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May 29 2015
May 29

Recently, I had the opportunity to present my core conversation, Pain Points of Learning and Contributing in the Drupal Community, at DrupalCon Los Angeles.

drupal 8 logo isolated CMYK 72My co-presenter Frédéric G. Marand and I talked about the disconnect between Drupal and api.drupal.org on core and some of the pain points to contributing and learning in the Drupal community. We also spoke little bit on the benefits of continuous contribution and sporadic contribution.

The open mic discussion brought up some interesting issues, and so I have compiled some links to answer questions.

Audience Suggestions and Responses

  • Stable release of Drupal 8 will help people start on client work and support contribution. The Drupal community needs to recognize contribution not just in the form of patch, but mentors mentoring on IRC during core office hours, credit to code reviewers on the issue queue, recognize event organizers and have people edit their profile on Drupal.org and list their mentors at the end of a sprint.
  • We now have an issue on Drupal.org to allow crediting for code reviewers (and other non-coders) as first-class contributors.
  • Make profiles better on Drupal.org. Here is an issue for that – [Meta] new design for User Profiles.
  • Event organizers could get an icon on their profile page. You can read more on that – Make icons for the items in the list of user contributions to be included on user profiles.
  • Another issue to read – Reduce Novice Contribution differences and consolidate landing pages, content, blocks.
  • Explanations of what needs to be done could be a big time-saver. For Drupal 8 there are pretty clear outlines of what could be done for core.
  • There was a suggestion to provide video and audio documentation instead of just text, walking people through issues. There are four or five companies that make videos and we have core office hours for walking people through the issue.
  • A few people expressed that its hard to keep up with IRC and are looking for easier ways to communicate. I have created an issue for that and you can read more here – Evaluate whether to replace Drupal IRC channels with another communication medium.
  • Another audience member suggested that we need to make sure that communications that happen in IRC are summarized and documented on issues, so more people can get familiar with the discussion.
  • There were some suggestions for core mentoring that have been proposed but haven’t panned out such as Twitter or hangouts (privacy concerns, less office-friendly).
  • Someone suggested that those who don’t like to get on IRC, can get core updates via email (This week in Drupal Core) which is a weekly-to-monthly update on all the cool happenings in Drupal 8.
  • Users can also subscribe to issue notifications in email on the issues/components they want to follow on Drupal.org.

Overall it was an enlightening core conversation and it was amazing to hear from the community about their pain points and suggestions they made.

To see more of our discussion watch the presentation and view the slides.

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Behind the Curtain: The Making of the DrupalCon Prenote

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4 Content Questions to Ask Yourself Before Your Next Website Redesign

May 21 2015
May 21

The Drupalcon song - with actions!

I am never missing the #DrupalCon #prenote again. So brilliant.

— Kelley Curry (@BrightBold) May 12, 2015


DrupalCon always leaves me full of energy, and Amsterdam 2014 was no exception. The three of us – Adam Juran, me, and my wife Bryn – sat together on the short train ride back home to Cologne. Some chit chat and reminiscing quickly led to anticipation of the next DrupalCon, in LA. We were excited about the possibilities of this world-class host city. The home of Hollywood, Venice Beach, and Disneyland sounded like a great destination, but after three years of co-writing the DrupalCon “opening ceremony” with Jam and Robert, we were more excited about the possibilities for the Prenote. We knew we had to up the ante, make something new and different from previous years, and LA seemed like a gold mine of possibilities.

Every DrupalCon, before the keynote from Dries, this small group has staged a “pre-note.” The goal of the prenote is to break the ice, to remind everyone present that Drupal is a friendly, fun, and above all, inclusive community. It’s often themed after the host city: in Munich, Jam and Robert taught everyone how to pour a good Bavarian beer, and brought in a yodeling instructor for a singalong (yodel-along?) at the end. In Portland we held a “weirdest talent” competition, featuring prominent community members juggling and beat boxing. Every year it gets more fun, more engaging, and more entertaining for the audience.

Learning how to pour beer at the Drupalcon Munich prenote, 2012

Learning how to pour beer at the Drupalcon Munich prenote, 2012

On that train ride home, we threw around a lot of possibilities. Maybe the prenote could be set on a muscle beach, with Dries as the aspiring “98 pound weakling.” Or the whole thing could be a joke on a hollywood party. We briefly considered a reality-TV style “Real coders of Drupalcon” theme, but nobody wanted to sink that low. That’s when the idea struck: we could do it as a Disney musical!

Part of Your World

The Prenote was Jam and Robert’s baby, though. We knew that we would have to have some absolutely knock-down material to convince them of our concept. With beer in hand, the three of us started work on Part of your world from the Little Mermaid, as the client who is excited for the worst website idea ever.

“I’ve got sliders and icons a-plenty,
I’ve got OG with breadcrumbs galore.
You want five-level dropdowns?
I’ve got twenty!
But who cares? No big deal.
I want more!”

We quickly moved on to the song for the coder who would save the day, You ain’t never had a friend like me from Aladdin. We got halfway through this fun number before we realized that the song titles alone could do a lot of the convincing. Another beer, and we had a list of potential songs. There was so much material just in the song titles, we knew that the music would take center stage.

Some of our favorite titles from this first list were ultimately cut. Maybe someday we’ll flesh them into full songs for a Drupal party, but in the meantime you can let your imagination run wild. Hakuna Matata from The Lion King was to become We’ll Build it in Drupal! The Frozen parody, Do You Wanna Build a Website was a big hit, and so was Aladdin’s A Whole New Theme.

We showed our idea to Jam and Robert the first chance we got. They took one look at our list of songs and said the three words we wanted to hear: “run with it.”

You Ain’t Never had a Friend Like Me

Forum One's Adam Juran and Campbell Vertesi as

Forum One’s Adam Juran and Campbell Vertesi as “Themer” and “Coder” at the Drupalcon Austin prenote, 2014

We divided up responsibility for  the remainder of the songs and started to experiment with the script. What kind of story could we wrap around these crazy songs? How much time did we really have, and could we do all this music? We were all absorbed in our normal work, but every chance we got, the group of us would get together to throw ideas around. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much as while we wrote some of these songs.

Writing parody lyrics is entertaining on your own, but as a duo it’s a laugh riot.  More than once we checked the Drupal song lyrics project for inspiration. We riffed on ideas and tried different rhyme schemes until things seemed to just “fit.”

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho

In the last few weeks leading up to DrupalCon, Adam and I met two and three times a week for long sessions, brainstorming new lyrics. We powered through writing the script around the whole thing, and started to address the logistical problems of backtracks, props, and costumes as well.

via Mendel at Drupalcon LA. Ronai Brumett as the perfect hipster Ariel

via Mendel at Drupalcon LA. Ronai Brumett as the perfect hipster Ariel

Finally we set about casting the different songs. Adam and I had always wanted to sing the Agony duet from Into the Woods, so that one was easy. We had a tentative list of who we wanted in the other songs, but we had no idea who would be willing. All of a sudden the whole endeavor looked tenuous again. Why did we think Dries would be OK to make a joke about Drupal 8 crashing all the time? Would Jeremy Thorson (maintainer of the test infrastructure on Drupal.org) even be interested to get up on stage and sing about testing? We realized that we’d never heard these people sing karaoke, much less in front of thousands of people!

One by one we reached out to the performers and got their approval. Some of them were more enthusiastic than others. Dries replied with “OK, I trust you guys,” while Larry Garfield and Jeremy Thorson insisted on rewriting some of their lyrics and even adding verses! The day before the show, Larry was disappointed that we couldn’t find giant foam lobster claws for his version of Under the Sea from the Little Mermaid. Aaron Porter bought a genie costume and offered to douse himself in blue facepaint for his role, and Ronai Brumett spent a weekend building the perfect “hipster Ariel” costume.

When You Wish Upon a Star

On DrupalCon – Monday the day before the show – the cast assembled for the first time for their only rehearsal together. I arrived a few minutes late, direct from a costume shop on Hollywood Boulevard. Jam had built karaoke tracks on his laptop, and Robert had put together a prompter for the script, so the group huddled around the two laptops and tried to work through the whole show.

Via <a href=

Via Mendel at Drupalcon LA. The prenote cast rehearses. From left to right, Larry Garfield, Aaron Porter, Adam Juran, Jeffrey McGuire, Campbell Vertesi.

The rehearsal showed us what a hit we had created. The performers had embraced the motto: “if you can’t sing it, perform it” and they started to feed off each other’s energy. We all laughed at Ronai’s dramatic rendition of Part of My Site, and the Agony Duet raised the energy even further. It turned out that Dries had never heard When You Wish Upon a Star from Pinocchio before, but he was willing to learn as long as he could have someone to sing along with him!

via Mendel at Drupalcon LA. Aaron Porter codes with his butt - on Dries Buytaert's laptop!

via Mendel at Drupalcon LA. Aaron Porter codes with his butt – on Dries Buytaert’s laptop!

The rehearsal really started to hit it’s stride when Aaron delivered You Ain’t Never had a Dev Like Me. Aaron had never sung in public before, and we could tell he was nervous. Then the backtrack started playing with its blaring horns, and he came alive. It’s a difficult piece, with lots of fast moving text and a rhythm that can be hard to catch. Aaron launched into it with gusto. He had us in stitches when he shouted “can your friends do this!” and grabbed Dries’ laptop to start typing with his butt. When he nailed the high note at the end with a huge grin on his face, it was a deciding moment for the group.

From that moment on we were on a ride, and we knew it. Simpletest (to the tune of Be Our Guest from Beauty and the Beast) turned out to be a laugh riot, and Jeremy led us naturally into a kick line for the grand finale. We cheered Larry’s choreography skills during the dance break of RTBC, and Ben Finklea was a natural (as ever) at leading us all in Commit, to the tune of Heigh Ho from Snow White.

Forum One UX lead Kristina Bjoran, had protested the most of everyone about having to sing, but the moment she started with our version of Let it Go from Frozen, we were caught up in the feeling of it. I don’t think anyone expected the goosebumps that happened when we sang that chorus together, but we all appreciated what it meant.

Let it Go

The morning of the show saw the whole cast up bright and early. Though we joked about doing a round of shots before going on stage, no one seemed nervous. In fact we spent most of the setup time laughing at one another. Larry discovered that he has great legs for red tights. Aaron got blue face paint everywhere. We cheered at Jam and Robert’s Mickey and Minnie costumes, and laughed at Ronai’s perfect Hipster Ariel.

Some of us had last minute changes to make: Jeremy spent his time crafting oversized cuffs for his costume. I had forgotten the belt to my ninja outfit, so we made one out of duct tape. Kristina discovered that her Elsa costume limited her movement too much for the choreography she had planned. Dries was the only one who seemed nervous to me – this guy who has spoken in public countless times was afraid of a little Disney! We sang through the song together one last time, and it was time to go on.

via Mendel at Drupalcon LA. Jeremy Thorson leads the

via Mendel at Drupalcon LA. Jeremy Thorson leads the “Simpletest” song. Behind him, from left: Campbell Vertesi, Ronai Brumett, Adam Juran, Aaron Porter, Dries Buytaert

Everyone knows the rest – or at least, you can see it on youtube. What you probably don’t know is how hard we all laughed as we watched the show backstage. Even knowing every word, the energy from the audience was infectious. In the end, there’s nothing quite like standing in front of three thousand people and shouting together: “we come for code, but we stay for community!”

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Participating in the Drupal Community

May 15 2015
May 15

A number of us from Forum One are sticking around for Friday’s sprints, but that’s a wrap on the third day of DrupalCon and the conference proper!

Wednesday and Thursday were chock-full of great sessions, BoFs, and all the small spontaneous meetings and conversations that make DrupalCons so fruitful, exhausting and energizing.

Wednesday

Forum One gave three sessions on Wednesday. John Brandenburg presented Maximizing Site Speed with Mercy Corps, a case study of our work on www.mercycorps.org focusing on performance optimization. Kalpana Goel of Forum One and Frédéric G. Marand presented Pain points of learning and contributing in the Drupal community, a session on how to encourage and better facilitate code contributions to Drupal from community members. And finally Forum One’s Andrew Morton presented Content After Launch: Preparing a Monkey for Space, a survey of content considerations for project success before, during, and after the website build process. The other highlight from my perspective on Wednesday was a great talk by Wim Leers and Fabian Franz on improvements to Drupal performance/speed, and how to make your Drupal sites fly.

Thursday

On Thursday, Daniel Ferro and Dan Mouyard rounded out the seven Forum One sessions with their excellent presentation, To the Pattern Lab! Collaboration Using Modular Design Principles. The session describes our usage of Pattern Lab at Forum One to improve project workflow and collaboration — between visual designers, front- and back-end developers, and clients — an approach that has eased a lot of friction on our project teams. I’m particularly excited about how it’s allowed our front-end developers to get hacking much earlier in the project lifecycle. (We were glad to see the presentation get a shout out from Brad Frost, one of the Pattern Lab creators.)

Other highlights for me on Thursday were the beloved Q&A with Dries and friends and sitting down over lunch with other Pacific Northwest Drupalers to make some important decisions about the PNW Drupal Summit coming to Seattle this fall.

Next Stops for DrupalCon

In addition to looking ahead to DrupalCon Barcelona, the closing session revealed the exciting news that DrupalCon will be landing in Mumbai next year!

#DrupalCon is coming to Mumbai! Plus other photos from todays closing session https://t.co/Y3vWCQCSTu? pic.twitter.com/zEt4Y6VLxS

— DrupalCon LosAngeles (@DrupalConNA) May 15, 2015

And the always anticipated announcement of the next DrupalCon North America location… New Orleans!

And the next North American #DrupalCon will be…… pic.twitter.com/AXiFxv3gfW

— DrupalCon LosAngeles (@DrupalConNA) May 14, 2015

That news was ushered in soulfully by these gentlemen, Big Easy style, pouring out from the keynote hall into the convention center lobby.

Great way to announce #DrupalCon New Orleans! #DrupalConLA pic.twitter.com/3cRmV8jI1F

— Andy Hieb (@AndyHieb) May 14, 2015

And to finish off the day properly, many of us hooted and hollered at Drupal trivia night, MC’d by none other than Jeff Eaton.

Another fantastic #DrupalCon trivia night in progress… Woo! pic.twitter.com/AzavA2AFXi

— Jeff Eaton (@eaton) May 15, 2015

A great con was had by all of us here at Forum One… On to the sprints!

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Evolving the Nation’s Report Card – A Study of Designing New Reports

May 13 2015
May 13

DrupalCon day one was a great start to this year’s North American Drupal conference! Forum One is well represented this year, giving seven presentations this week.

The Con started off with the traditional “pre-note” show in the early morning. The pre-note is a session designed to get people out of their seats and into the feeling of this big, welcoming community. Jam McGuire, Robert Douglass,

via <a href=

via Mendel: Forum One’s Kristina Bjoran leads the Prenote finale. From left: Jeffrey McGuire, Larry Garfield, Campbell Vertesi, Adam Juran, Dries Buytaert, Ronai Brumett, Aaron Porter

Forum One’s Adam Juran and I have been putting these together for a few years now, and for DrupalCon LA we wrote a Disney musical about Drupal. From Ariel’s song “Part of My Site” to our own version of Into the Woods’ “Agony,” the show got a lot of laughs with its parody lyrics. One high point was Dries, the founder of Drupal, entering the stage with top hat and cane to perform, “When you install Drupal 8? to the tune of “When You Wish Upon a Star” – ending prematurely with a fatal error! This was followed by “Someday D8 Will Come”, and a lot of laughs. The prenote ended with Forum One’s Kristina Bjoran leading the audience in a DrupalCon version of “Let It Go” from Frozen. After all the laughter, it was a nice moment to hear the audience cheer in unison: “we come for code, but we stay for community.”

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Dries’ keynote came next. This year he didn’t talk so much about the great new features of Drupal 8 – we’ve been talking about that for four years now! Instead, he focused on the history of Drupal as a platform, starting in his dorm room in 2001. Once we got to the present day, he switched to the coming challenges in the web sector. The Internet is becoming less and less about browser-based interaction, according to Dries. Increasingly people access data using tailored apps or devices, which means there is a great need for a data back-end like Drupal that can provide for all of these end points. Consumers demand more and more customized and predictive content, and Drupal 8 is a strong platform for that capability.

The day was filled with interesting sessions, but a few stuck out to us. There was Amitai and Josh Koenig’s Decoupled Drupal talk, where they demonstrated an automatic headless Drupal site generator. There were a couple of interesting sessions about long form content: the technical side by Murray Woodman and Jeff Eaton, and the strategic side by Forum One’s Kristina Bjoran and Courtney Clark. Courtney had a double-header day: she also presented about Forum One’s work on content strategy for Drupal.org. I got to present with Adam Juran and Jam McGuire about headless Drupal, building a simple Drupal 8 backed AngularJS demonstration in 40 minutes. We learned a lot about various prototyping tools, and were surprised to find no clear consensus on a standard toolkit for this important problem. Forum One resources were asked a lot of questions about how we use Pattern Lab in this space. Forum One’s Daniel Ferro and Dan Mouyard have a session about Pattern Lab on Thursday.

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Be sure to keep checking back for more of our takeaways and recaps of DrupalCon LA.

The cast of the prenote: Dries Buytaert, Aaron Porter, Ben Finklea, Robert Douglass, Adam Juran, Campbell Vertesi, Jeremy Thorson, Kristina Bjoran, Ronai Brumei, Larry Garfield, Jeffrey

via Mendel: The cast of the prenote, from top left: Dries Buytaert, Aaron Porter, Ben Finklea, Robert Douglass, Adam Juran, Campbell Vertesi, Jeremy Thorson, Kristina Bjoran, Ronai Brumett, Larry Garfield, Jeffrey McGuire

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Google to Non-Mobile sites: ‘You’re Dead to Me’

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May 08 2015
May 08

DC2015_Spread_The_Word_Sponsor

So you’re going to Drupalcon? Looking for a new job? Here are some quick tips to up your chances on finding a great new gig!

Do your homework. Take some time to check out what companies will have a booth and what companies will have employees presenting a session or running a BOF. Also, be sure to check out the Drupal.org job board. Looking into this ahead of time will help you get a game plan together. Maybe a company you admire doesn’t have a booth but their CTO is presenting a session – attend the session and look to strike up a conversation after the session about any open positions.

Take this time to dig past the job description. You’re going to have a chance to interact with current employees of the companies you’re interested in at Drupalcon, so take this time to ask about the things that aren’t necessarily in a job description. Did their company pay their way to Drupalcon and what else can they tell you about professional development opportunities? Do they have a good work/life balance? People tend to be more open/friendly at events like this so find out more about what is important to you! You might be able to get some great insight into what their company culture is like. Perhaps your dream company doesn’t have an open position that is a good fit for you – ask what their future growth plans are – maybe there could be a role opening up soon that could work for you!

Come prepared/follow up. Be sure to have more than enough copies of your resume or business cards. Be sure to include your Drupal.org ID on your resume or perhaps on the back of your card  this is especially helpful for developement folks. Also, don’t forget to get the business card of the people you talk to about the companies/roles you’re targeting. You want to be sure you follow up with an email after Drupalcon to strengthen the connections you made and hopefully get referred through that employee for an open role – that is a much stronger application than if you’re a general applicant.

And just in case you’re interested in Forum One check out our open tech positions!

Outside of tech we’re looking for…

We’re also presenting several sessions! Come meet some of our awesome team members.

If you’re looking a for a new gig come by and meet the team at Booth #107.  While you’re at the booth take a minute to vote on your favorite Drupal topic, and be sure to check out the results on Twitter (@ForumOne)!

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Content After Launch: Preparing a Monkey for Space

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Google to Non-Mobile sites: ‘You’re Dead to Me’

May 08 2015
May 08

We’re excited to announce this talk, Content After Launch – Preparing a Monkey for Space on Wednesday, May 15, 2015 from 5pm to 6pm at DrupalCon LA!

So what’s it all about? Well, coupled with a silly metaphor, I’m going to be talking about what happens to content during various stages of a website build, from the initial kickoff, through the production, and well after launch. The talk will touch on:

  • how all team members can get involved in the success of a launched website.
  • setting and managing expectations for what it takes to run a site post-launch.
  • everything you might have missed while focused on designing and building the website.

Come for the metaphor, stay for the juicy takeaways! Spoiler alert – there will be an abundance of monkey photos.

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To the Pattern Lab! Collaboration Using Modular Design Principles

May 07 2015
May 07

Beakers and science equipment. The beakers are filled with patterns instead of plain liquids.

Come check out our presentation at Drupalcon 2015 in Los Angeles about modular design on Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 1:00 – 2:00pm PST.

You’ll learn how to use styleguide/prototyping tools like Pattern Lab to increase collaboration between designers, themers, developers, and clients on Drupal projects. A focus on modular design early on in a Drupal project improves workflow and efficiency for the whole team!

After applying modular design principles into your design workflow you will have, guaranteed *:

  • Shinier, more polished sites: You’ll improve collaboration between themers and designers without relying so much on static photoshop comps, dramatically improving the end product’s quality at a higher detail level.
  • Happier clients: Clients will be able to see functional visual designs earlier in the project and be able to play with the site in an easy to use interface.
  • Happier developers: Developers can concentrate on the hard work of building the site while themers and designers concentrate on the visual design.
  • Project managers overcome with joy: Sites will be more easily themed, front-end bugs will be caught earlier, clients can see progress sooner, designers will be less bogged down in Photoshop iterations, and projects will be more successful.

We hope to see you there. It should be a lot of fun and we are genuinely interested in hearing your thoughts. If you are impatient and want to learn more about Pattern Lab and design patterns in general, take a look at this blog post by Brad Frost on designing pattern flexibility.

* not an actual guarantee. Results may vary. Consult your doctor if your clients remain happy for over four hours

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Telling Simple (and Complex!) Stories with Open Data

May 06 2015
May 06

In a world where your page load speed is critical to success…

I couldn’t resist. With Drupalcon in Tinsel Town, I’m going to start most of my conversations with “in a world…” [Ed. note: Only if you use the Don LaFontaine voice every time.]

My session for Drupalcon LA is a partner session with Forum One client Mercy Corps. We’ll team up to show you how we maximized the performance of mercycorps.org. Maximizing Site Speed with Mercy Corps will take a tour of specific measures we used to make their critical fundraising platform blazing fast. Come see me, John Brandenburg, and Drew Betts, lead User Experience Designer at Mercy Corps, as we tag team on subjects like measuring user engagement, debugging Drupal caches and measuring performance. We will even discuss some quick tips that every Drupal site manager should use to maximize the performance of their own site.

Why come to this session?

Perhaps because Google itself ranks your site on speed. Or perhaps increments in site speed can demonstrably increase conversion rates. Or perhaps you are tired of hearing the groans of your own digital staff about the performance of your public site. After the session, we will have a Q&A where you can learn from the experts and ask questions about improving the performance of your own sites. In the meantime you can also check out my more detailed blog post on Drupal site speed.

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May 01 2015
May 01

We are pumped to talk about styles of storytelling on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 2:15 – 3:15pm.

In our DrupalCon session, we will:

  • dissect what’s become a major buzzword – “long-form content.”
  • take a look at different types of long-form content
  • explore how “story” fits in
  • uncover what types of storytelling best suit your needs
  • help you figure out when long-form is right for you and your organization

Many organizations are embracing storytelling techniques to better connect with their audiences and drive them to action. They’re implementing long-form content as a platform for storytelling making use of its rich imagery, interactive elements, and better sharing capabilities.

People generally learn more and remember more when more of their senses are engaged by a story. Stories that include images get about twice the engagement as text-only stories. Stories told with visual elements are instantly captivating. The more senses that are engaged, the more emotions will be engaged and the more memorable the experience will be.

So come join us! And in the meantime, get yourself excited about storytelling by checking out this TED talk by Pixar writer Andrew Stanton.

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Pain Points of Learning and Contributing in the Drupal Community

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Apr 30 2015
Apr 30

At Drupalcon L.A. I’ll be co-leading a core conversation about the, “Pain Points of Learning and Contributing in the Drupal Community.” A core conversation is not a teaching session, it’s format is a little different and let’s the speaker engage with the audience.

So what is this conversation all about?

I’d like to start with a story. I started contributing to Drupal 8 core just before DrupalCon Portland in 2013. I was listening to  a live hangout with different initiative leads in Drupal 8, and Larry Garfield (crell) was talking about how he needed help with the hook_menu conversion. I asked Larry how can I help and he pointed me to some documentations he wrote on Drupal.org. At this time I took my first steps into core with a normal issue, and I’ve been contributing ever since. This year I’ve been slowly climbing up the contributor list on drupalcores.com.

As someone who puts a lot of energy into contribution, I hope it means something when I say: it’s too hard to contribute to major/critical issues in the Drupal 8 issue queue.

I ran into a great example recently, when I picked up issue 2368769. I figured that after 5 years as a Drupalist, I must be able to make some meaningful contribution to this critical bug. Boy was I wrong! What did they mean by “lazy-loading route enhancers”? I searched the codebase and Drupal documentation, and couldn’t find any example to work from. I found generic Symfony documentation on the subject, but it still wasn’t enough.

What’s going on in the issue queue?

This story reveals a bottleneck in the Drupal 8 development process: the top contributors. There is a group of 50 – or perhaps fewer – who understand and are current on the ongoing major/critical issues with Drupal 8. We all appreciate their incredible hard work, especially since most of them are contributing in their personal time. But in my case, even as an experienced Drupalist and core contributor, I was stuck! Asking top contributors for help in IRC is always an option, but it distracts them from their own work/concentration/thought process  – we don’t want to see top contributors spending 90% of their time answering questions!

So how can we make it possible for non-top-50 contributors to help out on major/critical issues? How can knowledgeable Drupalists who want to contribute to major/critical issues make life easier for top contributors, instead of harder? What are some ways to get knowledge transfer outside of that group?

With just a little more guidance, people outside that “top 50” group could do so much more than the “novice” and “normal” issues we presently tackle. We talk about “continuous contribution” in Drupal 8, where a contributor doesn’t hesitate to work on the issues, and if you’re eager to learn every day, nothing should stop you from contributing.

How will the Drupal world look with our new ideas adopted? What could be possible?

In the Drupal community, we always say “if you don’t like something, make it better.” This session is that first step to make this better.

I’m excited to hear suggestions from the community. How do we break the “top 50” limit, and let the next 100 contributors contribute to major/critical issues? This conversation is where we can work on this problem together, to encourage more contributors to stop limiting themselves and get involved on a deeper level. Maybe we’ll even see the benefits as soon as big sprint day on Friday, May 15, 2015. I hope to see more contributors working on critical major bugs/issues. Let’s break the barrier together!

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Oct 17 2014
Oct 17

image01DrupalCon Amsterdam 2014…what a week! Drupal 8 Beta released, core contributions made, and successful sessions presented!

Drupal 8 Beta — has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?! But what exactly does that mean? According to the drupal.org release announcement, “Betas are good testing targets for developers and site builders who are comfortable reporting (and where possible, fixing) their own bugs, and who are prepared to rebuild their test sites from scratch if necessary. Beta releases are not recommended for non-technical users, nor for production websites.” Or more simply put, we’re over the hump, but we’re not there yet. But you can help!

Contrib to Core

One of the biggest focal points of this DrupalCon was contributing to Drupal 8 core in the largest code sprints of the year. Specially trained mentors helped new contributors set up their development environments, find tasks, and work on issues. This model is actually repeated at Drupal events all over the world, all year long. So even if you missed the Con, code sprints are happening all the time and the community truly welcomes all coders, novice or expert.

Forum One is proud that our own Kalpana Goel was featured as a mentor at DrupalCon Amsterdam.Forum One is proud that our own Kalpana Goel was featured as a mentor at DrupalCon Amsterdam. She is very passionate about helping new people contribute.

It was my third time mentoring at DrupalCon and like every time, it not only gave me an opportunity to share my knowledge, but also learn from others. Tobias Stockler took time to explain to me the Drupal 8 plugin system and walk me through an example. And fgm explained Traits to me and worked on a related issue.

-Kalpana Goel

Campbell Vertesi, Technical Architect

Forum One Steps Up

While the sprints raged on, other Forum One team members led training sessions for people currently developing with Drupal. I, Campbell, presented Panels, Display Suite, and Context – oh my! to a capacity crowd (200+), and together, we presented Coder vs. Themer: Ultimate Grudge Smackdown Fight to the Death to over three hundred coders and themers. Now that Drupal 8 Beta is released we’re already looking forward to creating a Drupal 8 version of Coder vs. Themer for both Los Angeles and Barcelona!

This year’s European DrupalCon was a huge success, and a lot of fun! As a group, our Forum One team got to take a leading role in teaching, mentoring, and sharing with the rest of the Drupal community. It’s easy to pay lip service to open source values, but we really love the opportunity to show how important this community is to us. We recently estimated that we contribute almost a hundred patches to Drupal contrib projects in a good month. We’re pretty proud of that participation, but it’s only at the conventions that we get to engage with other Drupalists face to face. DrupalCon isn’t just for the code, or the sessions. It’s for seeing and having fun with our friends and colleagues, too.

At Amsterdam, we got to participate in code sprints, lead sessions and BOFs (birds of a feather sessions), and join the community in lots of fun extracurricular activities. We’re already making plans for DrupalCon LA in the spring. We’ll see you there!

DrupalCon LA DrupalCon Barcelona

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Oct 02 2014
Oct 02

Drupal Kung Fu

Campbell and I presented our session, Coder vs. Themer, Thursday morning and it was a huge success! The gist of the session was this: Campbell and I are both martial artists in addition to Drupalists, and we drew comparisons between our respective martial arts (Ninjitsu and Kung fu) and our respective Drupal roles (coder and themer). Then we both attempted, in real time, to build a Drupal site from a markup. I (the themer) was only allowed to use the theme layer, while Campbell (the coder) could only use the code/module layer. The 302 attendees for our session were more than just spectators – they were active participants, cheering us on when we found clever solutions and booing when we took hacky shortcuts!

So who won?! Watch the video (slides with audio) and decide for yourself!

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Birds of a featherLater that afternoon we also led a BOF (Birds of a Feather) expanding on our earlier session. We dubbed this follow-up Coder vs. Themer: Fight Club. In it the attendees are divided into small development teams, each containing at least one coder and one themer. We then challenged them to collaborate and build out mockups. We had the luxury of having Augustin Delaporte and Robert Douglass of Commerce Guys there to provide development servers on their platform.sh hosting platform. All the teams did well and, more importantly, everyone had a lot of fun.

2015 DrupalCon EuropeDrupalcon Amsterdam’s closing session always has the big reveal of next year’s European Drupalcon venue, and we were all very excited when it was announced that the 2015 Drupalcon Europe would take place in beautiful Barcelona, Spain on September 21-25. Campbell and I cannot wait and are already planning several new, fun, energetic, and engaging sessions!

Read our other updates for DrupalCon:
DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 1: Signs, Signs Everywhere Signs
DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 2: From Memories to the Future
DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 3: Drupal 8 Beta Released

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DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 3: Drupal 8 Beta Released

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Where’s the Message in Panels Node Edit Forms?

Oct 01 2014
Oct 01

Cory DoctorowToday was day three of DrupalCon Amsterdam, and it started with a bang with Cory Doctorow as the keynote speaker. Cory is a noted Open Source activist, journalist, and blogger, and he has a long history of involvement with the Drupal community.

He spoke passionately about the importance of transparency in software in an age when computers pervade every aspect of our lives. “We should be concerned about making free software because people want to be free, and people cannot be free in an information age without freedom of access to information,” he declared. The speech was inspiring for the crowd here, and I recommend that you give it a watch.

Drupal 8 Logo

The buzz around the keynote was quickly replaced by much bigger news: Drupal 8 Beta has finally been released! The official announcement is available on drupal.org.

We are proud and honored that so many Forum One developers have been among the 2,300 people who contributed to Drupal 8.

Campbell and I devoted a large chunk of today prepping for our session, Coder vs. Themer, and the associated BOF (Birds of a Feather) workshop. In the session we explore the division in most development teams between the two kinds of developers. We take the style of a kung fu battle as we race each other to “live code” a working site in front of the audience. In the workshop, we divide participants into teams to take the same challenge and try different collaboration styles throughout the session. For those who haven’t seen it yet, check out our promo video.

Coder vs Themer

image02We capped off the evening by taking part in the musical portion of Cultural Night. Jam (HornCologne) led off with a trio of pieces for Alphorn. Yes, Alphorn. Like in the Ricola commercials! Then Campbell and I sang a rendition of the famous duet from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, La ci darem la mano. However, we did replace the Italian words with Drupal lyrics, “Panels handles layouts…”.

We were accompanied by organizer Peter Grond’s excellent string quartet, which played beautifully, but also with a great sense of fun. They even followed our operatic duet with the theme from the Mario Bros video game! They also played a few fusion jazz/classical pieces, which I later found out were composed by members of the quartet. The evening was so inspirational that we plan to make Drupal Musical Night a regular part of the DrupalCon experience!

And now to sleep, Campbell and I present Coder vs. Themer at 10:45am tomorrow morning in the main auditorium!

Read our other updates for DrupalCon:
DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 4: Our Kung fu is more powerful than yours!
DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 1: Signs, Signs Everywhere Signs
DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 2: From Memories to the Future

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DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 2: From Memories to the Future

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DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 4: Our Kung fu is more powerful than yours!

Sep 30 2014
Sep 30

image05

Today started out bright and early for our Forum One team, setting up for our part in the famous DrupalCon Prenote. This is one of the best-known “secrets” of DrupalCon. As Drupal founder Dries Buytaert puts it, “If you only get up early once during DrupalCon, this is the morning to do it.” In past years we’ve taught the audience how to pour beer (DrupalCon Munich), conducted the crowd in the “Drupal Opera” (DrupalCon Prague), and explored the funny and strange talents of the Drupal community (DrupalCon Portland). Of course, no one could forget our famous Coder/Themer Wonder Twins appearance at the Drupal Superheroes Prenote from DrupalCon Austin!

This year, the Prenote theme was Drupal memories. We heard from many of the famous Drupal core contributors about how they became involved in the community and how it ultimately changed their lives. A beautiful highlight was Nancy Beers sharing the romantic video her husband sent her from Drupal Camp in Seville, shortly after they met at DrupalCon in London. After showing the video, Nancy got down on one knee on stage and proposed!

Adam and I got to re-enact the founding of Acquia, one of Drupal’s biggest service providers. We re-enacted that first partnership between Dries Buytaert and Jay Batson in a great Star Wars-themed parody. “Join me, and together we can rule the Internets as CEO and CTO,” intoned Jay in a Darth Vader mask. The audience loved it, and, of course, Adam and I thoroughly enjoyed our parts as well.

image04

Campbell and Bryn Vertesi sing Drupal MemoriesAt the end of the reminiscing, we directed the audience to stand up and take “selfies” of themselves with the stage in the background, while the core contributors up front took their own “selfies” to match. Then I took the microphone with my opera singing, Drupalist wife, Bryn Vertesi, to sing a Drupal-lyrics version of “Memories”, from the musical CATS. “Once we’re Beta, you’ll understand what happiness is,” became the catchphrase for the day!

DrupalCon Selfies

The Dries keynote was exciting as well, mostly because of the announcement that Drupal 8 is going to Beta at the end of the convention! This is great news for developers and clients alike, as the Drupal 8 API brings enormous improvements in flexibility, scalability, and usability. Forum One’s own Kalpana Goel has been hard at work, not just helping to write Drupal 8, but mentoring others as well. She spent her day in the sprint room, where the core contributors mixed celebrating the milestone with planning sessions for the next development phase.

image03

Today I also got to try out a new session, introducing the fundamental layout concepts in Drupal 7 and 8, and teaching people how to combine them for the best effect. Panels, Display Suite, and Context – oh my! ran overtime with a full room, and finally I decided we had to move the discussion to a “Birds of a Feather” workshop, tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it!

This was a long and eventful day for us here at DrupalCon Amsterdam. We’ll finish it off with a well-deserved beer at one of Holland’s famous breweries, hopefully somewhere along one of the many beautiful canals that dot this city. We’ll report back with more tomorrow!

DrupalCon Amsterdam

Read our other updates for DrupalCon:
DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 3: Drupal 8 Beta Released
DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 4: Our Kung fu is more powerful than yours!
DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 1: Signs, Signs Everywhere Signs

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DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 1: Signs, Signs Everywhere Signs

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DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 3: Drupal 8 Beta Released

Sep 29 2014
Sep 29

Where in the world is DrupalCon

How do you get to DrupalCon? Well, apparently you just follow the signs!

I’d never thought about it, but nothing makes one happier than official street signs guiding me from the hotel to the venue!

But even with such a welcome, I love the first day of DrupalCon, and I don’t mean trainings, community summit, or sprints, although they are important and valuable. More than all of that I love reconnecting with friends, colleagues, and collaborators.

Adam and Webchick

We discuss the state of Drupal 8, and celebrate recent accomplishments, like the acceptance of the pagination dream markup into Drupal 8 core! This particular issue is one I’ve been working on consistently since Drupal Dev Days last March, but it’s not my victory alone, seven of us worked heavily on the ticket and many others contributed in smaller chunks.

We talk about which sessions we’ll attend and promote our own, namely Campbell’s and my Coder vs. Themer Ultimate Grudge Smackdown: Fight to the Death!

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Kalpana

We also discuss new challenges and next steps, and in the sprint area we collaborate and problem solve together. Forum One’s Kalpana Goel is immensely passionate about core contribution and sprinting and received a scholarship from Drupal Association to come to Amsterdam and do just that.

Last but not least, we talk about the after parties and the social activities. But ultimately, it’s not about the hippest new nightclub or sushi at a shi-shi restaurant, it’s about people. I vastly prefer collecting colleagues and friends old and new into a semi-spontaneous dinner group, and so that’s what we did.

So that’s completes my recap of Day one in Amsterdam. Stay tuned for more updates soon!

Read our other updates for DrupalCon:
DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 2: From Memories to the Future
DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 3: Drupal 8 Beta Released
DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 4: Our Kung fu is more powerful than yours!

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Arriving at a Shared Vocabulary and Understanding of Design Composition

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DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 2: From Memories to the Future

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