Ok, I needed to write this post last week or really like… yknow, 2-3 weeks back, but I had an failure of epic proportions and often times, I just get caught up over on my other blog which is where (in all honesty) I spend most of my time, but I am working on remedying this as I really want to have an outlet to post on as I go through school and as I work through Drupal fun at work. So I am trying to rebuild/build this blog up. So without further ado, I give you the rest of drupalcon Portland 2013!
I feel like I could write an entire post on the keynote from Day 2 alone. The keynote for Day 2 of DruaplCon Portland was AWESOME! I know a lot of people would disagree with what Karen McGrane had to say about WYSIWIG editors and various other topics in the keynote, but I really feel like she made some excellent points. She focused on the fact that we are no longer in the world of print or just desktop web. Not everyone is on the same platform anymore when accessing the World Wide Web. This is important to note, not only for developers but for content producers. You cannot treat the web as a print medium like so many people want to. So she talked about this for a while and then went on to stress that WYSIWYG editors were only constraining us and that the problem with this wasnt just in content or on the front end but also with the CMS itself and while responsive design was a solution, it was only a front-end solution and one that didn’t think far enough ahead but really only worked for the here and the now. Instead of thinking in pages with content, it is best to start encouraging people to think in chunks <– I thought this point was very valuable especially with a robust and easy to manipulate system like Drupal.
I don’t know how many of the 3 readers of this blog have actually utilized drupal, but what I have come to realize in my experience with the CMS is that is really utilizes ever bit of your imagination if you want it to. There are modules that allow for very easy manipulation of every single page. From views to panels, I have come to love this robust system and building on what this woman was talking about, I really support the whole thinking in chunks thing. She ends with maintaining that graphic designers had to adapt to web and so do content developers now as we really need to embrace the multi-device future. And I happen to agree. I really enjoyed the keynote!
After the keynote, I attended a variety of sessions and even one of two BOF (Bird of a Feather) sessions. They were all pretty interesting, although you know, some did suck. The ones that I thought were going to be ridiculously interesting were theming for sitebuilders, Using Twig: the new sitebuilder in D8 and The Zen of HTML Prototyping in the Browser.
Theming was informational but not exciting. I thought we would get more into the nitty gritty of it all and while I do have a page full of notes, a lot of it was stuff I either already utilize or have used and tossed or think are worth trying, but nothing overall about this session stood out which is why I coulda taken or left it. I have since, this session, tried Display Suite (a worthy module), and I intend to check out panopoly. It is actually on my list for this week… so I will report back about that in the near future (I hope).
Using Twig was actually supposed to be more interesting than it was. It provided the basic outline but the panel presenters were a bit difficult to follow and one of them spoke ridiculously fast and while I am normally not opposed to fast speakers as I am one myself, this person just was not going into enough depth while speaking very quickly, so I actually left that session in favor of the BOF about TWIG where I learned a lot more about TWIG and what it is going to be able to do. Basically, you can create themes without knowing any PHP (kind of) and that is the direction that they are trying to take it in. The code for twig is on github, but you can read through documentation there and also it reads more like a sentence then like PHP which is nice but will take some adjustment for those of us that just yknow… expect to see code. Anyway, I learned more about the actual use of twig in the BOF than I did in the panel session.
The Zen of HTML Prototyping… as a person who started as a front end dev and doing mostly design work, I have to say that I had ridiculously high hopes for this session. The presenter was funny when he wasn’t reading his powerpoint presentation, although his powerpoint was lacking in any kind of enthusiasm or real substance…. which was the disappointing part. Especially because the dude seemed like he had a lot to offer in the way of knowledge, but he didnt really seem to impart any of the knowledge he had other than to say that you should HTML prototype and he mentioned bootstrap and Zurb, but I would have liked to see him go through some active examples of this kind of thing.
So that was Day 2 in a nutshell…
Day 3 was the final day for me. I wanted to stay for day 4 and the code sprints and I even shelled out for the extra night at the hotel but the flight was booked to leave at 945am so I didn’t have the opportunity to participate in the core dev which really was not optimal, but it is what it is. Anyway, day 3’s keynote was also really good. It was given by a dude named Michael Lopp. He gave one of his favorite talks about “the Engineer, the Designer, and the Dictator”. He spoke about how every team needs an engineer that makes shit function and a designer that makes shit pretty. And then there is the dictator… the dictator role can be played by a third person or it can be played by the designer or the engineer, but the point is that there is a dictator… someone making the decisions. He went through each role and defined each role and gave examples of how they interact with others and with each other. It was pretty interesting to see how all of this worked out. I really enjoyed the fact that he seemed to really understand developers. He said “programmers bore easily… by the third year, they are ready to move on. In the first year, they are excited, trying to make sure they get the work done and do it right and well. In year 2, they are just going through the motions. They are doing the work but it isnt hard to them anymore and by the third year they are ready to move on.” <— this is so very true in most jobs.
In the majority of jobs I have been in this is very accurate which is sad because they are tech jobs and should be ever changing, but they aren’t always. I think what keeps tech jobs interesting is the amount of leeway a developer or programmer has to develop new projects and get their create on. When the dev is able to create and come up with new ideas that could expand their knowledge or challenge them as developers, that is when they are truly happy (well… that is when I am truly happy).
Anyway, I don’t have a lot of notes for day 3 sessions. They weren’t that great and by then, people were prolly tired of it all. I actually ended up in the coders’ lounge for the better part of the afternoon on Thursday just trying to help out on as many projects as I could and getting as much experience as I could programming within the Drupal system and flexing my PHP muscles. It felt REALLY good to flex on some PHP. It has been a while since I have done some solid PHP programming… and yknow what they say, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Good news: I HAVEN’T LOST IT YET!!!
ahahha aight, well that is all for now. I have java homework I have been working on and I am going to test out panopoly this week at work sometime on the dev server, so I will let you all know what I think about that when I can. or when I remember that I said I would let yall know.