist, logician and mathematician. Ada loved everything that had to do with machines from a young age.

Continue reading about Happy birthday Ada Lovelace

LaraconEU 2014 – Empowering the PHP people

I went to LaraconEU last year and honestly I felt uncomfortable being the only woman in a conference of about 200 people, I noticed that I was a woman in that crowd, and it felt like everyone else did too. This year however, it was very different, let me first talk a bit about the conference from a technical perspective, then come back to how LaraconEU made a big step towards empowering me and the community as a whole. 

I gave one of the first talks on the 28th of August about Neo4j, if you haven’t heard about it yet it is a graph database that helps you handle highly connected data. 

My presentation was about a pet project of mine, omnomhub and how we use and plan to use Neo4j for our data. Overall I had great feedback, inspired people and talked about neo4j all over the event, even though my live demo failed!

That day another talk that stood out was by Adam Wathan about TDD: The good parts, basically teaching us that it’s ok to sometimes not abstract til you drop, thanks for that note!

I was pleasantly suprised when I saw that Gabriela D’Ávila was talking about “coding like a girl” and how we as an industry benefit from a diverse team. It was her first time giving a talk in English, with a really difficult topic on top of that – Kudos to her.

The community day ended with drinks and fire, all in all an awesome day where I met amazing people and new friends that inspired me to be a better developer. I’m also happy that I got to give a talk to inspire other people. 

The idea of the community day was actually brilliant, it is a day before the conference where more people are able to come and afford to attend, it is the first time I saw this at a conference, and I’d definitely like to see more of it. 

The second day the main event started out with Matt Stauffer who talked about “Sharing Laravel”, it was about a lot of great tooling and technology that a lot of people should know, with some humour involved aswell, just a great talk to start of the conference. After Matt Erika gave her talk about “portable environments with vagrant”, it was absolutely amazing she rocked the scene and inspired a lot of people to try it out – It looks way less difficult when she does it, and ansible is awesome, what I took away from her talk: If you haven’t yet checked out ansible do so.

There were some other great talks this day to finish of with Taylor Otwell – The Laravel GOD – talking about Laravel and new things coming. I read a blogpost by Ross Tuck that sums up the technical content and new things we found out about laravel quite well so I won’t do that myself: 

http://rosstuck.com/notes-from-laraconeu/

The second day of the main event, or the third day of the conference, the talk that stood out for me the most was by Kayla Daniels “The Code Manifesto: Empowering our Community”, it made me and others think quite a lot, and she managed to actually silence the twitter stream! 

Some things that I thought about after seeing her talk is that… To empower the minority we simply have to empower everyone, then the minority is also included, which is exactly what LaraconEU did this year and what we do with PHPWomen. 

This year I didn’t feel like a woman, I felt like a developer. How come? I was not the only woman in the room, and I know that LaraconEU worked very hard to make this happen, so thank you LaraconEU organisers for empowering me, working with PHPWomen and for empowering the PHP community, not only with technical content but also with everything around it.

If you want to see the talks of the conference the two main days were recorded, all the talks were of great quality so I highly recommend seeing them:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb9XEo_1SDNR8Ucpbktrg5A

Tags: , ,