A Developers Guide to Acquia Engage 2018

Acquia Engage 2018, which takes place November 7-9 in Austin, Texas, is a sprawling event, broadly focused on what organizations need to know to stay ahead of fast-moving trends in the digital experience world.

The Acquia Engage conference was started four years ago to connect Acquia customers, partners, prospects and team members in the spirit of learning and collaboration. It’s been a big success, helping professionals work together to address growing digital challenges, share knowledge and insights, and better serve customers.

Naturally, this mission includes a lot of valuable content for developers. So let’s get specific, here in the Acquia Developer Center, in case you are a developer, and considering a trip to Austin for this year’s edition of Engage.

Customer Stories

This has always been a core offering at Engage: digital leaders taking the stage to share their insights, revelations, and lessons learned working with Acquia in the never-ending quest to deliver better customer experiences. This is a valuable learning format: enabling you to discover the things your peers and other leaders have done to overcome challenges, leapfrog their competition, and make a difference for their organizations.

Three sessions worth noting:

Voya Financial

Matthew Wetmore, Director Content Delivery & Development at Voya, will be talking about Voya’s five years with Drupal. During this time, Wetmore’s team has created a lot of Drupal sites, by themselves and with partners, and they have learned a lot of lessons along the way. This session will cover...

  • The history of Drupal at Voya
  • How Voya uses Drupal and our approach to building and architecting Drupal sites.
  • How Voya's marketing and strategy has evolved with Drupal's features.
  • What do the next 5 years look like at Voya and how does Drupal get us there.



Luis Andrade Director, Digital Experience & Design at UL LLC, will talk about how to manage a distributed landscape with flexibility and autonomy.

"For large, diversified and distributed organizations it is a constant challenge to deliver a single brand identity to the world,” Luis says. “When separate teams are responsible for individual properties there is a lot of wasted time and money in re-inventing the wheel to launch a new online property.”

So UL developed a centralized platform for building, launching and maintaining online properties that alleviates these burdens. It allows a single centralized team to maintain brand guidelines and implement best practices across properties, freeing individual teams to focus on their content and delivering a unified, flexible identity.

This talk outlines how UL, and their development partner Genuine, have done this using Acquia Site Factory, Content Hub and Lift to deliver a platform that reduces the cost, time and effort to build and maintain online properties. He will explain how the team leveraged each tool to deliver this platform, challenges they overcome and lessons they learned.

Nestlé Purina North America

Annie Scharenberg, who manages website strategy and technology for branded websites at Nestlé Purina North America, will lead a presentation on how Purina worked with The Nerdery, to tame the management of over 70 websites across of a range of brands.

You’ll learn how Acquia Site Factory was employed to revolutionize a months-long content updating process to real-time content marketing, how Purina was able to speak directly to customers through a personalized content experience tailored for each visitor, and how Acquia was instrumental in improving the governance and security of all content management across Purina’s hundreds of digital properties.

Tips from Acquians

If you work with Acquia technology, or if you’re thinking about it, it can be really helpful to hear from the Acquians who develop and maintain it. Acquians can also present and explain general developer trends in terms of Acquia tools and products -- which can make them more accessible and understandable.

Take, for example, two pre-conference sessions by Preston So and Dane Powell.

In Preston’s session, “Building for the Future of Digital Experiences: Decoupled Drupal in Action,” he explains the general concepts around Decoupled Drupal, the variety of rationales that motivate decoupling the monolith that is Drupal into separate concerns. For developers, for example, the prospect of using JavaScript frameworks like Angular, Ember, and React in lieu of Twig and PHP can be freeing and accelerate project progress. For marketers, decoupled Drupal is attractive due to its possibilities for new experiences like digital signage, conversational interfaces, and even virtual and augmented reality.

Preston, a globally recognized expert on decoupled Drupal, will be joined by some Acquia customers for this exciting pre-conference workshop about how to decouple Drupal the right way for a variety of different business goals. In the process, you’ll hear from others about their experiences and learn the ins and outs of decoupled Drupal architectures from the big picture to the nitty gritty.

By the way, Preston will be making another presentation later in the conference: Decoupled Drupal Architectures in the Drupal 8.6 Era, which will cover what you need to know about decoupling Drupal 8.6, how to ensure the best performance for your consumers, and how the Acquia platform supports decoupled Drupal architectures, including thorough support for Node.js deployments in the form of build artifacts.

Also available in a pre-conference session: “Continuous Delivery,” by Dane Powell. In this session, Dane will show how to use Acquia’s new continuous delivery tools to make it easier to implement continuous integration and delivery. Learn how to increase the reliability, quality, and speed of your development cycles using continuous integration and continuous delivery on Acquia Cloud. Catch bugs before they’re merged into your codebase and preview changes before it’s time to release.

In this course you will learn how to continuously assure the quality of your Drupal application and streamline your development workflow by running automated tests, validating custom code, and spinning up on-demand development environments automatically.

It’s also worth checking out the other pre-conference sessions. The sessions on Accessibility and Digital Factories look really interesting too.


Engage presents a two-fer for developers: all the learning, above, PLUS an easy opportunity to add impressive certification to your resume.

Acquia Certification is the premier professional certification program for Drupal and the Acquia Platform. Thousands of developers from around the world have participated in the program over the last four years.

If you attend Engage, you can take advantage of a special offer: 40 percent off on the regular price! There are ten exams to choose from.

Check out the Certification offerings here.


Customer stories, networking, certification… Although the focus of Engage is clearly digital business strategy, there are plenty of reasons for developers to make the trip to Austin this November.