The first Bristol and the West Drupal user group meetup saw some great attendance with around 30 people showing up in the Sift kitchen. There was no formal topic of conversation or agenda, so it was just a case of having a chat with anyone who looked interesting enough!
There was a good mix of people and I got around to chatting to some developers, some front-end people, and even some project managers, who all had a different angle on things. There was a lot of discussion about how Drupal 7 will be shaking things up, with a general consensus that it's ready for simple sites, but there are a number of issues stopping it from being the weapon of choice on larger builds.
I also got the chance to talk a lot about version control, project workflow, and things like making large changes to existing live sites. The general feeling seemed to be that features is the way to go with this, making everyone's lives easier, but that everyone has their own wishlist of further features for features, and it is being held back by the things it can't yet do.
In terms of deploying new sites, it was interesting to hear about how installation profiles, drush makes, and even simple database blueprints can be used to short cut the very tedious task of setting up a site from scratch, especially since every Drupal house will have its own 'preferred' module list and way of doing things, and that method is likely to be re-used on almost every site, making it appealing to have a standard 'starting point' which the team can build on.
There was a plentiful supply of free beer of various types, and the pizza fund raised enough money from everyone there to get a good selection of pizza for everybody. Thanks to Sift for hosting the meetup, and with such great attendance, let's hope they'll be inspired to hold further events in the future.
If you missed out this time around, there is also the Cheltenham Drupal user group meetup on Wednesday 18th May (also with free beer).