BeerConf is the unofficial name given to the daily evening gatherings during the annual DConf. It was coined by Ethan Watson, who noted that many of the participants drink beer during their discussions of D and other topics. Often, these gatherings have taken place in the lobby or bar of a designated hotel where most conference attendees stay. When no suitable facilities are available, such as in our 2019 and 2022 editions in London, sponsors have stepped up to rent space in a local pub.
After DConf 2020, scheduled for June of that year, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a few people decided to create a virtual BeerConf to recreate the camaraderie, discussion, and general enjoyment real-world BeerConf participants experience. Using a freely available Jitsi Meet instance, BeerConf June 2020 was the first online gathering of its kind in The D community.
Steven Schveighoffer and Iain Buclaw, two core D developers, were the hosts of the first BeerConf. It was a success, so they decided to make it a monthly event. So every month, typically on the last weekend (unless special circumstances require moving it to another weekend), Steven and Iain, along with Rikki Cattermole, continue to host BeerConf for the D community to chat, enjoy our shared fascination with the language, and work through sometimes difficult problems that don't lend themselves well to text-based discussion.
The online group is generally started on a Saturday, and is left open for 48 hours to account for the disparate time zones in which D community members reside. Topics are unrestricted and unplanned. Past topics include Beer (of course), core D development, D game development, using D for controlling car transmissions, future directions of the D language, WIP projects, and more, and many people get work done in D while in the chat. Language maintainers Walter Bright and Atila Neves, as well as Andrei Alexandrescu, frequently join for a time as well.
Contrary to the name, there is no requirement to actually drink Beer or any alcoholic beverage during BeerConf. There is no requirement to participate either via audio or video; many people join in only to listen, or choose not to enable their cameras. In fact, the requirements are very very loose; all you need is a device that provides access to Jitsi Meet via a web browser or the mobile app.
BeerConf served as a testbed for DConf Online, during which Q & A sessions take place over Jitsi Meet.