DrupalCon: Decoupling My Eardrums

DrupalCon sessions kicked off Tuesday morning, and it’s a good thing I found a few good sessions throughout the day, because I’m not sure I’ll be able to hear any of the speakers on Wednesday.

Welcome to DrupalCon

DrupalCon is officially here and fully underway in Portland. Our entire team had a great interest in kicking off the conference with a session from Oregon State University about how they manage large scale Drupal and what some of their plans are moving forward. It was interesting to see how they have faced many of the same technical challenges that we continue to face with regard to deployment and maintenance of Drupal sites and how they’ve dealt with those challenges. Like us, they use external scripts to automate some of these tasks, although in what appears to be a little more elegant way than us. An approach that did intrigue me was how they have created a distribution that is updated every six to eight weeks that is symbolically linked as the core Drupal source for each site. There is no multi-site architecture being used there at all. There are certainly some ideas from this session that I’d like to test out in our environment and see if we can make our maintenance workflow a little smoother and more automated.

Dries took to the main stage for his State of Drupal keynote address later in the morning. As usual, Dries was entertaining as he delivered his well polished presentation. Highlighting the keynote was a demonstration of what’s in store for Drupal 8 and what the release timeline may look like. Once again, Dries showed why I appreciate his leadership on the Drupal project, saying several times that Drupal is a tool that allows us to do well, and do good.

Do well, do good

The theme of my afternoon’s sessions was apparently decoupling since all three sessions I attended included it as a major theme. As any computer science (or in my case, management information systems) student out to have drilled into their head, loosely coupled code is a good thing. Beyond just decoupled code, though, content should be decoupled from presentation, as Jeff Eaton discussed in his session, Building for a Post-Mobile World. Jeff is one of my favourite presenters, since I find him engaging, funny, and smart. Frankly, I probably shouldn’t have gone to this session, since I already agree with most of what was presented, and I probably could have learned more in a different room; however, the entire session was filled with quotable moments that left me with copious notes. It’s worth taking the hour to watch this session recording.

After the sessions let out for the evening, we dropped by Burgerville for a quick dinner and a visit to an amazing soft drink dispenser. We need to determine how to source one of these things for the office.

Amazing Coke machine

After that we headed up to the Wonder Ballroom for Lullabot’s DrupalCon party and Orbit concert.

Lullabot party

Jeff Robbins making lots of noise

I don’t go to a whole lot of concerts anymore, and it’s definitely been a while since I last took in a show from right in front of the stage. As anticipated, I really enjoyed the music and performance.

We met up with Michael and Robin at the show and decided to go from there with them to Voodoo Doughnuts Too. Voodoo Doughnuts are apparently legendary, and I’ve overheard a few people talking about the long lines one must wait in to get a turn at these tasty treats. Fortunately, the wait isn’t so bad at 11:30pm. We may have overindulged.

Voodoo Doughnuts

And somebody had to be crazy enough to try the maple bacon doughnut, right? It sure wasn’t going to be me, but it got Michael’s approval.

Maple bacon doughnut

Wednesday morning kicks off with a keynote by Karen McGrane about future-friendly content. Having heard her speak in Las Vegas last year and read some of her work online, I am expecting her to cover a fairly similar ground to what Jeff Eaton did in his talk. As someone who appreciates well structured semantic content, it should appeal to me. That is if I can hear what she’s saying. I’ve still got the sound of Orbit ringing in my ears.

Re-posted from Josh’s personal blog at http://jdschroeder.ca/2013/drupalcon-decoupling-my-eardrums.html