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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 10 2014
Oct 10
teaser image for blog post

I'm Andy, a developer at Ixis and having just settled back in after my first DrupalCon I thought I’d wrap up my thoughts after attending the annual European conference for the first time.

Initially - wow - DrupalCon is big! I’ve only been to some smaller PHP conferences so to see over 2000 people in one place was quite something. What struck me was how well it was organised - everything was on time with very few technical hiccups. I found the number of sessions quite overwhelming - there was so much to choose from, so having the videos of the sessions online with in an hour or so after it finished was really helpful. I’m still ploughing through the ones I’m interested in.

Just a quick note on my favourite session: "Field API is dead. Long live Entity Field API!". It looks like the Field API has really grown up and using some solid OO practices. I think it solves a lot of Drupal-isms developers have had to work with in the past - this session seemed really well received with lots of applause. I really am excited about working with Drupal 8.

It was also the first time for Peter our project manager:

Still under the thousands of impressions what I've received during Drupal con :-) The event was absolutely magnificent, meaningful and enjoyable at the same time. The organisers appeared very keen to provide a high level of technical, catering and professionalism to the event.

What I especially enjoyed was that I could meet the faces of the Drupal community: developers, project managers, company owners, freelancers, people who are working on small to large scale projects. The diversity of the community was amazing. The socials which were organised besides the main event were great as well. I think the greatest challenge on the event was to find enough time to sleep and rest.

I had a number of favourite sessions and it's hard to pick just one, so try to my best and pick two:

How to sell Agile - Vesa Palmu  has really good entertainment skills. It was a well built presentation about Agile's advantages, pitfalls and some honest advice about the limitation of the methods.   

Part 2: Train Wrecks & Ugly Baby Client Meetings - Susan Rust's presentation was more like a discussion about everyday challenges of a project manager, rather then a real presentation, but definitely useful.

So altogether if you haven't been to a DrupalCon we have to tell you it was worth it. Consider next year's European one in Barcelona.

Oct 06 2014
Oct 06

One Drupalcon session of particular interest to many in the community, since the first “episode”, has been the “Q&A with Dries”, a core-conversation-track session in which Dries is joined by a panel of his initiative leads and others in the “inner circle” of Drupal 8 core development. Since I’d wished, in the past, that sessions like these had a video recording to show who was talking, I brought my DSLR and a shotgun microphone this time, thinking I’d contribute the resulting video. I don’t think the video I shot was technically perfect enough to share; perhaps I could fix that, but I also realized that one panel member prefers to limit her exposure on the Web—and respect that, of course; since it’s much easier to blur or block out a face in a few images than in a video, and since you can read this summary in much less time than the hour+ -length session, I decided to provide stills from the video, along with a summary of the questions and answers, which ranged from the whimsical (a bet on how long it would be till Drupal 8 would be released as “stable”), to various business and architecture questions, and other concerns.

Q and A with Dries and panelists, Drupalcon Amsterdam

(You’ll find a more serious answer to that question if you read on...). Of course, Dries began by asking each of his panelists to introduce themselves. Those present were:

intro_gabor.jpgGábor Hojtsy, who works for Acquia and introduced himself, first, as the Drupal 6 maintainer; he also leads the Multilingual initiative for Drupal 8.

Nathaniel CatchpoleNathaniel Catchpole (catch), a major core maintainer with special focus on optimizing performance.

intro_alexpott.jpgAlex Pott, who works for ChapterThree, and supports Drupal as a core maintainer, also contributes actively in the configuration management initiative for Drupal 8.

yched introduces himselfYves Chedemois (yched), a freelancer and volunteer contributor to Drupal core, especially active as the maintainer of the Drupal 8 Field API (he formerly maintained CCK).

Wim Leers, core maintainerWim Leers (of Acquia, who works on the Spark initiative and Drupal 8 performance

Jess (xjm), who was the major heavy lifter for getting Views into Drupal 8 core, alongside her very active community mentoring role, now is most active with release planning and other steps toward getting Drupal 8 to the community.

Dries jokes and introduces himself as 'Drice'

Dries made everyone laugh, then, by introducing himself… and pronouncing his name as if it rhymed with “rice”. He followed by submitting the first questions to the panelists; these initial questions were selected from those emailed to him before the day of the session. Everyone had something to say for the first question.

Q: Are there any lessons learned, so far, from the Drupal 8 release cycle?

Alex Pott pointed out that changing core is taking longer and longer as the complexity increases and the needs of the greater Drupal community become more varied. “It’s no longer a matter of developers having a good idea and putting a patch on Drupal.org”, he said. You have to get everything reviewed and tested and re-tested, usually through many iterations, before a patch finally makes it into core.

Yves Chedemois (yched) added that it really helped having a bigger team of people assisting in the Field API initiative, compared to how things have sometimes been in the past, before the initiatives, with only one or two people working on a particular sub-system; so now he might have five or six developers actively supporting him and who are all able to review each others work, and take over from one another if anyone is ill or leaves the team. He pointed out that, of course, finding five or six people who can keep active for the full 2-3 years that has been this development cycle has been one challenge; it’s just not realistic to expect.

Gábor weighed in with the fact that the whole extra communication with the community was something that hadn’t been so present before and has helped to find people identify their strengths and find ways to contribute to the development process. Extra communications on Drupal.org, the core conversations like this Q&A session, and the initiatives, themselves, helped to build a better level of involvement and ability to contribute.

Dries also added that people asked whether the initiatives, themselves, were a success, and wanted to say that he, indeed, found them very useful for the development cycle. It helped communicate a sort of roadmap for Drupal with the key areas that needed work. Having clearly communicated, specific goals, and teams working with specific areas of interest, in turn helped gather more people to help. He pointed out that the initiatives which were most successful in gathering a team to rally to their cause tended to be the ones with leaders with the best ability to communicate their goals; and of course they also had to have great technical skills and be skilled project managers. Dries added that, if he were to do it again, he would try to get a small team together for each initiative, from the start, with individuals able to bring all important strengths to work for each initiative. It’s a lot to ask from one person.

Q: How do you best prepare for Drupal 8?

Nathaniel Catchpole (catch), suggested that if you are a site-builder, experiment with building up a Drupal 8 version of a site you want to migrate to Drupal 8, or just begin building up a site; just remember that we are just at the first beta, so things might be changing. But if you just practice building up your site structure and learn what you can do, that can be very helpful as a first step to being comfortable with Drupal 8.

Wim Leers added that it’s a good time for the community to get the input from experienced site builders who have familiarity with how things work in Drupal 7 and might find some areas where performance or user experience have been affected in a negative manner; there might still be time to fix remaining issues identified now.

Jess recommended that users who need to migrate from Drupal 6, which is scheduled for “end of life” about six months after the release of a stable Drupal 8.0.0, practice building up the functionality they need in Drupal 8, determining any areas where core functionality doesn’t fill their requirements. A lot of functionality which was formerly only in contrib is now in core, but you can identify what contrib modules you still need to see ported. Keep your Drupal 6 site running, but you can locally test and practice the migration path from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8. Currently this path lacks a user interface and has some other rough areas, but there is documentation. Then you can follow and support the development of contrib modules that are blockers for your ideal upgrade.

Alex Pott added that if you are a PHP developer, it’s a good time to be learning about all the new object-oriented stuff in core; getting your head around that. He recommended looking at PHP: The Right Way for some good tips. Themers should work on learning Twig and a new base theme, Classy, just committed to Drupal 8. But beware, the others added: the theme layer will not be frozen until closer to the final release date, so there are still some things that will change. Also, there is now a full-featured Entity API in core, so when modeling your site, think in terms of entities and think about what is really content or not.

Gábor reminded us that even if you aren’t ready to dive into Drupal 8, there are a lot of good talks, blog posts, and development surrounding bringing a lot of “Drupal 8 improvements” into Drupal 7 sites, so you can learn your way around PHPUnit, Composer, etc, as a first step to getting comfortable with Drupal 8.

Dries then opened the floor to additional questions from the audience. The first participant actually asked two questions, one more serious than the other.

Q: If you had to bet on the release date for Drupal 8, what date would that be?

That guy who asked three questions...This question got a good laugh and perhaps more discussion time than was necessary. After skipping it to take his serious question, this one actually did get some answer time; Jess made some cogent points: that it’s not a good idea to base business decisions on any predictions around the release date of Drupal 8, but that the community is betting on it being soon and successful. She suggested that any really large projects which will take years to develop are good candidates for looking at the components of Drupal 8 as appropriate building blocks and starting work. His second question was one that, perhaps other developers who haven’t yet worked (much) with Drupal 8 code, could relate to.

Q: In the past, someone who doesn’t do a lot of development could still make a simple tweak to simple module. Now there is so much code for the new Symfony-based modules. Isn’t all this code scary?

catch pointed out that once you are familiar with it, there are still lots of places you can easily make the same kind of tweaks with Views in core, and with plugins and the configuration management. yched added that most of the hooks available in Drupal 7 are still available. Gábor said that he could remember a time, not so long ago, when he’d also been daunted by the complexity and differences between the way things are done in Drupal 8 versus how they were done in Drupal 7, but after starting to work with it, you will learn the new patterns and it starts to make sense and actually be easier, in many ways. Dries added that it’s common to be daunted by the “more-lines-of-code”, but that the object orientation actually reduces the complexity and makes it easier to extend and understand, once you are familiar with the design patterns. He also pointed out that in Drupal 7 you had to know all the hooks and that now, it’s more declarative and you can work with what you want to happen, based on events. So there is less you need to learn, and less “magic”.

Wim reminded us that Drupal 8 introduces greater strictness, which translates to an increase in verbosity, but also makes it easier to find and avoid problems.

Q: How does Drupal 8 architecture matter to clients? Why should they care about developing a site in Drupal 8?

Chris Amato, aka knectar on drupal.orgChris Amato (knectar) asked this question, to which Dries began by pointing out that there is a lot more support “out-of-the-box” for things like mobile content, with responsive designs and services deeply integrated. yched added that every entity type is now natively translatable and versionable and that every field can be manipulated with the same familiar tools. Gábor added that there are lot more Views and things that can be individually tweaked to a clients needs. Even admin pages are Views-based and the modules you use will also incorporate this flexibility, so there should be less need for hacks to work around what a client needs.

The next question had to do with decoupling in Drupal 8 and so-called “headless Drupal”

Q: (paraphrased) How does “headless Drupal” and decoupling fit in and is this something we will be seeing more of in Drupal 9?

The guy who asked about headless Drupal in Drupal 9Dries said that it was really too early to know what the focus of Drupal 9 would be, but that it would likely involve greater decoupling, yes. Others pointed out that it’s already possible to do a lot with headless Drupal and that we can look for a big growth in that direction coming from contrib and possibly making its way into core before Drupal 9.

The next question brought us to the issue of documentation.

Q: Will there be some books for Drupal 8 and better documentation?

That guy who asked about documentation...Gábor started by pointing out that there is already a Drupal 8 API section, a lot of which is pretty well fleshed-out. There are still places for people to get involved and help update since there have been so many changes since the initial pages were written. And Jennifer Hodgdon is already working on a book for Drupal 8 development. Dries pointed out that there are now about 50 or so books on Drupal 7, and that things are still changing enough it’s still too early for publication of Drupal 8 books, but that we can expect a variety of books on Drupal 8 soon after its release. The API documentation and other Drupal 8 usage documentation is in various stages of completion. xjm pointed out that we need help with the documentation on drupal.org and that this is a great way to get involved.

Q: “What is being done or can be done to help bring funding to Drupal development?” (heavily paraphrased)

Rudi van Es of the local Amsterdam Drupal community

Rudi van Es, an Amsterdam-based member of the local Drupal shop, limongroen, came with this question.

Dries indicated that the Drupal Association can sometimes help find parties who would also benefit from certain development to help find funding for some projects, but that this is part of what Large Scale Drupal is working to accomplish and that maybe we also need a “Small Scale Drupal” to work more directly with individual developers. Some of the funding that has already come out of Large Scale Drupal went into improving workflows for media and publishing companies on Drupal; this effort has been added to the Workbench project. Dries also reminded us of his keynote, where he discussed better incentivizing contribution. And some organizations might be more willing or able to donate than actual time and expertise to Drupal development. Dries acknowledged that there are limits to the number of companies who are actively funding Drupal projects and initiatives and this is one of the challenges facing the community. While Wikipedia has been able to successfully crowdfund, they have a unique advantage in being able to directly access the end users; Drupal end-users are largely unaware of Drupal.

Q: Is it possible for us to reach a point where we can remove the trouble of upgrading and Drupal is just Drupal, regardless of version number?

Matt Smith, aka smithworx on Drupal.orgThat question came from Matt Smith of Lingotek, who asked a question I have asked before; a tough question. catch started by discussing what they have planned for Drupal releases now, which is already a huge improvement, that Drupal 8.1.0 and 8.2.0 can bring new functional improvements without breaking the API and that by growing slowly, they can minimize the API breakage needed when when it finally is necessary, to re-think a way of doing something and that would be the point we move to 9.x development. We might not be able to avoid breaking the API, because avoiding this can put us in a place the we have to deal with stagnation, but we will make our best efforts to minimize this going forward and it may be that in the beginning of Drupal 9, modules that have worked with each progressive minor version will, mostly not be broken by the initial changes in Drupal 9. As the architecture becomes closer to ideal, we should be able to greatly improve this, as we move forward. xjm added that the release cycle they have adopted now is like Ubuntu and there will be long-term support for some releases.

The final question taken was about tools. In short, the question was…

Q: What development tools are you (core committers) using to manage your work?

That guy again... asking the third questionThis question came, again, from the same fellow (sorry, I didn’t quite get your name), who asked “stable release date”, and the “Isn’t the big, new code complicated and scary?” questions. As the code-base becomes more and more complex, people who used to simply work with a text editor are finding it harder to manage and more and more developers are using IDEs, in particular PHPStorm, which this guy felt seems to be so prevalent now as to be almost a “soft requirement” for Drupal development.

Here, Dries suggested each of the panelists provide a quick answer about their preferred editors of choice and then wrap up the session: xjm started by saying she still mostly uses Emacs, but has started “tasting the forbidden fruit of an IDE in the form of PHPStorm” and said that without 16 years of using Emacs, it wouldn’t be a tough decision. It does make your development life a bit more sane. Gábor said that he has adopted PHPStorm. catch said that he’s still using Vim and holding out as long as he can, but will probably give in at some point and start using PHPStorm. There was brief discussion then, about fear that if everyone adopts a commercial product like PHPStorm, that this could lead to JetBrains taking advantage of us with monopolistic behavior. (Personally, I'm not worried and have respect for the offer they continue to honor: free licenses for open-source contributors.) Moving back to the panel, Alex Pott confessed that he uses PHPStorm. yched also uses PHPStorm and added that it really just makes navigating a large object-oriented codebase so much simpler; navigating between the classes, implementations, overrides, and so on. Wim Leers said that he continued to use text editors until a few months ago and has now also started using PHPStorm. Dries joked that he uses email, then confessed that he doesn’t get to code that much these days, so shouldn’t be taken as a reference, but still uses vi when he needs to make some quick changes.

Final thoughts…

It may be late in the game, but it’s a good time to help with the final work to get all the biggest bugs resolved so that Drupal 8 can be considered stable. There are lots of way to help, from identifying issues (beta testing or areas where documentation is lacking, etc), to simply verifying that bugfixes do what they are supposed to do. And there are a lot of nice tools, now, for helping review tickets. If tickets can be reviewed right away, it is more likely they just get finished before they drag on for months, require “re-rolls”, and all those hassles, and many such tickets are not difficult to review. I’m glad I made it to the Drupalcon rather than just watching/listening when I had the time.

And I should probably say that it’s been far too long since I’ve written a Drupal-related blog post here. I’m not going to make excuses: the truth is that I’ve been pretty much inundated with OtherStuff™, including some work on a complex, semi-mature project which only involves Drupal and so stopped having time to contribute, look at much actual Drupal code, or spend much time learning about all the “new things” going on. So I didn’t feel qualified to write about what was going on in the Drupal world. But I came to Cocomore for the Drupal, so I’ll work on reaching a better balance and hope to find time between all the OtherStuff™ to see you again, soon. The sprint Friday and weekend got my Drupal-thirst going again; Randi and I are already looking at a vacation rental for the full week in Barcelona next year (woohoo!), so you can count on it at least not being too long.

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!

[embedded content]

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


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.


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.


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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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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DrupalCon Amsterdam, Day 2: From Memories to the Future

Sep 10 2014
Sep 10

We were going DrupalCon Amsterdam 2014.There is the European DrupalCon happening from Sept. 29th to the Oct. 3rd in Amsterdam and a team of Cocomore - as one of the biggest Drupal shops in Germany and Spain - will of course attend. Christian López Espínola (penyaskito - https://www.drupal.org/u/penyaskito), Jesús Sánchez Balsera (jsbalsera - https://www.drupal.org/u/jsbalsera), Karl Fritsche (attribdd - https://www.drupal.org/u/kfritsche) and Carsten Müller (Carsten Müller - https://www.drupal.org/u/carsten-müller) will join the Drupal community for code sprinting, networking, socializing and naturally help working on the new Drupal 8 version.

We will arrive to Amsterdam on Saturday 27th to attend the Pre-DrupalCon Extended Sprints and we will also be at the Post-DrupalCon Extended Sprints. During the Con we will mix participating in the sprints with attending the amazing sessions and BoFs scheduled. Our team will work on the initiatives we've been contributing lately, mainly D8MI (Drupal 8 Multilingual Initiative, led by Gábor Hojtsy- http://hojtsy.hu/) issues, but with an eye in the critical and beta blockers issues, and to the Migrate in core initiative. Together with all the other awesome Drupal developers we will try get Drupal 8 ready for usage. The main goal is to achieve some good progress on Drupal 8 which will be a huge improvement in web development with Drupal. Who didn't watch Dries keynote at DrupalCon Austin yet – it is really worth to spend the hour and have a look at the big aims set on Drupal 8.

One whole week of sprints, meetings, discussions and socializing with the Drupal community – it will not be only great fun, but also lots of stress - but it is worth every minute. I think everybody who ever attended a Drupal event like a camp or con would agree. If you are still unsure about your participation – here you have the possibility to meet over 2000 members of the Drupal community. There will be all the roles involved in a Drupal project, from backend developers to the themers / frontend developers, designers, managers, architects, devops and more, who help to improve Drupal day by day. You can meet mostly everybody in one place and ask all the questions you might have. And, in comparison to other IT trainings or developer events, it is very cheap. If you‘re looking for a new job you can also contact all the Drupal shops there. By the way, Cocomore is also always looking for good developers, so maybe we can meet and talk about your future. Just send us an email (http://drupal.cocomore.com/contact) or contact us via Twitter (@cocomore_drupal) and we can drink something together. You can also do so if you are not looking for a new job but just want to share your time with us ;-)

We are looking forward for a great DrupalCon in Amsterdam, for amazing sessions, meeting old and new friends, the exchange of knowledge and the hopefully good progress on Drupal 8. See you there!

Sep 05 2014
Sep 05
teaser image for blog post

With the 2014 European Drupal conference fast approaching, the Ixis team members attending this year have scoured the schedule for their must see see sessions this year, and why.

For the Developers

Content Staging in Drupal 8 (Wednesday 10:45) - moving content about from dev to production has always been a huge pain in Drupal, so hopefully we'll get a chance to see how this might work in Drupal 8 and finally put an end to the question of when and where the client should start adding their conent during the development phase.

Drupal's PHP Component Future (Wednesday 14:15) - we're already using and developing modules for our work with Codeception, so we would benefit from learning how this might apply to Drupal 8, or even 9.

A Decoupled Drupal with Silex (Thursday 14:15) - decoupling Drupal from the front end has been a topic for a few years now. Learn from others who have jumped on early and ironed out the development problems. Relevant to Drupal 7and 8.

Drupal 8 CMI on Managed Workflow (Wednesday 13:00) - as projects get more complex the pain of the Features module becomes well known, CMI holds much hope for the future of automated repeatable builds.

Future-Proof your Drupal 7 site (Wednesday 14:15) - Until Drupal 8 is out and under some real world use we can ensure our Drupal 7 development choices make the upgrade path less painful. We'll see what's in Drupal 8 and how that maps back to the available Drupal 7 modules that are currenly available.

Twig and the new Drupal 8 Theme System (Tuesday 10:45) as we all know Drupal 8 will be using a new theme system called Twig. This session should provide an insight into what to expect from a support point of view.

For Business Owners / Project Managers

Project Train Wrecks (Wednesday 14:15) promises to be an insight from other agencies on the problems faced and solutions to keep projects running smoothly.

The Myth of the Meerkat: Organising Self-Organising Teams (Tuesday 13:00) finding the balance between processes and control when working on a project as a team in order to get things done. Leaving everybody to get on with it rarely works.

There's plenty more to attend during the week to keep everybodies minds happy - the countdown to September 29th begins, and tickets are still available at the slightly discounted rate until September 16th.

Jul 19 2014
Jul 19

Let's be honest, I spend a lot of time at conferences. Over the past 2 years or so I've averaged more than one speaking engagement at a conference per month, including a half-dozen keynotes. I've also helped organize several conferences, mostly DrupalCamps and DrupalCons. I'd estimate conferences make up more than a third of my professional activity. (Incidentally, if someone can tell me how the hell that happened I'd love to hear it; I'm still confused by it.)

As a result I've gotten to see a wide variety of conference setups, plans, crazy ideas, and crazy wonderful ideas. There are many wonderful things that conference organizers do, or do differently, and of course plenty of things that they screw up.

I want to take this opportunity to share some of that experience with the organizers of various conferences together, rather than in one-off feedback forms that only one conference will see. To be clear, while I definitely think there are areas that many conferences could improve I don't want anyone to take this letter as a slam on conference organizers. These are people who put in way more time than you think, often without being paid to do so, out of a love for the community, for learning and sharing, and for you. Whatever else you may think about a conference or this list, the next time you're at a conference take a moment to find one of the organizers and give them a huge hug and/or firm handshake (as is their preference) and say thank you for all the work that they do.

The venue

There is, ultimately, one overriding factor that determines who is awake for the first session in the morning. The percentage of attendees who make it to the first session in the morning is inversely proportional to the travel time in minutes from bedroom to session room. That means conference hotels trump everybody. DrupalCon Chicago 2011, Sunshine PHP, and php[tek] rank at the top of the list here.

If that's not viable for whatever reason (often capacity), make sure there's ample mixed-cost housing very nearby. Nearby means "within a 3 minute walk". If I have to take public transit to get there then it's not close. DrupalCon Austin did very well in this regard, with two large hotels and an apartment complex with several AirBNB's literally across the street from the main entrance to the conference center. It's not quite as nice as it being all one building but it's a close second.

Another logistical point: Consider traffic flow. I've been at a number of conferences where lines to go up the escalator or stairs, or to pick up lunch, or whatever else are longer than most sessions. Few things are as discouraging as wanting to go to a session but being stuck in a line of people going to the same session... at the other end of the convention center. Logistics are hard. Don't under-estimate the amount of thought that needs to go into them.

Don't make me pay to speak

This has been covered elsewhere in more detail so I will only touch on it briefly here. Most people come to a conference to see speakers. Speakers are your offering, attendees are your customers. Don't make me, as a speaker, pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to come to your conference to give someone else a reason to buy a ticket from you.

I'm not asking for an honorarium. (I certainly won't turn one down, but I've only ever had one conference offer that.) But cover hard travel costs for speakers. Or even just hotel and a a stipend for airfare up to some amount. Something. A speaker is already giving you 10-40 hours of their time to prepare a session before they even arrive at the conference. Given what most speakers can make in the IT field that means they're donating, on average, somewhere around $3000 USD worth of their time to your conference before they step in the door. Respect that.

That goes double for invited speakers. Few things are as insulting as reaching out to a speaker to specifically invite them to speak on a subject on which they are an expert, and then telling them "and by the way, you're on your own dime to get here". As a conference organizer for DrupalCon I've been turned down by a number of very good speakers because we don't cover speaker travel, and I don't blame them. You won't get the best talent on stage if you're going to make them pay for the privilege.

Curiously, in my experience it's the big conferences that do worst here. The PHP community conferences tend to be very good in this regard. Big industry vertical conferences often don't even comp tickets for speakers, which is even worse and makes me want to avoid them. Really, the only reason I'd speak under such conditions is as a marketing expense. Do you want your speakers treating you purely as a marketing expense rather than community building?

I will give the very small < 100 person local conferences a pass here, but once you pass around 300-400 attendees you need to treat your speakers better. I've started avoiding conferences that won't cover my travel costs.

Scavenger hunts

A few small to medium conferences have started doing something quite clever with their sponsors. I think php[tek] was the first, and I've seen Sunshine PHP do it as well. All attendees need to get some kind of "check off" from sponsors, or just top-level sponsors with booths. At php[tek] 2014, for example, attendees who got a (fairly high quality) pin from each of the top sponsors were entered into the end-of-conference raffle for a fairly good array of prizes. At Sunshine PHP this year, attendees who had a stamp on their bingo card from all sponsors with tables got a limited edition yellow ElePHPant, Sunny. At Sunshine PHP last year each sponsor visit was worth a raffle ticket as was each question asked in a session of a presenter. Sunshine PHP also had a bonus for the best tweet of the Sunny the ElePHPant around the conference, which encouraged interaction and shenanigans amongst attendees.

Some sponsors just want to give a sales pitch in return for whatever the checkbox is; others want some small social networking stunt ("tweet at us"), or signing up for a free dev account with their service, or whatever. Always fairly simple and reasonable. But it gives attendees a reason to go to the sponsor area (which sponsors love) and to stick around to the end of the conference for the raffle (which organizers love), and a way to get cool free stuff (which attendees love). It probably won't scale to very large conferences like DrupalCon or OSCON or SXSW, but for the < 500 market it's a really nice touch.

On stage

I've had a wide variety of audio options when speaking, from fixed microphones to hand-held mics to wireless lapel mics. Far and away my preference is for something hands-free and mobile. Headset, lapel clip, doesn't matter. I want to be able to move around and I want to have one hand free for a pointer and the other to gesticulate. A hand-held mic means I am walking around two-fisting electronics (feeling and looking like a dork) while a fixed podium mic means I am chained to one spot where no one an see anything but my head. Let me have the freedom to move and I'm able to give a better presentation. I'd rather speak without a microphone than be chained down.

At the same time, though, let me see my slides. This one was a novel experience for me at DrupalCon Austin, where as a presenter the projector screen was situated such that I could not actually see my own slides. I had them on a laptop in front of me, but many laptop/projector setups force you to use only one display so the projector is the only output (which you often don't know until you plug in). Or I may have speaker notes on my laptop screen instead. Or, as is the case for me, I use a laser pointer to highlight portions of a slide or code sample. If I can't see the screen then I can't do that. That was a rather unpleasant surprise when I started speaking and realized I had to change my plan on the fly. (And no, mouse pointers are not a substitute.)

Let me move, let me see my slides, and give me the room to present, not just talk. It really does affect the energy of the talk very significantly.

Edit, as James Watts reminded me of in the comments: Another "little thing" that matters? Water. The last thing a presenter should be thinking about is tracking down water to drink during the talk. There should be either a pitcher of water and cups or water bottles ready and waiting for every presenter as soon as they get to the stage. I've been at (even large) conferences where, for whatever reason, I had to ask one of the attendees to track down water for me from a water fountain 300 feet away from the session room while I setup my laptop because there wasn't anything closer. Please, this is an easy one. Don't forget the water.


It's been a while since I've had trouble with A/V at a conference. It almost always works, give or take some fiddling. I do, however, occasionally run into a conference that hasn't tested their A/V properly. The biggest challenge? Open Source conferences that only test their A/V with Macs, not with Linux systems. The irony there is palpable. :-) Most laptops in the world still run Windows. In the odd microcosm that is the Open Source world the closed-source Mac OS X is oddly supreme, though. Linux laptops, in my experience, are a strong second. Most of the top-selling laptops on Amazon these days are Chromebooks (Linux). Organizers, please test your A/V setups before I arrive. I can't be the only person with a Linux system at a developer conference.

A few conferences I've been to have asked me to give them slides to present from the conference's laptop. My answer to that is always the same: No. I have my own presenter remote, my own laptop, and I am not using Apple Keynote. Addendum by George DeMet in the comments: I may also be using a non-standard font that I have on my laptop that is not on the conference laptop. That means I often cannot simply dump my slides on a USB key for you and use a strange remote that may or may not work. (Yes, I've had the conference-provided remote fail on me.) It's especially problematic when that is not communicated until I arrive in the room to present.

Fortunately very few conferences I've been to have made this mistake, so to the majority of you who just provide a VGA cable and power outlet that works first-try, thank you!

Recording sessions

I know there's some difference of opinion on this point amongst various speakers so I won't claim my position to be universal, but my stance is this: Please record my session and please give it away!

I present, most of the time, as a form of teaching. I want to share knowledge with as many people as possible. I want to educate. I want to communicate. Recording and sharing session videos — whether it's just slides or a video of me as well — is a way to reach a broader audience than just the 30 people in the room. That includes other attendees of the conference who are in another session in that time-slot. Don't leave them out in the cold!

It also helps me to be able to review my sessions later. I often give the same talk numerous times and being able to review what worked, what didn't, see which jokes fell flat and which slides I stumbled over myself (always a bad sign) is extremely helpful.

The undisputed king on this point is DrupalCon. Recent DrupalCons routinely have decent quality screen-and-audio recordings up in a matter of hours. That's awesome. You don't need to go quite that far but having videos up within, say, a week is very appreciated.

A few conferences do record sessions but then sell access to them, either to attendees or free-for-attendees but paid for everyone else. I can totally understand the financial reasons to do that. So I'll make you a deal: If you charge money for recordings of my session then I want a cut. If not, let me know that you're doing that before I submit a session so I know not to submit one.


Conference-sponsored parties are a somewhat controversial subject in some circles. They can be great for socializing and serve as an extended hallway track, but depending on the type of party they can also drive off certain members of the community (due to age, social preference, or alcohol preference) or (due to large quantities of alcohol) increase the chances of the conference ending up as one of too-many negative stories. Some conferences have done away with them as a result, which is rather unfortunate.

There's two ways I've seen after-parties done well: Big and small. For big, the winner is DrupalCon Chicago. The after-party on the first night of the conference was a sit-down dinner for 800 people at the Field Museum of Natural history in Chicago (Warning: Drupal site and Palantir.net client), followed by a local band playing in the main hall. The acoustics weren't great, but it was overall a classy event and gave people who wanted a bit more quiet the opportunity to wander through the public exhibits of one of the top natural history museums in the country. That's great for large groups but can also be quite expensive.

The important key, though, is that it was large enough to handle the crowd. I've been at other conferences where the after-party (also held at a museum) consisted of two really long lines for drinks, a little bit of finger food, and no room to sit down or talk to people. By the time I got through a line for drinks it was nearly time to leave. No, I'm not kidding. Hosting a party is just as much of a logistical challenge as the conference itself; if you're not up to that challenge then it's better to just not have one at all.

For smaller conferences, Lonestar PHP is the reigning champion in my mind. Their after-party consists of a bunch of tables in the main conference venue (the keynote room), a huge pile of board games and card games, a game console with Dance Dance Revolution or similar, and a small bar in the corner with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. It gives drinkers a chance to drink (without being frat-party-hammered) and non-drinkers something else to do and a reason to stick around other than getting drunk. It's well-lit and quiet enough that those who hate loud spaces like bars (myself included) are not driven away. It's even family-friendly. (A number of conference attendees and speakers like to bring their spouse/kids along, which is great to see.) There's even food, albeit usually not enough. (Conference-goers and locusts often have a lot in common.) Well done, Lonestar.

Twin Cities DrupalCamp is a very close second, as they have a very similar setup. The only downside is it's not in the same venue so it requires a little travel. A number of other conferences have started moving to similar plans, which is great. DrupalCon now has a regular trivia night (although if you're not drinking it can be very slow moving) and Symfony Live tends to have a Jeopardy night hosted by Jeremy Mikola. These are all inclusive, friendly, non-frat-party social options. Props to those conferences that have gotten this right, and those that haven't yet... please start. A loud kegger is not a good after-party.

Encourage the hallway track

Conferences are a wonderful educational opportunity. They do not replace training or mentoring but they can provide a "structured taste" of something new: a platform, a system, a technique, or a concept.

As is often said, though, the "hallway track" is where the real conference is. The out-of-session meetings, lunch table conversations, and chance encounters are where the deep learning happens. Encourage those. Provide space for impromptu discussions. (Some conferences call these BoFs, for "Birds of a Feather". I've never understood the term but meh.) Setup lunch so that people have to sit together and talk, and can hear each other talk. Encourage speakers and non-speakers to hang out together and chat informally.

Even as a seasoned speaker I've had random lunch conversations that have turned into new friends, ideas for articles, or even a deeper understanding of the material I'm about to present. (More on that another time.) You can't force that sort of outcome of course, but to the extent possible provide a fertile ground for it. That, in the end, is what conferences are: A fertile ground for learning and connection and mixing to happen.

Thank you, organizers, for all that you do.

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Jul 17 2014
Jul 17

The world can often seem to rush by and if you don’t stop to smell the roses you can miss it.

In the coming months we at SystemSeed will be “going back to our roots” so to speak and attending DrupalCon Amsterdam from September 29th to Oct 3rd.

We hope to meet like-minded techies (and possibly the next SystemSeed employee), the next incredible minds on stage giving presentations and the busy bees working away in the Birds of a Feather groups.

If you would like to meet us with - either the managers, systems architects or our amazing dev team - please contact us and we’ll grab a coffee or some office space to chat.

Jun 13 2014
Jun 13

At Drupalcon in Austin I took on the mechanical bull. I ended up losing miserably. Not surprisingly, it was recorded and sent out to the world. Because of my epic fail on the bull, one of my friends in Sweden (I’m Danish) afterwards called me out on Twitter with the #drupalcon hashtag and called me a “pussy".

Other Drupal community members intervened and asked my friend to stop using that kind of language. I saw the thread a couple of hours later next morning, and asked if we could keep the "political correctness" down a little bit, as I saw it as a private teasing over Twitter between 2 people.

I honestly felt the tweet was about me, and my first thought was, “Wow, I don’t have any problems with somebody I know making fun of me - I can stand up for myself”. What i was trying to defend was one of my friends right to make fun of me - I did not understand the issue was around using the word “pussy”, and not about me personally.

That was a mistake not to remember the huge cultural differences we have in our community - and how we use words that can be hurtful to some but don’t even cross my mind when I talk.

I am glad that I got the opportunity at DrupalCon to quickly talk with the people that raised this issue to me, and they took the time to explain to me why the words that were used were an issue. Its not always easy to understand the many differences that we have in a world wide community. In the incident I mentioned our Code of Conduct, where one of our principles is to not assume ill intent from each other, and how we make sure that we get to understand each other - From my perspective the COC worked in terms of how we should react when we feel offended and how we solve issues afterwards.

Things we all should remember when issues occur (as they probably will in the future): We talk about it, We respect each other and we try the best we can to learn from each other.

I sincerely apologize that I didn't get the whole picture before I made my tweets. Instead of seeing it from the outside, I looked at it only from my background. I didn’t see the issue in the moment, but after getting a couple of good pointers and thinking a bit, made my lightbulbs go on, and I’m honestly pissed off at myself for not having a quicker turn around.

Foul language

I’m known for using foul language. Sometimes it gets me in trouble, other times it creates a ton of laughs.

What I haven’t been fully aware of is how my way of communicating can be perceived by people that do not know me. Even people I know sometime are a little bit: “wow, dude, you need to tone that down a little bit”.

I’ve always stood for a very direct & no bullshit tone. This can come across a Iittle harsh for some, though for others it feels like a salvation to be able to talk direct. We are all different & thanks for that. That doesn’t mean what I do is always ok though.

While I will never be able to please everybody, I can promise that I will do my best to make everybody feel included in the Drupal Community. I can’t promise that i won’t make more mistakes - but if i know what I did wrong, I sure will try.

In the future if you feel that I said or did something inappropriate, no matter if its intended or not, then please come to me, talk about it, send me an anonymous mail (here on my old Drupal6 site) or contact a 3rd party and we’ll figure it out. If you don’t feel ok with coming directly to me, and want to know other ways of handling the situation, please look at our conflict resolution policy.

Room for us all

It’s NOT an excuse that English is my 2nd language or that I have a dark-humoured background, or that Danes have in many ways have no filter whatsoever, or that I’m a die-hard metal head. Nor is it an excuse that I live in a country on a continent that is in many ways very different from the US and other areas of the world.

The Drupal community is so diverse that we all have to understand and respect where we come from. There’s no free passes, not even when people call you the King of Denmark and you’re trusted by our community to help the Drupal Association on the right path.

I have as a DA board member a greater responsibility than the rest of our community to help set a tone that can include us all. No matter if you’re like me a foul mouthed metalhead or if you’re an intellectual who loves classical music. There must and shall be room for us all.

We learn from each other, on many levels, if its in code, community leadership or on a human level and thats what makes Drupal so fucking epic!

Stepping down from the Drupal Association

As a consequence of this incident and other occasions when I have offended people by talking openly about my sex life and/or generally using colorful and trashy language, I am withdrawing from the Drupal Association Board.

Some feel that it sets a double standard when a board member acts and talks like I do. While I don’t agree with this, the fact is that I’m not going to change who I am. If I am a distraction for the Drupal Association, it’s better for me and the community if I step down and make room for others that can take over in keeping the DA in contact with its developer community.

It’s been a honor to serve the Drupal community on the board for almost 2 years. I am extremely proud of being voted in by the community twice, and helping to shape the DA into an international organization and am proud that it now has an office in London.

Does this mean that I’m quitting Drupal? No, you’ve gotta be fucking kidding!

Does this mean that I’m quitting the Drupal Association? Nope, sorry that’s happening either. It takes a bit more to get rid of me. ;)

I will now go back to “only” using my time on making Drupal events happen, speaking at conferences, camps and events - When I’m not working on get Drupal 8 out with an awesome new frontend, which I have been working on for now almost 8 years.

If I don’t see you sooner, I hope to see you at Frontend United in Copenhagen, Design 4 Drupal in Boston, Twin Cities DrupalCamp in August, or at DrupalCon Amsterdam in September, hopefully on Monday at the Community Summit.

Brothers & sisters of Drupal I salute you!

Aside: if you are wondering why I don’t have 219 spelling errors here it’s because I got a couple of friends to read this through.

Jun 01 2014
Jun 01

The community in the North… is quite hospitable and the Camp in the North was fantastic :)


Drupal Camp Yorkshire 2014

Drupal Camp Yorkshire 2014

Back at Drupal Camp London Paul Driver invited me to Drupal Camp Yorkshire to deliver a session at the Camp. Drupal Camp Yorkshire 2014 was the 2nd Camp up in Leeds I am told, but from the experience I had for the short while I was there it could have been the 10th… it was  very well organised camp no doubt and next time round I will have to make sure I juggle my diary to be able to stay for the entire weekend.

Its been 6 or 7 years since I have been up to Leeds, driven past many a times but did not have an excuse to stop over, Drupal Camp is probably up there in the top 5 excuses to stop over or visit… but before I jump into the details I must mention another community who like myself had taken the Saturday off to take part in a very different but essential sort of activism.

2014-05-31 13.46.51

2014-05-31 13.46.51

On the train up to Leeds I met with a couple of ladies heading up from London, volunteers who were much like our own community giving up their Saturdays to give back.

Did’nt quite catch their names but they were activists heading up to Newark to give them folks from UKIP a hard time and to help the community there see UKIP  true ‘far right’  colours. I would like to thank folks like them who keep Britain grounded and heading in the right direction, giving geeks like me and others the ‘space’ to build, focus on and be part of other communities that rely on a certain kind of society to keep looking ahead and progressing in the right direction… probably not as eloquently put as I could.. but I am going to blame the beautiful sunny Sunday that it is right now!

Ok, back on topic, My session was on ‘Practical’ Agile product development and you can watch the video below to understand what I mean by that.

[embedded content] You can view/download the slides from Slideshare.com.

Lastly I must mention the venue, Electric Press at the Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds was by far the most picturesque of Drupal Camp venues I have have been to so far, over looking the Millenium square which given the weather was bursting with life and an open air concert set the scene up for a community event quite well.

Excellent job done by the organisers, a huge thank you to everyone who attended my session and apologies to a few friends I could not see or spend time with… for I dashed in and dashed out but will make it up to them at the next Camp or at the Con in Dam.

“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.”
Rollo May

Apr 14 2014
Apr 14

Ever heard of functional programming? Not procedural programming, but actual functional programming. Probably, as some fancy academic thing that no one really uses, right?

Did you know you can do it in PHP, too? It's true. In fact, I'll be speaking about it four times in the next couple of weeks!

For whatever reason, last year everyone kept asking for my Aphorisms of API design talk. I ended up giving it in Dallas, Costa Rica, Prague, Madison, Paris, and Fox Valley, IL. (I may have forgotten one...) This year, the popular talk is Functional PHP. I've given this talk a few times now, revising it each time. This year's edition includes a revised history section to better capture the history of functional programming as a philosophy in contrast to procedural programming and Turing Machines.

Really, it's a lot more exciting than it sounds! The subtitle is "doing awesome cool stuff with anonymous functions", which have been available in PHP for some time now but still many people haven't learned to grok them. It's also about the mental shift from "process think" to "logic think". Thinking about a problem not as a series of steps, but as a logical transformation of data from point A to point B.

And you have no excuse to not get to see it!

The first showing will be at Refactor::Chicago, the Chicago-area multi-language meetup. It's coming up fairly soon, on Wednesday 23 April. It won't be at the usual location but hosted at Palantir.net. We have free parking, unlike the usual location. Although the talk is in PHP, the concepts behind it are language-agnostic so if you're in the city do stop by!

The second, also in Chicago, is at php[tek], from May 19-23rd. Tek is one of the largest PHP conferences in North America, and I'm looking forward to getting back to it after a few years off. Did I mention it's right here in Chicago? (OK, it's out by O'Hare, but still, no flights for you Chicagoans!)

I will also be presenting "What to expect from Drupal 8?" a session for developers to get a taste for the upcoming Drupal 8 release. If you turned your nose up at previous versions of Drupal because of its quirky, unusual architecture it's time to take a second look. I won't be doing a usual "hello world and done" type session, but giving more of an architectural overview of the system.

For the Drupal set, you can also catch Functional PHP at DrupalCon Austin 2 weeks later, from June 2-6th. Expect over 3000 Drupal, Symfony, and general web professionals, all packed into one convention center for a week. It should be a blast. :-) I will also be giving a Core Conversation session on The Road to 8.1, about how to plan ahead for Drupal 8's new release cycle.

Finally, if that's not enough for you, I will also be presenting for Nomad PHP in June. Nomad PHP is an online PHP user group, with presentations given via live screencast. Anywhere in the world, you can see presentations by world-class presenters (or sometimes me). Even if you have no local user group, a couple of bucks will get you access to a conference-quality presentation every month. Learning: You can't get away from it!

'course, I haven't figured out my summer/fall schedule yet. I believe functional programming is the next-big-thing for PHP, now that most of us have figured out dependency injection, so I'm trying to speak about it as often as I can in as many places as I can. Let me know if you would like to see it somewhere else.

And oh yeah, somewhere in there I'm also giving a keynote at Lonestar PHP April 25-26th on modernizing big software projects, like Drupal. You know, in case you're coming. You are, right?

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Dec 05 2013
Dec 05

November was huge for the Open Source community in Middle Earth, Those who attended Drupal Camp Karachi on 2nd November and Dubai on the 30th of November 2013 made history. I shall get to Karachi later, this post is about Dubai Camp, challenges of organising it and the outcome of the journey that started in June 2013.



As organisers our focus was both quality and quantity of course; share best practises, tools and knowledge with as many as possible! though we did not get the quantity, 80+ were invited 55 were expected and the campers peaked at lunch with a turn out of 45… and for the last session and closing we had 20.

Organising Dubai camp was a challenge for the organising committee… though committee sounds grand! there was me, Ahmed Koshok and Massoud Al-Shareef, with two regionals on board you might expect things to be easier but with no boots on the ground mobilisation of the community, securing the venue, putting the logistics in place was always going to be a challenge! but planning for it made it that tad bit easier.



At first there was just me (and making very slow progress), then Ahmed came on board and both of us dragged the vision of Dubai camp a fair distance but nowhere close to the starting line… then in Massoud we found a regional champion and a reliable network on the ground to go through the red tape… that was Hani Hejazi; and securing the venue was Hani’s feat. From start to finish organising Dubai camp took 6 months!



DC Dubai had a strong contingent of local/regional Drupal rockstars in attendance and that was the magic sauce in Dubai camp, from a total of 16 speakers/trainers we had 9 local/regional speakers/trainers and that was a coup for any first camp I have attended or been a part of in Middle Earth.

At Dubai camp there were many firsts! the faculty was not just curious but participatory and super supportive, Professor Jassim Jirjees the program director for MLIS was in attendance and his staff ensured everything ran like clockwork!

To top it all Professor Muthanna G. Abdul Razzaq the president of AUE announced a full scholarship for anyone applying from within the Drupal community… we shall get the details for application, prerequisites etc and post them on our Facebook page.

A super supportive and involved institution, local rockstars in attendance, informed and engaging speakers, an awesome regional community to network with and a tasty lunch… made it epic.

From Ahmed Koshok, Massoud Al-Shareef and me a huge thank you shoutout to:

And I would not have been able to co-organise Dubai Camp had it not been for Ahmed Koshok, Massoud Al-Shareef, Jihan Al-Shareef, Hani Hijazi  and Marwa Ezzat – we made an awesome team folks! thank you and lets get going for the next one!

For session slides please follow the DrupalCamp Dubai twitter account and we shall be releasing the slides as and when we receive them from the speakers, a few are already up on Twitter.

Looking forward to hearing about meet-ups in KSA, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and beyond!

Oct 27 2013
Oct 27



There were four drupal camps  for 2013 on my radar… three firsts in Lahore, Karachi, Dubai and Islamabad’s second camp, and as with most plans.. things got skewed after Lahore!

Back in March at Drupal Camp Lahore we had the unpleasant experience of an individual announce himself as a contender for  ‘douche of the community’ award!  spewing out bigoted, racist opinions about fellow community members  from Bangalore whilst we had the Bangalore community with us over Skype…  you can read the details here. Unfortunately that was not the last we heard from the ‘Douche’, instead of apologising and seeing the errors of his ways the ‘Douche’ having been taken to task by several members of the local community announced his own camps in Karachi and Dubai soon after, with dates to coincide to those organised by ourselves. So we called it a day in the summer and postponed Drupal Camp Karachi to November and Dubai thereafter. Yes… I am venting, am a little annoyed for there has been malice at work from the very start to sabotage the efforts to nurture a single cohesive community in Middle Earth.

Being the first in Karachi or Dubai was not the objective, doing it right was and remains! now on to the upside! Having my summer schedule blown wide open was great! I spent August in the high Atlas in Maroc, summited Tizi Agouri and M’Goun and came back rested and with fire in’me belly for the fall camps! 



September was Drupal Camp Belgium in Leuven and then of course the highlight of all things OS for the year DrupalCon Prague and catching up with friends from all over the rock and making some awesome new ones!

October has been a month of careful planning and absolute frenzy! all good though.



For Drupal Camp Karachi  the local organising committee and I roped in [email protected] and together they have worked tirelessly to ensure Karachi camp would be worthy of  Karachi’s Drupal Community and the awesome city Karachi is (the economic hub of Pakistan and the third most populated city proper on the rock). The venue is the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), folks at IBA jumped on board with epic enthusiasm from the get go! Karachi camp has a little under 400 delegates registered, 13 speakers from 11 different countries! Karachiites have been awesome! and the credit goes to [email protected] and the local organising committee. I have no doubt Karachi Camp will be epic in proper Karachi style.. on the 2nd of November 2013.

With Karachi sorted, well almost sorted it was time to turn my attention to Dubai, and little surprise the Douche was all over D.O with a Drupal camp in Dubai and had it been properly executed I would have conceded that my job has been done and any further efforts to that end redundant, but that was hardly the case. So Ahmed from Acquia and I ignored the meetup dressed up as a camp and ploughed ahead with Drupal Camp Dubai.



Once again the credit goes to local community members Massoud Al-Shareef, Hani Hejazi, Marwa Ezzat from KnowledgeWARE Technologies who have been epic! with neither Ahmed or me on the ground in Dubai the team from  KnowledgeWARE came to our aid and stepped in where we physically could not! thank you for making it happen! Drupal Camp Dubai is scheduled for the 9th of November at the American University in the Emirates with a strong contingent of local Drupal rockstars and international speakers!

Stay tuned…

Oct 18 2013
Oct 18

A little over a month ago, a few Drupal developers announced something new: A fork of Drupal called Backdrop. There's been quite a bit of talk about it, of course. While I don't plan to be using it myself, Backdrop has raised a number of valid points and criticisms of Drupal that are worth discussing.

First of all, to be clear: The principles of Free Software and the GNU General Public License make it clear that forking a project is completely OK. Nate and Jen have done nothing wrong, legally or ethically, and no one should think ill of them for their choices. Drupal will not be ugly. I will be deleting any Backdrop-hostile comments on this post.

With that made clear, let's have a look at some of the criticisms that have led to the fork.

Drupal is leaving small sites behind

This is not a new criticism of Drupal. Drupal has been shifting further and further "up market" for years. The same criticism was leveled at Drupal 5. It was leveled at Drupal 6. It was a major challenge to Drupal 7.

It's also largely true, from a technical perspective.

Drupal's complexity, and with that its system requirements, have increased with every version in the 8 years I've been working with Drupal. I would actually argue that it was Drupal 7 that really broke the "casual shared host" user base. Anyone using Drupal 7 without an opcode cache is simply doing it wrong, because the code base is large enough that it won't scale well at all without one.

From a non-developer perspective, though, Drupal 8 is a huge leap forward. It may not look like it at first glance, but the integration of Views, Entity Reference, and a number of other such tools into core have produced what is arguably the most powerful content modeling tool in the Open Source world. The work done by the SCOTCH Initiative to upgrade blocks from a forgotten after-thought to a powerful "secondary content" modeling tool, using systems now consistent throughout core (plugins and fields, in particular), is a huge enabler for easier layout and site building capabilities. And let's not forget the Spark pseudo-initiative. While in-place editing is the flashiest thing they've accomplished, looking under the hood shows a lot of careful thought and work has gone into trying to bridge the gap between user flexibility and semantically chunked data.

That may not matter to developers who feel that Drupal has moved too far "up market". Certainly, Drupal is tackling bigger and more complex projects than ever before, and that necessitates more powerful (and often complex) tools. Most projects naturally follow that trajectory, since larger and larger sites tend to be more and more profitable and more and more interesting. Small sites become a "solved problem", and moving up market is the natural movement.

The problem is that the system that can handle big and complex Fortune 500 sites doesn't really scale down well to small brochureware sites, and the system that is optimized for simple sites can't handle the complex needs of an enterprise-level multi-faceted commerce site. "Well make modules" is only part of the answer, because figuring out what modules to use and how to configure them isn't always obvious to owners of smaller sites and introduces its own complexity.

The way to address that scaling issue is to divorce architecture from implementation. Create a layered design that allows complex bits to be removed entirely — not alter()ed or overridden, but entirely removed — when not needed. Instead of building a single monolithic system, build a system that is itself assembled from smaller, more loosely-coupled parts. I wrote about the need for an Additive System approach four years ago; a system composed of many small, loosely-coupled pieces better allows for scaling down just as much as scaling up.

Drupal 7's architecture, however, didn't really support that. Drupal 7 and earlier are architecturally monolithic. Stuff can be added via modules, but taking away core functionality or changing it radically is hard, often impossible, especially without breaking dozens of APIs. That has resulted in a gap in the lower-mid to lower end of the market that Drupal 7 doesn't fill very well.

Drupal 8, however, is a far more loosely coupled system. The massive refactoring effort that has gone into creating discrete systems that interact through clearly defined interfaces has brought us far closer to having an Additive System than any previous version.

The use of cleanly injected service objects, controlled by a Dependency Injection Container, make it easier than ever to selectively swap out an implementation for a high-performance MongoDB backend but also for a cheap-and-easy SQLite implementation with a super-simple schema, or even flat-file. It's far easier to configure something once in an install profile and disable the ability to change it in the UI entirely to simplify the interface. The more abstracted authentication and authorization system, breadcrumbs, and so forth make it possible to build not just more elaborate versions, but simpler, more focused ones, too.

I would love to see someone try to assemble a "Junior Drupal" that kept the Entity/Field system and Views, but threw out most of the administrative screens and unnecessary services and targeted just a simple node posting system with a trivially simple permission/administration system targeted at casual "blog++" users. Or one that ignores blocks entirely and uses pure-Twig for all theming and layout. Or one that does nothing but process and serve Atom feeds and has no other concept of content at all. The system is designed to support that sort of experimentation cleanly, and without actually forking code; it would simply require swapping out a whole lot of core services. Proper use of interfaces and dependency injection make that possible. Distributions could finally be more than just built-up CMSes.

Would that be successful? Would it be useful? I have no idea. But I do know that Drupal 8 comes far closer to supporting such experimentation than anything Drupal has ever done before. The way to serve the low-end market as well as the high-end isn't to try and hard-code more things to MySQL. It's to do exactly what we've done in Drupal 8: Loose coupling, clean interfaces, and an Additive System.

It's hard to keep up with API changes

"The Drop is always moving", as we say in Drupal. That Drupal allows itself to break APIs between release has been a long-standing source of pride for many. Certainly it has worked out well for us many times. Every time a new major Drupal release comes out, there's much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the APIs that have changed and yet modules do get updated, the system moves forward, and the market share grows.

That process won't last forever, though. The bigger the market share, and the larger the sites built on Drupal, the harder it becomes to swallow large API breaks between versions. Talking about backward compatibility, or better still forward compatibility, is something wise Drupal developers have known we would have to face sooner or later.

Of course, once again Drupal 7's architecture made backward compatibility effectively impossible. Big piles of naked arrays do not an API make, and keeping raw data structures backward and forward compatible is extremely difficult. It makes innovation, experimentation, or even just evolution much more fragile, because you don't know who might be relying on an implementation detail that you've exposed.

Building an API that can evolve without breaking is not easy. It takes hard work, discipline, and planning. It also requires defining clear, clean interaction points between components. In PHP, there is a language construct for exactly that: Interfaces. Using interfaces does not, of course, automatically make code extensible. However, it aids in building APIs that can evolve without breaking.

The other side of the equation is not technical, but social. Drupal's traditional development model actively encourages "abandoning" a stable version as soon as it's released, because there's immediately a new blue-sky next version of Drupal to work on, but we don't know how long we have before that goes away again. That immediately draws attention to the next shiny without needing to think about non-breaking evolution. That may sound fun, but believe me it's really not. And it's not a good plan for the long-term health of a project.

That's exactly why at DrupalCon Prague I lay down a challenge to core developers: Leverage this new capability in Drupal 8 and evolve the platform without breaking APIs. Drupal 8 is the first version of Drupal that makes that possible, and we should leverage that.

The feedback to that presentation was overwhelmingly positive. Most notably, Drupal 8 release maintainer Nathaniel Catchpole was firmly in support (and had been suggesting something very similar himself for a while). In follow-up conversations in Prague, most of the core team is at least tentatively supportive. Dries and Angie are particularly cautious of making sure that we have enough resources to maintain Drupal 8 feature branches, but if we can make that happen then I think it's likely that we'll be taking a new approach for Drupal 8 and allowing feature-evolving backward-compatible development. There's continuing discussion of it happening as we speak.

And that's made possible in a large part by the drastic changes that have been made in Drupal 8 to shift to a loosely coupled, object-oriented, interface-driven architecture.

Novice developers can't handle fancy architecture

Of course, all of those changes to the architecture result in a very different system than we're used to. A great many Drupal developers learned to code from Drupal, and as a result there is a fair bit of concern that the new Drupal 8 approach will be harder for novice developers to pick up.

While that's an entirely legitimate concern, I think it's vastly over-stated.

For one, most developers who learned to code by just reading, copying, and pasting Drupal did so years ago. Drupal 7 is, in fact, a rather obtuse and hard to understand architecture for anyone who isn't already fully versed in render arrays. It's far harder for people to "just pick up" Drupal 7 than it was for Drupal 5 or 6. The claim that Drupal 7 is easy for people to pick up randomly and Drupal 8 isn't is really only made by people who already know well Drupal 7 and versions before it... which means it's not a fair comparison in the first place.

For another, it's certainly true that many of the core bits inside Drupal 8 are highly involved. Complex software is complex. But that was true of Drupal 7, too. How many developers really understand all of what goes on inside the Drupal 7 menu system? Relatively few. How many really understand the entire form rendering pipeline? Relatively few. How many really need to in order to get their day to day work done? Relatively few.

The same will apply for Drupal 8, just as it always has, and just as it does to the majority of software projects. The further you get toward the inner workings of the system, the more knowledge will be needed but the less likely you are to need to be there in the first place. "Well you stick this function here, name it this way, and some magic happens" gets replaced by "Well you stick this class here, tweak this YAML file, and some magic happens".

It's not inherently any more complex. With cleanly documented interfaces that cluster highly cohesive functionality together replacing a handful of pseudo-hooks that don't hint at each other's existence I'd argue it's actually easier to pick up. (Certainly that's been most people's experience with Field widgets and formatters and other things that are now core Plugins, so far.)

The other part of this argument is that OOP code is hard and only for a "higher-tier" of professional developers, while "mere mortals" can only handle mere procedural code. To be frank, I believe that argument to be completely false. It is certainly true that developers who do have an academic background or formal training are far, far more likely to have an OOP background than a procedural one. It's also true that the overwhelming majority of PHP projects today are OOP-based, so anyone with any experience outside of Drupal is going to find it easier to learn Drupal 8 than Drupal 7.

I've talked to Drupal business owners who have said they have an easier time hiring novice developers with no experience and training them on Drupal than they do hiring an experienced developer who already knows PHP well, because those who already know PHP from any other project are turned off by Drupal's array-oriented programming. For pretty much anyone other than total novices, an OOP-based system is going to be more familiar and easier to pick up.

However, that doesn't mean the "little people" can only handle procedural. Procedural and OOP are simply different mental models for how to address an algorithm; neither one is universally "natural" for the human brain. It takes time to train yourself into thinking that way. For developers coming from a "blank slate", copying and pasting one magic incantation until you learn how it works is the same process whether it's a procedural magic incantation or an object-oriented magic incantation. If anything, more highly-cohesive magic incantations (related stuff is in one class together) are easier to copy and paste. People learn what they're exposed to.

Existing developers will be left behind

That of course leaves the largest constituent of array-oriented developers around: experienced Drupal developers. It's entirely true that for developers not already plugged into Drupal 8, there hasn't been a great deal of concerted effort to get them trained and on board with the new system. Documentation for the new systems, outside of docblocks, has been lagging severely. That makes sense, though. Why train people on a system that's still shifting daily? Developers who are not working on core probably shouldn't be paying close attention to it until very recently, because what they learn one day will change the next. A blue-sky development process is like that.

But is that really surprising? We're still in early alphas of Drupal 8, and the API is not actually frozen. Honestly, we're still 5 months at least away from an 8.0.0 release, and that's being optimistic. When Drupal 7 was "not quite frozen yet", how much documentation was written? How many books were out? How many screencasts were there? How many people outside of the core 100 or so really knew how much work porting from Drupal 6 was going to be? It was pretty thin on the ground.

Now that the Drupal 8 development is slowing down, though, we're seeing that change at exactly the right time. Drupal Planet has had dozens of blog posts about Drupal 8 development and getting up to speed in the past few weeks. A few companies have already begun offering training seminars on Drupal 8, with the appropriate "it's not quite frozen yet" warnings. (That includes my own employer, Palantir.net, with training seminars led by myself and Robin Barre. Expect our next event sometime in December.)

At DrupalCon Prague, there were two different "Lab" sessions (2 hour hands-on workshops) on Drupal 8 module development, plus a Core Conversation by Joe Shindelar on teaching people Drupal 8. That was followed-up by a BoF with several core leadership folks discussing various tools to make learning Drupal 8 easier. That will likely include more blog posts, a push on core documentation, and improved tooling. The Coder module is now developing a roadmap for the Drupal 8 version of Coder Upgrade. There are also people working on Drush commands or similar to help build out scaffolding for Drupal 8 modules, which will greatly simplify some of the more mundane parts of starting a module. (I think there may even be multiple efforts here.)

As Joe said, we need to start teaching people Drupal 8 Now. Not 6 months ago when everything was still up in the air, not 6 months from now when Drupal 8 is in RC state, but right now. And right now is exactly when the discussion is happening, and plans are forming to build a network of trainers who can help bring the whole community up to speed on Drupal 8.

No one wants to leave existing Drupal developers behind. And no one intends to. On the contrary, work is underway to ensure that the entire Drupal community moves forward, together.

Looking forward

Trite as it may sound, the future is ahead of us. Drupal has a number of challenges, and a number of structural and institutional problems that need to be addressed. In fact, they are being addressed... by Drupal 8. Drupal 8 will be an exceptional release; both in the sense of "really cool" and "really rare". The work of hundreds of people over the past 2-3 years has been to not simply add features to Drupal, not simply to innovate its API, but to push the project forward structurally and culturally to allow us to address long-standing pain points of our development cycle and community evolution.

What some may see as an unfamiliar change is, in truth, the way we address problems that have plagued Drupal for many releases but could not be handled any other way. Loosely coupled architecture, more industry standard techniques, and the removal of long-standing and long-outdated assumptions are not a threat; they are exactly how we can address issues of small-scale sites, of Drupal's spastic and often painful upgrade cycle, and of the constant challenge of finding Drupal talent in a field where Drupal rarely overlaps with talent in any other area. And we will do it without abandoning our current strong community.

Drupal 8 is going to kick ass.

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Oct 03 2013
Oct 03



Coming up to a week  since DrupalCon Prague, caught up with my girls, emails, calls, follow ups and all else… time to reflect.

I stand by my verdict of the 26th of Sept: @drupalcon #Prague No #Munich but No #Croydon either but an informative fun week. That is to some annoyance of a few fellow community members and possibly some folks at DA… folks there was and is no offence intended, someone has to lay it out as it is and I did share the feedback in person with DA and not just tweeted it on my way to the airport HA!

The host city was awesome, the venue was well their congress centre (the best they had to offer I suppose) but the connectivity there sucked! the food though not that important could have been much better, the sessions that I have been catching up on line were good though more diversity is key for the future… representation across the continents please! BoFs were super useful no doubt and some of the SWAG was nice, some just awesome – Acquia and Deeson win the SWAG award!

DrupalCon_Prague_201325 11.51.49

DrupalCon_Prague_201325 11.51.49

Having said all of that the most awesome thing about DrupalCon Prague was the connectedness! on that note Prague won hands down! out did Munich too!

I am going to be at DrupalCon Austin which will be my first DrupalCon across the pond and knowing how conferences go over the Atlantic am sure it will be mind blowing and if not you will hear about it in person. As for DrupalCon Amsterdam… it can be nothing short of epic! but then most peeps who have been to the Netherlands would say that!

It was great seeing old friends and making new ones and looking forward to the next Cons and upcoming Camps across the third rock.

Sep 30 2013
Sep 30
We were at DrupalCon Prague 2013.

Last week (23.-27.09.) Cocomore attended the European DrupalCon in Prague with three colleagues penyaskito (Christian López Espínola), jsbalsera (Jesús Sánchez Balsera) and kfritsche (Karl Fritsche). We also attended the extended sprints before and after the Con to contribute to Drupal 8 Core.

Like on all the other Cons there were a lot of interesting sessions, BoFs and discussions with other Drupalists. If you couldn't make it to the DrupalCon you can watch most of the session records at the YouTube channel from the Drupal Association.

group picture by @schnitzel

Extended Sprints

The extended sprints were at the Hub Praha the weekend before and after the Con, which was located some tram stops away from the conference center. Everybody had enough space here to help working on Drupal 8 core. The hub had three conference rooms for the "Hard Problems" discussions. We used our experience with Drupal to help the Drupal 8 Multilingual Initiatives (D8MI) to make Drupal 8 the best multilingual CMS! Also all the other core initiatives and core committers attended these sprints, so patches could be committed fast. It is always a pleasure and a good experience to work with all the people from the community.

Sprinting in the Hub Praha - Karl, Jesús, Christian


The Con was located in the conference center in Prague next to the Vyšehrad. From here you had a good view over Prague, while contributing to Drupal 8 in the Coder Lounge. So at least everybody had something from the beautiful town of Prague.

Coder Lounge.jpg

It was hard to pick a sessions with nine parallel tracks (115 all in all). You can read the complete program including links to the recorded videos at the DrupalCon Prague website. I strongly recommend the keynotes from Dries about "State of Drupal" and Aral Balkan about "Experience Driven OpenSource". In advance I recommend the following sessions:

  • From Not-Invented-Here to Proudly-Found-Elsewhere: A Drupal 8 Story from Alex Pott (D8 Core Committer) about the possibilities and advantages from moving to already existing frameworks.
  • Standardization, the Symfony way from Fabien Potencier (Project-Lead Symfony) about the philosophy and concepts of Symfony.
  • Translation Management from Michael Schmid and Christophe Galli (Maintainer TMGMT) about the Translation Management Module. It was amazing to see what they did in the last two years and that they are already working on a Drupal 8 version. A must see if you have to translate a lot of nodes.
  • There were more good sessions but I tried to keep this short.

Outside the sessions

In the Coder Lounge next to the session rooms you had the time to contribute and test on Drupal 8. There were always a lot of people there so you could get help quickly. I think some of them have never seen a single session. Also the hard problems discussions were continued there.

by Gábor Hojtsy - "Busy in field translation/language discussion to make field DX better than D7. Fields/entity and multilingual! #d8mi"

In the day you had the sessions and at the night we went to the 24th floor of the Corinthia Hotel to continue sprinting with others all night, which led to a high shortfall of sleep but was really funny. For the dinner there was a nice social event "Cheap Frosty Beverages & A Killer View" in a beer garden in Prague, for all who found it. On Thursday the last day of the all the sessions the Drupal Trivia took place in the Hilton Hotel. It was a big fun and the team "Create Table" (Nathan Haug, Jen Lampton, Florian Weber, Vijaya Chandran Mani, Tobias Stöckler, Karl Fritsche) won in a three team tie against "Breaking Head" with Gabor Hojtsy and Cathy Theys and Acon Armada.

For everybody who wanted to contribute on Core but never did, there was an introduction to all community tools on Friday and 50 volunteer mentors (amongst others Karl Fritsche) to help everybody to get more contributors. This is a good example to see how helpful and welcoming the Drupal community is. A big thanks to Cathy Theys (YesCT) to organize this event in Prague.

Another good example how amazing the Drupal community is happened this week too. In under 24 hours yched's project on DrupalFund.us reached its goal. Now he can contribute to Fields API more powerful. Congratulations!

Next Drupal Events

It was a nice DrupalCon. Thanks to all organizers, sponsors and volunteers who made this happen. I'm excited about the next events, even if I now have to make up a lot of sleep.

Sep 04 2013
Sep 04

Well, I've gone and done it. I've managed to setup my most intense conference schedule to date. This fall I will be appearing at no less than five conferences, speaking at least four of them.

If you're into Stalking Crell, here's where you'll find me around the globe this fall.

September kicks off with DrupalCamp Costa Rica, Friday 13 September - Saturday 14 September. I'll be delivering a keynote address. This will only be my second time keynoting (the first being NYC Camp back in July), and I'm looking forward to it. The PHP world in general has been undergoing radical changes in recent years, and Drupal 8 is the most radical example. The organizers also talked me into reprising one of my classic talks (recently updated!), Aphorisms of API Design.

I'll be back from Costa Rica just in time to turn around and head to DrupalCon Prague, Monday 23 September - Friday 27 September. It should be a blast. (It is DrupalCon, after all.) As usual I'll be quite busy. On Tuesday, fellow Palantiri Robin Barre and I will be running one of the new DrupalCon Lab sessions: a 2.5 hour hands-on crash course on Your First Drupal 8 Module. It is actually an abbridged version of the training session we offered adjacent to the Midwest Developers Summit in August, and we'll be focusing on the concepts developers will need to understand in Drupal 8. (Expect more Palantir training offerings in the future.) Wednesday, I'll again be presenting on Aphorisms of API Design. Thursday kicks off with a panel discussion with the other Drupal 8 initiative leads, similar to what we ran at DrupalCon Portland, and I will also have the dubious honor of the final Core Conversations slot of the conference to talk about Drupal's release cycle and how we can (and should) change it to minimize future "break all the things" releases. Come on by and share your thoughts.

And of course there is always the sprint day on Friday, which everyone should be at. (Yes, including you.)

No sooner will I be back from Prague then it will be time for DrupalCamp Fox Valley on Saturday 5 October, fortunately for me held in the Chicago suburbs. They haven't announed sessions yet so I don't know if I'll be presenting, but I'll be attending either way. How could I miss a keynote by Jeff Eaton?

Come November I'l be on the road again. First stop is True North PHP in Toronto from Thursday 7 November - Saturday 9 November. I'll be presenting twice, a revised version of my Functional PHP talk (no, PHP is not a functional language but yes, there's a lot of benefit in sometimes treating it as if it were) and my new favorite, "Open Source, PHP, and PIE". (Yes, there is in fact PIE.)

I won't be back long, however, before heading right back across the pond for Forum PHP in Paris, from Thursday 21 November - Friday 22 November. I'll be presenting, you guessed it, Aphorisms of API Design. (Aphorisms are in vogue this year, it seems.)

I am going to be so jetlagged by the time December rolls around. And there's the possibility of one more getting added in there. More on that if it happens.

In short, you have no excuse to not hear about Aphorisms of API design. :-) Or functional programming. Or PIE.

Find a conference near you and get off your island. Let's go learn something.

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Sep 02 2013
Sep 02

You've probably heard of this magical land of version control where you can undo bad things, start over, and share your work effortlessly. It's a wonderful place that, let's face it, actually takes a bit of work to get to. It's a lot like Drupal: the more time you spend with version control, the more you forget how hard and complicated it was at the very beginning. And even when you understand it, you can still get yourself into a fuddle sometimes.

One of the things I did when I first joined Drupalize.Me was write documentation about how we were expected to work with our ticket system and branches in Git. I refer to it less these days, but it was essential in helping me to develop good habits. Internally we've documented:

  • How to work on a ticket
  • Branch types and names
  • Creating and maintaining branches
  • Checklists for peer review
  • How to conduct a peer review

The documentation includes step-by-step instructions and a copy-paste for various Git commands. Yup, even the experts have a copy-paste checklist for Git!

If you're new to Git and wondering about these commands, I encourage you to watch our video series Introduction to Git. Here our expert instructors Joe Shindelar and Blake Hall guide you through common Git commands and give you configuration tips. It's a great introduction to this popular version control system.

Still, if you've spent any time trying to shoehorn Drupal into a versioned workflow, you know that learning a few Git commands won't cut it. There have been many days when Drupal has tested and broken my patience with its refusal to play nice. You can make some things easy with the helpful module Features and the command line tool Drush (see: Introduction to Drush, beginner and Coding for Drush, advanced).

But none of these tools will replace real world experience. I've been teaching version control for almost a decade and Joe has been living it as a Drupal developer. Based on this experience, we've now merged our favorite Git workshops into one: Mastering Git for the Drupal Developer's Work Flow.

We are delighted to offer this workshop at DrupalCon Prague. We know, first-hand, exactly how frustrating the experience of putting Drupal into Git can be. We want to help you streamline the process. So in one day, we'll teach you how to create and implement a process for working with Drupal and Git. We encourage you to sign up with your co-workers for this workshop. After all, workflow is about improving your work with others.

See you in Prague!

Aug 30 2013
Aug 30

Im crazy excited about a specific change that DrupalCon is rolling out this year in Prague : The Community Summit on monday 23 september the day before DrupalCon (same time as the Codesprint & CxO)

The Drupal Community & the Druapl Association ( wtf! ) is taking a tough but necessary decision: kill the community track at DrupalCon - replace it with something that works.
The community track is a thing that apparently "everybody" wanted & screamed about how important it was - but NOBODY attended the sessions. That had to change, its a waste of good conference space, a waste of the presenters time & did anything actually came out of it?
Lets be real here: DrupalCon attendees wanna geek out! - not attend hippie hugging sessions. If the choice is between learning the awesome new theme system for Drupal8, geeeking out with Drush for 2 hours OR goto a talk about "creating passionated developers" - Then its proven by numbers what will happen (11 people attended that session btw)

Now the space is used for sessions & to embrace the need for community talks the DA have expanded the conference so we now have a "Community Summit"

The day is roughly 2 different parts:
1. Focus on getting stuff done.
2. Future of Drupal Events (4+ hours of brain storming, discussions & solutions)

The future or DrupalEvents

The future of Drupal Events workshop will be 4 connected discussions, brainstorming & solutions about the future of planning events in the Drupal Community.

Its of no surprise that the gatherings are extremely important for the Drupalverse(™) its about time that we take a day out of the calendar learn, discuss, plan & figure out how we take the events to the next level, both on local, national & international level.

We expect that local organisers (& attendees!) will participate and bring their dreams, fears, war stories expertise & dreams to help us organise better events in the future.

the #WTF & #epicwins

Answer the question "what was you biggest WTF & epicwin" at a community event - What did you learn from the wtf & epic win.
Dont worry all names & events will be kept a secret - What happens at "community summit the day before drupalcon" … will stay in our minds forever ;)

OMG it was the Best Drupal event eva!

In the perfect world where the sun always shines, you code is error free & the coffee is warm - How would an Drupal Event look like.
Let us roll out the idea's for the best event ever - Doesn't matter if its a camp, camping, con, meet up, code sprint etc. What are the goals we should strive after.
ps: we can cross of being the largest open source conference in the world ;)

Right here right now - Large(r) scale events

There s bunch of exiting events coming up in the very near future - both here in europe but also World Wide.
They do require more planning than a "simple camp" -

  • Drupal8 release - how do we make that work on a global scale.
  • Sponsors, how to not bleed em out
  • whats the purpose of DDD & FU
  • Can we use the Drupal Association for anything (yes this is a trick question.) organza

Charter Building - Europe: the final countdown (15:00 - 16:00)

(sorry couldn't resist the title)
3 years ago was the first official meet up between representatives of the European Drupal Community in copenhagen. since then we have had a loose communication going on in a mail list, its been unformalised & had a role of grey eminence - trying to make sure we didn't step on each other toes by arranging DrupalCamps on top of each other.

At the same time there have been "some problems" making communication to work with the DA in portland - how do we fix this?

This discussion will take europe as an example but should be a principal discussion of how to make regions coordinate & work. So this could be moved to fx the US and copied & changed into working in their local

Target Audience:

Drupal Events organisers attendees with ideas, those that wanna listen in to a long day of a deep look into the future of our Drupal Events & off course if you wanna get into doing events - this would be a good place to start.

Whatta ya waiting for - a written invitation?

Community Summit Program

warning this is (probably) gonna change

8:00: Registration
9:00: Welcome
9:30: Presentation of the working groups Lightning talk style
10:00: Defining goals for groups + caffeeine
11:45: Grap Lunch
12:00 - 13:00 timeslot 1:
* Future of Drupal events: share the WTF & epicwins
* Work groups: …work

13:00 - 14:00 timeslot 2:
* Future of Drupal events: Best camp eva!
* Work groups: …work

14:00 - 15:00 timeslot 3:
* Future of Drupal events: Right here Right now!
* Work groups: …work

1600: 17:00 timeslot 4:
* Future of Drupal events: Charter building?
* Work groups: …work

17:00 - 18:00 Sharing & Wrap up
Share of each group’s work + Wrap-up

**Post drink & food (*) **
18:00 - 19:00 Drinks Corinthia Hotel Bar
19:30 - late Community Dinner (mortendk & marek booked a whole restaurant 10 minutes from the venue, details follow)

Signup & lets push the community forward - Next stop is Total World Domination!


  • Morten & addi talks community summit on module unraveled
  • DrupalCon prague post
  • Announcement on Prague site:
Aug 08 2013
Aug 08
teaser image for blog post

With some seasoned and new members of the Ixis team attending Drupalcon in Prague this coming September we wanted to share our suggestions on essential sessions to attend from our teams point of view.

Matt P in our support team has been working with Drupal 6 & 7 for the past year and feels brushing up on what's coming in Drupal 8 for a site builder will be helpful as a primer when existing clients are begining to plan their site upgrades.

Also in our support team Adam T is keen to begin contributing back to the project so the session on becoming a contributor to the Drupal project looks like a good kickstarter coupled with the introduction to Your First Drupal 8 Module.

For the developers Paul B thoroughly recommends Alex Pott's talk about Not Invented Here a Drupal 8 Story which he previously saw at Drupal Dev Days Dublin. For those seasoned Drupal "developers" moving to Symfony and a more OO Drupal 8 framework will hopefully benefit from the Don't be Stupid Grasp Solid introduction to OOP talk.

In our DevOps team Michael A picked out some sessions around the current hot topic of containers with the Docker and Vagrant session by Acquia's Senior Cloud Systems Engineer Ricardo. We're looking forward to seeing where it goes when it eventually becomes production ready.

Designing Distributed Systems from CommerceGuys CTO looks to provide a good understanding the hard problems at play in distributed systems.

For myself there's so much variety on offer - from undestanding and making sure Ixis will be ready for Drupal 8 next year through to learning from others on how to ensure doing Support is a Blast for the team looking after our clients.

If it's all getting a bit much for your brain then we can definetly recommended the light hearted look at the history of Drupal Blocks which got a lot of great feedback at DrupalDevDays Dublin earlier in the summer.

If you've not yet decided on attending Drupalcon Prague then there's still time to grab a ticket. We'll hopefully see some of you there in September!

May 21 2013
May 21

I'm getting ready to head in to DrupalCon, where over the next few days I'll be talking education and open learning with anyone who is interested.

And as I'm heading in, I have MOOCs on the brain - not because I'm particularly a fan of MOOCs, but because of the tendency to take a great thing (in this case, information and interpersonal exchanges distributed broadly over the web) and reduce it into something that feels more manageable, but is ultimately something lesser (in this case, MOOC platforms). More on this later.

The Web Is Your MOOC

Part of the reason that I'm thinking these thoughts prior to heading into DrupalCon is that I've long held the notion that open source communities have been engaging in effective peer-supported learning, even while many for-profit companies and academic communities have been struggling to distill the process of peer-supported learning into something resembling a replicable product. From having participated in and built many types of learning communities over the years, simpler is often better - many open source communities have done amazing work with listservs and issue queues, and many more feature-rich platforms have withered because, over time, a site owners "must-have" feature is the post launch usability nightmare. There's a moral in there about user-centered design and user testing, but that's a subject for another post.

But getting back to MOOCs, the early MOOCs - the ones run by Stephen Downes, Alec Couros, Dave Cormier, George Siemens, (and yes, I know I'm forgetting people - please fill in the gaps in the comments) etc - encouraged participation from anywhere. If you had a blog with an RSS feed, you were in. Participants remained in control of their work (depending, of course, on the publishing tool they were using. Open source platforms generally offer more options for data ownership and portability than their closed brethren). The MOOC was like a marauding mob of information, with the potential to sprout anywhere.

It's All About The Portfolio

In the post-lifestream, post-MOOC era, it's been rare to see much excitement about portfolios. This doesn't surprise me, because like all good ideas, portfolios have been around for a while, and thus lack the shiny newness that generates great marketing copy. However, the need for the concept hasn't diminished - any time you see a site that promises to collect the sources of your learning into a single location, so you can show your employers what you know! - you should think, "portfolio." All of the sites that promise to simplify collecting and curating your digital footprint? Portfolios. A lot of the conversations around documenting and receiving credit for informal learning have their roots (and possibly solutions) in portfolios.

In the conversations we have had about portfolios over the years, we have seen three main barriers, or areas of misunderstanding:

  • Distinguishing between a working and a presentation portfolio: simply put, the working portfolio is a running collection of just about everything you do. The presentation portfolio is a selection of elements from the working portfolio selected for a specific purpose. Portfolios can serve different purposes for different reasons, and the relationship between the working portfolio and the presentation portfolio is key.
  • Portfolios need care and feeding over time: as mentioned before, the working portfolio is messy. Periodically, the working portfolio needs to be pruned and cleaned up. But, messy is great, and if it's not messy, that could be a sign that things aren't working as they should.
  • Ownership and control of the portfolio: because most portfolio implementations are paid for by an organization, the organization usually controls access to the portfolio and any information in it. Organizational control is also seen as an essential element to assessment. However, this flies in the face of learner control and ownership of the means by which they learn. Ultimately, this is a data portability issue with implications for the learning experience. More on this later.

Concluding Thoughts

One of the things that has been particularly underwhelming about the corporate MOOCs that have cropped up is their uncanny resemblance to an LMS with an open enrollment policy. While there are many differences between the platform-stylehttps://chronicle.com/article/Providers-of-Free-MOOCs-Now/136117/ MOOCs and the original versions, the lack of learner control is a key element. Like Vegas, work in a MOOC stays in a MOOC (unless, of course, a company pays money to study student data).

In the platform-style MOOCs, the open web is missing. From a learner perspective, the portfolio is MIA. For a learner, throwing the evidence of your learning into a space that someone else controls isn't a viable long term strategy.

So, if you're at DrupalCon and want to talk open learning, let's make some time and sit down together. Open source, and the methodologies that support sustainable open source development, have a lot in common with open learning. I'd love to hear what other people are doing in this space.

May 19 2013
May 19

Exaltation of Larks will be at DrupalCon Portland next week and we’d like to share some of our DrupalCon plans.

To summarize, we’re excited to announce that we’re co-training on Drupal Commerce with Commerce Guys; we’re continuing the conversation we started last month about Long Term Support for Drupal 6; and we have a quick list of Drupal Fit activities that are happening before and during the conference.

Interested? Read on.

Drupal Commerce Training

One of our core philosophies is that high-quality trainings are one of the very best ways to help Drupal and the Drupal developer community grow, and we’ve been working closely with Commerce Guys for the DrupalCon training, Launching an Online Store with Commerce Kickstart, on Monday, May 20th.

Our joint curriculum is based on the 7.x-2.7 version of Commerce Kickstart, which was just released yesterday. The attendees of this training are really in for a treat and this is a Commerce training that’s not to be missed.

Drupal Commerce Meetups Every Month

This is a good time as any to let everyone know that we’re proud sponsors of the Drupal Commerce Meetup, which meets in Los Angeles on the 4th Tuesday of each month.

Not in Los Angeles? Not to worry, these meetups are also being broadcast online for everyone to tune in for and enjoy. The next meetup is after DrupalCon on Tuesday, May 28th, so be sure to sign up over at Drupal Groups to hear what the next meetup is about.

These meetups are recorded and the video from last month’s meetup is available online. The video features a presentation by Ryan Szrama on Relify and personalized product recommendations. Relify neatly narrows the gap between Drupal Commerce and recommendation systems, like Amazon’s “you may also like” suggestions.

Long Term Support (LTS) for Drupal

We’re hosting a BoF (birds of a feather) discussion on long-term Drupal support (particularly for Drupal 6 sites when Drupal 8 comes out and bug fixes and security releases for Drupal 6 are discontinued).

Long Term Support is a topic that is near and dear to us and a number of our clients and this BoF is a followup to our earlier post, Drupal 6 End of Life When Drupal 8 is Released… Or Not.

We’re preparing an “LTS” version of Drupal 6 and have a lot more planned, so stay tuned to the DrupalCon BoF schedule and @LarksLA on Twitter for news of when this BoF gets scheduled.

Drupal Fit

Finally, if you haven’t heard of Drupal Fit, it’s a group of nearly 200 Drupaleros who are dedicated to fitness is one form or another (mental, physical, etc.) and to sharing their experiences with other Drupal community members.

Here’s a summary of some of the Drupal Fit activities at DrupalCon Portland.

Are there any other Drupal Fit activities not mentioned here? Send @DrupalFit a shout out on Twitter.

read more

May 06 2013
May 06

You can either get on the Drupal 8 bus now, or get run over by it later.

It's true. Drupal 8 is coming, and it will be big. Not just lines of code (that too), but big in the sense that Drupal 8 changes more of Drupal than any major release in the last 10 years. The adoption of so many 3rd party components (from Symfony and otherwise) is only part of that picture. That offers challenges for many, but also enormous opportunity. Drupal 8 will allow Drupal to expand into new types of application and new markets, which is a great thing for those who make their living off of Drupal. But where do you get started with learning about Drupal 8?

At DrupalCon Portland, that's where!

There are many sessions slated for Portland at both DrupalCon and at Symfony Live that deal with Drupal 8, either directly or indirectly. Below is my recommended hitlist for Portland for those wanting to get the lowdown on Drupal 8.

What, you're not already signed up? There's still time! Go register for either DrupalCon or Symfony Live, and be sure to get a Combo Ticket so that you are able to attend both conferences as well as Web Visions! (The combo ticket is the same price either way.)

The WSCCI Track

As the Lead for the Web Services and Context Core Initiative (WSCCI), I am of course biased. If you want to know what's going on specifically with the core system, web services, and "other things that Larry broke", then here's the schedule for you:

The Driesnote (DrupalCon) OK, this isn't about WSCCI specifically but you can't quite get away from it. Everyone's favorite Pointy Haired Project Lead will be giving his usual keynote, this time focusing on Drupal 8. You'll be there, right? Dependency Injection in Drupal 8 (DrupalCon) "Dependency Injection" doesn't have to involve a trip to the doctor. If you didn't get that joke, you definitely want to go to this session by Kat Bailey. It's one of the fundamental principles of good Object Oriented design, and of Drupal 8's architecture. You'll want to know how it works, how it works in Drupal 8, and why it will make your life oh so much easier. REST for Web Developers (DrupalCon) Drupal 8 is all about "REST", but... what does that have to do with napping? Nothing, actually. Author, presenter, and general purpose expert Lorna Jane Mitchell will fill in the gaps of what REST is (and isn't), and what it means for how to use the modern Web. Building web service clients with Guzzle (Symfony Live) Web services aren't just about serving requests, but also making them. If you want to connect to other web services from your site, you need an HTTP client. At Symfony Live, Michael Dowling will be speaking about Guzzle, the HTTP client that is widely used in the Symfony world and now baked into Drupal 8. Want to know how to build solid systems that talk to other systems? Start here. Composer: There's a Library for That (DrupalCon) The PHP world has begun embracing a new universal package manager called Composer. Drupal 8 is using it to pull in our many 3rd party libraries. This joint session by Rob Loach, Sam Boyer, and yours truly will delve into what Composer means for PHP in general and Drupal in particular, and how you can start using it now for both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 to spend less time writing code and more time using and building reusable components. REST and Serialization in Drupal 8 (DrupalCon) Remember all that theory about REST from 2 sessions ago? Now let's apply it to Drupal 8. Klaus Purer and Lin Clark will guide you through the new REST and Serialization modules in Drupal 8 and how to best leverage them. Hint: You will probably never need the Services module again. Modernizing Drupal 8 with Symfony2 (Symfony Live) For a big-picture "wait, so how does this damned thing work?", travel with me across the hall to Symfony Live for a part retrospective, part architectural overview of Drupal 8. How is Drupal using Symfony, and where is it not? Seek your answers here, young Jedi. Dries & Company Q&A (DrupalCon) Now that your brain is full, turn some of that new knowledge into questions! For the last session of the conference, join us for an open Q&A session with Dries and the Initiative Leads. (That sounds like an 80s band, doesn't it?) We'll try to answer your questions as well as we can about Drupal 8 and the future of Drupal, and try to be brief so we can get in as many questions as possible. Hey, I said try...

The rest of Drupal 8

Have any time left in your schedule after all of that? If so, try out these sessions. They're not related to Web Services, but do relate to major changes in Drupal 8.

The Future of Views In case you hadn't heard, Views is in core for Drupal 8. (And there was much rejoicing.) Tim Plunkett will be presenting an overview of where Views stands today, what it will look like tomorrow in Drupal 8, and how you can ready yourself for it now. Asset Management in Drupal 8 One of the biggest changes in Drupal 8 is that global state needs to go away. To do that, we are working to remove drupal_add_css() and drupal_add_js() in favor of a much more powerful system. Come see what it is... WYSIWYG in Drupal 8 Know what else Drupal 8 finally has? A WYSIWYG editor! And not just the dinky little admin form version you're used to, but a fully integrated inline editor. Nate Haug will be presenting on what that means for you as a site builder, and how to leverage it most effectively (or not at all). Drupal 8: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Join several senior members of the Palantir.Net team to talk about Drupal 8 in this open Q&A session from the perspective of people who make a living building Drupal sites for large clients. The Palantir team includes two Core Initiative Leads — myself and Mobile Initiative Lead John Albin Wilkins — and we'll be answering the question "now that you've built it, what are we going to do with it?" The Old and New Field API Let's face it, as powerful as Field API is in Drupal 7 the API leaves much to be desired. Fortunately the Field and Entity APIs have been heavily overhauled in Drupal 8 to be OO Plugins. Join Wolfgang Zigler, Yves Chedemois, and Kristof De Jaeger on a tour of the new data system in Drupal 8. Upgrading your Modules to Drupal 8 Oh dear oh dear. This is going to be scary, right? Not if you attend this session with Alex Bronstein, one of the few developers who has touched just about every new part of Drupal 8. Using Twig: The New Template Engine in Drupal 8 After years of PHPTemplate, we listened: Themers, behold Twig, the theme engine used by Symfony2 and now Drupal 8 as well. It has 30% less confusion, 50% fewer div tags, 80% fewer potential security holes, 95% less PHP in-your-face, and is 100% MortenDK approved. Join Jen Lampton, Fabian Franz, and John Albin Wilkins to see why Drupal 8 will make front-end developers sleep well at night. Making Drupal 8 Mobilicious Mmm... Mobilicious... Courtesy of my esteemed colleague and fellow Initiative Lead John Albin Wilkins, this session will cover what it takes for a Drupal site, and Drupal, to survive in a mobile-centric world. See what's already been done (hint: Drupal 8 is completely responsive out of the box) and what you (yes, you, right there, I'm talking to you!) can do to help finish the job. Multilingual Drupal 8 The Multilingual Initiative has been working to improve Drupal's already first-rate linguistic abilities even further. Initiative lead Gábor Hojtsy provides a look at where we stand and what's left to do. Using the Drupal 8 Configuration System Gone is variable_get(). In Drupal 8, you'll probably never need your own SQL tables for configuration. Fighting with Features just to get a few config changes to production is a thing of the past. Why? Join Greg Dunlap of the Configuration Management Initiative for a tour of the new configuration system of your dreams. Drupal 8 Plugin System Deep Dive And last but certainly not least, Drupal 8 will also feature a new unified plugin system, replacing the scattered array of array-based mechanisms for making "things" swappable and configurable. SCOTCH Initiative Lead Kris Vanderwater joins an all-star cast of James Gilliland, Tim Plunkett, and Alex Bronstein to show how to Plug All the Things! in Drupal 8 and make your code easier for others to extend, to boot.

As always, all sessions will be recorded. It's a good thing, too, because there's way too many good sessions just in the list above to fit into one week, to say nothing of all of the other sessions available at DrupalCon, Symfony Live, and Web Visions. Oy!

Core Conversations

Oh yeah, and there's also an entire track dedicated to looking at Drupal's future, including Drupal 8 and even a few mentions of (gulp!) Drupal 9.


What, that's not enough for you? OK, you asked for it. Both DrupalCon and Symfony Live are also offering full day paid training workshops.

If you're looking specifically at understanding the Drupal/Symfony relationship, check out Drupal 8 and Symfony: All you need to rock (an all day session on Drupal 8 development with emphasis on Symfony components and Twig) on Monday. For a more Symfony-centric but still Drupal-relevant appraoch, try SensioLabs' workshop on the Symfony Components on Sunday.

Put it to good use

Whew! After a conference (or conferences) like that, your brain will probably be bursting with new information. There's only one way to treat an over-stuffed brain: Apply your new knowledge to something, quickly before it falls out!

DrupalCon and Symfony Live will be hosting our usual Sprint Day on Friday 24 May, all day from 9 am to 6 pm (and if history is anything to go by, continuing in hotel lobbies for several more hours). There will be teams working on all parts of Drupal 8 core, documentation, even project application reviews. In particular, I'll be coordinating efforts to port "page callbacks" to "controllers". (Don't know what that means? See the meta issue and documentation, and then come to DrupalCon to find out more!) In fact, we'll also be participating in the extended sprints hosted by Acquia on Saturday and Sunday.

Whew! I'm exhausted and it's not even conference time yet. Drupal 8 will be here before you know it, and now's the time to get a jump on this amazing new platform before the plaster dries.

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Mar 31 2013
Mar 31

Am back in Islamabad after two very long and tiring days to Lahore and a full on Camp!  details to follow, this is abridged version for the experience!

Drupal Cam Pakistan in Lahore was a strange affair, all in all a great experience, met all my objectives of promoting Drupal and the power of OS in creating jobs, opportunities and prosperity… introduced Drupal to a small army of students,  but could not quite understand the industry representatives in Lahore! of the 60 odd registered from Industry only 20 odd showed up… total count on the day was about 70+ of which the majority were students – which was great but would have been better for the industry to turn up to network and guide the local student population!

Stranger still was discovering that a perfectly normal Drupaler I know in the community in Pakistan turned out to be a bigoted, racist ignoramus! not so nice known ya fella’

We linked up with the Drupal Community in Bangalore and this guy went off on a nationalistic ignorant rant with them on Skype! of course I used my 6’3 110kg mass to push him aside and apologised for giving the podium to a bigot!

Any hoo… the Camp was great, we trained 41 newbies in Hello Drupal and expect the vast majority to keep at it… we linked up with the Faculty lead on relations with industry and convinced Bilal Arshad from UCP to introduce Drupal in their end of year projects for students.

The next camping trip for Drupal Camp Pakistan is in August to Karachi and then I am off Camping in Dubai to build links with the community in the GCC region…

As for right now… am off to host the inaugural 9others meal in Islamabad… more on that later.

Mar 29 2013
Mar 29

An evangelist’s log: Star date – 28th March

Drupal Camp

0730 –  landed in Islamabad, 30 minutes in the immigration queue, walked to the carousel and my luggage is right there! out by 0815 – has to be a new record flying coach! Straight to the Crane’s nest, up since 0700 the day before, Bialetti on the stove, quadruple espresso and the world starts making sense again!

0930 am informed by one of our crane also a trainer for DrupalCamp that there has been a slight oversight on his part for the 30th March camp… it also happens to be the day his sister-in-law is getting married! in all the excitement of the Camp it slipped his mind that his attendance at the wedding is not optional! a key crane has to be excused, but an ex-crane steps in to save the session!

0940ish Asif our network ninja informs me that the net speed in Pakistan is not running at its best because of a damaged submarine cable! but the powers that be are working around the clock (somewhere under the Suez canal) on fixing it asap! I get online, start streaming off Vimeo and yes the speed sucks!

1000ish Fida our organiser supremo informs me that Campus at University of Central Punjab has a fantastic mega fat pipe line… the submarine cable damages comes to mind!

1200ish Atta sends me an article from the Guardian – Cyberbunker is kicking Spamhaus’s behind and the end users are paying for it with reduced speed! the Rock’s largest DNS attack is in play! and the net speed in Blighty is suffering! a three word expression come to mind!

But it would be no other way, the camp is going to Lahore home to the not so famous Lollywood, where the action movies would send Action Jackson cowering; featuring horses and Drupal Campriders who can cover great distances in a flash… from Times Square NYC to Lahore Central in less time than it takes for a villain to pull off the distressed damsels veil, XXXL heroines doing Shakira numbers and heroes who would scare the pants of Jet Lee, guns that never need reloading, heroes who can spill more Red than the Red sea and still manage dialogues and live to fight another few dozen baddies in the next 30 seconds, actors with phenomenal stamina to shout out dialogues over 2+ hours!… and directors who evidently compete on how absurd a movie they can make!

There has to be drama involved! this is LAHORE not Sparta!

#Drupal #DrupalCamp #EmergingTechnologies

Feb 08 2013
Feb 08

Listen online: 

In this special episode Addison Berry and Jeff Eaton give a report of DrupalCon Sydney, from Australia. The audio is not at our normal quality, but we wanted to drop a quick line out about Sydney while we're here. We chat about the two keynotes that we had, our favorite sessions, and how amazing it is to have a DrupalCon literally by the beach.

Release Date: February 8, 2013 - 4:37pm


Length: 38:25 minutes (22.27 MB)

Format: mono 44kHz 81Kbps (vbr)

Dec 31 2012
Dec 31

And so 2012 draws to a close. The world didn't end, to the disappointment of many. In some ways it was an eventful year, in others rather ho-hum follow-ups to the excitement of 2011.

In the Drupal world, though, 2012 will go down as the year Drupal finally began replacing NIH with PIE. Compare Drupal's 8.x branch a year ago with it today. A year ago, we had one class of 3rd party PHP code, in an uninteresting corner of the update system. Today, it contains 3rd party code from no less than five different projects: Symfony, Doctrine, Guzzle, Assetic, and Twig. Those libraries are included via Composer, the new and ground-breaking PHP-library-management-system-that-actually-finally-works. Code from at least one more should be landing soon.

Drupal developers, working on Drupal, have contributed to a number of other projects, including Symfony and Symfony CMF, and because of the degree of code sharing happening in the PHP world now have indirectly contributed to a half-dozen other major projects, too. Drupal 8, aside from the technological advances it will offer over Drupal 7, also represents perhaps the largest cultural shift in Drupal or PHP history.

Are you ready for 2013, Drupal? Really?

Like many PHP projects, Drupal has been its own island for years. A large, active, vibrant island, but an island. But in 2012, the PHP archipelago began to form into continents. With the bridges built by Composer and by the "open islands" made possible by the PHP Framework Interoperability Group and PSR-0, collaboration and sharing between PHP projects has never been higher.

That represents both a threat to Drupal's traditional island-based culture, but also an incredible opportunity. We have an incredible opportunity to, as Greg Dunlap has put it before, "get off the island" and learn from others outside of our community. No matter how big the Drupal community, the PHP community is larger.

So, I put this challenge to the Drupal community: Make your New Year's Resolution to get off the island in 2013. By that I mean get involved in the wider PHP community, both to learn from it and to share with it. Let's be honest, Drupal has done some pretty amazing things, both technically and as a community, that we can and should share with the rest of the web development world. At the same time, we need enough humility to accept that there are way better ideas floating around out there than exist in Drupal, and we should be open minded enough to learn from them or adopt them wholesale.

In 2013, make it your goal to attend at least two non-Drupal web development conferences. Large, small, doesn't matter. If you can, present at least one of them; maybe about Drupal, maybe not. Connect with people outside of Drupal. Meet fresh faces; expose yourself to new ideas; share your awesome ideas with a wider world than just the followers of Druplicon.

Then come back to Drupal Island wiser, more worldly, and more able to continue to drive Drupal to be the leading CMS on the market.

For my part, I will be attending at least Sunshine PHP in February; I'm still looking for other conferences to speak at this year as well. (Suggestions and invites welcome, of course.) And all Drupalers have a unique and awesome opportunity this May to attend Symfony Live Portland, directly next door to DrupalCon Portland. Kick off your island hopping in Portland with the trifecta of conferences: DrupalCon, Symfony Live, and WebVisions. Attend at least 2 of them, or just do the combo pass. Help build bridges between PHP communities.

Perhaps the world did end in 2012: The world that consisted of only Drupal. That world is indeed gone. The new world of 2013 involves collaboration and sharing across dozens of projects. Let's make Drupal a leader in this brave new world.

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Dec 05 2012
Dec 05

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DrupalCon Sydney logoGit’s a ripper Version Control System, and considering its growing adoption, you can’t afford to be a drongo when it comes to leveraging it. No worries though, just head on over to Sydney the day before DrupalCon kicks off, take DrupalEasy’s action-packed Blue Collar Git training, and Bob’s yer uncle! 

The Yank (that’d be me) from DrupalEasy is putting on this fast-paced workshop that’ll help you master Git and get gobsmacked at how much more effective you get as a Drupal developer, themer or project manager. Git’s a dinky-di super speedy and efficient version control system. Unlike the others, Git’s got a distributed approach, which gives it an edge for collaborative development, and why its adoption is going flat chat.  What’s more, as it grows, being comfy with it becomes not just a valuable tool, but a handy talent to brag about as its becoming a popular preference on job posts. 

Blue Collar Git will start just after brekkie with the basics and a look around under the bonnet, then delve into remote repositories, resolving conflicts, and working with patches in the arvo. We’ve designed Blue Collar Git to be just the script you need to empower you to start leveraging it for your everyday workflow.

This unique workshop came about from a video of the 2010 Open Source Developers Conference session "Git for Ages 4 and Up" by Michael Schwern. His Tinker toy demo helped me soak up the Git knowledge, and motivated me to teach it using a similar method. Great feedback from various Git-related meetups and camp presentations and trainings inspired the full-blown training course.

The workshop runs the full day of February 6, the day before DrupalCon at the Crowne Plaza. The cost is only $440 for the full day (includes lunch!). This is our first time bringing a DrupalEasy workshop to Oz, so we’re hoping for a bonzer of a turnout! Get on the bush telegraph and grab a Drupal mate to spend the day soaking up insight and doing lots of hands-on learning. Head to the DrupalCon Sydney site to sign up for this corker of a training course!

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Nov 07 2012
Nov 07

Drupalcons have always been the big ticket events in the Drupal community. There are typically two Drupalcons per year, one in North America, and one in Europe. Drupal Camps on the other hand, have always been somewhat less of an attraction for larger audiences, as they tend to have a limited global reach. But times are changing, and as Drupal’s reach expands and their user group grows, the Camps are becoming bigger and bigger each year. BADCamp 2012 was a well oiled machine. There were 1652 registered attendees, a couple hundred more registrants than last years BADCamp, and only a couple hundred shy of the 2012 Drupalcon in Munich. With the increase in attendance and the addition of new summits, it looks like BADCamp is slowly starting to bridge the Drupalcon gap.

BADCamp 2012 logo banner

The main reason why this years BADCamp was such a success was the addition of five new pre-conference summits, giving them 8 in total. These summits allow for likeminded individuals, business owners, and prospects to collaborate, learn, discuss, and share on topics pertaining to their specific interests and industry. With the summits, individuals have access to a full day of targeted learning as opposed to a brief 45 minute presentation during the weekend. No longer is BADCamp just a weekend event, it’s now a four-day learning experience. The summits from this year were: Mobile Drupal Summit, Drupal Product Summit, Drupal Business Owners Summit, Drupal Devops Summit, Drupal UI / UX Summit, Core Developer Summit, Higher Education Summit, and Drupal Non-Profit Summit. This year we saw BADCamp solidify its spot as a community leader while effectively scaling and making it a must-do event for all Drupalers.

ImageX Media was a sponsor for the Drupal Business Owners Summit. Glenn Hilton, the CEO, spoke on How to Recruit and Retain Top Talent. His discussion covered topics like, where to scout talent, how to implement strategies to retain personnel, and retention tools.

Glenn Hilton BADCamp Presentation

ImageX Media also sponsored the Higher Education Summit where Kristin Boden-MacKay from Portland State University presented on her web services implementation strategies and how OpenEDU has helped PSU reach their online goals and objectives. Kristin had a very compelling story and history that piqued the interests of the Higher Education audience. She drew on examples of ImageX Media’s custom built simple content syndication system and the rapid site deployment feature that are both currently running on pdx.edu.

Though there were many exciting presentations at Badcamp this year, probably two of the most popular with the ImageX Media team was the great introduction to Vagrant and what it can do to simplify & enhance developer processes by Craig McEldowney. Also, the really interesting insight into what enterprise-scale architecture looks like and what needs to be considered in maintaining such architecture by Barry Jaspan talking about Acquia Cloud’s infrastructure testing.

As the state of the community constantly changes and grows while adapting to the demands of the market, it is great to see the individuals and businesses that constitute the community continue to push the envelope and make events like BADCamp 2012 the best Camp yet.

Oct 08 2012
Oct 08

One of the many hats I wear these days is Development and Coding Track Chair for DrupalCon Sydney 2013. As outlined in the track description we are planning on showcasing what is awesome today in Drupal 7 and the cool stuff that is coming in Drupal 8. Given that there are no core conversations in Sydney we are trying to put together a more intermediate-to-advanced level track. I want people to come to these sessions and go away with their heads full of ideas about what they can do better in their next project.

If you have a session that you think fits that brief then please submit something. If you want to ask me anything before submitting your session, feel free to contact me. The decision on which sessions are accepted will be made in late October / early November by the track team, the global track chairs, the content chair and myself in a collaborative decision making process. The accepted sessions will be announced on 13 November.

Although the event won't be as big as a northern hemisphere DrupalCon, it is going to be full of great people. The initial 100 early bird tickets sold out in less than 8 hours!

Please be aware that there is no financial support available for speakers and you will be required to buy a speakers ticket at a cost of 165USD.

Submissions close at 23:59 AEST (UTC+10) on 26 October so submit a session today!

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Sep 28 2012
Sep 28

After decompressing for a couple of weeks from Drupalcon Munich, some observations have filtered to the surface. This is my 10th Drupalcon. It seems to be hard to believe. I've seen changes to the demographics of the convention that I think are worth sharing.

Our age

Back in 2007 in Barcelona, the average age of the convention go-er really seemed to be about 28 years old. We had some attendees that were older (like me) some that were younger, but by in large we were looking at a group of folks that were not at the beginning of their careers, but certainly not elder statesmen.

5 years later, the average age seems to be around 36-37ish. Again, some younger and some older, but the fascinating thing is that we seem to be aging, as a group faster than 1 year for 1 year. This seems to indicate that we are attracting professionals that are further along in their careers.

Is this good or bad?

Well, it swings both ways. Older community members bring stability and wisdom to the project. Still, like any population, you want enough young folks coming into the fold to replace those that leave. Attrition is a killer and open source software projects like ours can suffer from the equivalent of "HR attrition". Attrition in our community occurs when:

  1. People burn out and stop contributing
  2. People move to another technology
  3. People die

This is natural and to be expected. The challenge is replacing those individuals. They cover the full gambit of workers ranging from coders, to themers, to site builders, to product managers, to project managers, to business developers, to executives.

If we are attracting more mature people to our community, we need to do more to attract younger people into the community. This is critical for the sustainability of the project as a whole.

Our gender

We're doing pretty well on this count. Back in 2007 in Barcelona, the breakdown between men and women seemed to be about 3% women and 97% men. The Drupalchix Meetup at the Con in Barcelona was about twelve people. In other words, women were so under represented it was almost absurd. According to Geek Feminism, in 2007 opensource only had 1.5% representation from women. The technology industry as a whole has 10-30% representation by women.

At the time of Drupalcon Munich, the percentage of women was up to 17% in the Drupal project. The "t-shirt report" in Munich showed 79% men and 11% of women in attendance. This isn't scientific, but shows that no fewer than 11% of attendees were women. This is still not good enough. We need to continue to attract women to the project.

Our growth

If Drupalcons are a slice of the community as a whole, then we have flatlined in our growth. The last couple of American Drupalcons have had very little growth in the number of attendees. In Europe, there continues to be modest growth. Some have argued that this is due to venue size - but my sense given the curve of when the ticket countdown occurs, we would find we just couldn't sustain larger numbers.

Drupalcon Attendance
Growth in Drupalcon Attendance

This points back to our need to more effectively recruit new people.

Recently, on the Drupal Marketing Group, I wrote about our need to diversify. That, as a community, we need to embrace all our cultures. By extension we need to recruit more youth. We need to continue to be inclusive of women. We need to reflect, demographically, the population we want to serve. It should be diverse in age, color, and gender. There is still a lot of work to be done.

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Sep 26 2012
Sep 26

Cusco, Peru - January 2014


To celebrate the freedom and cultural diversity of the Drupal Community.


  • Hold an International Drupal event;
  • Organizers from 10+ countries;
  • Participants from 25+ countries;
  • From 500 to 1000 participants.


  • Openness
  • Transparency
  • Collaboration
  • Inclusion

Latin-American Organizers

  • Fernando Garcia (Peru)
  • Joaquin Bravo Contreras (Mexico)
    -- Koffer
    -- ? JMolivas
    -- ? Manuel Encarnación
  • Nick Vidal (Brasil)
    -- Pedro Faria
    -- Leandro Nunes
    -- Renato Vasconcelos
    -- Paulino Michelazzo
  • Karim Boudjema (Bolivia)
    -- Cristian Denis Mamani Torres
  • Felix Delattre (Nicaragua)
  • Darwin Betancourt (Ecuador)
  • Aldibier Morales Morales (Colombia)
    -- ? Alberto Gavis
    -- ? Ivan Chaquea
  • Javier Reartes (Argentina)
    -- ? Rosamunda
    -- Victor Kane
  • Diego Tejera (Panama)
  • Isaak Ordoñez (Guatemala)
    -- Luis Fernando Dueñas de León
  • Alberto Arancibia (Chile)
    -- Saul Willers
  • Pablo Avilés (Costa Rica)
  • James Wilson (Haiti)
  • Saúl Fernando Espinoza (El Salvador)

Local Organizers

  • Nancy Contreras
    -- Heissen López Meléndez
    -- Ruben Monrroy
    -- Bonifacio Abad Chambilla Chura
    -- Alberto Torreblanca
    -- David Jeyachandran
    -- ? Julita Inca
    -- ? David Sauñe
    -- ? Omar Zorrilla Llerena
    -- ? Eduardo Telaya
    -- ? Edward Gavidia
    -- ? Luis Curo

International Organizers

  • Pedro Cambra (Europe)
    -- João Ventura (Portugal)
    -- Morten Birch Heide-Jørgensen (Denmark)
    -- Josef Dabernig (Austria)
  • Greg Knaddison (North America)
    -- Ariane Khachatourians
    -- Jennifer Lampton
    -- Stephanie El-Hajj
  • Donna Benjamin (Australia)
  • Joeri Poesen (Africa)
  • ? (Asia)

?: support to be confirmed.

This is an open participation event. To have your name added to the list, just participate at:

Names are updated periodically according to participation. If you feel your name should be here, please contact:

Finances and Sponsorship

  • Individual Ticket: 50 USD*
  • Bronze Sponsorship: 1250 USD
  • Silver Sponsorship: 2500 USD
  • Gold Sponsorship: 5000 USD

*Free for all students thanks to Scholarship Fund.

Let’s be as frugal and inclusive as possible.


The city might offer the venue for free or discounted rate for cultural events.
Nancy and Fernando have the contacts with the Venue.


Lima has an excellent international airport and it's located exactly in the center of Latin America. Round-trip air tickets from Lima to Cusco cost from 100 to 200 USD (http://www.starperu.com/).


  • Logo and Theme Contest submission deadline: July 28th, 2013
  • Logo and Theme Contest results: August 1st, 2013
  • Community Mosaic submission deadline: December 31st, 2013
  • Late January 2014: DrupalPicchu 2014





Why DrupalPicchu?

Picchu means Summit in quechua (native indigenous language), so DrupalPicchu means DrupalSummit. This gives an original name to such an important historic event for the Drupal Latin Community.

Why Peru?

This is where the first DrupalSummit Latino was celebrated. In terms of logistic, Lima has an excellent international airport and it's located exactly in the center of Latin America. Plus, there are no Visa requirements for most people in Latin America and the world. Also, the country is affordable and offers many cultural and touristic attractions.

Why Cusco?

It's near the world famous Machu Picchu. People from all over the world will enjoy coming together in this magic place.

Why Now?

The Drupal Latin Community is ready and committed to organize an international event. The cancellation of DrupalCon Sao Paulo by the Drupal Association was very frustrating and the community wants to show to the world that it has the power and the will to organize an event like this. We have many experienced community leaders, and Drupal events are popping up in Latin America at an incredible rate. We must foster this momentum and energy and take it to the next level! With your help, we can make it happen!

Why January 2014?

This date is exactly between DrupalCon Europe and DrupalCon North America.

Sep 09 2012
Sep 09

After a bit of a delay, all slides from my trio of DrupalCon Munich talks are now online. The videos have been up for a while.

  1. Functional PHP: video - slides
  2. Web Services and Symfony Core Initiative: video - slides
  3. Multi-headed Drupal: video - slides

See you at the next conference!

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Sep 07 2012
Sep 07

Listen online: 

Welcome to the first Drupalize.Me podcast! We've renamed the Lullabot podcast to Drupalize.Me and we're re-invigorating it with a new schedule. We will be posting a new podcast every other Friday, starting today! In this episode the Lullabot team gives a recap of the highlights from DrupalCon Munich. Join Addi, Karen, Joe, Sally, Kyle, and Brock as they chat about big announcements and their favorite sessions and moments from DrupalCon.

Podcast notes

Release Date: September 7, 2012 - 10:25am


Length: 40:12 minutes (16.1 MB)

Format: mono 44kHz 56Kbps (cbr)

Sep 07 2012
Sep 07

Drupal 8 Multilingual Initiative Code Sprint weekend

I took a train from Frankfurt (Germany) down to Munich the Saturday before the DrupalCon. When I joined the Multilingual Sprint on Sunday morning, many of them had already been sprinting for a full day and a number of issues were ready for review, so I dived in, observing the behavior of Drupal 8 before and after applying patches, proof-reading the patches for anything odd (e.g. typos in the documentation), discussing the issues in comments and in IRC with people who were sitting just across the room (other times actually speaking in person). By the end of the day, instead of the dozen or so people that Gábor Hojtsy, the Multilingual Initiative team lead, had expected, there were close to 50 people at the location, some joining us in the work on Multilingual issues, some working on other Drupal 8 tasks, and some who were just arriving in Munich and followed the Tweets to where we were. Luckily, the location rented for the Saturdays and Sundays before and after the DrupalCon week was big enough to accommodate all the extra arrivals.

While on the topic of the venue we used for those weekends, I’d like to personally thank Stephan Luckow and Florian (“Floh”) Klare of the Drupal-Initiative e.V. for all that they did to find a nice place that would still leave us with a budget for food and for their valiant work on stretching the food budget while still serving up excellent fare, in keeping with the fantastic meals we enjoyed the rest of the week. Instead of ordering delivery, they prepared almost everything themselves, including beautiful open-face sandwiches, fruit platters, and lovely grilled specialties at a club we went to where you can barbecue in the Biergarten.

…thanks for the huge help to the local organizers, especially Florian Klare and Stephan Luckow. They helped us manage collecting and spending sponsor money wisely with the Drupal Initiative e.V, prepared great sandwiches and fruit plates for us and even organized a sprinter party night with grill food. It was amazing to work with such helpful and flexible local organizers.
Gábor Hojtsy, September 5, 2012

Luckow and SirFiChi of the Drupal Initiative, organized the location and made us great food!

Since people were “fresh”, I think a lot of work got done on the first weekend and the Monday before the conference (more than 50 people joined us and worked on various core initiatives on Monday in the room we later used for core most conversations at the Sheraton), which also meant that issues were still fresh in our minds while we had days of sessions and conversations, so when we started sprinting again on Friday we had lots of new ideas for the tasks we were still working on. Friday’s sprints were at the Westin Grand, where there was great attendance both upstairs in the main room as well as a large room downstairs from it, where Drupalize.me hosted a core contribution workshop to ease people into the process of contributing to core. I decided to go to that workshop since I’m still pretty new to it all and found a few people sitting nearby who were I was also able to interest in some Multilingual tasks, so while the main group sprinted upstairs, we also worked downstairs. Later on, I came upstairs, and since there were not a lot of simpler tasks for “core newbies”, like myself, I took some time to sprint on a module I contributed some time back, before there was much of anything for Drupal 7 in the area of “multilingual”… and tried to make my module more multilingual-friendly. I got a few good commits and a new release out for Internal Links and also recruited a colleague to look at the code with me, provide some ideas, and become another maintainer. So I personally found Friday quite productive.

*/ First off, a sprint on this scale would not be possible without sponsors and significant on-site help. DrupalCon provided us with space on Monday and Friday, and some great food on Friday. The rest of the days would not have been doable without comm-press, dotProjects.be, Open8.se, OSINet and Acquia. The [ … ] financial sponsorships they provided paid for our weekend venue [ … ].

I continued sprinting with the Multilingual initiative at the Film Coop Saturday and Sunday, leaving mid-afternoon on Sunday to get back to the train station. When I left the other sprinters, Webchick was only finally getting some rest after her trip home and we had about 20 issues that were marked “RTBC”. In all, there were dozens of issues tackled over the weekend. For a complete overview of all the issues we made progress on, see Gábor’s post about the sprints, where you can also check out his excellent DrupalCon core conversation presentation, “Drupal 8’s Multilingual Wonderland”. There is still a lot to do in the time between now and the “feature freeze” deadline, but we made good progress in the DrupalCon sprints, so hopefully we can push on and get the rest of the critical tasks done in the time remaining.

One of the less trivial tasks I took on during the final sprint weekend was documenting the new language_select field type, which involved checking out the Drupal API (documentation) project, updating the Form API table to include a new Element column (language_select) and Property row (#languages), as well as information about these (below the table) and linking them in all the appropriate places. Currently, updating this page is a bit of a pain, but hopefully we will move to a better system for maintaining this information, perhaps even automated generation. While I’d worked on other Drupal documentation pages before, this was the first time I’d actually contributed patches to update the API, so it was a good learning experience.

If you’d like to help out with the Multilingual initiative or other core contribution, you might first want to take a look at the Drupal 8 Initiatives page, where announcements about coming IRC meeting can be seen. This page also has links to the news, roadmaps, filtered issues, and other pertinent information. Drupalladder.org is also a great place to go for lessons to help you work through the steps of being ready to contribute to Drupal core.

I look forward to seeing you all in IRC and in coming code sprints.

Sep 07 2012
Sep 07

I started writing this post at the DrupalCon and then continued work on it on the train back home after a long week, last Sunday after the code sprints—even now, more than a week later (after being ill for a week—I think I was burning the candle at both ends for a bit too long), it’s hard to believe that it’s finally over. I arrived the weekend before to participate in the pre-con code sprints and stayed for the Friday–Sunday after the conference to continue that effort. I’ll write about the sprints in another post. This one will cover the highlights of the actual DrupalCon, what I think worked well, and recommendations for those attending their first DrupalCon; with two new continents getting a ’con this year, I think there will be more than a few at their first.

The food at DrupalCon Munich was great

For me, one of the major highlights of this conference was the outstanding food quality. It was so good I was distracted enough I never pulled out my camera to take photos of i, but it was attractive, gourmet, and delicious and there was something for everyone, even a fantastic salad buffet as well as more desserts than anyone could try… and hot dishes with plenty of options for both vegetarians and omnivores, alike. In the closing plenary, it was revealed that the catering costs for the event were about €352,000 for the 1800+ of us in attendance; not surprising for the quality and abundant variety of fare they served us. Food service tables were put in place in all areas of the conference so that there was no crowding into one area and the same dishes were provided at both the Sheraton and the Westin Grand, which were a few minutes’ walk away from each other. The conference occupied the three conference center floors of the Westin Grand and a few smaller rooms in the Sheraton, which were primarily “core conversations”. One might think I would gorge myself, but most days I had simple salad items, walnuts, and seeds… and gave myself a break before finishing with some fresh fruit and a light mousse from the dessert buffet. Despite the fact that the days were hot and many of the rooms weren’t well conditioned, people were alert and in good spirits and I think the food had more than a bit to do with that.

To continue a moment in the vein of “food”, since I really do think it was notable at this DrupalCon, I hope this reflects some new recognition of the importance of good sustenance when organizing a successful event like this. And I hope that future Drupal events will also place emphasis on food quality. That said, I also think that the community would pull together if we had commercial kitchen space and quality ingredients—we could prepare similar gourmet meals without quite the budget we used for catering at this conference; on the other hand, such a model might work better at one of the large DrupalCamps (a few hundred attendees) than at a huge (North American or European) DrupalCon. Of course preparing our own food would provide another place for people to connect (food preparation and more volunteer service), which I think would offset the downsides (not being able to be someplace else whenever you have “kitchen duty”).

The Venue


Munich is a beautiful city I’d never really visited before the DrupalCon. Public transportation was not too expensive, but I got to see a bit more of Munich by walking almost everywhere, so my walks back from the pre-conference sprints and out to dinner (beer) in the evening were mostly through parks where I got to see the huge Olympics installation and unusual sights like Munich’s famous river surfing.

Surfers have a man-made wave on the Eichbach

Sessions and participation

Choosing sessions

This was my second time attending a DrupalCon and I decided I wanted to primarily attend the “core conversations” track (with a few exceptions). For those who don’t know, the “core conversations” sessions are where plans for the future of Drupal are presented, discussed, and refined. It’s truly an amazing experience to sit in a room with dozens of top-notch developers as they hash out the architecture for new Drupal features or present the innovations they have already completed. Of course participating in the Drupal 8 (Multilingual initiative) sprints in Barcelona (a couple months ago) and before and after the DrupalCon session days probably also spurred my interest in the areas being covered by other initiatives, but it is definitely an interesting track if you are not sure what to attend. In the past, core conversations were often not fully recorded, another reason I chose to attend this track, but it looks like you can view most core conversations pretty well now, online. If you missed them and are interested in the future of Drupal (i.e. Drupal 8), there are many that you might want to watch.


Another first for me was helping the DrupalCon staff as a volunteer, mostly monitoring the rooms I was in and taking a head-count in mid-session. Other activities of a room monitor included being a bit early and making sure the speakers had everything they needed; I got to loan out a display adapter for one session and was prepared with multiple power adapters if anyone happened to be missing a way to plug in—we also tried to make sure that questions were recorded in session audio (either by having those with questions come to a microphone or the speaker repeating the question). I found volunteering rewarding and I thank Adam Hill, the DrupalCon Munich volunteer coordinator, for being a great guy to work with.

DrupalCon Munich Volunteers

Drupal 8 will be great!

Angie Byron’s current overview of Drupal 8 (aka “”) had not changed a lot since I last saw her similar presentation at the “Developer Days” in Barcelona a couple of months earlier, but it filled the largest session room, so there may have been close to 1,000 in attendance. Some features are more polished, some of the features are not yet written, but are better conceptualized than they were a couple of months ago, but the general ideas are mostly the same so in a presentation providing an overview of Drupal 8, while much has changed, it wasn’t much that affected the presentation. I’ve take the liberty to add a few specifics which were actually covered in separate sessions (sessions which covered each core initiative, for example), just for the sake of brevity and consolidation of information.

Webchick presents an overview of Drupal 8 features and initiatives

One key point that was made by all Drupal 8 core initiative leads is that we are only 3 months away from “Feature freeze” for Drupal 8 (December 1st, 2012), so it’s time to pitch in and try to help get all the great planned features into Drupal 8. All of the major initiatives need help and have areas where they are behind schedule as far as being ready for the freeze deadline with all the features the community would like to have in core.

Key Drupal 8 initiatives and components

- This finally ends the problem of having an evolving set of configuration on the development/staging sites which needs to be moved to production… but can’t be since the configuration (in Drupal 6 and 7) tends to be all over the place. Having a set of YAML documents stored in your sites “files” directory is a good way to manage and deploy common patterns to multiple sites, update configuration on production sites, etc. And it gets around the issue that pushing a database update from a development/staging server to production might overwrite actual content. So we now have a working configuration management system based on YAML files and a developers’ API, but no user interface for adjusting configurations; the UI still needs to be written. We also need ways to determine if configuration has been changed on the production server, have a range of multilingual configuration issues to still resolve, and performance issues, among other outstanding tasks. Join the #drupal-cmi IRC channel during the CMI meeting times and work on the issue queue if you want to help get the CMI full-featured for Drupal 8. Most active work is in the CMI sandbox repository.

deals with helping sort out inconsistencies and inflexibility in the core blocks functionality. It’s been described as, “Like panels in core, only better”… well at least that’s the goal. Everything on a page has context and is a block or layout/nested layout. Since blocks are rendered independently, caching is well-supported. A responsive layout designer from Spark can allow you to figure out your layouts for different screen sizes without a ton of divs complicating their HTML. If you would like to help with improving Drupal 8 layouts, there are office hours every Friday in Drupal IRC in the #drupal-scotch channel and you can read more about their current issues by looking at the “sandbox” project for the Drupal 8 Blocks and Layouts Everywhere initiative (it is not yet in the 8.x master branch of Drupal).

features will be in core and better than ever before. Interface translation, content translation, base language functionality and language configuration are all being greatly simplified so that it can all be in core with a nice, normal workflow. A lot of the real “pain points” with multilingual sites (or even simply non-English ones) have already been addressed and there is a ton that’s been done, but there is still a lot more to complete in the next three months if we want to really consider this a success. A lot of great progress was made during the code sprints before and after the conference. If you would like to help improve the Multilingual workflow in Drupal 8, there are lots of ways for anyone new to Drupal core development to still pitch in. There many open issues and many ways to move them forward without even writing a single patch. The best place to find active issues is probably to look at Gábor Hojtsy’s “focus issues” list. You can join the Drupal Multilingual initiative meetings in IRC (#drupal-i18n). See the meeting schedule on the main Drupal 8 initiatives’ help page.

is one of the biggest initiatives in terms of importance to Drupal 8’s success… ensuring that a site is responsive to the display size and has toolbars which nicely resize for device type is one of the major aspects of this work. We need good front-end performance for running on smaller, lower-powered devices; we need good, solid, clean, uncomplicated HTML5 code, and we need to be able to support easily using Drupal as a back-end for native mobile apps, purely responsive web design, web apps, or anything in between. There are some big parts of this which are not far along yet, so this is a great place for front-end developers and others interested in Drupal 8 mobile experience to get involved. One current obstacle to the Mobile initiative achieving its goals is greater completion of the Web Services initiative (WSCCI) also achieving its goals. Otherwise, John Albin Wilkins, the Mobile initiative project lead indicated two other areas which need a lot of work: front-end performance and the Drupal 8 mobile admin interface, likely designed with Spark’s Responsive Layout Builder. There are regular meetings on IRC (see meeting schedule on the mobile initiative’s official Drupal Groups page) and the Drupal 8 issue queue has a tag for "mobile" so it’s easy to jump in and help make mobile support rock in Drupal 8. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to help move the issue queue along. As Dries and others have indicated, this might be the primary initiative for determining Drupal’s future success, given current trends.

: One of the highlights of DrupalCon Munich sessions certainly had to be Angie Byron and the Spark team’s presentation of all the awesomeness that comes from the Spark-distribution modules. Spark is only still in “alpha”, but you can already tell how amazing the features are. The idea is that while they design the perfect authoring experience for Drupal 8, the community can use, test, and help to refine the new functionality (in Drupal 7 via the Spark distribution) so that the feature-set will be well-tested and as awesome as possible when Drupal 8 is launched. Spark allows you to simply edit content, in-place (via the Aloha editor used by the Edit module) and also has a number of nice tools for designing responsive layouts, and has a tool palette which pulls out from the side and responsively adapts to the device. The goal is for the editor system to output only clean code without a mess of ugly divs and inline styling… and the editor is already living up to most of that promise. Words don’t really do Spark justice, so rather than take my word, you can try the demo. Note: Since anyone can make changes to the demo site that might be a bit weird, if things are really messed up, you can check back later. And of course reviewing patches in the Spark issue queue and creating new issues, where applicable, can help smooth the way to getting the envisioned “perfect” content authoring experience into Drupal 8.x core.

The Aquia Spark team prepare their presentation at DrupalCon Munich.

: Theming/Templating improvements in Drupal 8 include the use of Twig, a templating system also designed by Fabien Potencier of Symfony. It eliminates PHP from the theming layer for simpler code and removal of many security threats. The work on Twig does figure heavily into some of the initiatives, but is not an official core initiative on its own. Work is being done in a Twig sandbox led by Andreas Sahle of Wunderkraut. If you are interested in helping build this up, you can check out this sandbox and assist with the issues.

: Drupal 7 was released in January 2011, but it took over a year before there were enough of the important contrib modules ready enough for it that Drupal 6 was finally surpassed (in terms of numbers of Drupal 7 installations). Getting Views into core will hopefully help boost the uptake of Drupal 8 use as soon as it’s released. This will be a lot of work and there is a fund to help pay for development time. A lot of Drupal 8 Views features actually already work. Major parts of cTools are now in core. There is a funding request for getting Views into core (I threw 10 € into the donation box at the DrupalCamp in Barcelona), and the more we can donate, the more the Views team can allocate paid developer time to ensure that Drupal has a nice version of Views available when it ships. Of course you can also help with the Views for Drupal 8.x issues.

in core (only better). There is still a lot to do, but the idea is that the site can take any kind of request and send appropriate responses without a lot of headache. A lot of Symfony components being brought into Drupal are especially important here. Symfony integration helps bridge a gap between ours and the also-dynamic PHP-based developer community around Symfony, so should help provide a lot more experienced developers for Drupal. There is still a lot to do here; you can check out the current status via the WSCCI sandbox and help with the issue queue. See the core initiatives overview page for IRC meeting times and details. If you weren’t there for Larry Garfield’s Munich presentation, Web Services and Symfony Core Initiative, you can still watch it to get a good overview.

Automated testing in Drupal 8 is much faster and the Symfony components also help allow us to have more modular modules… ones which can more easily be unit-tested. In Drupal 8, PHPUnit will replace Simpletest although the latter may remain in core for a transition period.

The social side of the DrupalCon

What happens between sessions is the real reason that most of us go to DrupalCons. There is nothing quite like participating in code sprints with Webchick sitting across the room, committing the patches you’ve just been helping with. And of course you can take your favorite Drupal developer out for a beer or something. It’s great to be in an atmosphere where there are thousands of people who actually have an idea what you are talking about when you tell them your occupation—and of course it’s nice, for a change, to be able to leave out any explanation of Drupal. If you go to a DrupalCon, it’s a given that you will leave having made new friends—new friends who will feel a bit more like “old friends” the next time you see them.

More DrupalCons in the coming year than ever before

If you have never been to a DrupalCon, there are more DrupalCons coming in the next year than we’ve ever had in a year period, before. Granted, the two new (Australia / South America) cons are planned as smaller events that would actually be dwarfed by some of the larger DrupalCamps, but this is all a sign that Drupal is growing, world-wide. Note that the U.S. and European DrupalCons are both being held a bit later than in previous years. I look forward to seeing you all at a coming DrupalCon.

Aug 28 2012
Aug 28

DrupalCon Munich 2012 was a blast! The whole Drupalize.Me team (myself, Joe, and Kyle) went over to Germany and soaked up the Drupal goodness. I had a very busy con, and want to share some of the great things that came out of it. (I'll try to be brief, but wow there was a lot of good stuff just in my little corner of the con!)

My week started off by being part of Bryan Hirsch's Drupal Ladder presentation, as part of the new steering committee we've set up. In addition to spreading the word and continuing to push the Ladder project forward, it spawned a number of really good conversations about how to get people bootstrapped into helping out with Drupal core. As the new lead for the lessons and ladders, I have a number of tasks on radar. First and foremost, we need to get our existing lessons completed and reviewed. In addition to the main ladder we already have on the site though, we also want to create ladders for each component of Drupal 8, and the initiatives that people are pushing to complete. To that end, I attended several core conversation sessions, and talked with folks about how to best put together these somewhat nebulous ladders. In a late night of chatting and beers, we got Gábor Hojtsy to create an outline for a Multilingual initiative ladder, based on the way that he has been getting volunteers up to speed on his work. We still need to fill this out, but it is a great start to getting a prototype initiative ladder created so we can test it out and get more people rolling. I. Am. Stoked. (If you want to help fill these lessons out, please feel free to dig in by getting an account and posting a comment on a lesson in the ladder.)

On day two of the conference I shifted focus a little and spent time talking about local community, both in the form of meetups and camps. For me, local and regional events are the prime place to really flatten your learning curve, and sorting out how to get more of them happening, successfully, is an important piece of Drupal education. I was on a panel called "To Beer Or Not To Beer? Making meetups work," along with Brock Boland, Karyn Cassio, and Paul Johnson, where there were lots of great ideas from the other panelists, and from the audience. I also attended the Plan and run a Drupal Camp while having fun, empowering others, sharing knowledge, and getting enough sleep* session, and the related BoF right afterwards. That focused on a project underway creating a camp "kit," that would not only provide an easy to set up camp version of Drupal's Conference Organizing Distribution (COD), but also branded promotional material, best practices documentation, and eventually a system that can be added to COD to actually have the camp team organize within the site itself, and a timeline with reminders to keep you on schedule for a successful event. Neat stuff!

On the last day of sessions there was a Birds of a Feather (BoF) called "Drupal Training: Good, Bad & Ugly" where we packed the room, and largely talked about what training resources are missing in the community (biggest hit there was assessments and quizzes), and how we might better share the resources we have. That played right into my "The State of Drupal Community Education" presentation, which was the last session of the con. I ran through my results from trying to sort out what free, community resources we have for learning, and supporting teachers. I generated more questions than answers, and we uncovered some other resources. I'm really hoping that conversation will continue in the Curriculum and Training group on groups.drupal.org. Once I get some time, I'd love to rework the group home page to make things clearer and encourage conversation for working together as teachers and trainers, but please feel free to check out the post we've added (thanks Sharon!) with a quick list of current resources out there and give feedback on others we may have missed.

My week wrapped up with what is arguably my favorite part: the Get Involved with Core sprint. To help out the core mentoring team, Drupalize.Me provided a free workshop on the morning of the sprint to get people eased into the community. Things were pulled together at the last minute but we ran with it (huge thanks to Jess (xjm) and Neil Kent!) and we managed to make a workshop of it. Joe, myself, and Cathy Theys walked about 50 people through the steps of getting started (using the issue queue, IRC, local web server, git, and an installation of Drupal 8), very similar to what I did with Kyle at CapitalCamp last month in Washington, DC. The best part for this workshop though, was that once people got set up with all of their tools there was a room of almost 200 people around them working on core issues that they could dive right into. As a matter of fact, two of the people that were in our workshop worked on an issue that afternoon that was then committed to core live on stage at the sprint by Dries himself. That was pretty amazing! I'm super excited for us to do this workshop again at BADcamp, and we're looking at other camps and cons to show up at as well (let us know if you're interested in us coming to your event to lead a community tools workshop). With our experience in two different scenarios, and more time to plan the logistics, I just can't wait to keep it going. It is one of the most fun workshops I've ever done, and it feels so great to see people really getting their mojo going with Drupal tools and the community.

Of course, in addition to great sessions and hard work, there was just the great time to see friends I hadn't seen in a while, spend the beautiful summer evenings in the beer garden, and re-connect with the wonderful energy of the people in this community. This really was a great DrupalCon, and I'd like to thank everyone involved for making it rock so hard. I feel inspired and excited, and am raring to go on a number of initiatives in the Drupal education space. If you want to know more about any of the things I've covered here, please ask, as I could probably go on for hours about any one of these cool things. I also hope to see you at the next DrupalCamp or DrupalCon to talk face to face, and direct our energy together into making Drupal even better than it already is.


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