DrupalCon: Lovely Portland Weather

For the first three days here we’ve been telling everyone what a beautiful city Portland is. Now we’re learning what makes it so green. Fortunately, there are plenty of good sessions to enjoy while we stay indoors and dry.

Lobby

Wednesday was day two of sessions at DrupalCon, kicking off with Karen McGrane’s keynote on future-friendly content. Much like Jeff Eaton’s session the day before, this content strategy discussion was focused largely on creating structurally semantic content that is decoupled from display intent. Karen describes content in semantic chunks versus formatted blobs. At the heart of these sessions has been the importance of not treating the web like print or allowing content creators to think of the web version of their content as the real version. We need to describe what content means rather than what it looks like, since we may have a need to display it on anything from a Pebble watch to a stadium video screen.

Several of us then took in a demonstration of some of the new features in Drush 6. Drush is a Drupal tool that is near and dear enough to me that I’ve presented on it at Drupal Camp Alberta and COSSFEST in past years, so I like to stay current with its new features. One of the cool new features that is being introduced is output formats like JSON or CSV, allowing for machine readable output. An example from the session was sending a list of user accounts to a Google Drive document in a single Drush command. New commands like quick-drupal and runserver should give us even more options in how we set up development environments as well.

I spent some time after lunch in a core conversations session about making Drupal 8 a powerful REST server, and then Lorna Mitchell’s session on REST for web developers. This was a really good introduction to how to interact with and design RESTful API’s. Unfortunately, my note taking app suffered a substantial hiccup during this session and lost all of my notes, so I’m going to have to go back and re-watch that session video.

Next up was a session on the Twig template engine that is being introduced in Drupal 8. I am excited about Twig because it creates a clearer separation between the theme and code layers. This will make theming easier and with fewer opportunities for security vulnerabilities. The syntax is also similar to other common template engines, like Liquid tags and filters used in my own Jekyll-powered blog. In addition to describing how Twig works and why it’s awesome, this session identified some of the areas that still need work to get Twig into Drupal 8. For Friday’s code sprints, I may attempt to make a contribution to that effort.

Dan, Jay, and I finished off the day in a birds of a feather session for DevShop, a development environment tool built on Aegir. It’s a pretty cool way to spin up development environments, but I’m not sure that it fits into our processes right now.

Between sessions I also made a quick call home to chat with the girls. Julia was happy to see me.

Video chat

I expected that lunches would just be bagged sandwich lunches, but Wednesday was a tasty Mexican buffet.

Lunch line

Lunch

As we were winding down at the end of the day with a game of foosball in the exhibition hall, we were gifted some Voodoo doughnuts. I enjoyed this Oreo one.

Oreo doughnut

Starting to feel the conference fatigue and not wanting to spend too long exploring in the rain, I had enjoyed a nice local lager out of an aluminum bottle before going to bed early.

In-Tents Ale

Last day of sessions is Thursday, which will begin with a keynote from Michael Lopp, who is certain to be good because he plays hockey and used to work for Apple. That’s logical, right?