Dream It. Drupal It. (Develop It!) DrupalCon.
Hey developers ~ new, experienced or otherwise, undecided!
DrupalCon Portland is just around the corner — have you thought about the week and what you want to accomplish? Keynotes, sessions, a new job, and "people to see" are certainly popular options. As one colleague put it, "Spending time with all the cool, smart people that I talk to online." Maybe just making sure you have some of these ten things to bring with you to Con is all you can muster right now.
If you're attending, here's the chance to spend some time away from the routine workflow and plunge (or continue onward) into an exciting week of all you-can-eat-Drupal. For some attendees, it's like a camp reunion of like-minded people who may come from communities of one (themselves!). For others, it's hiking down the unmarked trail of the unknown and realizing you will make it back a-ok, more assured, amazed, and amped on Drupal endorphins for the projects that you want to tackle. So, whether you're attending solo or you've been going to DrupalCon since 2005, here are some activities to tickle your developer DNA (add yours by commenting below!).
Chances are, you're a developer that falls into one of a few major personas when it comes to session attendance: pre-planned Jane, with sessions selected in advance (speakers researched), plan b in place if jam packed; or the last-minute Joe, deciding sessions by the hour as you sit in your current session. Let's not forget our friend serendipity! You've bumped into that long-lost former colleague and suddenly you're sitting with them, wooed to an amazing session not on your radar. There are also developers you may never see attending a session because they're either presenting or in a code sprint (more on that later). Here are some sessions that look too good not to be missed:
The Future of Views
Views 3 got dang sexy and I haven't looked back except when I have had to hold my nose and log in to sites using "old Views". I am excited to see where the next era of Views takes us. Now in Drupal 8 core, taking advantage of Configuration and Plugin systems. Oompa! Listen to audio.
WYSIWYG in Drupal 8
Drupal 8 now comes with a WYSIWYG editor! Nate is a fabulous, articulate speaker and he'll share his adventures about getting CKEditor into Drupal core and how he substantially improved the admin and end user interfaces along the way. Watch the video.
SaaS, Drupal Services, and OAuth
These topics in combination are pretty key to staying technology-current on how various services integrate with each other on behalf of the user. Check out the docs on OAuth and Drupal Services for a pre-session primer. Watch the video.
The Old and New Field API in Drupal 8
Three top developers present changes in Field API that will make for a more consistent, powerful, central part of the new entity system. In Drupal 7, modules like Date, Link, Email, and Entity Reference had to be downloaded from Contrib — now they are part of core and unit tested! This session features lots of code examples. Thanks! Watch the video.
New Contributors and Core Initiatives: What they Bring and How to Bring them in
Exploratory discussions on meshing new contributors into the Drupal ecosystem. Core conversation selection. Watch the video.
Upgrading your Drupal Modules to Drupal 8
Keep current, wrap your brain around porting your modules, and help influence code APIs before the code freeze in July. Most likely one of the more popular talks, so secure a comfortable seat early.Watch the video.
Next Steps for Drupal Commerce
Ryan's talks on all-things-commerce are consistently a crowd pleaser and come highly rated — his demos are illuminating and easy to follow, and he's usually approachable and easy to find at DrupalCon (in case you're not able to ask your questions during the Q&A). I suspect this will be a well-attended session. Watch the video.
Birds of a Feather
In addition to formal sessions, Birds of a Feather sessions (BoFs) are informal meetings where folks with a shared interest can meet and discuss their niche interest. Topics range from Node.js Integration to Drupal Nail Art! BoFs are NOT recorded and are conversational in nature. If you have a topic you want to explore, sign up as soon as you can to secure a spot (on Tuesday May 21, in person). Mid-day time slots are a little easier on the night owls but be weary of late afternoon coma. Promote your BoF through various social media opportunities early on and talk it up on groups.drupal.org. If there are selected session speakers presenting on related topics, see if they'll promote your BoF (Hint: giving them some text goes a long way.) If you didn't get a session selected, but still want to present, this might be your chance. Go for it!
Shut your laptop and spend some time in a conference booth. Booths come in all flavors, including event sponsors (passionately promoting their services), DrupalCon organizers (with information kiosks), or the schwag store. If you're not affiliated with a company or organization that's exhibiting, consider volunteering to staff some of the event booths. You'll be surprised at the mix of people you will meet, network, and reconnect with. Imagine volunteering at registration…you could meet everyone!
Are you a developer with specific interests or are you open to anything and everything? Sprints are dedicated rooms and blocks of time devoted to giving back to the Drupal community. All contributors are welcome, from newbies to code warriors. There will be sizable Drupal 8 core sprints in the Portland Acquia offices the weekends before and after of DrupalCon (18-19th and 25-26th). These are on top of the regular DrupalCon sprint day on Friday the 24th. If you have never committed a patch, or never quite understood what/where/how something exists on drupal.org, mentors will be buzzing around to demystify everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask. Learn how to help onsite at DrupalCon.
For more detailed information on the actual sprints and a signup sheet, visit http://groups.drupal.org/node/281033
If you cannot sprint (or don't consider yourself a developer) but want to contribute resources (meals, snacks, beverages, photography, videography, entertainment, or other creature comforts), please contact me directly or comment below and I can assist!
Fun and Games
For the developers that need to unwind, parties and other social opportunities are in no short supply at DrupalCon. The DrupalCon Events & Activities site has an index you can peruse. After dinner, get a group together and head out of "Drupal Dodge" for a bit. Watch the conference Twitter feeds and exhibitor promotion for destinations! Coder Lounge is open all night and is a highly attended alternative to the traditional party scene.
Thursday Evening - Pinball Pub Crawl
I have never done a pinball crawl before so I quickly signed up. Has anyone else signed up too? Favorite machines I am looking forward to are Addams Family and Twilight Zone. Thanks to OpenSourcery and Network Redux for organizing.
Thursday Evening - Trivia Night
After pinball, try your hand at Trivia Night hosted by Grandmaster Jeff Eaton. Questions are a good combo of Drupal and non-Drupal topics. You can always find a team to join onsite so don't be shy!
Let's face it… developer talent is in high demand. DrupalCon is a great place to take advantage of your prized status. For job seekers, freshen up your blog, online resume, LinkedIn profiles/recommendations, and drupal.org profile. If you're presenting code samples, confirm that your GitHub repos are current. Be willing to explain your methodology and open yourself to constructive dialogue. If you're not in a position to switch jobs right now, take advantage of the in-person venue and schedule informational interviews. (For example, anyone remotely interested in the 50+ available Acquia positions can schedule an interview with me today or plan to meet up at the conference.) Take advantage of the aforementioned social opportunities to get to know people and expand your networks.
See you next week!