December brings a lot of reasons to feel happy and positive. While 2020 has been a challenging year for many, there are still lots of things to be thankful for, especially with all the support we’ve seen from the Drupal community to sustain the efforts of the DA and continue the open source project we all are so passionate about. And, if you are like me… well, I just love Christmas.And of course, DrupalCon Europe is just around the corner! Yes, it’s true that the conference this year has to be remote. It's true as well that I'm going to miss the interactions with the people, meeting old and new friends and feeling what the community is all about. But it's also true that a lot more people are going to be able to join us, people that previously would not be capable of flying to Barcelona but can now take part in the experience online. Hopefully, this will bring some interesting learnings that we can use in the next DrupalCons and DrupalCamps in the future.
Now let’s look at some sessions we are most excited to attend for DrupalCon 2020:
I never suspected that choosing just a few DrupalCon sessions was going to be such a hard task, but the level of great content this year is so high, that it was incredibly difficult to pull out just a few.
With all that in mind, let me first recommend that if you are able to, you should watch the sessions live (as it also contributes to sustaining the Drupal Association). Second, let me walk you through the sessions that, from my (limited) point of view, I’m most looking forward to seeing.
Driesnote and the Future of Drupal
For sure, you can't miss the most important session of the year in the Drupal industry. In his annual, DriesNote, Dries will walk us through the status of our beloved CMS and give us a taste of what the Drupal leadership have in mind for the next few months and years. In past years, these previews have brought us some very important initiatives such as Layout Builder, the Decoupled initiative and automatic updates.
If you want to know what's behind the scenes of those initiatives, what their leaders are working on, challenges they are facing and how you can help, you can't miss the Drupal Initiative Leads Keynote.
Speaking of main initiatives, one of the most interesting from the point of view of a Drupal developer is everything involving Configuration Management. I can't wait to hear about the changes and improvements coming, that will surely make everyone's life a little better. I can't wait to see if any of the new improvements and features could be applied to the multisite arena, one of the most complex areas when talking about configuration management in Drupal.
Site Building and Management
What is more annoying than having to prepare updates to your code base when there is so much else to do? Let me tell you, not much. Don’t even get me started with emergency upgrades at ridiculous hours that keep the team late in the (home?) office. There must be a better way for sure, and that’s why I won’t be missing the Core Automatic Initiative Update.
There has been several years since we moved to a Decoupled first (as opposed to only) CMS. I've been watching for professional reasons this area, and working with some colleagues on different concepts, so I have special interest in the Custom Elements session by Wolfgang Ziegler
Regression and Testing
Another key pain point that I've been suffering or observing other teams suffering is the early detection and mitigation of bugs, pesky regressions in particular.
Visual regression should help here, and especially when projects grow in scale and complexity. Can you imagine chasing regressions on a 700 domains code base, thousands of pages project? I've been there. Not nice. And yes, I’ll discuss in another article why multi site is a life saver for enterprise projects like that.
Can’t wait to watch Shweta Sharma's session, her findings, approaches and in general best practices on this area in her session: Automated advanced visual regression testing.
If that same line, load testing is something left to the day after, until the day after is already late and the site is crawling to a halt, leaving customers and users dissatisfied. Janna Malikova session on Load testing, Load test your Drupal website before it is too late, sounds very promising.
Work Life Balance and Mental Health
2020 has been a particularly difficult time. Some of us may have been used to work from home for years, but the challenges of having family at home, kids not going to school, not being able to see family for months (if you live in another country) on top of the stress of having to juggle all of that with your daily responsibilities at work have in a lot of people, me included, left a profound scar.
Jorge Tutor is going to help us to self organise, Michael Schmid will touch on managing stressful high demand work situations while Diego Costa is going to be open about that while helping everyone else to open themselves as well. Check out each of these valuable sessions below:
- Self-Management in remote environments
- My best (and worst) strategies for dealing with high-demand work
- Being Open About Being Human
And let's not forget about the very well-known challenge of Imposter Syndrome: Imposter Syndrome – it's way more common than you think
You can see I am putting special interest on mental health related topics, but I think specially this year we all need to be reminded to take care of ourselves, and that we actually put it in practice.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you have already heard about Olivero (named in honour of Rachel Olivero - Thanks Gabor for pointing this out). The amazing work by the team has been recognised by including the then as part of core. And you have not one, but two sessions where you can discover what is all the fuss about.
- Designing for chaos: The design process behind Olivero
- The Olivero theme: Genesis and Update on Drupal 9's Newest Theme
Personalisation has always been a big important topic, not just in Drupal but in today’s web in general. From AI-driven sites to Netflix like personalised customer journeys or richer editorial experience (every site owner’s dream), everyone’s… ehrm... personal appetites are being met this year. Here a few top personalisation sessions at DrupalCon to check out.
- Driving today’s CMS with tomorrow’s artificial intelligence
- A Better Experience for Content Editors
- Your Drupal Site Personalized Like Netflix
Greg Harvey is going to introduce us to Mautic and the magic of marketing automation, while Jaspreet Singh will teach us Why Automation knowledge is needed for a Project manager.
Made with Love by Acquians
I left for the last (but not the least) the sessions that some of my estimated colleagues are presenting.
Nick Downton will introduce us to an extremely revolutionary, sci-fi bordering concept that most of the people (me included) don't apply to customers as often as they should: the art of saying no. Find out more about how to gain this skill in: Say no more than yes! What is an XY problem and could it be harming your project?
Ricardo Amaro will be talking about the wonderful (amid complex) world of monitoring Kubernetes Drupal clusters.
While everyone is talking about Drupal 8 and 9, Gabor never loses his focus on the future. You can’t miss his session about Drupal 10: Drupal 10 Initiative: Here We Go.
And lastly, DrupalCon will feature two sessions I have proposed that I am quite passionate about. First one is a round table about Open Source sustainability that we presented in Drupalcamp London and that we are now introducing to the wider audience of Drupalcon. Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend as one of the speakers on the day due to work responsibilities, but you are in much better capable hands than mine as Rachel Lawson is taking the lead on this round table (Thank you, Rachel).
And, if you want to have a peek at what, maybe, just maybe, the future of software and programming could look like, don’t forget to visit me at my session about Low Code/No Code: Past, Present and Future.
Is there any session you’d have loved to see here? Send us your messages, my Twitter is open.
As always, thanks for reading.