I've been meaning to make it down to the Learning Drupal meetup for a while, which has been a long standing Drupal meetup running for over four years. I went down to the May meetup to learn and talk about Drupal, and left with some valuable new knowledge and thoughts on Drupal meetups.
The setup was a reminder of where Drupal grew from.
The setting for the evening is the "Boxing Room" in the quirky but characterful and historic Limehouse Town Hall. The setup was a reminder of where Drupal grew from - small groups of people getting together to share knowledge - the community that formed around it, and how welcoming that community still is. The meetup followed a format of presentations on practical and useful subjects primarily for Drupal newcomers, but there was still plenty to learn for seasoned developers.
Robert Castelo started off with a tour of the Drupal landscape, highlighting large-scale and impressive uses of Drupal (Amnesty, Greenpeace, The Economist) and some history of the project and the community. He provided a thorough overview from a technical, business and philosophical points of view, the slideshow is available here, if you ever plan to run an introduction to Drupal it's worth checking out.
Git workflow for core development. Spot on.
Marek Sotak spoke about how to "hack a theme in a Drupal way", which was a solid walkthrough of base themes and some top reasons on why not to hack, and included a live demo of getting a theme setup. Cameron Todd of Acquia went over a "Git workflow for core development". I've used Git for many years, but this was an insightful and useful set of details on how to get stuff done, and the technical and practical points were spot on.
Meetups like this are an important part of Drupal, they help enable newcomers to get into Drupal and encourage best practices - Open Source Software is build on knowledge sharing amongst a community, and the smaller meetups should not be forgotten amongst the larger conferences. I hope more meetups like this pop-up around London! And definitely get down to one of these meetups if you're new to Drupal and want to learn and meet some of the community.