I was attending as a coder of over 10 years but not only was this my first-time Drupal Con, it was my first real foray into Drupal community real-world events. What would I make of it ...

Monday, day one, I managed to sneak into the Acquia Partner Summit. OK, I had registered, but as a lowly dev it felt a little like it might be death by business cards so my attendance was low-profile to say the least. In reality it was ok and at times even interesting - chatting with CEO’s of Drupal agencies who talked of the woes of deploying very early Drupal 8 sites whilst also hearing from a couple of clients on their positive experiences and how to get the most out of the Partner Program.

As you’d expect the Summit itself saw lots of Acquia positivity and, British cynicism aside, (nee nee death by business card), the desire to work closely with clients sounds genuine and good.

After that, some light relief was provided by way of a First Time Attendee Social. Bingo, of all things. It did make sense at the time even if it doesn’t here. I didn’t win as I was spending too much time nattering.

The main draw on Tuesday was for the #Driesnote - i.e. Dries' Barcelona DrupalCon keynote speech. Dries looks bigger in real life than his cardboard cutout in the foyer - the said cardboard cutout was decapitated by the end of the week, so I hope Dries himself fared better.

The exciting announcement in Driesnote was for Drupal 8 Release Candidate on Oct 7th. The mild whooping seemed more subdued than I expected. Was that because Drupalisters don’t do overblown displays of excitement, or was it the reaction of a community that’s been waiting 3 years!?

D8 sounds like a big step forward - for example the CMI looks like it could be a massive workflow improvement. Lots of work going into addressing the Headless/Decoupled Drupal while at the same time being able to keep the benefits of Drupal content management (via Progressive Decoupling / GraphQL) and more modern/ standard development - Object orientation, Symfony integration, TWIG.

The downside - which most readers will know already - is that many contrib modules that people have come to depend on (Panels & Rules to name but two) are (still) not mature enough. Reading between the lines, and talking to other people, it sounds as if you would (still) only consider using D8 for simpler sites. I don’t know for sure but I could well imagine that’s not going to be music to the ears of some - not least internally at Tincan, as strategically we’d like to be using D8 in anger sooner vs later.

From the other keynotes the two that stood out for me were:

  • Web Psychology - as a dev, it was good to be reminded that humans are the target of our efforts. That said it was also slightly disturbing the research that goes into coercing and controlling site users.
  • Mental Health - I didn’t expect a keynote like it but found it quite emosh

For the rest of the week I went to lots of techy sessions - I even made notes!

On the final day, I went to a First Time Sprinter Workshop just to get an initial taste of what all the sprinting malarkey was all about. Found it all slightly chaotic - but what does one expect from geeks 😉

So all in all a great experience. Lots of nice people and lots of interesting sessions.

And did I mention the great beer?