May 29 2015
May 29

Last week, some colleagues from Cocomore and I attended DrupalCamp Spain 2015. Spanish Drupal community is awesome, and they have put all their efforts in making an unforgettable event again in this 6th edition (the 5th I have attended).

The event was divided into different activities for the three days: Business Day and Sprints on Friday, and sessions on Saturday and Sunday.

Starting my session.
Starting my session. Photo: pakmanlh (https://twitter.com/pakmanlh/status/602105515745910786)

I participated as speaker talking about dos and dont’s building a Drupal 8 site. We looked at our experiences with managing the project structure, the different ways of using Composer for managing your project, different merging strategies, evaluated the status of contrib and how we managed to reduce the risk of using betas by writing Behat tests and doing Continuous integration.

The topic is quite relevant, so got a lot of questions at the end and during all weekend. Keep them coming if you think I can help you!

Recording: https://vimeo.com/129005035
Slides: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1FPABmI1GVOUJzmS09JCXzObQuYhzU3rg...

DrupalCamp Spain is a well settled event already, so it’s attracting more and more international participants every year. Social events are well-planned and attractive, and the event is having more English sessions every year. I’m looking forward to next edition!

Visiting the tabancos.
Visiting the tabancos. Photo: juampy (https://twitter.com/juampynr/status/602192531636559872)

That’s a wrap! DrupalCamp Spain 2015 was an amazing event and I for sure will be there again next year. Thanks to the organization for their hospitality, it was real fun sharing those days with you!

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Oct 21 2014
Oct 21
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Some weeks ago (29th Sept - 3rd Oct) Cocomore attended the European DrupalCon in Amsterdam with five colleagues: penyaskito (Christian López), kfritsche (Karl Fritsche), jsbalsera (Jesús Sánchez), LoMo (Lowell Montgomery) and Carsten Müller where there, and we also attended to the extended sprints before and after the Con. The numbers of this Drupalcon are impressive: more than 2300 attendees from over 64 countries. There were more than 100 sessions so, either if you came or not, you will find the link to all the DrupalCon Amsterdam sessions handful!

Diary

Saturday - Getting there

On Saturday we travelled to Amsterdam. It’s like always an exciting day, looking forward to see again not only friends from the community and new people to know, but also being able to reunite again coworkers who live almost 2000 kms away. And when you get into the airport you start recognizing people from other events, or only because we all wear Drupal t-shirts!

Sunday - Extended Sprints

The extended Sprints were hosted at Berlage Meet & Workspace, an amazing place just near to the Centre Station. There was plenty of space there to sit and help working in Drupal 8 core. As always is great to work with all the people from the community.

Monday - Sprints and Community Summit

On Monday the Sprints moved to the conference venue, Amsterdam RAI. The place there was even bigger for all the sprinting people (around 180 sprinters) and you could see people working not only in Drupal Core but also in important projects like Drupal Commerce or Drush. Karl joined the Community Summit and participate in the group about training experiences.

Tuesday - Start of Sessions

There were 120 sessions this year. so it was a really hard decision to choose between them. You can access to the complete program including links to the recorded videos at the DrupalCon Amsterdam website. The Opening Session, or prenote, was mostly a history of DrupalCon told by people which lives were changed there. Some histories were fun and some others were beautiful, but there were time to include some jokes and fun parts with a curious recreation of some events. Then came the Keynote by Dries Buytaert, and the Drupal 8 Beta One was announced! The keynote was a discussion about how to make the Drupal project development sustainable, by making the contribution more attractive to people and organizations. After that the traditional Group Photo was taken.

As you can see, tons of people :-)

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Wednesday

On Wednesday the beta was finally released, so everyone could just download and install it, and make all the needed testing. This day’s Keynote was delivered by Cory Doctorow, science fiction writer and the co-editor of Boing Boing, among other achievements. You can access to the Wednesday schedule and access to all the sessions descriptions and videos. But this day was also strange, because all the Spanish community, with ours Christian and Jesús among them, looked really agitated. As we knew the day after they were invited to assist to a secret meeting by the Drupal Association, because the city selected to held the next DrupalCon was Barcelona, and they should know in advance.

Thursday

On Thursday there wasn’t a Keynote, but instead a number of small but interesting Drupal Lightning Talks. We want to remark the Console module, based in the Symfony Console Component: a CLI tool that helps creating new modules, controllers, etc automatically. And the #D8in8 initiative looks like a great way to involve a company into learning and contributing in Drupal 8. Lowell made a awesome job summarizing the Q&A with Dries that we can only recommend you to read, although you can also hear the audio. Again, the schedule is available online with links to the sessions descriptions and videos. At the end there was the Closing session, where they talked about future events like DrupalCon Bogotá and DrupalCon Barcelona was unveiled. That same night we assisted to the Trivia Night, hosted by the Irish group. It was tons of fun, but really hard. Our team was named 1396891800, because the timestamp when Heartbleed was announced, and thanks to Christian we won the prize to the best handwriting!

Friday - Mentored Core Sprints

Fridays was all about sprinting. Karl and Christian worked as mentors helping people, and Carsten, Jesús and Lowell were sprinting.

Saturday - Extended Sprints

On Saturday we went back to Berlage Meet & Workspace, so we were sprinting again.

Sunday - Goodbye Amsterdam

At the end all the good things have to end, and we had to get into the airport and travel back to our respective cities, Christian and Jesús travelling to Sevilla and Carsten, Karl and Lowell to Frankfurt. It was a really great DrupalCon, but we expect Barcelona to be even better!

Sessions

We attended to a bunch of a great collection of sessions, so we want to recommend some of them that we found really interesting:

What's next?

DrupalCamp Berlin

There is the DrupalCamp Berlin happening at the 15th and 16th of November in our capital. We are looking forward to meet you there again.

DrupalCon in Barcelona!

The next european DrupalCon will happen in Barcelona. We are happy about the decision made by the Drupal Association and we are looking forward to see you all again next year in the sunny city of Barcelona!

Thanks!

So it was a great DrupalCon. We can only say thank you to the organizers, the mentors, the local group and all the outstanding people that are part of this amazing community. We are proud to be part of it. img-20140928-wa0001_0.jpg
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.

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!

May 20 2014
May 20

Last weekend three of us from Cocomore attended to DrupalCamp Spain 2014. This year it was held in the beautiful city of Valencia, at the East Coast of Spain, full of magnificent buildings and the land of Paella and Horchata. Because we know of the importance of these events, this Drupalcamp was sponsored by Cocomore.

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The Spanish Drupal community is well known around Europe (and probably the world) as one of the funniest, enthusiastic and noisy ones, and their own main event was of course really interesting, with great sessions among party and laughes.

On Friday there were three main activities: a Business Day, where CEO's and CTO's where talking and sharing experiences and ideas; some trainings about beginning with Drupal 7 and about Test-Driven Development and, of course, a code sprint to help bring Drupal 8 closer to release that continued all the weekend.

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On Saturday the sessions and workshops started with the welcome session. There were all kind of topics so everyone could find an interesting session to attend, including the one held by Christian about Migrate in core. We were lucky to have really amazing people sharing their experience, including people that came from places like Sweden, Finland or Switzerland, and people that don't work with Drupal but want to share their experiences in topics like Agile processes or UX. And we have to mention the great paella that we had for lunch.

paella.jpg

At the end of the day the traditional socializing event in the amazing location of L'umbracle gave us the posibility to meet, talk and have fun with all the attendees.

On Sunday there were a lot of sleepy faces, but also four hours of interesting sessions to attend. I presented one about View Modes and Field Formatters, and you can find the slides at http://jsbalsera.github.io/modes_and_formatters/

Sessions were recorded, so videos of every session should be available soon in the Spanish Association video channel on Vimeo. Some sessions, as the one held by Christian, were presented in English, so you can check in the schedule which ones will be available in English.

We want to thank to the local community in Valencia, they did a gorgeous job organizing the event. We are really looking forward to see you all again, maybe in Amsterdam in the DrupalCon or maybe in the second and developer focused event organized by the Drupal Spanish Association (AED) in Bilbao in November.

Apr 24 2014
Apr 24

Drupalcamp Spain 2014 will be at Valencia on May 16-18th, and we will be there.

If you are attending, you will probably know that there will be sprints during all the camp, and you may want to sign up to the Valencia sprints. We will have tasks for everybody, no matter if you never contributed before or if you are not even a developer, so don't be shy and join us.

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And if you haven't decided yet to come, you should have a look on the proposed sessions. There will be high-quality content for every role involved in Drupal projects, with a touch of Symfony too, so it's definitely worth to come.

We at Cocomore have proposed several sessions:

Modes and Formatters Jesús Sánchez (jsbalsera on Drupal.org) wants to talk about coding modes and formatters in Drupal 7, and how to organize how your fields are shown in your site in a organized manner Migrate in core Christian López (penyaskito on Drupal.org) wants to talk about the Migrate in Core initiative, and how you will be able to upgrade from Drupal 6 and Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, or how do you need to write your own migrations. Drupal 8 core is more multilingual than Drupal 7 with all of contrib Christian López (penyaskito on Drupal.org) wants to talk about the Drupal 8 Multilingual initiative, and how you will have better support than ever for multilingual sites, even without the need of installing contributed modules. OOP in Drupal 7, old news. Christian López (penyaskito on Drupal.org), together with Mateu Aguiló (e0ipso on Drupal.org) from Lullabot want to talk about how you can write OOP code in Drupal 7 projects, and how it will help migrating your modules to Drupal 8 easier.

We are looking forward to the final program, and hoping to see you there!

Apr 01 2014
Apr 01

The last week three of us from Cocomore went to the little town of Szeged in Hungary, around 175km south east of Budapest.

The DevDays were all about developing Drupal 8 further and enhance drupal.org. The only topic was contributing to Drupal in the one way or the other. Whatever you are, either a developer, a themer, a site builder, a devop or a business man, everyone has his/her part in this amazing community and everyone found a spot where he/she could help to foster Drupal further.

GroupPhoto

All the week there were sprints and mentors around if you needed to get started and from Thursday till Saturday there were a lot of very interesting sessions. While the Cons are heading more and more to be business orientated lately and the camps are mostly for the local communities, the DevDays are a community event, where everything centers on contributing. Core committers around the world joined this event and some received a scholarship, so that they had the opportunity to be there, too.

It was a very successful and exhausting week for all of us. We had a great time, met a lot of people and for sure had the one or other drink with them. A lot of things got done. Drupal 8 is now a big step further to becoming a beta and drupal.org will have a responsive design. Much of work for that was done in this particular week. And all of this couldn't have happened without the outstanding work of the organization team. So a very big kudos to them!

Organization Team

And now get some good impressions of all the stuff in form of some cool pictures and tweets from the last week by Gábor Hojtsy

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Also don't miss out of the Drupalfolk Song!

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Drupalfolk from Rafa Terrero on Vimeo.

Thanks to everyone who made this happen and everyone who attended the week, which made this time just so amazing!

See you all next year again at the next DrupalDevDays, where ever they will be or at any other upcoming DrupalCamps (like Frankfurt, add Spain here?) or Cons (like Amsterdam).

Jan 28 2014
Jan 28

On January 25th and 26th, for the first time in Sevilla, the local community took part of the Drupal Global Sprint Weekend , a worldwide event where people join together and contribute back to Drupal. We are very proud for having hosted this event, which filled our office with a group of 20 individuals willing to contribute and mentor contributors.

Drupal Global Sprint Weekend Sevilla Group PhotoDrupal Global Sprint Weekend Sevilla Group Photo

You can see the tasks we worked on by searching the issue queues with the tag D8SVQ and all the issues of the global spring using the tag SprintWeekend.

Not only local Drupaleros joined, but some of the more brilliant Drupal devs in Spain traveled to Sevilla for joining the fun and helping with the mentoring. A big hug for all of you and all the participants and hope you had a great time here and you visit us again!

Sharing their passion for Drupal and the Drupal Community there made that some people convinced to register to Drupal Developer Days in Szeged and they booked in site! You should do that if you haven’t already!

Druplicon CookiesWe had Druplicon cookies. Thanks @jlbellido for baking them

We want to thank the Spanish Drupal Association, which sponsored the event by providing budget for snacks, food and drinks for keeping people focused and caffeinated on work. Thanks also for Forcontu, lead company on Drupal training in Spanish, which sponsored with a Drupal 7 Expert book for raffling between those who finished a patch on Saturday in his first contributing experience.

We really enjoyed the experience so much and we are looking forward to host and participate in other Sprints quite soon… Keep in touch!

Nov 19 2013
Nov 19

Christian Lopez (Penyaskito) representing Drupal in the EBE13 CMS round table.

Penyaskito, aka Christian Lopez, Drupal developer at CocomoreThis past weekend was a busy one for some of our developers who attended EBE13, a major Spanish conference for digital marketing, blogging, social media, and online communication, held annually in Seville, not far from our Cocomore in Spain, which drew over 1000 developers this year. Christian Lopez (aka Penyaskito on Drupal.org and Twitter), participated as an expert panelist representing Drupal in a "round table" moderated debate, lending much credibility to our favorite popular open-source CMS and Web application framework. He spoke about typical use cases for Drupal, as well as some unusual places he has seen Drupal in action, such as in a POS system in McDonalds, among other odd uses. He was joined by Isidro Baquero, representing Joomla, and Rafael Poveda, representing Wordpress. The debate was moderated by Agile trainer and coach, Jeronimo Palacios.

What they learned was that, in the end, everyone who actively contributes to open-source is a winner, regardless of the technology! The benefits of being a part of a great open-source community turned out to be the most compelling reason for using each of these projects. Of course there are other strong reasons we, at Cocomore, favor Drupal, but involvement with a greater development community is a good way to become an expert in the CMS you use. So if you work with Drupal (or Wordpress or Joomla or any other open-source CMS), finding ways to contribute will help you grow as well as improving the code base that you use.

Jul 31 2013
Jul 31

On Saturday 20th, Jesús and I visited Santander for attending the Drupal Day. The Drupal Day is an itinerant event organized by the Spanish Drupal Association with a local Drupal community.

Around 80 drupalistas were there, and we had very interesting session, mostly centered around the new things that are coming with Drupal 8. Is a great thing that more and more people in the Spanish community is getting involved in core contributions and attending international events, and IMHO this is making Spanish events more interesting every time.

Drupal Day Spain Santander Group Photo

For trying to attract more contributors, we celebrated a short sprint the evening before, and some new people were introduced about core development workflows, but could have been better if we could have spent more than just two or three hours. We should iterate on improving that for next events, but was nice anyway.

Sessions were recorded, so videos of every session should be available soon in the Spanish Association video channel on Vimeo.

Drupal Day Santander Logo

We want to thank to the local community in Santander, they did a gorgeous job organizing the event and innovating with Drujitos (a blue version of mojito) for the party. And of course, thanks Cocomore for sponsoring our assistance there!

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_olympic-park.jpg

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.

Volunteering

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.

Feb 29 2012
Feb 29
Florian Lorétan holds out the official DrupalCon Munich promotional beer coaster

Over the past weekend at DrupalCamp Essen, I had the opportunity to sit down with Florian Lorétan, who has been instrumental in organizing and coordinating all the work which goes into bringing the next European DrupalCon to Munich, Germany. Since the last time we’d spoken, at Drupal City (the Drupal Camp held in Berlin, September 2011, less than a month after the initial announcement in London), there had been a lot of new developments. I asked Florian to catch us up.

Lowell: I’m Lowell Montgomery from Cocomore and I’m here in the BoF room at DrupalCamp Essen, speaking with Florian Lorétan, Munich’s community representative and a co-founder of Wunderkraut, about new developments in the planning of DrupalCon Munich. So what’s the latest news, Florian?

Florian: There are a lot of things going on right now. One of the big things we have on our plates right now is just making all these developments communicable. There’s a lot of work being done on the website, both on content and also on making the content look good — so it’s styling all the content types, different views, new content types, different blogs — and making sure that the sponsors get the attention they deserve on the website and also preparing for the session poll results which will open in a few weeks. One of the things that needs to be communicated are the featured sessions. We have some very exciting speakers coming from the outside — some very exciting topics, too. This is not completely final; but we do have some sessions which are confirmed, so this will probably be going up on the website in the next couple of weeks.

Florian: If it’s ready before DrupalCon Denver, we’ll put it on the website then, but at the latest it will be there at Denver.

Lowell: And you mentioned that the sponsor slots are pretty much all filled?

[…] For Munich, we still have Silver (very limited), Bronze, Sponsor Lunch, Sponsor Coffee Break, Sponsor a contest (like Tropo's hackathan or Twilio contest) [ … ]

Megan Sanicki, from email update, 29 Feb, 2012

Florian: All the top ones are sold out; Diamond, Platinum, Gold, and I think Silver, too, is sold out. The day stage sponsors, the beer garden sponsor, the coffee sponsor; are also given away. With Wunderkraut, we’re also happy to get the contribution lounge and contribution sprint sponsorship slots, which is something that fits for us, but it’s also a one-of-a-kind sponsorship of our community. I think that it’s been going very quickly; we weren’t expecting things to go that fast. Megan Sanicki is responsible for all the finances and sponsorships for DrupalCon and she’s has been doing a fantastic job at it. I think it’s really great that the sponsors have shown such incredible enthusiasm. I think it’s an indicator of how much interest there is in the conference and I hope that the attendees show as much interest as the sponsors have.

Lowell: That’s great news. But there are still unlimited Bronze sponsorships available, though, right?

Florian: Indeed there are. And it’s still a great way for Drupal-related companies to help make this an event which everyone in the community can afford to attend, while also getting good value. I’m not sure of the exact pricing and details right now, but on the DrupalCon Munich website the sponsorship packages are fully described. There may also still be some other opportunities for special sponsorships, but the opportunities for getting a booth or table are getting very limited, if not completely sold out.

Lowell: So one thing I really wanted to ask you about is: how can people who aren’t already involved in the planning do something to help make sure this the most awesome DrupalCon Europe to date?

Florian: The best thing to do is really just to spread the word: blog about it, tweet about it, make a presentation about it at the local user group, to get people up to speed, to get people to know what it’s about. There’re still a lot of people who don’t know exactly what DrupalCon is, and what the goals of DrupalCon are. Many people think that it’s a for-profit event, which it’s not, it’s really an event that’s fully targeted at getting the Drupal people of all kinds together, whether they are business people, developers, designers; getting all these people from the Drupal world together and really also growing the Drupal community, so reaching out, outside all those who already do business with Drupal. And this is one of the main goals of this specific conference; our slogan is “Open up: Connecting systems and people” and behind this “open up”, we also want to reach out to related communities, so to people working with new Javascript technologies which can be combined with Drupal, reaching out to people from the Typo3 community, which is particularly strong in Germany; it’s also an open-source project — in some ways it’s a competitor, but we have a lot in common and I think it’s great to have that kind of open discussion, to really be able to have that as some positive and constructive exchange of ideas. So this is one of the things that we are looking for in our featured sessions: to reach out to people who would not normally be participating at DrupalCon, to get people from the outside so that we can have a wider range of topics and also have topics that are interesting for people who are not working exclusively with Drupal.

Lowell: For people who do know what a DrupalCon is and live far away, say in North or South America; it’s easier for them to get to Denver. What can you say to encourage them to come to DrupalCon Munich other being able to go to interesting beer gardens and see Germany?

Florian: Well, a lot of people travel to DrupalCons both for professional reasons and as tourists and a lot of people bring their families for the trip to DrupalCon, so we are planning all the special events and parallel activities with DrupalCon.

Florian: Right, Drupalganger outings and also making sure we have some cultural activities.

Florian: Besides that, Germany is probably the largest Drupal market in Europe and the market with the biggest potential. There is a lot of demand and a lot of growth potential. And so I think it’s inevitable that there will be a lot of interest from the outside to get some presence in the German market, so for large companies it’s really a very interesting market to open branches, do more business with Germany, and also for the European market: more and more we are seeing that we’re not dealing with local projects anymore. It’s not a local Drupal shop working for a local company; we’re seeing companies from all over the world doing projects for clients all over the world. Since the German market has a lot of weight in the global economy, I think it’s important to have connections there; it’s important to have a presence there. And also there are a lot of very important contributors to Drupal core and to contrib modules who are from Germany. There’s a very active community in Germany. So for people who are more interested in the community-contribution aspects, there’s a lot of activity in Germany and the rest of Europe, too. So one of the things we are particularly looking at is turning the contribution lounge into a place which really supports and encourages people to contribute, to work with each other, and to have conversations about improvements that can be made to Drupal, to contrib modules, to the way we do business, to the way we do marketing, to the way we do design. We want this conference to be a conference where people participate actively. It’s not a conference where people just go, watch awesome sessions and take notes, and then go home. It’s really a conference where people are active, they discuss things, they meet people, they make new connections, they do business, they write code; it’s really a hands-on conference.

Lowell: Right. So there’s a lot that takes place at a DrupalCon and a lot that goes on in the half-year between the DrupalCons, so if people only attend once-per-year at the conference closer to them, they are missing a lot and missing the opportunities to meet and connect with other members of the community who might not be able to make the longer trips to Europe or to North America.

So are there other ways that people outside of Germany could help support the preparation processes?

Florian: Actually for the teams doing the coordination and organization of the event before the start of the conference, we already have a pretty good team. We have about 30 people involved, split between the design team, the website building team, the track chairs, the people doing the coordination of various events; there are also people working on the marketing. We really actually have a very good team. We have a couple of positions coming up, but what we’re really looking for are people who can make a time commitment, and who can take up responsibility and say I’m going to dedicate myself to do that and we need people who are reliable, because when we are working with such a big team of people, if we have people who are not reliable, then we just spend more time looking after people and we just want people to get the things done. But there are couple of opportunities and if someone wants to get involved, they should just contact us directly through the contact page and say “Hey, I’m available and I have one day a week that I can dedicate to this cause.” And their contact will be forwarded to the correct person. Otherwise there’s going to be the possibility to be involved on-site maybe one or two days before the conference helping with registrations, with distributing T-shirts, with showing the way, helping by being a room monitor during the conference, just making sure that things start on time, and that the speakers have water and so on. But for this kind of volunteering, we’ll post a form on the website one or two months before the event. It’s currently too early to start working on that.

Lowell: Right. How does that work, anyway? If you want to help out at the event, can you do that just for part of the day, so that the rest of the time they can be in sessions and participate in other aspects of the conference?

Florian: Yes. This is generally done in half-day slots or something like that, so we generally have plenty of people who just want to help. I’ve done it before; it’s a lot of fun. You work with other people who are also really passionate about what they do. So it’s a fun experience. You normally get a T-shirt for it and that’s pretty much it, but it’s a great opportunity to start being involved. So sign up for our newsletter on the website and you’ll be notified when we have the call for volunteers.

Lowell: Okay. So is it time yet to register for the conference and buy a ticket or when does that happen?

Florian: It’s not open yet. There are still some things to do to finalize the budget and determine the ticket price. This will be coming soon; it will probably be open a couple of days before Denver, but the official announcement, when we expect a lot of people to register, will happen on the last day at Denver.So it should be ready in a couple of weeks.

Lowell: What are your expectations about how many people might be in attendance at DrupalCon Europe?

Lowell Montgomery, at left, interviews Florian Lorétan at DrupalCamp EssenFlorian: Well, we have enough space for 2500 people. This is bigger than other European conferences, but at the same time, well… there’s been steady growth in the community. Also Munich has a very central location in Europe. It’s very easily accessible from pretty much anywhere by either plane or train, so I’m expecting a lot of people to come. Also, since we want to reach out more to people outside the community, it’s not going to be an event that’s just for a niche group. We want to make it a great event that we hope will attract people from outside the community. I personally expect the conference to sell out. It might not be possible to buy tickets at the entrance. If we get as much interest from attendees as we got from sponsors, if it goes as quickly, then we will definitely be sold out.

Lowell: That’s great! Unfortunately, I’m not personally going to be able to get to Denver… between the cost of airfare, the cost of staying in a hotel for a week, and other expenses, it’s just not in my personal budget right now, so I’m wondering how the prices of hotel accommodations in Munich compare to the costs in London and in winter-tourist-season Denver?

Florian: In Munich, the conference is taking place at a hotel where they’ve offered conference attendees a special price which includes, among other things, free Wi-Fi in the rooms. There are various advantages. You can already make reservations by phone or by e-mail just by mentioning DrupalCon and there’ll be a special form for booking your hotel accommodations which should be ready soon. Otherwise, Munich is not a cheap city, but there are some budget priced hotels in the area and the local transportation is good, so it should be possible to stay at other hotels and easily get to and from the conference location. Public transportation there is great and I would certainly recommend anyone coming for the week, especially if they are staying at another hotel, to buy a public transportation ticket for the week. I think it’s 13 or 14 Euros.

Lowell: That’s a good deal. Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share with us.

Florian: Well one of the things that we did in London is that when we announced the conference in Munich we handed out stickers. The logo for the conference is actually a beer coaster. And our design team from Cocomore came up with the idea, “Hey, the logo is a beer coaster, how about printing real beer coasters?” And so we looked into that, and then when we were looking at the quantities, we realized that we could actually use a lot of those. And so a couple of weeks ago they were printed and then just last week we received them in our office. It’s two very big and very heavy boxes full of beer coasters, and now we’re distributing those at various Drupal events. so we’re here at DrupalCamp Essen and people are very excited about them already and they’re taking them back to their respective user groups. We’re taking them to CeBIT, the largest IT conference in Europe, where Drupal has a booth. We are also taking many of them to DrupalCon Denver and to many other events. And so one of the things that were going to do with these is we’re going to have a contest for the most creative use of these coasters. So it’s going to be on Twitter; just post a creative use of your beer coaster. And, of course you first need to get your hands on one of them. So if you’re in Denver, be sure to get one. And if you’re not going to Denver, make sure you ask someone who’s going to Denver to get one for you. I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of fun, so more details will be coming up soon. Make sure you get your hands on one of those beer coasters. The design team from Cocomore really did a fantastic job! It’s been a pleasure working with them.

Lowell: I agree. I think the DrupalCon site really looks terrific, too.

Well, thank you for taking the time to talk with me today and I’m definitely looking forward to Munich.

Florian: You’re welcome, Lowell. I’m looking forward to it, too.

Feb 25 2012
Feb 25

What makes a memorable Drupalcamp

A group of us Cocomore Drupal developers and themers have taken a weekend trip to attend DrupalCamp Essen, 2012. The venue is the Unperfekthaus, an interesting, artsy building which feels like a hip café spread across several stories of a building — but is also part hotel, part restaurant, part art studio/gallery, and part club. Some rooms are furnished with sofas and there is a top-floor room illuminated by natural sunlight, at least during the daytime, with a translucent glass ceiling, like a greenhouse, covering most of the room. Mirrored disco balls and lighting offer proof that hosting a couple hundred geeks is not the most glamorous use the room gets. This is our primary session room. The other “second track” room is a “performance hall” with a stage area and no windows; the presentation slides are easier to see, but people are less likely to hang out and socialize. And there are other rooms where community discussions and BoFs are being held. All in all, it’s a comfortable, cosy environment — a good choice for an event with a bit fewer than 200 people — and lends a unique atmosphere to the event with plenty of space for more intimate conversations rather than simply presentations. morning-greeting-drupalcamp-essen-2012_img7063.jpg

With the Drupal community growing as large as it is, the irony of the success of this event, in part due to the pleasant venue, is that had the event been promoted much at all, especially to regions outside Germany, there would have been too many attendees to support such a venue. Even the larger DrupalCamps are still able to use less “corporate” locations, often at universities or similar sites, and can be more flexible about scheduling and run with a bit less rigorous planning — all of which is not to say that a lot of work didn’t go into the organization of this event; it clearly did and is much appreciated by the whole local community, many of whom are also currently actively involved in all the lengthy steps of organizing the fast-approaching European DrupalCon 2012, coming to Munich in less than 6 months now, with attendance likely to be at least an order of magnitude greater than this DrupalCamp’s, many more “tracks”, and a duration more than double that of this weekend-long DrupalCamp.

Using cTools plugins to enrich a ‘Hello World’ module

The first session I attended (in German) was presented by Ricardo Kelling, of Comm-Press, about developing modules which leverage the power of cTools. Of course I was aware of cTools since Views and Panels, both of the popular modules written by the prolific Earl Miles (aka merlinofchaos on Drupal.org), have now been abstracted to move common functions into it, so cTools is now a requirement for their use. And of course I knew cTools offered a developer API to allow others to take advantage of these useful functions. But I’m still a relative n00b when it comes to the coding behind Drupal, so it was good to just get an overview of what is available in cTools (a lot!). Of course a 45-minute session is not enough to cover more than the most basic of concepts (Ricardo demonstrated using cTools plugins to create a simple “Hello world” block which had multiple language versions, each of which could be independently selected and edited), but it’s left me inspired to take some time to explore the API in greater depth.

Flexible session scheduling

Drupal Camps are much less formal than a DrupalCon, so if someone falls ill and a session isn't being held, often things will get completely changed around. Karsten Frohwein (Kars-T on Drupal.org), CEO and senior developer at Comm-Press, was scheduled to present his session, about Drupal 7 Fields and Entities, in English, but not only was the original time rescheduled due to rearrangements from one session being canceled, but the language also magically got changed to German (when I didn’t protest… it did make most sense for the rest of the audience). I stayed for long enough to take a few photos and get some idea of his topic, which I had at least a basic knowledge of already) but as the pace picked up and a rapid discussion, without visual aids, was underway, I realized my German comprehension wasn’t quite up to the task, so decided to look in on another, previously-unscheduled session taking place in the main room. I didn’t know anything about it before going, but at least that one was in English.

mojzis_about_drupal_commerce_challenges_in_case_study-drupalcamp-essen-2012-img7077.jpgThis nearly-impromptu session was related to Drupal Commerce and involved a case study by Mojzis Stupka one of the few non-German in attendance, who joined us from the Czech Republic. He related his experience developing a website designed for a photography service which had images of children which their parents could order. He discussed various obstacles he had had to overcome: dealing with watermarking sample images (public/free), with other un-watermarked versions of the same image which were “private” (i.e. they had to be purchased), and then the further hurdle, to ensure that only parents could access the images of their own children (meaning the watermarked “public” versions had to actually be private and could only be viewed after proof was provided that they really were the parents of the child), then tracking which images had already been purchased so that parents would not be made to pay for the same images twice. It was an interesting case study which gave good insight into the incremental development of custom functionality to serve a unique use case and the flexibility one has to demonstrate when the requirements change several times during the course of development (examples of difficulties faced in this project included: only after parents protested their children’s images being visible to the general public did the restrictions come into play on the “public” copies of the images and the photographer decided he wanted a different watermark on the “public” copies of the images; and so the project evolved. These kind of changes are typical of ambitious development projects and is a big reason that many projects run over-budget and past deadline… grace when dealing with such situations is a necessary part of the human processes of software development, but it also illustrates the importance of ensuring that all stakeholders are involved, or at least their needs anticipated, in the process of eliciting requirements for a project.)

A peek at XHProf in action

karsten_frohwein-xhprof_demo-drupalcamp-essen-2012_img7089.jpgKarsten Frohwein provided another session about using XHProf and Devel to profile a Drupal installation. The presentation is related to a German-language blog article about installing and configuring xhprof which he recently wrote, but he took a deeper look under the hood of XHProf to show what’s possible, how it works, and what kind of problems it can resolve. I found it particularly interesting to see the map of all processes involved in a node request, with highlighted areas of greatest resource consumption. He stressed the importance of experimenting with different caching systems and finding ways to resolve sub-optimal performance.

Jan 18 2012
Jan 18

In preparation for our DrupalCon Denver training, we're rounding up some of the free Drupal videos tutorials on Build a Module.com so potential attendees can get a feel for the style of training. We will be leveraging the Mentored Training model I posted about several months ago, and piloted successfully at BADCamp. In this model, the traditional 'lecture' is pre-recorded in order to free up the instructors to help students with specific issues and provide that critical face-to-face time for the entire duration of the training. It's really quite awesome.

If you're considering doing any training at DrupalCon but haven't quite hopped on the boat yet - due to cost or time commitment - let me point out a couple of the less obvious benefits. While the information you learn will be useful, what you'll find even more valuable is the time you get to spend directly with skilled Drupal instructors who can help you over your specific hurdles. A second subtle benefit is the connections you'll make both with the instructors and your fellow students, connections that I guarantee will pay back dividends throughout DrupalCon and way beyond.

If you're curious about our particular training (we have 9+ amazing trainers lined up), check out this writeup which includes a short video outlining how the training works and some of the benefits. If you'd just like to peruse some of our free videos on using Git and getting every essential Drupal 7 configuration component or piece of content into code, check out the videos below:

Free videos on Git and getting everything into code

How to use a scalable Git branching model called Gitflow - 6:41

In this free (but information packed) video, we take our develop-master branch workflow and expand it to include several branch tracks in a system commonly called "Gitflow". This system, while it looks kind of crazy as a chart, takes the guesswork out of branch organization and lays down a set of sustainable rules for a project of any complexity.

How to create, deploy and clean up a release branch - 8:37

With a release branch, you capture a (hopefully) stable state of your code base and push it to a production site. In this video we walk you through each step of the way, from creating and working within the release, pushing it to production, and cleaning up after the push.

Overview of database components you can add to version control - 5:50

Getting our code into version control is a great start, but that's just half the battle with Drupal, since so much information is captured in the database. In this video, we begin the process of exploring the best way to get database components into our Git repository.

How to download and install the Features module - 1:50

The new videos this week walk you through the first steps of using the Features module, but before you do that, you'll need to actually install it. It's pretty straightforward, but we wanted to walk you through the process to make sure we get all the steps covered.

How to organize features and implications of getting everything into code - 4:09

Once you wrap your mind around the power of a feature module and the basics of updating and manipulating it, the next question you're likely to have is 'where do I put which component?' In this video, we talk you through how to organize components in a sustainable, reasonable way.

How to create and modify a Selenium macro that builds a node - 7:08

To demonstrate using Selenium IDE, we begin by recording a macro that generates a new node. You can record virtually any change with Selenium, but this would be one common use of the tool. We'll follow it up with one more test to demonstrate some additional techniques.

The challenges of overriding shared feature modules and some solutions - 4:53

One of the biggest hurdles to adopting Features as a configuration management solution is that overriding configuration options captured in a feature module isn't always straightforward. In this video we begin the review of best practices when overriding these features.

Mar 07 2011
krs
Mar 07

Here's the story of me saving at least several hours of development work in a 5 minute chat...

On the flight out to Chicago on Sunday, I was working on a webform addon module for a client (integrating with Exact Target if anyone cares). I got most of the way through it, but I definitely felt like I was doing some things "the hard way".

The next day, during the pre-conference training session lunch break - I grabbed a plate and plopped down at an open seat. Said "hi" to the guy sitting next to me. Nathan "quicksketch" Haug. Who maintains the webform module. Who is super nice and helpful, as many Drupallers are. He indulged my questions and gave me some tips on how to better architect my module.

Hopefully this kind of story helps you convince your boss to send you to the next one! The return-on-investment is very real. These kinds of interactions are incredibly valuable, and happen all the time at conferences, summits and camps.

Jan 13 2011
Jan 13

There is currently severe flooding in Queensland Australia. An area twice the size of Texas is underwater. Entire homes are completely inundated. Bridges and cars have been washed away like toys. In Brisbane, airports are closed and the CBD has been closed down. There are at least 15 dead and more than 60 still missing.

QLDfloods.org is a Drupal 7 website set up by several members of the Australian Drupal community to provide information, track missing persons, find resources and people that need them (like beds), track damage and provide support. It was mentioned four times on CNN on Wednesday and multiple times on Australian national media.

The site builders are seeking help with Drupal 7 multiple-server configuration & infrastructure. Do you have expertise to help? Join #Drupal-AU on IRC, speak up in g.d.o/australia or contact Ryan Cross directly.

Coincidentally, DrupalDownunder is just 9 days away in Brisbane city. At this stage the venue has not been damaged and everything is still on track. Keep an eye on DrupalDownunder.org/flood-update for any changes to that.

Apr 20 2010
Apr 20

I scheduled the "tpl.phps are not real templates" session and discussion as a BoF session on Wednesday at 11am in room 212 at DrupalCon San Francisco.

From my original post;

"Drupal's template files (*.tpl.php) are not really templates. This is what my DrupalCon core developer summit submission is about. The slides briefly explain why tpl.phps are not real templates, what real templates are, why this is a problem for the Drupal project and community, and mentions some possible solutions to the problem. It also provides some basic guidelines as a starting point for tpl.php standards, should that be pursued."

Links

Apr 12 2010
Apr 12

jQuery for Designers and Themers is a fun interactive session at DrupalCon San francisco on getting started with jQuery. It is targeted at designers and themers but is suitable for anyone with a decent understanding of HTML and CSS — no programming experience is necessary. It doesn't include any PHP, and only basic programming concepts are introduced.

The session is early on Tuesday 20 April in room 307 (Commerce guys) at DrupalCon SF at 8:30am.

The sample code is available at Drupal.org/Project/jQ4DaT and slides are available at TinyURL.com/jQuery-Designers (Google Docs).

Some other related or similar sessions include;

Apr 12 2010
Apr 12

DrupalSouth attendees pointing at Angela 'webchick' Byron (Drupal 7 core committer) in the center

DrupalSouth Wellington 2010 was a booming success! And that would be an understatement. 100 Drupallers from NZ, Australia, North America and Europe came together for 2 Wellington-wet days in a brewery and couldn't stop talking about Drupal!

Here is DrupalSouth by the numbers;

  • 1: Code sprints
  • 2: Tracks (simultaneous sessions)
  • 2: Duration in days
  • 2: Lunches provided
  • 2: Organisers
  • 2: Attendees from parliament (Green party)
  • 3: Keynote speakers from North America (Liz Henry, Emma Jane Hogbin & Angela Byron)
  • 3: Platinum Sponsors
  • 3: DrupliBeanBags
  • 4: Attendees from the IRD
  • 5: Gold sponsors
  • 5: Percent of attendees from Hawkes bay
  • 5: Months to organise
  • 6: Companies involved in the wireless internet
  • 6: Wireless access points
  • 7: Value of each bar token in NZ dollars
  • 8: Silver Sponsors
  • 9: Varieties of beer brewed on-site
  • 10: Start time on Saturday
  • 11: Thousands of dollars turned over in event production
  • 15: Attendees from NZ government agencies (IRD, Greens, NZ Police, various ministries, etc.)
  • 16: Sponsors
  • 16: Percent of attendees from Australia
  • 16: Percent of attendees from Christchurch
  • 18: Age of youngest attendee
  • 20: MBs of synchronous bandwidth
  • 21: Percent of attendees from Auckland
  • 26: Speakers
  • 28: Attendees who also attended LCA the week before
  • 29: Sessions
  • 30: Percent of female attendees
  • 32: Percent of attendees from Wellington region
  • 36: A3 sheets of printed sponsor logos
  • 60: Registration cost
  • 64: Cost of food and snacks per attendee
  • 100: Registrations sold
  • 220: Bar tokens printed

Some of my personal highlights were;

Thank you to;

Read other's post-DrupalSouth write-ups at;

Feb 23 2010
Feb 23
Crude network and sponsor diagram/map of DrupalSouth's Wifi and internet connectivity, showing each step of the internet connection chain and sponsor's logos.

DrupalSouth — a 100-person technical conference — had awesome internet. This is how we did it.

DrupalSouth might well be the first Drupal conference with internet that didn't suck. For the first time, I didn't hear anyone complain about connectivity or speed. Everyone had internet access! If I didn't hear about any issues you were having, or if you had any complaints or problems, please let us know in the comments.

  1. Egressive pulled most of this together. Egressive provides both Linux and Drupal services and know a lot of people in the industry. In particular, Rob Fraser's technical networking know-how and contacts at Effusion, IOPEN, Unleash and elsewhere are what made this possible.

    Thanks Rob, and thanks Egressive!

  2. IOPEN and members of the Effusion group built a robust scalable wireless network for Kiwi PyCon 2009, just a few months earlier. DrupalSouth's wireless requirements were very similar to PyCon's. DrupalSouth was a little smaller in number of attendees. One difference was that the network data analysis and the Wireless Weather Report (see below) generating were not done on-site but 400 km away in Christchurch using a small real-time data stream from DrupalSouth. Also, Brian Chatterton of IOPEN made a few minor configuration enhancements, renamed the the networks in honour of Drupal's founder and changed the passwords.

    Brian Chatterton really understands networking. Technical conferences have such demanding wifi and networking requirements that can not be tested under load ahead of time. And usually they fail. Brian's experience and knowledge has been twice-proven by Kiwi PyCon and DrupalSouth's great wifi.

    Thanks Brian!

  3. R2 installed the purple VSDL cable and connection from the DrupalSouth network hub, out the window, up to the roof of Mac's Brewery, across the roof, up the wall of the NZ Stock Exchange building, through a window of TradeMe's offices, and into a spare wall-mounted network port nearby; which was re-patched directly into Citylink's fibre network in TradeMe's server and patch room.

    Richard Naylor of R2 is very respected and well known in Wellington when it comes to internet connectivity. As a City Council employee in the 90s he founded the project that later became Citylink. He now runs a private consultancy with his son, specializing in video streaming, and live video recording and hosting online. R2 did the video recording and streaming for Linux.conf.au Wellington.

    Richard and his network of industry and business contacts made this possible; he provided a missing link between the wifi LAN and Citylink's high-speed fibre network, temporarily extending it to the venue.

    Thanks Richard!

  4. Citylink's high speed city fibre optic network in Wellington connects hundreds of businesses, buildings and data centres city-wide with fast low-latency network speeds. Karen Lindsay-Kerr at Citylink was kind enough to arrange a sponsored VLAN from TradeMe's data centre to Unleash's point of presence across town. That's fibre all the way!

    Thanks Karen and thanks Citylink!

  5. Unleash, the last point in the hardware chain, provided a high speed connection to the Internet. They generously sponsored 100Gb of data, a 20Mb symmetrical link, and a whole block of 256 IP addresses. (Unfortunately we couldn't assign the public IP addresses to devices due to time constraints.)

    Unleash is an ISP based in Christchurch with four data centres across New Zealand, and nationwide network coverage with fibre, wireless and ADSL2+. They provide virtual and dedicated hosting, co-location and high-speed Internet services.

    Thanks Unleash!

The last component is a software layer: IOPEN created a network traffic monitoring tool that collects data about the network and monitors load and resource usage. A "wireless weather report". This is useful to fix any issues if they arise (which they didn't!) and analyse network traffic to make improvements to network configuration for next time. They also made the data from tool available to users connected to the DrupalSouth network. Here is a screenshot:

Screenshot of the network weather report tool by IOPEN

Most of the companies and individuals mentioned here donated their time and services. You can see all of DrupalSouth sponsors on the sponsor page.

Thanks everyone!

About Drupal Sun

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

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

See the blog post at Evolving Web

Evolving Web