Joseph and I went to Drupal Camp Utah on May 4th, 2018 (Star Wars Day). This was our 3rd camp at Utah, but it’s been a while since our last one, so there were a lot of unfamiliar faces, but that’s never bothered us before.
We went there for two reasons: re-connecting with the Utah Drupal community, and spreading the Backdrop message. This was our first time presenting on Backdrop, and I was nervous about it because I felt like I was presenting on behalf of someone else, and I didn’t want to misrepresent the project or the people in any way.
When we were preparing for the presentation, we recognized there was too much information to cover everything properly in the time allowed, and it was entirely likely that we were not going to touch on everything the audience would want to see and know about. So, we went with the idea of going broad, but not too deep, i.e., covering as many of the important aspects as possible without getting too much into the details, and making sure the audience had an opportunity to ask their questions at the end.
Our initial plan was to spend the first about 24 minutes on the project itself, the next about 24 minutes on the demo, and the last about 12 minutes on Q&A. Joseph has done more actual site building with Backdrop than I, so he did the demo, and I spoke on the project. We each interjected occasionally, while the other was presenting, for clarification or to add to something that was said, and we both answered the questions, depending on the question and the answer.
I lost track of our time while I was talking about the project, but when thinking back on it, it looks like I was in the 20-25 minutes time frame. I do know that we ended the demo with about 15 minutes for Q&A, so we think we came pretty close to doing what we set out to do. Afterward, we kept remembering things we had wanted to say, but I think if we had said everything, we would not have had the time for the Q&A, so it was probably fine that we missed those things.
The demo went well and did not have any problems other than for some reason we could not reconnect to Pantheon to finish the configuration import (after we had started the installation process). Fortunately, we had prepared for that problem in advance and already had a second local site ready to receive the configuration. The thing that sticks out in my mind most about the demo is that the audience did not seem to be as wowed by the “bigger” features like layouts and configuration management, even though they were obviously important. Instead, it seemed like they were more impressed with some of the “smaller” things, like being able to search the menu structure, and that images pasted or dragged and dropped into a WYSIWYG editor automatically become file entities that are managed by Backdrop, and the soon to be launched scheduling the publication of content feature (we were using the latest dev branch).
During the Q&A part, the questions from the audience were varied, covering different things about both the project and the product, but I think the one thing that was the biggest concern for anyone serious about using Backdrop is if the project will be around next year, or in five years, or in ten years. It is a valid concern, and while I ultimately could not promise that it would be around next year, much less forever, I think I demonstrated there were already a number of people and companies that have staked their futures on Backdrop, so the likelihood that it will be around for a while, at least, is very good.
Looking back on the presentation, I think we did well and we feel good about the job we did (despite forgetting some things), I think we and our message were well received, and I feel like we represented Backdrop and the community well.