Category Technology
Publication date
31 October 2017

#DrupalCampDublin 2017 - a retrospective

Over the past number of years, Drupal Camp Dublin was becoming more of a showcase/case study event where different speakers display work they had been doing on various websites. This year, we (the Drupal Ireland Association, of which I was chairperson) decided to "go back to our roots" and do two things: create a developer conference for developers, and engage more people from outside of Ireland.

To achieve the first, we had a strict policy on "no case studies, no sales pitches". Instead we specifically asked for people to propose talks about migration, multilingual, headless Drupal, test driven development, component-based theming, etc. Naturally, the Drupal community didn't let us down and provided two days of very high-level sessions on these and more topics. (As an aside, one attendee told me he didn't get to DrupalCon, but did manage to get to four DrupalCon sessions at Drupal Camp Dublin.)

To achieve the second, we deliberately scheduled our camp for 2 months after DrupalCon. This would allow us to talk to people at DrupalCon and encourage them to come along. Added to that, we contacted people we knew from other Drupal communities outside of Ireland and asked them if they would like to come to our camp and to promote a tweet or two for us. This was a successful endeavour with about 33% of attendees at Drupal Camp Dublin coming from overseas, mostly the UK and Belgium.

So, what was talked about? We'll here's a lightning talk blogpost of each topic (yes, I managed to get to every session across two tracks, except for one session that was on the same time as one of my own).

Lessons Learned from Building a Large Multilingual, Multi-region Site in Drupal 8

This was a shortened version of Stella's talk from DrupalCon. A fascinating look at the quirks of building a website with localised content, rather than just multilingual content. For example, showing a blog post to users in Europe, but not to users in Asia; an English language report in US English for the US audience and UK English for the rest of the world. There are more pitfalls than you might think, but Stella covered them all.

Surviving your job when having ADD

Levi Govaerts gave a wonderful talk on how having ADD affects his life and work and strategies for coping. I tweeted to him later to say I'd love to see such a talk given to a larger audience, such as a DrupalCon audience. I hope this happens. Very insightful.

Lean Web Operations — Planning for the unpredictable

This was a talk from Jochen from FreistilBox. As usual, Jochen delivered a very engaging talk on "getting things done" with his typical humour and deep knowledge. In short - stop starting and start finishing.

A Headed Goal for SSE Airtricity League with Headless Drupal!

This talk wasn't so much a headless goal as it was a triple header. There was so much to get through here it took three very capable developers from Monsoon Consulting to deliver it, the talk focussed on building a Drupal backend for a headless Angular JS frontend for the Football Association of Ireland.

Clearing out the cruft - Using Migrate API to migrate a 12 year old site

Alan, from Annertech, has been maintaining the Athenry running club website for a long time, starting with Drupal 4.7. Each new major release of Drupal allows Alan to see what has changed about Drupal migration from version to version. In this talk he looked at the workflow needed and how to migrate from media in Drupal 7 to Media Entity Embed in Drupal 8 as well as migrating to paragraphs.

Estimates are dead, long live forecasting!

I apologise for turning this well-prepared talk into a discussion. But I couldn't stop asking inline questions because what Mike King was talking about had such a resonance for how developers work. Basically, we need to use data to let our clients know our 'forecast' of work completion. We cannot estimate with any accuracy.

One-click automated builds

Luis Rodriguez from Capgemini gave this talk on making your development workflow easier by automating as much as possible. I wish I knew as much as Luis about this kind of stuff.

Case study : making Commerce, Webform & Group play nicely together

Okay, we said strictly no case studies, but this one was worth it. Chandeep Khosa gave a great overview of how he has used webform and Drupal commerce along with the group module to allow quite complex pricing rules to deliver products to clients.

Live Performance Workshop: A top-to-bottom performance overhaul

Anthony Lindsay, from Annertech, shocked us all with some terribly bad code that would make a site very slow (the type of code we have seen and fixed for some of our clients). After we got over the shock, we set about fixing it, together, as a team with everyone giving whatever knowledge we had until we got the site from a 5 minute page load to a 2 second  page load.

Deploying Drupal (and anything else) with Fabric

This was the first  of Oliver Davies's talks, in which he demoed some very clever things he has been doing with Fabric to help his deployment workflow.

Back to the Future: No More Static Mockups!

Without doubt the best talk of the weekend, not just because it was by me! This was a version of the talk I gave at DrupalCon, where I go on my usual rant about why we need to stop sending clients photoshop mockups of their websites and start using PatternLab (or at least design in the browser).

Teaching Development via Drupal

I missed this talk because I was giving mine at the same time. From comments from people who were at it, I'm sorry I missed it. Apparently a great talk along the lines of "I am teaching CMS developer at a third level institute. What should I be teaching about Drupal".

There's more to code reviews than you might think

This was a great introduction from Daniel Shaw about how to get started with code reviews, why code reviews are not supposed to be scary, and how they can make your developers even better developers.

Drupal 8 Sitebuilding with Paragraphs, Display Suite & Configuration Management

Chandeep's second session. This time he gave a preview of how he uses paragraphs and display suite to allow him to deliver complex requirements without writing code, and also give the editor as good a user experience as possible.

TDD - Test Driven Drupal

This was Oliver Davies' second session. in this one, he expounded on why we should write tests, how to get started writing them, and - crucially - why using TDD can help you work faster and find bugs sooner.

A foundation in Drupal development with Docker

This was one of those sessions where I know very little about the topic but like to attend so I can at least gain some vocabulary about it. Ed Crompton didn't disappoint, and now at  least I know the difference between a Docker image and a container.

Growing an Agency Business: Tactics Vs Strategy

Bharat Sharma from Monsoon Consulting stepped in to give this talk when another speaker had to cancel. In it he dissected the process his company went through a few years back to re-shape themselves and the type of client they wanted to work with. There was a lot to take away from this talk for any company looking to scale.

A New Theme for Drupal Core?

I gave this presentation as the last one of the weekend. It was a short and simple overview of the work we are doing as the 'Out of the Box"' initiative for Drupal Core - building a demo installation profile for an imaginary food publishing magazine called Umami, which will become part of Drupal Core 8.5.x (if we meet our deadlines).

And that was it. Drupal Camp Dublin 2017 - in my opinion the best Drupal Camp we have had so far in Ireland.

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Mark Conroy Director of Development

When not promoting sustainable front-end practices at conferences across Europe, Mark leads our development team to create ambitious digital experiences for clients, so they, in turn, can have success with their clients.