Category Technology
Publication date
12 October 2023

DrupalCon Lille: The sessions we want to see most

Time to read 5 minutes read

DrupalCon Lille is around the corner, and it comes with a schedule jam-packed with interesting talks. Which ones do you pencil in? We asked around, and these are the sessions that Annertechies are looking forward to checking out.

1. Designing for privacy: Balancing user needs and data security 

Why this session? 

Director of Managed Services Anthony Lindsay is keen to attend Designing for Privacy: Balancing User Needs and Data Security "because it's something clients rarely seem to think about". 

When is it? 

This session takes place on Tuesday, October 17, 2023 – 16:15 to 17:00 

What is it? 

Tarkesh Deva will explore the challenges of designing for privacy and provide practical tips for balancing user needs with data security. With increasing concerns about data privacy and security, it’s more important than ever for UX designers to consider the implications of their designs on user privacy. 

Tarkesh will take us through a case study on design of a community forum for UNICEF, which is a platform designed for young women and girls, pointing out several privacy risks and challenges specific to the platform and its users, such as sensitive topics, reaching displaced users, identification of users, and privacy intrusion. 

Learn how to address these risks and challenges through the design choices, including creating a safe and supportive community forum, using non-intrusive registration methods, and incorporating privacy-enhancing technologies.

2. Having your cake, and eating it too: Using Varnish to serve content from your new Drupal site alongside your legacy platform - keeping 2 platforms live at the same time

Why this session? 

This presentation by Annertech’s Director of Technology Alan Burke is also on Anthony’s list of must-attend sessions because “it's something that clients would probably love”. 

When is it? 

Tuesday, October 17, 2023 – 16:15 to 17:00 

What is it? 

For many website projects, the scariest thing is the 'big switch' - turning off the old platform and turning on the new one. But there may be another way… keep both new and legacy systems running, but use a tool like Varnish to 'split' the traffic between the two systems, only going 'live' with sections as and when they are ready. 

Alan will do a deep dive into how Annertech managed this problem with This session is suited to advanced users. 

Topics to be covered include: 

  • Running your own Varnish instance vs using a 3rd Party provider such as Fastly. 
  • What is achievable 'out of the box' using Fastly 
  • Using VCL snippets to achieve more flexibility 
  • Going all the way with a custom VCL configuration - the risks and rewards 
  • Tricks to make sure Drupal works well in such a configuration

3. Exploring holacracy, sociocracy, and reinventing organisations in a Drupal agency 

Why this session? 

Director of Development Mark Conroy is keen to attend Exploring holacracy, sociocracy, and reinventing organisations in a Drupal agency

Sociocracy is the methodology Mark and the team use at LocalGov Drupal for how they organise all their working groups, “so I'm interested in learning a bit more about that and other alternative management models,” he said. 

When is it? 

Tuesday, October 17, 2023 – 15:00 to 15:45 

What is it? 

Presented by Lukas Fischer, this session focuses on Netnode, a small Swiss Drupal agency that has successfully adopted and blended principles from Holacracy, Sociocracy, and Reinventing Organisations since late 2019. In this session, he will explore the fascinating world of decentralised leadership and share the Netnode experience in creating a thriving work environment without a CEO or job titles.

4. Project first aid: How to respond, recover and thrive in the face of project failure 

Why this session? 

Industry experts estimate that a whopping 70% of digital projects fail. Faced with these kinds of odds, it’s vital to know how best to recognise and respond to a project in peril. This session has been recommended by Managing Director Stella Power. 

“No matter how much you try, somewhere along the line you'll get a project that will not go the way you had planned. This session looks like something we could all get a few pointers from,” she said. 

When is it? 

Tuesday, October 17, 2023 – 17:15 to 17:35 (so right after Alan’s presentation

What is it? 

Whether your budgets are ballooning or you’re missing milestones, this session aims to arm you with a first aid kit of practical strategies to fight potential problems and give your project the greatest chance of survival. In this session, you’ll learn: 

  • How to spot the symptoms of an unhealthy project (early!) 
  • Tips for creating a realistic, immediate care plan for a project in crisis 
  • Simple steps to keep your project out of the metaphorical emergency room moving forward 

This session aims to help anyone delivering digital projects, from agencies to project managers, or architects, to thrive in the face of project failure. 

5. How we delivered a language learning website to rural internet-less schools in South Africa using Drupal 

Why this session? 

DrupalCon is pretty much about connectivity and technology, yet here we have this presentation about creating a website that will not be online, for a group of people who do not own devices that will allow them to use the internet, and they are barely literate. Where do you even start finding solutions to the ultimate accessibility challenge? 

I am South African, and have lived in this country which has one of the world’s biggest gaps between the haves and the have-nots, for many years. This mega gap is a very hard thing to witness. But there are people doing incredible work, solving problems that a few years ago would have seemed impossible. 

When is it? 

Thursday, October 19, 2023 – 10:30 to 11:15 

What is it? 

In South Africa, 78% of children who are nine and 10 years old cannot read for meaning in English. That's because, in this particular school year, they're required to switch from learning in their home language (South Africa has 11 official languages) to learning in English. 

Read to Learn is a project imagined by the people at Oxford University Press, and presenter Dane Rossenrode is the web designer and web developer on the project

Using innovative "offline server" boxes and Drupal, what they’ve created is a highly interactive website where children can go through lessons, take quizzes, and play interactive games. And they’re deploying them to schools in rural areas that don't have any internet connection! 

The schools have government-provided computer rooms or low-end Android tablets, which means that the entire system was built to work offline. Once a week, the box turns on its (weak) 3G radio to send simple reports back to the Oxford University Press team to analyse. 


So there we have it – the five sessions that some of the Annertechies will be making their way to this DrupalCon. When we’re not at sessions you can find us hanging out at our booth. We’re celebrating Annertech’s 15th birthday this year, so come and say hi. 

Are you going to be at DrupalCon?

 We’d love to hear what you’ve been working on, and brainstorm any challenges you may be having. Pop round to our booth. 

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Alison Visser Head of Content

After more than two decades in journalism, Alison now collaborates with Annertech's clients to ensure that their content is the best it possibly can be.