DrupalCon Munich: The Krew Dispatches, day one
As the summer heat hits Europe, Drupal geeks gather for another edition of DrupalCon. The event takes place in Munich, Germany this time. Of course, the Krew, reinforced with new team members, attends the event, eager to gain new insights and share knowledge.
The news that Krimson, Mearra, NodeOne and Wunderkraut decided to join forces, was announced over the past two days. As Wunderkraut, the 140 coworkers aim to deliver measurable client happiness and business value. The entire team got together at an introductory meet up on Monday, well before the main event. As the day progressed, team members shared ideas, practices and solutions in a set of open spaces in the relaxed environment of one of the Münich city parks.
Krew member Nelia: “During the open discussion I joined the developer open space. As junior developer I learned a lot. A lot of useful information was shared and discussed between the backend developers. Because of the merge, we are confronted with different ways of working, but as we got along, we discovered that we shared a common view on most development practices and methodology.”
Krew member Jurgen: “As dedicated Support engineer I was faced with the challenge of finding the open space that worked for me, my area of work spans from front-end to system monitoring and everything in between. I joined the growing force of front-enders and later the System Administrators' open space where a lot of the Support tasks are being handled. It became apparent that across the board we all strive towards openness and processes that work in the long term so we can focus on doing what we love to do, delivering kick-ass Drupal products.”
The new Wunderkraut team ended the day with a few celebratory beers.
DrupalCon Munich opened its' first day with the ABC of DrupalCon, in traditional Bavarian style. As we were welcomed, we learned, amongst other things, how to jodel like a boss and what DrupalCon and the Drupal community is all about. Captain Drupal flew on the stage, in the style of a true superhero, announcing the Wunderkraut merger. It was quite an awesome sight to see all the Wunderkraut people wearing their brand new t-shirts, saying Hi to them when they pass by and sharing experiences and plotting the future. It shows the power of people working together under one brand, powered by the entire Drupal mindset.
The actual opening of the conference was, as always, the highly anticipated keynote by Dries (aka the Driesnote) Josh Koenig interviewed Dries about the state of Drupal.
Dries gave a preview of Drupal 8 showcasing such new features as inline content editing, import/export of configuration and mobile website administration (SPARK). Drupal 8 development is moving towards a feature freeze this december. The community is now looking forward to a release date set around this time next year. With Drupal entering new markets and going for enterprise business, large companies are getting involved with Drupal. This evolution introduces benefits, but also drawbacks to the Drupal project. In the end, when the market consolidates around 2 or 3 really big CMS'es - as it did with operating systems - Drupal ideally conquers itself a place among those.
DrupalCon schedules a wide variety of sessions. The Krew attended several of those. The new Entity and Property API in Drupal 8 session was presented to the attendees. Core developers Fago and Dixon_ ran a technical overview of the different API’s. The main goals of the revamped API’s are to improve the consistency of the logic, make fields fully translatable, improve the interoperability - which is important since D8 is geared towards services - and introduce standards in the data model and the code. The session draw to a close with a round of Q&A and a call to dig into the issue queue.
The Think like a hacker: Drupal security session taught Krew the finesses of building a website using secure code and best practices. Security is an important factor to think about during the entire development process. While it might present an overhead cost, everybody benefits in the long run since fixing security breaches are way more expensive once a leak has been exploited. During the session, we learned quite a few developer best practices such as using Drupal specific security functions in your code and always validate user input.
Drupal 8 is also going to come with a lot of changes at the theming layer. The Designer friendly theming system in Drupal 8 session explores these changes. Learning how to theme has always been difficult as the system comes with a steep learning curve. Front-end specialists are required to deal with the intricacies of PHP and the Drupal API. With the introduction of Twig, the community hopes to stow away most of that complexity, lowering the bar and aiming for simplicity and consistency. The development of the system is very much a work in progress, just as the Entity API, and the speakers invited everybody to join the code sprints which take place during the conference.
As the day came to a close, all the attendees gathered at the Biergarten am Chinesischer Turm having a great time, enjoying a fresh beer and typical Münicher dishes.