A few weeks ago, it was time for me to head across the Atlantic to another DrupalCon event. DrupalCon North America, organized in New Orleans this time, is the largest Drupal event in the world. This year, just over 3100 Drupal enthusiasts, out of which 33 % were DrupalCon first-timers, gathered together on May 9-13 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, only a few steps away from all the famous attractions.
The overall atmosphere at the event was notably relaxed and positive; with Drupal 8 released and doing well, people seemed happy to be able to move on and develop new things in Drupal 8. Comments like “This is the best DrupalCon ever!” were not unheard of.
In his keynote, Dries Buytaert presented the proposed key initiatives for Drupal, based on the State of Drupal 2016 survey conducted earlier this spring.
The initiatives in Drupal 8 are a significant addition to the Drupal project. Thanks to the initiatives, many companies using Drupal are now getting involved in Drupal development as well. By sponsoring the initiatives, client companies can influence on getting a certain new feature released within a reasonable time frame (about six months). This is not the case with Drupal 7, where only patch releases are made for bug fixes. In Drupal 8, there’s much more possibilities: semantic versioning allows backwards compatible changes as well as minor releases for new features.
As usual, the conference was packed with interesting sessions. My interests lie mainly in the Drupal core conversations, and these were some of the sessions that stuck in my mind:
Gábor Hojtsy and Angie Byron struck up a much needed conversation on the potential of Drupal 8.x versions and how the initiative process should work in practice. The debate over whether Drupal core needs a new front-end framework – and what kind of framework – was addressed in a panel discussion facilitated by Marc Drummond and Preston So, and moderated by Dani Nordin. David Hernandez’s presentation on mentoring and the challenges the size of the Drupal community brings about was also thought-provoking.
Together with Scott Reeves, I gave a presentation on designing a CMS theme system that satisfies different user personas – the one we prepared in India back in February. (And actually, those who attended Frontend United in late May might have seen this presentation as well!) The topic raised a lot of good discussion, since it’s a well recognized, current issue. The solution is still waiting to be discovered though. During the event, we also designed the architecture and defined the requirements for a component based theme system which is one of the proposed initiatives.
Besides all things Drupal, I also got to know the city’s rich cultural heritage a bit, thanks to the abundance of cultural events organized by various companies. I participated in a guided ghost tour for example, but alas, no sightings of ghosts this time. And of course, a trip to the Big Easy just wouldn’t be complete without a night at a jazz club!