It was a beautiful autumn day in Providence, RI for NEDCamp where I was joined by two fellow Mediacurrent teammates. Carie Fisher, Damien McKenna and I all met up after registration for what looked to be an exciting Saturday full of Drupal goodness.
I had tentatively planned which sessions I was most interested in attending. I based my choices on either subjects I wanted to dive a little deeper into, or topics that spontaneously piqued my interest.
This was my lineup of sessions and my takeaways from each:
Marky Markup and the Funky Bunch: Best Practices for Generating Markup in Drupal
Speakers: JP McNeal & Dave Trafton
This session was basically a review of several methods for generating markup in Drupal. When determining which method to use, the speakers offered an evaluation process. The evaluation process involved reviewing the skill levels of your users, and assessing the need for flexibility and markup cleanliness. Some of the methods mentioned were a wysiwyg editor, template files, views, Fences, display suite and Panels. We dove into each of the methods and saw some examples of when and how to use them. The speakers were clearly knowledgeable and I gave an informative and entertaining session.
5 Tips to Translation and My Love Affair with Lingotek
Speaker: John Picozzi
The speaker started out by saying that he was not selling LingoTek but he sure sounded like a raving fan of it. I won’t give away his tips here but in summary John sounded like he’d been there and done that. His tips were practical and easy to implement. While there are other translation services, his experience with LingoTek has left him so happy that he has not had a reason to consider the others. I will however reveal his bonus tip here that was not on his slide deck. He said, and it did not occur to me sooner, that you may need to tweak your theme based on different languages which could break your theme on a say a mobile device. The reason being that the English word and perhaps the German translation of that word may differ in character length.
The question on my mind, about how to evaluate translation services like LingoTek, did come up and was answered. The speaker advised to watch out for these 5 things:
1.) licensing fees
2.) cost per word
3.) setup fees
4.) whether a site would be locked into using their service exclusively
5.) Is there dedicated customer support? How much support is there for the Drupal module?
In short, this was a good introduction to an important topic that is becoming the hotness as of late.
Keynote - Come for the Code, Stay for the Community
Speaker: Holly Ross
After lunch we were treated to a rousing speech by Drupal Association Executive Director Holly Ross, highlighting the many and varied collaborative possibilities within the Drupal community. Ms Ross discussed how "Drupal" is not just the code that runs it, but also the project managers that help coordinate projects and initiatives, writers who help with documentation, promotional material and author books, event organizers who help run events like NEDCamp all over the world, designers who make everything work and look better, everyone who reaches out to help others – it all makes a tremendous difference.
Digital Mayflower - Data Pilgrimage with the Drupal Migrate Module
Speaker: Erich Beyrent
This was an entertaining session where the speaker did a great job of tying the approaching Thanksgiving season into his slides and provided some comic relief as well. He implored us to invite and interview stakeholders early and often to get their buy-in on what is to be migrated and how the finished product looks and works.
Some key terms to note when using the migrate module were.
Source: where you are getting your data from.
Destination: where you are migrating your source data to.
Mappings: the directions of how and where your source data gets to your destination.
The speaker talked about the key concepts but also showed examples of what your custom migration might look like, including screenshots of actual code. This was a great opportunity to see not only how to do migrations but the session also included common mistakes and pitfalls that people without experience will no doubt fall into. Two migration approaches that were brought up were the “onion skin” and the “per-node” approach. Both pros and cons of each were discussed. Some performance tuning was also referenced in the slides. This speaker did a great job covering concepts, methods and examples and I hope to catch another presentation by him in the future.
Premium Member Recipe (e-commerce)
Speaker: Stephen Cross
The last session of the day for me was one that covered a recipe for implementing a membership website. The speaker covered his organization’s business plan and conveyed the vision and their mission for the website. They started the business without the subscription piece and as the site grew, found adding membership benefit tiers could make the site profitable. Modules covered were:
1.) commerce recurring framework module
2.) commerce card on file module
3.) commerce license module & commerce license role module
4.) commerce dunning module & commerce dunning defaults sub module
I learned a new term in the process of the session: “dunning,” a Delinquent User Notification.
This was a particularly good session for me, because I have implemented membership websites before and I wish I had attended this informative session then, prior to my experience.
Additional presentations Carie and Damien attended include:
Designing for Brains: The Psychology of User Experience
Speaker: Marissa Epstein
D8 Test Drive - Site Building
Speaker: Michael Marzovilla
Headless Drupal and the Decoupled Front End
Speaker: Preston So
Beyond WYSIWYG: Building a Better UX for Content Editors
Speaker: Chris Smith
Securing Drupal And Your Life
Speaker: Erik Peterson