Last week, many of us were in sunny Los Angeles for DrupalCon 2015. Though many were seasoned veterans, it was my first time at a Con. It was a whirlwind of team building, a magical Prenote, great one-on-one coversations and plenty of Drupal talk. Needless to say, I'm still recovering! But one thing is certain, our team had a wonderful time. Here are some of their takeaways:
Having DrupalCon in my hometown of Los Angeles was great because I could enjoy the conference, meet with my friends and go home every night to my wife and kids.
I attended several sessions mostly front-end related but the biggest event for me was being able to speak at DrupalCon for the first time. The topic was Advanced Layouts with Flexbox.
I have to admit I was concerned because my talk was scheduled as one of the last sessions of the conference right along with my colleagues Matt Davis and Jason Smith who would be talking about the front-end framework they put together for The Weather Channel. Not to mention it was also at the same time as Dries’ Q&A session. I was certain there will be no audience in my session.
The time came for me to speak and I was shocked when I realized the room was almost full. I estimated a minimum of 150 attendants in my session which completely surprised me. I thought the presentation went well and the feedback I received was positive. I walked out the room singing in the back of my mind the words of Ice Cube “Today was a good day!”.
I had a great time in LA with all my favorite and newly favorite Drupalists. I decided to take the twelve hour drive from Albuquerque to LA (and back) and that wasn’t as horrible an idea as I thought it would be. This was also my first ‘con with an actual supporting company, so it was fun to see the other side. Talking to people at the booth, and playing corn hole at the Mediacurrent booth was a blast. Additionally it was a lot of fun hosting the karaoke machine at the Mediacurrent after party. I would be a jerk if I didn’t thank the fine Canadians at Digital Echinda, where I won the nifty Drupal Hockey Jersey, and at Opin who is also from Canada, and gave me a TV! Of course the reason that we go there is the learning. My most memorable session was given by David Diers at Four Kitchens. His session was API Design: The Musical, which was a great primer on how to create a good program API along with his guitar and some pretty catchy, original songs. I truly hope he gets that album to drop
This is the second DrupalCon I've attended in my home state. As usually my favorite part of DrupalCon was meeting and reconnecting with people. My favorite session this year was Decoupled Drupal: When, Why, And How with Amitai Burstein and Josh Koenig. These two teamed up to talk about Decoupled Drupal. They offered reasons why a decoupled approach is a good idea but also why it is not a panacea. When you take Drupal's head off you lose a lot that Drupal does well. Josh mentioned several times that the Drupal has the opportunity to become one of the best backends for the hot frontend frameworks like Angular and Ember. They raised a rallying cry to Drupal developers to solve the problems that decoupled Drupal creates. Mark, Jason, Mario, and I also recorded a live episode of our podcast which was a lot of fun.
Having missed the past two Drupalcons, it was great to be back. My week focused around all things Panels, with a dash of Metatag and drupal.org usability for good measure. On Tuesday I lead a panel session providing a State Of The Union update for all things Panels-related. My fellow Panels-ists and I demonstrated the latest 'n greatest in the Panels world, concluding with a brief preview of things to come in Drupal 8. Later that day we had a BOF where we had a round-table discussion of how to use Panels modules and some of the pain-points ("pane-points"?) site builders experienced. On Wednesday there was a BOF on Panopoly, a customized distribution based upon many Panels modules. We rounded off the week with a code sprint focusing on stability improvements. The best part of this was getting so many maintainers and active users together to discuss our goals, pain points and how to collaborate further. It was also great to catch up with friends I'd not seen in several years and finally meeting many others I'd gotten to know via drupal.org and Twitter.
I have heard that it almost never rains in LA. Well, during my first DrupalCon, it absolutely rained! Besides the water falling from the sky, it rained t-shirts, nerf guns, inspiring and informative sessions, great interactions with coworkers and the Drupal community, musical numbers, after parties, and valuable knowledge and ideas. Being newer than most to the community, I found it empowering in the Driesnote to get a history of Drupal and a better vision of the impact this technology currently has and where it is going. Seeing Mediacurrent give some sessions made me proud to be a part of this company. I also appreciated the honest evaluation of Decoupled Drupal. Going in expecting more hype talk, it was good to see Josh koenig and Amitai Burstein give a reality check, highlighting that there are many things in Drupal that we take for granted and would need to be rebuilt when using the Drupal backend with a different frontend. Lastly, it would be simply wrong not to mention how Mediacurrent gave the most amazing after party. Standing room only, in the loud roar of conversation and fun, you could just feel community growing and memories being made as good beer flowed and karaoke … happened.
Plugging into the Drupal community is a wonderful thing. Though we've wrapped up in Los Angeles, we're already gearing up for DrupalCon New Orleans! Will you be there? Laissez le bon temps rouler!