Texas Camp 2018: The blazing heat of Austin and learning much about Drupal core

A snake with a red background and the words Texas Camp 2018 Austin TX may 31 through june 2

I occasionally get on an airplane and am freezing thanks to the AC being cranked all the way up. This was the case when flying to the lone star state and was immediately met with 104 degree heat when they opened the doors on the ground. To be honest, this is not my favorite kind of weather, but at least I would be indoors for the most part, since I was there for Texas Camp 2018.

This was the second time I have ever been to City of the Violet Crown or Texas at all for that matter. The first time had literally changed my life. It was my first Drupal event I had ever attended, DrupalCon 2014. It was the event where I went from just another sales guy in a another tech job I thought was interesting to full blown community member and Drupal enthusiast. It would be hard to understate the importance of this for my life and there is zero doubt I would not be writing this now, nor would I be even living this well, if it were not for that trip. Tamping down crazy expectations of something that life changing, I went in like I do every camp. What I got out of it was again some of the most memorable moments I have had in this space yet.

Food and Fun

Thursday

Speaker dinner

After a long, full day of training the speaker, sponsors, organizers and volunteers all got together for some Texas BBQ over at Stiles Switch. It was awesome to see everyone. The team made me feel very welcome with the food, by brining in some vegan quesadillas that really hit the spot along with some awesome veggies we all could share. Other folks with dietary restrictions also commented on how inclusive this event was. Not even going to mention it on the other things below, there were vegan options every singe time we were together, just as I think it should be.

Friday

No coffee to be found. I almost cried and went a walking around to try to find some. The only coffee place I could find opened at 10:00am. I don’t know what Texas thinks coffee is for exactly or when they think it should be consumed, but this was literally a first for me and was not too pleasant a surprise. However there were breakfast tacos. No lunch was provided so I ended up eating the really awesome and tasty breakfast tacos all day long

There was a Friday night after party as well. We gathered over at 4th Tap Brewing, another co-op, to play some board games and try their pretty terrific brews. I am normally not a beer drinker, but if you are in the area, drop in and see of they still have the Highland Scoundrel, a 10% ABV malty Scotch-style ale, made with peated malt smoked in-house. Best beer I have ever tried.

Saturday

More breakfast tacos! No coffee, which lead to sleepiness on my end and might have ended disastrously if not for the heroics of David Needham who brought me iced coffee.
We again were on our own for lunch and instead of just grabbing the free option, I ventured around the block to Wich ‘Wich which has pretty awesome selection of subs, wraps and salads. It was great to get to hang out with my Drupal folks over a meal.
The after party was a hoot, taking place not too far away from the venue at The Local Post where we had more drink tickets than we knew what to do with and a terrific spread of food. Afterwards, we found a pretty awesome karaoke spot over at Common Interest and sang and sang and sang until they threw us all out at closing! At the karaoke, we got to see something that was a first for me, a trumpet player playing along with some of the singers and doing the best version of ‘Georgia On My Mind’ I think I have ever heard.

Sessions

Training Day

Training: Visual Regression Testing with BackstopJS

I was super pumped to be able to co-present/assist with this training. I had done so at LoopConf and it was awesome. Being able to do it here again was also good, though this time I had my own agenda. I used the time to really wrap my head around some of the internals and how I could better use them for my workflow that I build Postitnow around. Here is a video of my then current results

Friday Keynote

Keynote: Breaking the Binary: The Politics of Code and Inclusivity in Technology
Nikki Stevens

Inclusion is one of the things we like to pay lip service to a lot I think. When Nikki showed some examples though of us getting it wrong, it was like a gut punch. I love a good gut punch, it makes me uncomfortable but motivates me at the same time. Like when I think about Accessibility, I always get that same feeling of ‘I am not doing enough’ which drives me to always make alt text at least now. Now I am inspired to always consider ‘am I being tolerant or am I being inclusive with this decision’. They are both important but they are very, very different ideas. I am glad to be on this journey of FOSS with so many people from so many backgrounds. This is and excellent talk to put us in the right direction, but it is up to each and every one of us to move down this path and make tomorrow better, and more inclusive, for everyone.

Great intro from Michael Schmid
Are things the way they are now, the way they have to be?
No
binary does not change for instance
code does not change
but we used to have balanced ternary system
nothing is inevitable or unchangeable
can we image a different future?
Politics
definitions from the crowd
slow
messy
intersection of change
manipulative
power is exchanged
tech work is political
algorithm to tell who on skid row on who gets a house
it affects real things
internet exists in the real world
internet is just tubes filled with cats
we forget that this is computers made with stuff from mines
in a system, we are all connected
do small choices matter? yes
vim vs emacs
trello vs jira
vagrant vs lando
all the choices matter
the foundation for inclusion is the ability to imagine new futures
no one knows how tech works in general populations
does you ‘user’ exist
average pilot issue
Open demographics began last year
gender: male/female/other
open-demographics on github
gender form to many more options
small choice, huge difference
distributed credit shatters illusions of meritocracy by showing all the labor involved
supported by charts that show 86% male in the space
reinforcing illusions in the system
What’s the business case?
Diverse companies do better and make more money
changing ideas about women
why are we still here?
what is the business case for not changing our hiring practices
data show this is import to change
what systems are we supporting with our corporate and
why are black women so
things designed for white faces/skin
not taking things like gender diversity in stats
tech is important and impacts the world

My talk

Discovery, discovery, discovery, discovery! The most important part of the project

I really had a great time presenting this. Had a pretty full house and people gave me good feedback. The more I think this stuff is common knowledge the more I am always surprised people say they have not encountered some of this stuff before. I am about to retire this one I think, going to replace it with the best parts of a couple other talks about process and give a polished ‘Follow the Process to Success’ kind of a talk, but no time line on that. Thanks to you if you came out to it or listened online.

Getting closer to your customer: Using Drupal in the last mile
Kelly Albrecht

I honestly went to this talk with the thoughts of a) I think Kelly is an awesome presenter and b) What does he mean by last mile here? I was right on the money with the first assumption, Kelly knocked it out of the park and this was a great presentation. I was honestly surprised by the second part, having my expectations completely subverted and walking away literally pumped about a part of Drupal Core I did no know even existed. I spend a lot of time talking the ‘hows’ around DevOps. Automating and such, which is at the heart of the tech side of ‘What is DevOps?’. I don’t spend almost any time thinking about or discussing the ‘Why is DevOps?’.

Why we are thinking this way and how to implement
How close are you to your customers now?
easy to push customers away if you see them as interruptions
lot of misconceptions of what DevOps is
people think about it terms of servers and machine
DevOps came from the developer and the operations folks not communicating
shortening the feedback loop and adding value to chain
customer benefits
break down the wall of confusion
automation helps
feedback though is critical
narrow version of this topic and that is ok, we talk about it a lot
want to automate to noops (no ops)
this is short sighted
Whole point is delivering something of value to the customer
think about getting everyone in loop to customer as communicative as possible
Dev, Test, Engineers to get to mind set
build,CI,Deploy,Operate,feedback,plan,build loop
manager / maker schedule
feedback comes in as tickets
that is what the devs thought
needs to think wider with it
apply flow and automation ot customer feedback as well
which new thing is more important than the other new thing
what’s new, what is, how is it?, what’s next
people lose faith based on how they misunderstand a product
WP as a community thinks about the end customer a lot more than Drupal generally does
What if we modified the Drupal login experience
Tour is in D8 core, not being promoted but very valuable
?tour trigger tour trick pop-up
demo
end user feedback at the end of a tour
get feedback quiz
if people feel their feedback would be heard, they give it
We need everyone’s perspective to make our product as intuative as possible
keep experimentations simple and cheap,
iterate to get closer to you
related: https://www.drupal.org/contributor-tasks/create-tour

a11y — ARIA Rules: To Use Or Not To Use
Susan LaRonde
Charles Leverington

ACCESSABILITY FTW! You know it as well as I do, this is everyone’s responsibility. As if to underscore this and literally have the universe put a face to the issue, when we went out to Karaoke on Saturday, a group of visually impaired folks were having a party and ripping the stage up with how great they were! I had an ah-ha moment of imaging any of them trying to use this site, or anything else I have touched. These awesome people should have the best experience possible. It is a real blessing that Drupal (and WP for that matter) make accessibility automatically OK and it does not take much to get 100% of the way there from our end as content makers and site builders. Don’t delay, make your site accessible today!

Speaker notes are available on the slides from link
examples of ARIA accessible approved code are freely examples
purpose
add functionality where semantic HTML does not
classes and how they relate
HTTML DOM tree JS Accessibility tree Assistive technology user
right click inspect, look at JS events, look for accessibility tree
only exists since 2012
most roles are automatically made in HTML5, leveraging semantic HTML
roll = navigation
no aria is better than bad ARIA
do not overwrite existing accessibility semantics
do not change the native semantics unless you have to
ARIA uses KISS principal
lot of code examples in this talk that ironically I had to strain to see from even my third row seat
third rule of ARIA, always make sure keyboard controls are usable
NVDA – NVAccess, free and open source

The traffic fallacy
Sean Eddings

I work on a team that is in the midsts of trying to adopt a more Agile methodology for working on projects that fall outside recurring events. Every time I see a talk about this stuff, I feel it puts me a much better place to even communicate ideas on how to apply SCRUM or Kanban with others. This talk started with a ‘where is he going with this’ moment. Then he got there and I don’t think I can think about tickets in the same way ever again. If you are struggling with tickets and your whole team being too darn busy to get anything done, this this is the talk for you and a way of thinking that will help optimize everything about functional deliverables.

lives in NYC
traffic is bad and many places are too
but thinking while stuck in traffic
not a ton of thought given to solving
he researched and Houston to Katyland TX
41 minutes to go 28 miles on average
right now, hour and 20 minutes
in 2004 nonprofit said 25million hours wasted
delay would double by 2025
about $503,620,000 lost opportunity per year
engineers, extra lanes means more capacity
Texas spent $2.8 billion to widen the Katy Freeway
average time increased from 41 min to 64 minutes
55% increase
the amount of freeway increased the number of cars increased, ratio remained the same and actually worsened
50 lane freeway in hong kong
freeway engineers have the best intentions
Need a vehicle and progress limit
Manhattan is experiment with congestion pricing
no go on this idea now
Stockholm, Sweden, bunch of islands
set up experiment, costs a $1 to enter central city
when people saw the data after 6 months
travel time decreased by 50%
emissions dropped by 14-18% in inner city
what about our industry
Backlogs are like this, things taking forever never get done
think, more people, get done faster
looked at task list and too many things assigned to single contributors
Value was taking too long to get to the customer, and everyone was too busy
looked at they way they managed processes
realized they had a command and control model
traditional management says 100% utilization of people was the key
but if everyone is busy, delivering value with predictability is not impossible
changed to prioritized delivering work to the customer as quickly as possible
goal: put our good ideas into action quickly
1. Visualize our process
2. limit our work in progress
3. improve as a team
1. visualized
moved away from tech, went to boards and paper
high level visibility for team
bottlenecks easier to see, respect or change
makes hidden work apparent
2. limit work in progress
how many things can you really work on?
excessive WIP heightens distractions
marked WIP limits on board
there is no right WIP limit for everyone
a lower WIP is generally better
a too high WP leaves work idle
too low leaves people ide
WIP limits are not rules
take a list of work, prioritize it based on biz value
that is your backlog
work top to bottom
right now thinking of tasks and breaking them in different ways so something is completed
task that needs approval example,
deliverable is the thing to be evaluated but that is a new card once feedback is given
conversation the team has on who does what
always keep things in motion though to get to value delivered
flow efficiency is the sum of value adding activities in relation to the throughput time
Flow Efficiency = Value Adding Activities/throughput time
Works because devs do not put things in To Do
selected for dev is a parking lot
ready to deploy is a staging area
what stayed the same?
Multi-functional team
dedicated team
queue hygiene
daily stand ups
retros
what changed
optimizing for getting a single work unit through the process as quickly as possible
ea members attached to work
team members pull work
that takes a lot of autonomy
Good to Great teams:
set the stage
gather data
generate insights
decide what to do
clone the retro
What did we learn?
Start with what we have
prioritize our work
visualize our process
limit WIP
Retros are how team improves
goal is to deliver value faster to customer
Agile and Lean, are all about experimentation and learning. Enjoy the trip

Saturday Keynote

Keynote: The Future of Drupal
Michael Schmid

I can not overstate how good this one was. Whatever you are doing when you read this, stop and go watch this talk! My summary is OK for my purposes but it loses Michael’s impassioned tone and the pure excitement he expresses about how we are being adopted as a community philosophy and software by governments around the globe. I went in thinking ‘oh great, another talk on how we are not growing and maybe some hand waving around some stats’ and I left going ‘oh yeah, I forgot that Drupal is the best expression of FOSS Internet CMS anyone has made yet. We are doing some great stuff and we can keep making it great!’ Some version of this should be the keynote at DrupalCon Seattle.

We need to talk Drupal
You taught us a lot Drupal
collaboration
parties
speaking
growing companies
You have changed lives
but you also changed a lot
Drupal 8 is not the old Drupal
Upgrading from D7->D8 is really hard
Modules work differently
OOP everywhere, you have to understand deeply
so many new things to learn
and already Drupal 9 is in discussion
Adoption is slowed down and it is scary
same is true for DrupalCon attendees
no DCon Europe
You also created physical and mental pain
Drupal Confessions
didn’t do his due diligence and found out too late
He is sorry for what happened
it is gone now, but caused a lot of pain he sees now
Had to learn composer and the CLI
so complex now
and now need to learn JavaScript
and it is very different too
and now the Security Issues
so many hours
is Drupal over?
is that our tomorrow?
NO! it is not over
Who is Drupal?
If we blame Drupal, we are blaming ourselves
we are all in there together
The others are not sleeping
Drupal is already powering the web
we have a lead
over a million sites
5% of top Million websites are Drupal
181 governments use Drupal for sites
So many governments decided to use this code we make
Want to buy a car, you are likely using Drupal sites
Lush – Drupal commerce, but because of our code
NBC, Pfizer, etc
Drupal is used more and more by bog and important websites
is more market share really better?
D.O Data Usage is voluntary
many people disable the ping back to Drupal
Now we have a road map!
we have a plan for next
an upgrade path
D9 Upgrade path, as easy as 8.0 to 8,1
will be smooth process
Camps are happening and getting more and more important
Camps are less intimidating than Cons
Camps are closer to the people
and much more affordable
only works if businesses sponsor
It is hard since ‘what do I get back’
small $ back, sure
but you are making Drupal better and possible
and send employees to participate and bring community closer
should be sharing that knowledge internally
lunch and learn it, share what you loved
employees: ask to go to camps
All the major frameworks using Symfony framework
Drupal started that
added complexity, but makes us all stronger
why embracing and using other tools
We have always done it, like jquery
Less overall work
brings us closer to the rest of the PHP world
easier to hire engineers
Composer
We need package managers
there is no other way
everybody uses it
everyone has always used package managers
like driving a car
it seems impossible at first
Secure is much more transparent
Drupal Security is completely volunteers
Same processes like Linux, Google, Apple, etc
hosting companies have you covered
JavaScript?
Most popular tools, tops the list
TensonFlow, React
Stanford intro CS is in JS
Decoupled frameworks
this is how most large sites work now
API first is key
MOre dev, design, UX capabilities
So Drupal, forefront of decoupling
Full support for JSON-API and GraphQL
Contenta CMS
Angular, Elm, Ember, React, Vue
still a hard problem, but this is getting easier
So Dear Drupal
Lets build the future
Accept and embrace change from all of us
we always making it better
but that takes investment from us all
and if we believe

Hmm, I Didn’t know that Module Existed!
Fito Kahn

I started out in 2013 on Drupal 7 and have never really put it away, though I do much more WordPress stuff in my personal dev experimentation. I thought I would go to this beginner talk to learn a little about what Drupal 8 modules were all about, especially after learning about tour being in core earlier in the day. I took incomplete notes because I kept opening tabs for the modules Fito introduced me to and was just like ‘wow, I didn’t know about this one’ with almost every feature. With a goal of introducing the site builder to how to make very customized sites without cracking open the code even once, he made the case very well that through configuration of the modules alone, D8 can do just about anything out o the box or with a couple easily installed components. Again, this list is incomplete, but good thing there are also resources like this.

Drupal?!?!
What have I gotten myself into?
Fear!
Some people on first site right now
Overwhelming at first
but there is hope
there are so many modules
and the Joy of D8 being awesome
History of D8 75 core modules in D8
not as many contrib modules needed
30 core in D7
important dates
3982 D8 modules in 2018
8641 D7 Modules
Experimental Models as well
many in core are turned off, just need activated,
Modules that will make life better
– Admin Toolbar/Tool Bar Extra
– Coffee and Coffee Extras – search in admin that is easy to use
– Pathauto – makes URLs with tokens easy
– SEO Checklist 0
– Content Moseration/Workflows – in core!
– multilingual support, content translation in Core – 4 modules
– Webform – you can design your own
– Simple Sitemap – lighter than XML sitemap
– Slick/Slick Extras – one of many solutions for slideshows/carousel
can be touch to configure
– Focal Point – crop API
– Honeypot – defer spam bots from completing forms, not as intrusive as captcha
– Autoban (Automatic IP ban) using watchdog table
– Scheduler
– Paragraphs – editors control flow of content – replaces bidy field with content types you can mix and match
– Views Reference – field conjunction with paragraphs, adds more flexibility
– Panels/Panelizer/Display suite – create drag and drop layouts for customize looks of site
Let’s remember this is all to avoid actually touching code
this is all just install and config, very different than hand changing views
– settings tray – core. Customizer for Drupal
– Bricks
– String overrides
– Statistics – in core – can slow down the site but valuable info
– Module filter
– Alexa – yeas integrate Alexa with a D8 site

Archiving and Visual Regression Using Drupal 8
David Stinemetze

David was so impassioned about this idea, I just had to see this in action! Going in I was not 100% sure what to expect from this. The idea, as he had described it to me, seemed logical but I wasn’t sure about how it did it nor did I really get an idea of why you would even do this. Leaving the session, I was blown away by the quality of what they are building and sharing with the community. Leveraging the beautiful solution of BackstopJS, we get a solid path for backups, archiving and automatic testing that I had not thought of before. It is well worth watching just for David’s enthusiasm.

Old parts of site don’t change
testing anyway
add on a wayback machine element
Module overview
Web Page Archive module snap local or remote, triggered periodically, compare snapsops based on URL or XML sitemaps
Snapshops can be captured on any site
not just current instance, not just drupal, not just sites you own
Requirements, D8
Why?
Learn D8, Ease of use for non-tech users
Drupal 8 plugin ecosystem makes it easy to support additional use cases
give back to the Drupal community
Capture Utilities
Drupal plugins responsible for performing captures
uses annotation based discovery
configurable per instance
Captures screenshots of URLs
uses Headless chrome and puppetier
examples
can also capture raw HTML
Skeleton Capture, prototyping tool
Web Page Test Capture Utility
Captures web performance test results
just capturing it now
other proposed use cases
Configuration Archive Capture
Rendered DOM capture
Google Analytics Capture
Security Scan Utility
can configure easily with dropdowns
don’t want to manually capture each page, use site map
capture stores things, storage can be an issue
Current Project Sessions – yesterday Spot the Difference tool
Visual Regression is all about the things human eyes easily overlook
slider compare
compare screenshots Heatmap
bright red to highlight differences
Release plan drupal.org/node/2930857
Some remaining issues
You can help
needs new code, needs reviews, etc
demo time
in config, website archive tab

Goldilocks Decoupled: What the Future Holds for Decoupled Publishing
Mike Minecki

I hear decoupled being talked about a lot and I am certainly one who has seen it as not only a better way to think about building for multiple end user system. Mike reminded us all that this is not a panacea for all our issues and there are a lot of disadvantages for decoupled systems if the team is too small, the use case requires a lot of the CMS solved services or other things that a REST API can not do well yet. Even though this was towards the end of the camp, the conversation that flowed from the end of the presentation was lively and I didn’t capture that effectively. If this sparks an interest, go listen to the conversation from the recording.

This is not a demo or a show and tell
why Devs love Decoupled
Hard choices
are you doing stand alone or hub
chart for this out there
simplifies the ideas of it
if there are other apps basically
heart of the chart is layout and display management
modules, toolbar notifications, caching and performance
end up with choices
coupled, progressive, fully decoupled
more JS –>
Why do Devs love it?
bad reasons
new and shiny, Drupal is hard, performance, Dogfood API
Why good
good reasons
Shared templates and language
building frontend in JS is really fast and rather easy
Static site generators are really performance
separation of concerns
a lot more to a website than static markup and content
Content routing and complexity for instance
Decoupled pitfalls
Snowflakes – every front end unique
can’t install stuff (like twitter cards or sitemap.xml)
caching and routing – static site generators don’t work for bigger sites
Progressive Decoupled – the middle way
Cons
Redheaded stepchild of the monoloth and JS framworks
need deep understanding of both to build new stuff
DX is only great if 2 teams
Tons of Content APIs
0 ways to render them without a dev
44 decoupled backend listed on headlesscms.org
that’s weird
off the reservation – Arc publishing
a pagebuilder
Superdesk publisher
lightweight source renderer
Goldilocks
benefits for devs
100%JS
Declarative
Editorial controls
Built to work with reverse proxies
Standardized workflows

Wrapping Up

It was an intense few days for me. Some personal stuff happened, like it often does, that distracted me a bit. Very fortunately for me I was far from alone and had my Pantheor and Drupaler family members there to help me get back on track. This event also re-sparked an honest curiosity about what this D8 thing can even do. Time to get exploring now for sure. I know I will be digging into a few things more deeply and don’t be surprised if you hear me talking about tour sometime very soon at a DrupalCamp, as a BOF if nothing else. Also, I didn’t have the chance to see it live, but for sure check out the session about Drupal’s Layout Builder that I am pretty keen on as well. So many good ideas, hard to fit it all in one blog post.
I do hope I get to go back to Austin again in the future, but man I sue hope it is not nearly as hot when I got back. If nothing else, I hope to return for a future Texas Drupal Camp!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *