Web developers making use of innovative open source software, Drupal, are set to unite at the first conference of its kind to be held in the region.
The Drupal North East Community collective will be hosting the North East’s first DrupalCamp from July 25-27 at Sunderland Software Centre.
The event, which is expected to attract at least 60 people, is open to all businesses and professionals working in web development or considering web technologies in the North East.
Featuring a variety of sessions, it will cater for everyone, from beginners to those with advanced Drupal skills.
Among the companies involved in organising the event was IT business Consult and Design, which is based at Sunderland Software Centre.
The company, which specialises in the design and development of Drupal-built websites, is one of a relatively small number of businesses from the North East that make use of the technology, which allows the build of much more complex sites than could be achieved through more traditional platforms.
Consult and Design managing director, David Van der Velde, said:: “We are just one member of the Drupal North East Community, but I can speak for everyone when I say that we are very excited to host the first DrupalCamp in the North East.
“Although it has been in existence for some time now, Drupal is still very much an emerging technology, and one that is not widely used and understood in the region.
“Consult and Design was one of the early adopters of the technology, and we really do believe it offers unique advantages; we’re evangelists for it.”
Elsewhere in the country - in areas including London, Manchester, Brighton and Scotland - strong Drupal communities have developed thanks to DrupalCamp events.
Two worldwide conferences are also held for Drupal businesses - one in Europe and the other in America - that attract around 3,000 people.
Van der Velde added: “We have been using Drupal for many years, but many businesses are initially put off when they hear that it is open source.
“However, the software is highly sophisticated, well tested and keeps all data safe, ensuring customer and client information is protected, which is why we use it and why so many other businesses are adopting the technology.”
Leader of Sunderland City Council, Cllr Paul Watson, said: “Sunderland is establishing itself as a real hotbed of technology talent, and this Drupal event being held here is a real sign of how the city is leading the way when it comes to new and emerging technologies.
“It’s fantastic that the event will be held at Sunderland Software Centre, the newest addition to our vibrant software landscape.
“I hope the event is a huge success.”
Tickets for the three-day conference cost £35 including meals.
The Friday session will be free of charge and is aimed at businesses interested in seeing how they could benefit from the use of open source software.
For more information, see http://camp.drupalne.org .