Prague, perhaps the most beautiful city in Europe, was host to the annual Drupal conference DrupalCon this year!
After two online editions because of the pandemic, it was finally time for an in person conference!
What better place than the home of pilsener :D ?
After a very long queue in Schiphol Airport, we were on our way...
The first day started with the traditional contribution session and then the conference kicked off with the Opening Ceremony and a keynote speech from the core initiative leads.
After an introduction it was time for some updates from some core initiatives.
CKeditor 5 was discussed, as were Project Browser, Automatic updates, Project Update Bot and Gitlab integration (replacing DrupalCI with GitlabCI)
And a new initiative was presented: the localize initiative, this initiative aims to modernize localize.drupal.org which is still running on Drupal 7.
This is where the translations of Drupal live, you can browse all translations on this site.
Another interesting initiative is the Distributions and recipes initiative.
The goal of this initiative is to make working with Drupal distributions easier. It focuses on discovery, mixing of distro's, easier updates and adding demo content to distro's. It does this by introducing Recipes: which enables you to install modules, create and update config, create content so you can have default content in your new site and apply other recipes.
After the keynote it was time for sessions!
Drupal Multisite from the trenches
This session consisted of a discussion panel where team leads of various companies discussed the pros and cons of using multisites.
What never changes - the fundaments of cognitive psychology and how it relates to modern CSS
This talk focussed on the way we interpret signals and how you can use the limitations of our senses to your advantage.
The customer is always right… except when they are not! Building collaborative partnerships and handling conflict in digital projects.
An interesting session about managing the relationship with your customer. As most of us know, creating software is hard and this can lead to friction, the key is to try to prevent this through a good onboarding and discovery process. When conflicts do arise always try to be as honest as possible, don't let emotions take over and try to be as professional as you can.
Handling a high profile Drupal 9 site launch
Who doesn't like a nice list? Lists are an essential part of good planning. The presenter gave some nice examples of non-functional requirement lists (performance, security), pre-launch checklists (for front-and backend, but also for your analtyice and business related issues).
Of course launch, rollback and communication plans are part of a successful launch.
After launching a website monitoring is essential.
A nice recap of steps we all know we should take, but sometimes, in the heat of the moment, skip.
The first day came to an end with the opening reception.
The second day began with the keynote from our BDFL Dries and his keynote, or, in Drupal vernacular, DriesNote.
The Driesnote began, not with Dries, but with Jérôme Andrieux of Platform.sh who spoke a few words about the environmental impact of Drupal and hosting.
After Jérôme it was Dries his turn. After showing a picture of Dries with a weird hat, he talked a bit about owning your data, referencing the loss of MySpace data and stressing the fact that when you own the platform, you determine how it looks and how it works.
Dries also talked about the obstacles people encounter when contributing to Drupal and extending the End of Life of Drupal 7. Lot's of smaller organisations don't have the budget to update to Drupal 8. This drove the decision to extend the Drupal 7 Lifecycle.
He also touched the subject of Automatic Updates, Project Browser (where you can add modules from within Drupal) and updating to Drupal 10 using Drupal Rector and Upgrade Status. These are both subjects that are more tailored to the smaller organisations and hobbyists, but might bring Drupal more in their view again.
All in all Dries painted a bright future for our favourite Content management Framework!
The Crossroads of Data, UX and Content Strategy
This session, about Data, UX and Content Strategy, touched the subject of Discovery and how to find out what the customer really wants. Using questionnaires, Research Groups and Workshops.
Building Learning Management Systems with Drupal
I also went to the discussion group about LMS's, unfortunately a lot of time was lost on introductions, but the time that was left was well spent discussing the common issues you run into when creating an LMS. Also there seemed to be a consensus that the most prolific Drupal LMS (opigno) always looked promising but after working with it, it always disappointed :-(
Luckily we at Finalist are developing a LMS which aims to tackle the pitfalls!
The last day!
Open Personalization with Apache Unomi & Mautic workshop
Apache Unomi is a "Customer data platform" which means as much as that it's a personalisation engine. The guys from DropSolid gave a workshop of how to use this engine in Drupal.
Using the demo profile Umami they showed how a visitor gets a personalised page (or parts of a page) after repeatedly clicking on recipes containing a shared ingredient.
Very cool, and something we @Finalist are definitely gonna use in one of our projects!
Future of content management: using Drupal as a content strategy platform
We used to talk about Drupal as a Content Managent System, but nowadays it can be seen more as a platform, perhaps even as a Digital Experience Platform, also known as a DXP. But have you ever thought of Drupal as a Content Strategy Platform? The flexibility of Drupal's data modeling possibilities are unmatched!
Prioritizing the Content Strategy and thus the Content Editors is essential, this means amongst other things, providing a user friendly interface, publishing and compliancy workflow and flexibility.
Wildlife conservation, powered by Drupal
I honestly didn't expect that much of this presentation, but it turned out to be a really funny and interesting session! First we learned some Chzech words and then learned something about wildlife preservation and how the presenter used Drupal to enable scientists all over the world to do their job!
A site where you can map your cat's location on a map, a fishing game that teaches you about sea life, endangered species lists, oil wells and chemical dump maps,
As with every conference the quality of the speakers varied quite a bit, but. in my experience, the quality of the presentations at DrupalCon is generally pretty good. The organisation was, as always, of a very high standard, drinks and food were outstanding!
Drupal, being the good citizen it always is, catered for all walks of life, so Halal and vegan food options were available. There were even different wristbands available to indicate if you were open to have a chat, different colored lanyards to prevent privacy concerned people to appear on photographs.
All in all it was a great couple of days where it was nice to meet our peers and make some new friends! See you next year in Lille, 17-20 October 2023!