DrupalCon 2017 Takeaways from our Team
May 12, 2017
Drupalcon Baltimore didn’t disappoint. Our team came back excited about the things they are seeing within the community and with the tools being developed. This year’s attendees included Director of Technology Kevin Varley, Developer Drew Nackers, and Chief Experience Officer Mike Caccavano (a veteran Drupalcon attendee). Read on to find out their biggest Drupalcon 2017 takeaways this year that set the tone for the pulse of the community in the coming year.
Kevin Varley, Director of Technology:
“Headless or decoupled was a huge topic this year. Drew and I attended the session “Decoupled from the Inside Out” in the Core Conversations track. The presentation covered info on the competitive landscape of API-only CMS platforms and how Drupal stacks up. There were some great questions and discussion points following the presentation. I think there’s a real opportunity for Drupal to be a player here as it allows developers to use a variety of approaches to construct sites. There was some discussion around “progressive” or “hybrid” decoupling at the Acquia partner summit that I found myself thinking about in the days following Drupalcon as well. Overall it’s great to see people in the community like Preston So really focusing on improving the developer experience with these kinds of builds and to see Dries call out these efforts in the keynote. Completely aside, the spotlights on the work of people in the Drupal community was my favorite part of the keynote!
Two other sessions definitely stood out for me: The “Workflow Initiative Update” and “A look into a possible Future for all of us: React, GraphQL and Drupal”. With regard to Workflow, I think the efforts being carried out here are critical for helping Drupal maintain feature parity with many of the commercial CMS offerings out there. Workspaces sounds like a really innovative concept but the developer in me does worry about what complexity this might add to the initiative as a whole – but there are much smarter people than me driving that forward! The React/GraphQL session by the folks at Amazee presented a fairly detailed look at a complex headless implementation. I still found myself puzzling over the right situations for this kind of architecture but the enthusiasm of Michael Schmid about the work his team did resulted in a really engaging presentation. GraphQL was not something I have had a chance to learn much about so I definitely appreciated that aspect of the demo. Overall, the conference was really worthwhile. I feel like we came away with a great sense of what is going on in the community and the Drupal market as a whole, and that gave us a lot to think about.”
Drew Nackers, Developer:
“This was my 5th DrupalCon, and much like the past 4, the conference kicked off with the ever popular Driesnote. This year’s note was slightly different than years past. Instead of focusing on the next big release (Drupal 9), the focus was more around incremental releases, experimental modules, and backwards compatibility. It’s no secret around the office that I’m a huge fan of Drupal’s new release model. I love the idea of no longer having to wait multiple years for new functionality. The Driesnote did a great job highlighting new features in Drupal 8.3 such as Big Pipe, which was once an experimental module itself and now part of core. Along with feature updates, are updates to the core API. The updates allow developers to take advantage of new or refined API capabilities. In doing so, we can safely deprecate old functionality as time passes, allowing for easier upgrade abilities when Drupal 9 comes along. All of this allows Drupal 8 to stay on the cutting edge of technology, giving end users a rock solid up to date product with peace of mind when it comes to the next big upgrade.
In addition to the Driesnote, there seemed to be more buzz than ever around eCommerce integrations. Magento is turning out to be one of the top contenders in the Drupal world. Sessions such as “Magento and Drupal fall in love: A new way to approach contextual commerce at enterprise scale” highlighted complex integrations between the two platforms that weren’t as common a few years ago. Companies like our partner Acquia, are throwing their weight behind Magento as well. As time passes and integrations between the two platforms mature, I’m betting on Magento + Drupal making a big splash.”
Mike Caccavano, Chief Experience Officer:
“When I tell people that the first Drupalcon I attended was Barcelona, Spain they don’t think much of it, but I am actually referring to the original Barcelona Drupalcon, back in 2007! I’ve been to every North American Drupalcon since, so Baltimore was actually my 11th Drupalcon. It’s hard to believe that I have been part of this community for so long, and have gotten a front row seat to watch as it has evolved.
Back in 2007, there were only 450 people in attendance and today attendance is just around 3,000! Every year, I’m excited to reconnect with old friends, and while there certainly was a lot of that, I was really encouraged to see a lot of new faces. Many of the people I met were experiencing their very first Drupalcon this year, which is a really good sign, clearly, the community is still growing. New people are being exposed to Drupal and investing their time and energy into developing on it and collaborating with the community to continue to make it even better.
The highlights for me are simple, remember it’s been 10 years! Catching up with old friends is always my favorite part. Alongside that is reconnecting with some of our existing partners, and forging new ones. This year we had great meetings (and some really good food and spirits) with our friends at Acquia, Pantheon, and LingoTek. For anyone reading this who has been to a Drupalcon, I’m preaching to the choir.
For those of you that haven’t yet experienced a Drupalcon, I encourage you to join us in Nashville next year. Drupal continues to grow, and this community is rich with friendly, collaborative people that you can learn a ton from, and beyond that, have a really fun time.”
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