Author

Apr 10 2019
Apr 10

Normally I would invest my time in writing about attending sessions and/or how talks went from our speakers or BoFs and other social events. But since I spent the better half of Monday on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic, I will be taking this opportunity to compare this weeks experience to the one I had from four years ago. 

Besides the summits and the different ways you can buy the ticket nowadays, not much has really changed. DrupalCon remains the biggest Drupal event in the world, and you will meet an overabundance of incredibly friendly people there.

Part 1: The journey to Seattle

Like all DrupalCons for me, this one also began with an elongated trip through several airports, first a 1h 5min hop from Zurich to Amsterdam, followed by a roughly ten-hour flight to touch down at Seattle Tacoma International Airport.

Zurich to Seattle

Italy vs. France

The flights went smooth and apart from the occasional shakedown, I didn’t notice much uneasiness. That is until I was served lunch. There were several intriguing options, I had to make a comprehensive decision between Caesar salad, a vegetarian mozzarella pizza or a turkey and cheese croissant. Naturally given my never-ending love for Italian cuisine I opted for the pizza but it seemed that by the time the food cart reached my row, they were out.

"Fresh Croissant"

Instead, I received a box that read “Fresh Croissant“ in big, classy letters printed on a reasonably attractive shell showcasing a map of Paris. Trading Italy for France couldn't be that bad, surely. But upon opening my small box of doom I was treated to what must have been the remains of a gutter rat, shipped directly from the catacombs of Paris onto my food tray. It‘s hard to describe the shape, consistency, and scent of the box innards without using chemical compositions or comparison to what floats around in a sewer. The temperature also seemed to vary quite a bit from top to bottom, further confirming my theory of it being alive at one point.

Whatever this was, it wasn't a “Parmesan Cheese, Mature Cheddar Cheese & Turkey” croissant.

Order at the border

Once landed I was keen to leave the rat behind and make my way through the checkpoints. I last visited the US in 2015 and have an ESTA, so I was sure I would be able to get through quickly and effortlessly. 

There were only 2 lines, US/Canadian citizens and ESTA/VISA holders, the latter was full of the majority of the passengers from my flight. Because of my seating arrangements, I exited the air tube quite late. The wait was long enough that every so often a disgruntled passenger reached terminal annoyance and broke down before attempting to bargain with the officer who was making his rounds or one of the airport staff members. Results of these interactions varied between total denial and instant gratification. I didn't bother trying to negotiate, I wasn't in a particular hurry, but after thirty minutes of barely any movement, my knees were getting unhappy.

At some point, one of the staffers approached me and asked if I had visited the US since 2008. When I answered positively he immediately pointed me towards line 1. Now, I’m no UX expert but perhaps that information could have been included on the signs. When others within my vicinity heard about my redirection, they promptly followed suit. Soon I was racing most of line two as they migrated like a flock of seagulls to line 1. We waited again.

But that wasn't the end of it. After I checked through the automated migration ATM I had to stand in line again for the final stamp of approval. There were 6 border control officers working that day. Some faster than others and some nicer than others, one, in particular, was having a rough start to the week. To say the least, officer McNasty wasn't exactly welcoming, in contrary, in German there is a word for people like that, we call them “Arschloch”.

He must have smelled the gutter rat on me because he wasn't exactly thrilled when I approached. Our interaction went something like this:

Officer McNasty: “You here for business or pleasure?”
Me: “Both.”
Officer McNasty: “There is no both, there is either business or pleasure. Are you here for business or pleasure?”
Me: “One week business, one week holiday.”

He responded with a frown that would have put my math teacher to shame, but a few minor questions later I finally received the approving stamp as he silently pointed me towards the escalator down to the baggage claim. I was free. Sort of.

Baggage Claim

The first one to spot both me and my suitcase gets a drink at DC Seattle. 

At last, I made it to Seattle, riding into the city I was treated with tall, striking buildings and a glimpse of the Harbour.

Hello Seattle!

Part 2: The venue and playing “Guess who?”

The fortress of not so solitude

This year, DrupalCon is being held at the Washington State Convention Center. Built in 1988, this large 415’000 sqft complex is humongous compared to the European counterparts. It’s also located in what I would call “Downtown” Seattle. Take that with a grain of salt though as I base this on the six hours I’ve been in the city.

The building also sits on top of a freeway, which you can spot and overlook while you’re inside of it, neat!

Seattle

When I first arrived, it took me some time to find the entrance. The building, depending on where you approach it from, is rather defensive and resembles a fortress more than a convention centre (think of the freeway as the moat). Even after finding the entrance, if you come in from the west you’ll have to use 4-6 escalators before you see any rooms. 

After collecting my badge from the friendly volunteers I made my way through the halls and started to look for familiar faces. DrupalCons are always tricky, you end up meeting a lot of people who seem to know you (or not) and I often have trouble remembering if I’ve met them. 

During times like these, I’d like to play the good old “Guess who?” game. The goal is to keep the conversation going until you can figure out who you’re talking to before your cover gets blown. 

Game

Admittedly I've never successfully finished a session, but the strategy I’d recommend is starting the conversation with “Oh wow, it's been quite a while hasn’t it? What have you been up to since we last met?”. Hopefully make your opponent reveal some crucial information about their job, location, and where you met previously. If you're lucky one of these things will tip you off and trigger a spark to put that name on that face.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of my blank stare, I apologize. it's not you, it's me.

The booth, the booth, the booth is unattended

This is one of the first years Amazee Labs doesn't have a physical booth, but our sister company amazee.io does. I was giddy with my freedom to wander and check out the exhibition hall and while it was still under construction. 

If you’re around the exhibit hall you can find some Amazees, of both the io and Labs variety hanging out at the io booth. Come and say hello!

Giving back

While the booth was being constructed several of our peeps dug themselves into the contribution hall on the 6th floor.

John Albin Wilkins

Blazej

Maria

You can easily spot John from about 600 miles away as he overlooks the kingdom of room 6A with his standing desk contraption. It’s a great conversation starter really, for the time I sat there I witnessed several hundred people approaching him and asking about every little detail of his mobile turret unit. 

So if the makers of this product are reading this post I think they should consider making John the official global ambassador of this mobile standup desk unit solution that fits into a backpack and gets a pass from the TSA.

Part 3: Extracurricular activities and the endless consumption of beverages

Monday evening presented itself with several social offerings, amongst which was a pub crawl that was attended by a few of the fellowship.

Walking to dinner

– Image courtesy of Josef Dabernig (@dasjo)

Since I began to fall asleep while walking (I was still running on Zurich time so technically it was around 3 am) I decided to skip the crawl as that would have ended up in a different kind of pizza.

But before that, I realized that for the first time ever, I forgot to pack a toothbrush and some paste. So after taking a nap for about an hour, I was forced to venture out again, this time to find the holy brush.

City

It’s a restaurant

Tuesday evening also saw the Amazee dinner, were we collectively gathered and feasted on quality beverages in a place called “Outlier”. The food was indeed fantastic, some people even dropped phrases such as “this is the best _________ I ever had in a restaurant”. 

Everyone seemed equally amazed about the quality of the provided liquid but not the selection. Which is why several of us left afterwards in search of alternatives to quench one's thirst.

In the end, it was a great, cosy dinner, filled with friends and family alike.

Team Dinner

Part 4: Conclusion and final thoughts

Should you go or should you stay?

So, then you wonder, what's this all about, what is the meaning of this stretched out the first impression? To be honest, I’m not sure. You probably noticed that I didn't compare it all that much to L.A., the reason for it is very simple, there is not much comparing needed.

While the venue and sessions may change, and the outside activities like the pub crawls are fun and inviting, there’s not really a wrong way to do DrupalCon. You can find your own way, roam around freely in town and every now and then you might run into some Drupal people that couldn’t be more different but somehow share the same passion.

Apr 10 2019
Apr 10

Normally I would invest my time in writing about attending sessions and/or how talks went from our speakers or BoFs and other social events. But since I spent the better half of Monday on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic, I will be taking this opportunity to compare this weeks experience to the one I had from four years ago. 

Besides the summits and the different ways you can buy the ticket nowadays, not much has really changed. DrupalCon remains the biggest Drupal event in the world, and you will meet an overabundance of incredibly friendly people there.

Part 1:
The journey to Seattle

Like all DrupalCons for me, this one also began with an elongated trip through several airports, first a 1h 5min hop from Zurich to Amsterdam, followed by a roughly ten-hour flight to touch down at Seattle Tacoma International Airport.

Zurich to Seattle

Italy vs. France

The flights went smooth and apart from the occasional shakedown, I didn’t notice much uneasiness. That is until I was served lunch. There were several intriguing options, I had to make a comprehensive decision between Caesar salad, a vegetarian mozzarella pizza or a turkey and cheese croissant. Naturally given my never-ending love for Italian cuisine I opted for the pizza but it seemed that by the time the food cart reached my row, they were out.

"Fresh Croissant"

Instead, I received a box that read “Fresh Croissant“ in big, classy letters printed on a reasonably attractive shell showcasing a map of Paris. Trading Italy for France couldn't be that bad, surely. But upon opening my small box of doom I was treated to what must have been the remains of a gutter rat, shipped directly from the catacombs of Paris onto my food tray. It‘s hard to describe the shape, consistency, and scent of the box innards without using chemical compositions or comparison to what floats around in a sewer. The temperature also seemed to vary quite a bit from top to bottom, further confirming my theory of it being alive at one point.

Whatever this was, it wasn't a “Parmesan Cheese, Mature Cheddar Cheese & Turkey” croissant.

Order at the border

Once landed I was keen to leave the rat behind and make my way through the checkpoints. I last visited the US in 2015 and have an ESTA, so I was sure I would be able to get through quickly and effortlessly. 

There were only 2 lines, US/Canadian citizens and ESTA/VISA holders, the latter was full of the majority of the passengers from my flight. Because of my seating arrangements, I exited the air tube quite late. The wait was long enough that every so often a disgruntled passenger reached terminal annoyance and broke down before attempting to bargain with the officer who was making his rounds or one of the airport staff members. Results of these interactions varied between total denial and instant gratification. I didn't bother trying to negotiate, I wasn't in a particular hurry, but after thirty minutes of barely any movement, my knees were getting unhappy.

At some point, one of the staffers approached me and asked if I had visited the US since 2008. When I answered positively he immediately pointed me towards line 1. Now, I’m no UX expert but perhaps that information could have been included on the signs. When others within my vicinity heard about my redirection, they promptly followed suit. Soon I was racing most of line two as they migrated like a flock of seagulls to line 1. We waited again.

But that wasn't the end of it. After I checked through the automated migration ATM I had to stand in line again for the final stamp of approval. There were 6 border control officers working that day. Some faster than others and some nicer than others, one, in particular, was having a rough start to the week.

He must have smelled me because he wasn't exactly thrilled when I approached. Our interaction went something like this:

Officer McNasty: “You here for business or pleasure?”
Me: “Both.”
Officer McNasty: “There is no both, there is either business or pleasure. Are you here for business or pleasure?”
Me: “One week business, one week holiday.”

He responded with a frown that would have put my math teacher to shame, but a few minor questions later I finally received the approving stamp as he silently pointed me towards the escalator down to the baggage claim. I was free. Sort of.

Baggage Claim

The first one to spot both me and my suitcase gets a drink at DC Seattle. 

At last, I made it to Seattle, riding into the city I was treated with tall, striking buildings and a glimpse of the Harbour.

Hello Seattle!

Part 2: The venue and
playing “Guess who?”

The fortress of not so solitude

This year, DrupalCon is being held at the Washington State Convention Center. Built in 1988, this large 415’000 sqft complex is humongous compared to the European counterparts. It’s also located in what I would call “Downtown” Seattle. Take that with a grain of salt though as I base this on the six hours I’ve been in the city.

The building also sits on top of a freeway, which you can spot and overlook while you’re inside of it, neat!

Seattle

When I first arrived, it took me some time to find the entrance. The building, depending on where you approach it from, is rather defensive and resembles a fortress more than a convention centre (think of the freeway as the moat). Even after finding the entrance, if you come in from the west you’ll have to use 4-6 escalators before you see any rooms. 

After collecting my badge from the friendly volunteers I made my way through the halls and started to look for familiar faces. DrupalCons are always tricky, you end up meeting a lot of people who seem to know you (or not) and I often have trouble remembering if I’ve met them. 

During times like these, I’d like to play the good old “Guess who?” game. The goal is to keep the conversation going until you can figure out who you’re talking to before your cover gets blown. 

Game

Admittedly I've never successfully finished a session, but the strategy I’d recommend is starting the conversation with “Oh wow, it's been quite a while hasn’t it? What have you been up to since we last met?”. Hopefully make your opponent reveal some crucial information about their job, location, and where you met previously. If you're lucky one of these things will tip you off and trigger a spark to put that name on that face.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of my blank stare, I apologize. it's not you, it's me.

The booth, the booth, the booth is unattended

This is one of the first years Amazee Labs doesn't have a physical booth, but our sister company amazee.io does. I was giddy with my freedom to wander and check out the exhibition hall and while it was still under construction. 

If you’re around the exhibit hall you can find some Amazees, of both the io and Labs variety hanging out at the io booth. Come and say hello!

Giving back

While the booth was being constructed several of our peeps dug themselves into the contribution hall on the 6th floor.

John Albin Wilkins

Blazej

Maria

You can easily spot John from about 600 miles away as he overlooks the kingdom of room 6A with his standing desk contraption. It’s a great conversation starter really, for the time I sat there I witnessed several hundred people approaching him and asking about every little detail of his mobile turret unit. 

So if the makers of this product are reading this post I think they should consider making John the official global ambassador of this mobile standup desk unit solution that fits into a backpack and gets a pass from the TSA.

Part 3: Extracurricular activities and the endless consumption of beverages

Monday evening presented itself with several social offerings, amongst which was a pub crawl that was attended by a few of the fellowship.

Walking to dinner

– Image courtesy of Josef Dabernig (@dasjo)

Since I began to fall asleep while walking (I was still running on Zurich time so technically it was around 3 am) I decided to skip the crawl as that would have ended up in a different kind of pizza.

But before that, I realized that for the first time ever, I forgot to pack a toothbrush and some paste. So after taking a nap for about an hour, I was forced to venture out again, this time to find the holy brush.

City

It’s a restaurant

Tuesday evening also saw the Amazee dinner, were we collectively gathered and feasted on quality beverages in a place called “Outlier”. The food was indeed fantastic, some people even dropped phrases such as “this is the best _________ I ever had in a restaurant”. 

Everyone seemed equally amazed about the quality of the provided liquid but not the selection. Which is why several of us left afterwards in search of alternatives to quench one's thirst.

In the end, it was a great, cosy dinner, filled with friends and family alike.

Team Dinner

Part 4: Conclusion and final thoughts

Should you go or should you stay?

So, then you wonder, what's this all about, what is the meaning of this stretched out the first impression? To be honest, I’m not sure. You probably noticed that I didn't compare it all that much to L.A., the reason for it is very simple, there is not much comparing needed.

While the venue and sessions may change, and the outside activities like the pub crawls are fun and inviting, there’s not really a wrong way to do DrupalCon. You can find your own way, roam around freely in town and every now and then you might run into some Drupal people that couldn’t be more different but somehow share the same passion.

May 12 2015
May 12

Yesterday, just shortly after the sun sprung up and sparked southern California’s beautiful coastal lines, the doors of LA’s Convention Center opened. Welcoming with it, a first wave of eager Drupalistas and surrounding them by its air conditioned walls. And for the subsequent days that are surely to follow, it will continue to receive and house those, transforming it, to the home of DrupalCon 2015.

To some of us, this day began just like two previous iterations in the past, with the Drupal 8 Training for Drupalistas. And like the preceding ones before, the turn out was again, lovely. A fresh batch of new ambitious students took their seats and embarked on a cinematic journey, led by our resident training director, Diana Montalion.

From lively exchanges of know-how, to focused, almost silent moments, the classroom experienced a day of captivating performances. And in-between those, pupils were given hourly breaks to take a breath and pick from a variety of delicious beverages (there were cookies!) and the oh so essential, mandatory coffee.

After a wholesome feast around noon-ish, the reins were passed on to Jason, who expertly guided the keen students through the inner workings of Drupal 8’s translation system. Shortly thereafter, Kathryn took over to introduce them to the beautiful side of Drupal 8 (theming!) before finally ending again within Diana’s experienced hands.

Meanwhile, the lower floor saw a much more handy development: the exhibition hall of large, empty at first, but slowly building up to a small but respectable miniature city of brands. Replacing muffled sounds of classroom keyboards with the repeating cracks of rising booths, only to be broken apart by the occasional clash of shouty staff members.

Thus the day drew to an end, and our students were being led on their way, charged with knowledge and filled with cookies. The building emptied its walls again to prepare for tomorrow, when at dawn, the drupalistas will rise again.

Aug 06 2014
Aug 06

There is this feature in Chromes’ DevTools that allows you to directly edit your local Sass files without ever leaving your beloved browser. Even better, it will refresh your CSS files as soon as Compass has compiled them for you (kinda like Guard!). And to go even further, it will show you where the CSS definitions really come from (the original Sass files), instead of that generated gibberish.

Intro

So to start, you'll obviously have to be working with Sass/Compass for this to work (pardon the pun!). I won’t go into detail on how to install these lovely things as this could take up an entire post itself. So if you know how to install Sass/Compass on your machine or have a handy co-worker you can annoy (preferably a sys-monkey admin) you’re good to go.

With Sass and Compass there are as always issues if you're not working with certain specific versions. The most reliable combination that worked for me was this one:

  • Susy 1.0.9
  • Ruby 1.9.3
  • Sass 3.3.0.alpha.134 (i suppose Sass 3.3.x will work fine too)
  • Compass 0.12.4.sourcemaps

The thing about source maps

For Compass you need an entirely different version from the one that you probably have, its called “compass-sourcemap”.

In order to get that juicy source map action you'll have to open up your shell and type in the following:

sudo gem install compass-sourcemaps --pre

This will install a compass version with source map, in the future source map will (hopefully) be included in the regular compass versions.

So what is compass-sourcemap exactly you ask? Well first of it’s super fantastic, even if you don't want to have all the workspace/auto-reload mayhem you should take a look at it.

For example, on a casual day while you’re working with that sassy generated CSS, the inspector can’t really tell you where the real definitions are coming from. It only shows you the line within the generated CSS file. This is where source maps comes in, it generates an additional .map file for every .css file and tells your browser where the CSS definition is coming from. There are 4 things you'll have to do after you've installed all the necessary tools:

  1. Enable “CSS source maps” in the General Chrome DevTools Settings under “Sources”
  2. Enable it in your config.rb file, just add the following line (make sure its not already there)
  3. In the shell, run your compass just like you always have
    • compass watch
      
  4. Enjoy it!

Prepare your Drupal

Disable the “Aggregate and Compress CSS files.” option in your Drupal 7 Installation in “YOURSITE/admin/config/development/performance”.

Next up: download and enable this small module: https://github.com/AmazeeLabs/cache_buster

This will remove that pesky query behind your .css files, normally this would be a bad thing and you should never use this on a production site. However, for Chrome to properly track your local files it needs to have a permanent link to them, in other words a path that doesn't change. I got the code from an issue queue (i think…) on drupal.org but i can’t remember which one, I simply put it inside a module for easy handling. So credits go to the unknown contributor, thank you very much (and sorry)!

Before:

After:

Prepare your Chrome

Go back to your general DevTools settings and enable “Auto-reload generated CSS”, its right below the source maps option:

After that open up your local project with Chrome and navigate to “Sources” in DevTools. You should see something that looks a little like this:

What you’re gonna do next is adding your local site as a workspace inside Chrome, this will remain in there until you manually remove it. I like to take the entire theme folder; you could also add the entire site, that’s all up to you. If you've picked the folder you want, right click and pick “Add folder to workspace”. Navigate to the exact same folder on your local machine and select it.

At this point Chrome will ask you for writing permissions, just oblige and never think of it again. I mean it’s Google; what could possibly go wrong, amiright?

You should now see a new folder at the bottom of the sources tab inside your DevTools, it’s named after the folder you've just picked. Navigate to where the main .css file is (or any other .scss file), right click and select “Map to Network Resource”

Chrome will now bring up a selection of files from your site, match it to your local file.

And finally Chrome will ask you if it’s okay to reload DevTools; you are totally fine with that so pick “ok” - and you're done!

You can open any .scss files from your workspace or use the inspector to directly open a file and make all the changes you want. You can save using your standard cmd+s and even open files using cmd+o. Everything will be saved just as if it was done within a proper IDE, except its Chrome!

But there’s one more thing

If you right-click on any of your .scss files you can select “Local Modifications”; this will bring up a general “History” of all your changes and you can even revert them!

About Drupal Sun

Drupal Sun is an Evolving Web project. It allows you to:

  • Do full-text search on all the articles in Drupal Planet (thanks to Apache Solr)
  • Facet based on tags, author, or feed
  • Flip through articles quickly (with j/k or arrow keys) to find what you're interested in
  • View the entire article text inline, or in the context of the site where it was created

See the blog post at Evolving Web

Evolving Web