DrupalCon Portland 2013: Day 2


My second day at DrupalCon Portland 2013 was also the longest day of sessions. There was a keynote session right away in the morning. I didn't feel the need to go, but I got up early anyways. Unlike the previous day, I managed to get a seat in the same room as the speaker, rather than the overflow room. Perhaps it was the fatigue, or the fact that it was in the morning that resulted in my inability to remember much of anything about the session. I vaguely remember that the informal takeaway was that in-place editing was a feature "dreamed up by marketers", and that the real problem was architecting content. I had planned out my sessions, but that was derailed right away. As I was walking out of the keynote session, I saw someone waving a sign about a Project Management BoF (Birds of a Feather). I had hoped that the BoF would start quickly and finish before a session about the Drupal 8 Field API began. By the time the BoF started, the room was stuffed, and the Field API session had started. I was annoyed, but hoped that the BoF would yield some interesting knowledge. While I've done a bit of PMing before, at heart, I'm a developer and time estimation techniques that seem intuitive for PMs elude me. I left the session feeling annoyed with myself. I ducked into a BoF about the Media module in Drupal 8, but quickly realized that this was more of a meeting between people that have been working on porting the module. I left quickly and got lunch. It was Wednesday, and I had deferred taking some essential medication the previous night. My emotions crashed sometime while waiting in line for food. I found an empty table and tried to pull myself together. Lunch was actually much nicer this day; a catered meal of soft shelled tacos and salad. I relished the vegetables, but my mood did not improve. I tried to distract myself by continuing my Day 1 post, but my mood did not improve. The highlight of the day was the session on upgrading modules to Drupal 8. This was, in fact, an update of Angela Byron's (webchick) famous "Pants.module". Webchick was not attending DrupalCon this year due to a recently born and adopted baby, so someone else gave the talk. It was funny, informative, and encouraging. Even so, the Symfony heart beating at the core of Drupal 8 remained a snarling leviathan to me. The following session was one I picked mostly for a sense of knowledge completeness than necessity. I new about REST (Representation State Transfer) and how it's a big part of Drupal 8. I wrote course material for REST for work. Still, I wanted to see how someone else explained it. The thing I remember the most about this session wasn't so much the content, but the speaker's lovely accent. I was beginning to crawl out of my dour mood around my fourth session for the day. For the entire time I had used Drupal, we created themes using an engine called PHPTemplate. It was always a quick hack, and riddled with security issues. Unfortunately, nothing else was wholly "Drupal-compatible" -- until Twig. Twig is a theme engine from the Symfony project. The session took place in the same room that was the keynote overflow from yesterday. Twig finally simplifies a lot of the mess around Drupal theming. Furthermore, Drupal 8 simplified the backend mess that supported theming. The last session for the day wasn't specifically about Drupal, but HTML Prototyping. The "old school" approach to developing a website was to create a wireframe that laid out the structure of the pages. I've never really done any myself as usually created a theme in a graphics application and then tried my best to make it happen in Drupal. The buzzword of the day, however, is "Responsive Design". Instead of having a separate URL for a desktop website and the mobile website, the idea behind Responsive Design is to react to the size of the user's screen and change the features of the website to correspond to that size. This session pointed out that Responsive Design makes the practice of wireframes a nightmare. Instead, the speaker advocated for creating prototypes in HTML. I did this myself for deninet 4, and again for deninet 7. The speaker introduced a few prototyping frameworks that make building the prototypes much easier. While I doubt I would use it in my work, I found it fascinating. There was no reception in this evening, and none of the events looked at all interesting. Originally, I was planning on going to the coder lounge, but I quickly discovered that the one held in the convention center was open 24 hours. The one in the nearby Doubletree Hotel was. I mentally threw up my hands and headed home. I regretted the decision, but I was rather tired. Given my experience the previous night, I thought a great deal about how DrupalCon's events didn't cater to introverts all that well. I posted my thoughts on Twitter and found more than a little interest. Maybe someday I'll have the opportunity to make that happen. Pazi arrived later that night. I was thankful for her company. When I was finally tired enough, I took the medication I deferred last night, and slept.