Twin Cities Drupal Camp Recap

June 12, 2018

Sure, I missed the Friday night camp party to go to the Twins game for Prince night, but how can I complain when I got this photo out of it?

I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make it to Twin Cities Drupal Camp this year as I had a little too much travel lined up. I even went as far as telling Tim Erickson at DrupalCon that I wasn't going to attend. However, after hearing that a few other HS2 folks would be submitting sessions I couldn't resist. I eventually decided that I'd lean into the Drupal Camp wave and attend as many as I could this season. So I walked into the University of St. Thomas atrium with my head held high, but as a dirty liar.

Once things kicked off, I was immediately glad that I had this change of heart. Twin Cities has a wonderful Drupal community with a camp that is well run and has been very supportive of me and my craziest ideas for a few years now. I would have been really sad to have missed it. I was even able to continue the good community vibes with the first session of the camp I attended - Drupal and the Music Industry - Learning from our Success. Hearing about all of the music industry sites that are or have been powered by Drupal was a nice reminder that our work can impact the world at large, and even sites our parents and/or kids use. Who needs whitehouse.gov when we've got Justin Bieber?

The camp also served as a nice opportunity to catch up with past and present co-workers, many who were giving talks.

  • Was able to catch Will Long's Next Level Twig: Extensions which gave a nice concise overview of popular twig extensions in the contrib space and examples of how to implement your own.
  • Will was also part of the CiviCRM Secrets for Drupalers session which provided my first introduction to the CiviCRM project and some background on the Drupal integration that the folks at myDropWizard are building for it.
  • In Drupal 8 Migrate: It's not rocket science... Jack Franks provided one of his typically fun and engaging live demos - this time doing live migrations against NASA APIs. He also gets bonus points for rolling with his computer freezing mid presentation, and also incorporating a partial config import into the demo based on one of my comments during the Q&A.
  • Finally current HS2 colleague Chris Greatens presented Hello [user:name]: Personalization for Everyone which provided an excellent overview of personalization concepts, along with a look at some examples of some poorly executed uses of personalization. Those personalization missteps inspired quite a bit of discussion from attendees in the Q&A.

Component Based Theming With UI Patterns and Pattern Lab

This was my second time in 7 days speaking about the UI Patterns module, but I added a little Pattern Lab specific content this time around. It was another well attended UI Patterns talk which tells me that more folks are understanding the value in the functionality offered by the UI Patterns module, and also that pattern library driven theming workflows still continue to gain popularity in the Drupal community. Thanks to all who attended, to Michelle for this nice photo, and also to Eric from Mediacurrent who I had a chance to walk through the UI Patterns Pattern Lab module during a quiet Saturday AM BOF block.

Also in the general neighborhood of design components I sat in on Steve Persch's session Everything is a Block: How WordPress Rewrote the WYSIWYG. It shared some overlap with his State of Wordpress session from DrupalCon but dove even deeper into the new hotness that is the Gutenberg editor. While I have some issues with the underlying structure of Gutenberg content (tons of content jammed into a body field,) the upsides to a consistent block based approach in the editor resonated with me.

Given that, I asked Steve how he thought we could move to a more consistent use of blocks in Drupal. With all of the possible approaches to this problem in Drupal, he thought that the community needs to align on the things we want to stop using. For him in the past his approach was based on layout plugins (which aligns well with the experimental layout builder module now in Drupal Core.) Alongside this layout based approach he also focused on limiting preprocessing as much as possible so that the admin UI could accurately reflect what ends up rendered on the front end. The latter point especially resonated with me as it is a disadvantage of the common Twig mapping approach to component based theming that I think can be improved by the UI Patterns module or something like it. Speaking of that, thanks to Steve for giving a nice shout out to my UI Patterns presentation during his talk.

The last session I caught at the camp was Conscious Uncoupling -Drupal 8 meets Metalsmith. I was already familiar with many of the concepts here through my experimentation with Drupal and GatsbyJS, but it was great to hear someone else's positive experiences with the JAM Stack and decoupled Drupal. It also me amped to finally try Netlify, which I ended up liking quite a bit.

A few talks I missed but want to go back to:

See you next year Twin Cities. I'll just leave this here.