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Get With the Pattern: A Better Path to Content Architecture

by Jay Callicott
May 16, 2019

We are here to save you from bad content architecture!

Drupal is an amazing content modeling tool but there are are no guardrails keeping you from creating a terrible content architecture. Bad architecture means a tax on everything you do for the life of your application.

You might have a bad content architecture if...

  • You have dozens of content types or vocabularies
  • You have dozens of fields on any given content type
  • You have a bunch of different entity types (Block, Paragraphs, ECK)
  • You have poorly named fields and content types that confuse your users

So what does a good content architecture even look like?

In recent years “Atomic design” principles and related methodologies have spread and been adopted by many organizations. Pattern Lab is one example of a popular tool that leverages this type of design thinking which really emphasizes breaking things into components. React.js, similarly, is known for breaking up the page into reusable modular components.

What we haven’t seen in the Drupal community is much of an emphasis on content patterns. Why not? Is every website implementation a special snowflake? We do see that many distributions attempt to establish a base content architecture. Let’s go a step further and say that there are content patterns that apply across *many* organizations and verticals that we could be taking advantage of right now.

In our session, Mediacurrent’s senior design Justin will cover some common design patterns he and his fellow designers use every day. Jay and Justin will then cover how we can apply these same patterns to content architecture so we aren’t reinventing the wheel on every project. We aren’t necessarily prescribing an exact solution but rather principles and ideas that will get your mind wrapped around the idea of using content patterns.

Outline

  • Common architecture problems

  • What is Atomic design?

  • Common design patterns

  • Get everybody using the same language

  • Applying patterns to our component library

  • Implementing content patterns with Paragraphs

Meet team member, Jay Callicott

Jay is an engineer and leader with a passion for creating technical solutions that solve real-world problems. As a long-time advocate for Drupal and Open Source, he has spent over a decade speaking, writing, and developing enterprise solutions that advance Open Source worldwide.

Since 2009, Jay has worked in a variety of roles for Mediacurrent. For the first 6 years, he focused his efforts on perfecting his craft as an engineer. From Drupal consultant to Senior Developer, then Lead Architect, Jay created solutions and led teams that delivered dozens of enterprise websites.

In 2015, Jay was promoted to Director of Development where he was tasked with hiring developer talent and implementing processes and best practices for the team. Jay also split his time as a lead architect, launching several large projects during this period.

A few years later, Jay moved into his current role as VP of Technical Operations. Jay’s primary responsibilities are working with the revenue team to acquire and retain customers, overseeing Security, DevOps, and IT roles, and leading Mediacurrent’s technology vision. He also helps lead the development of tools and solutions, including the Rain distribution, which won Acquia’s “Open Source Giants” award in 2019.

Currently, Jay is a big proponent of decoupled architecture and the JAMStack approach to web development. Read more about Jay’s thoughts in “The State of Drupal in 2019

Learn more about Jay >