Design4Drupal 2018: Views from the top floor and walking further than we needed to while a good time was still had

the words Design4Drupal and a drupal drop with a styled color skyline of Boston

I always consider The Olde Towne one of the iconic American cities. By this I mean that if I go to Serbia or Iceland and talk about cities in the US, people always know San Francisco, New York, LA and Boston. They have a picture in their heads, and with good reason, of some of the oldest buildings, some of the oldest bars and some of the more famous landmarks in this country. It was quite an honor to go be part of the magic of old bean town as I accepted the invitation to speak at Design4Drupal 2018.

Food and Fun

Wednesday

Coffee and snacks and tea were still being set up when I first arrived. But when I finally was able to get some coffee it was actually pretty good for college catering. I think that because there was an open Starbucks in the building they knew they should step up their game. Lunch time rolled around and us special meals folks were treated extremely well. I had a pretty amazing ‘Cobb’ salad with beets and avocado. Even the afternoon snacks had a vegan section what was more than just fruit.

There was no official party or goings on on the first night. This let me catch up with some of my favorite Drupal community members who also didn’t have official other plans. We found a BBQ joint with a reasonable set of veg options and a great mixologist on staff, The Smoke Shop.

Thursday

Very much a repeat of the previous day. Again huge props to the organizing team who really looked out for us with dietary restrictions. Very notable fact, the catering thought that small whole cakes would be a good decision for some reason as snack. I got a good chuckle out of that.

After Party

We gathered at Meadhall in Cambridge for a very fun evening of snacks and beverages and fellowship as a community. No tweets that actually showed the party and the venue in full swing can be found, so here is a sample tweet about the venue.

Yes, we also found some time to do DrupalKaraoke. THanks to the good people of Courtside for letting us celebrate area man’s birthday with y’all.

Friday

Friday was Sprints and Training Day. We had coffee and snacks abounding and lunch even offered up vegan pizza and a pretty healthy salad option.

Sessions

Opening Remarks

10 Vital Lessons For Running A Successful Digital Agency
MaryAnn Pfeiffer

MaryAnn is the kind of shop owner I hope other shop owners are paying attention and learning from. This talk is a no-nonsense look at very practical aspects of running a business. I really loved her approach of laying out the advice, then explaining how she came be believe this and the data behind it. I highly recommend this one if you are running a business of any kind.

Raw Notes:
Her 4th year here
goal is to help save you some time and effort and void mistakes she has learned the hard way
not a coder, pre-internet marketing
marketing communications
personal intro and polling audience
1. Begin with the end in mind
lawyers are better on the way in than on the way out
making sure you get paid for your work and work is not stolen
keep things professional
she learned from a client she had been working with for years
her work was stolen by an advisory board, went to court
2 years
another client who had signed a contract
only took 2 months to get paid
another client wanted to change the contract too much
had to say no
all had to say Attorney and they backed off
even her mom needs to sign a contract if she wanted work
2. Friends can be clients but they are customers first in that case
Specific lens of friendship is bad for business
Clients can make really good friends though
as long as professional lens is there
3. Think long term
don’t just take any project that comes along
you will regret taking bad fits into your portfolio
strapped for cash, will take about anything
Client relationship is a 2 way street
4. Brainpower should cost money
don’t give free consulting advice
your knowledge and time are real assets
been doing this 17 years
for first 10 years did a lot of unpaid consulting time
now has a ‘pick your brain’ paid consulting
written report or other deliverable around advice
5. Realize there is strength in numbers
invest in financial tools and advisors to grow your business
She hired a person to handle finances and accountant much smoother
6. Be a work in progress.
Sooner you start documenting and process management the better
project manager came in and had no idea how to start
all process was in people’s heads, not written down
took weeks to document
had to define the processes
7. business is business
No one is a one person shop
we all have to use outside vendors
choose those vendors wisely
seemed easy to just get friends and ‘down the street’ convenient
but not always a fit
now she has stable of vendors who are trusted and provide real value
referrals must be because of business fit
8. No I in Team
working with partners who can keep your relationship secure
had a server fail, hosting company
known them for year, bad luck run on his part
multi day outage
80% of her sites were down
headache and really should have been end of business event
she was prioritized as a client but still the end clients wanted to migrate hosts
but they all still trusted her
chose Pantheon cause we care
Fiery hoops and made sure the clients were satisfied
(Great job Roxanne!)
9. Transparency leads to trust
clients depend on you but you depend on them
must help each other get better
took her a while to be really transparent
tough position to be in if you agree to do work you don’t know how to do
instead figuring out if can do, otherwise refer them
want them to be a happy client so they trust long term for things they are competent
10. Every little thing, going to be alright
can’t force them to jump though
can be frustrating, you have to just let it go
business is not personal and you need to let go of ego

Wednesday Keynote

The Building Blocks Of The Indie Web
Jeremy Keith

I didn’t go into this talk expecting it to be as technical as it was, but wow I am very glad I went in with an open mind. I left with a much better understanding of what is even possible around owning your own content and how it all fits to make a better overall internet. It is not the responsibility of large corporations to protect your content and privacy, it is yours. Things like OAtuh and ‘rel me’ might seem like technical novelties, but what they represent, if embraced, mean a much freer internet where a content creator decides on when and how their content is used in a more meaningful way than using FB, Twitter, etc, could ever allow. This is also a very entertaining talk in my opinion with some of the better thought through slides I have seen in a while. They don’t work stand alone but amplify his talk when he is going through them.

Raw Notes:
indieweb.org
Owning your content going forward
Ideally Capitalism good
bell curve distribution
in theory it could be economically good
if a level playing field
Rich get richer and poor get poorer due to feedback loops
Internet explorer
wants to see many browsers competing on features
dodged a bullet
routed around it, like networks
hub and spoke
airports still use this, old telephone
single point of failure
ARPANET
well connected nodes distributed network
still possible for network to work even if one goes away
military background survive nuclear attack
but really people working on it thought
nuclear weapons with hub and spoke
reduced the possibility
shared with the Russians
no top down and nodes can add in as needed
no permissions on the WWW to create a new URL or link
no planned structure
wild crawling mess
walled gardens – Compuserve and AOL
the web Won!
wanted free open
but returned to walled gardens like Facebook, Twitter, etc
FB is media company in the world but we make all the content for them
the better the network
the first person who had a fax machine had a completely useless device
before FB it was a singular social
basically pushed us back to the hub and spoke model
hypothetical, an election
single point of failure
like WP and Drupal are popular and get attacked more
temping target, large attack vector
Why?
Convenience is driving it
trade control for this convenience
they now control your content
the movement tries to balance that
indieweb, you should have your own website
longevity
MySpace
link rot is a fact of life
comes back to the architecture of the web
proposal to hypertext conference in 1991
rejected
2 directional links
one directional links
but 2 direction isn’t that hard
link rel=
href
rel stands for relationship
works on a as well
a rel=
a rel=me
but that does not make 2 direction though right?
spec element on profile links
kind of 2 directional
relme auth
piggyback OAuth
can sign in to a service using your own website
why would you even do this?
authentication is the hardest point of an API
micropub – incoming post requests
you can use anyone else’s interface that conforms to this standard
quill
ownyourgram
ownyourswarm
PESOS
publishing elsewhere send to own site
but POSSE is better
Post own send somewhere else
using ITTT for ths
Webmention another W3C standard
brid.gy is a service on these things
monitoring responses and can ping you and push to you by authenticating
can do comment but also do interesting things with the data
facepile
plugins available
works for Drupal as well
but why? why this?
Dri.es/tag/open-web
should all be different whys
but it is about control of our media
but this is all about tech
but that is not what indieweb is about
it is about design principals
indieweb.org/principles
have to have fun!
emoji included
your site is your playground
the original motto of the World Wide Web was: “let’s share what we know.”

How Technical Should A Drupal PM Be?
Matthew O’Bryant

I do a fair amount of thinking about Project Management since I talk to so many people who work on projects. I also see that as an appealing career path to be honest, as it is something that gets things done and in an ideal world, unites folks for the better. Matthew does a pretty good job of reality checking anyone that might be approaching this field lightly. He systematically walked through terms and concepts that PMs of any skill level should be mastering and at least familiar with. The final answer of “how technical” is ultimately “it depends”, as with so many other things in life. However, knowing more and continually learning is certainly a good approach no matter what.

Raw Notes:
Long history of CS sales and technical background around sales and marketing
bought a home loan automation, learned coding and architecture
Dreamweaver, ASP
20 years of this stuff
Digital Project Manager
success
I think in 1’s and 0’s but I speak English
Does it even matter
Main role is
hit deadlines
manage a budget
resource coordination
quality control
client satisfaction
Answer is yes, it matters
carpenter using a hammer vs making a blueprint
actual answers, it depends, on quality of the project
small sites maybe less important
even some medium, depends on what you need to integrate, maybe great contrib modules
maybe less to explain
maybe more technical
support SLA
Endurance vs Stress test
eCommerce
more complex you need to have a better technical understanding and be able to translate it
knowing terminology
adding content
basic HTML and CSS editing
Basic understanding of Views
intermediate skills
paragraphs, pathauto
admin toolbar
many more
know your basic contrib modules
Drupal permissions
views config
commerce features attributes
so you can have the conversation with the clients
version control for Configuration Management
Module configurations
more advanced things
know git
ACESSABILITY IS KEY
W3C WCAG 2.0
Perceivable Information and UI
Operable User Interface and Navigation
Understandable Information & UI
Robust content and reliable interpretation
Peer code review
Cross Browser Testing
Performance Testing
Security and Penetrative Testing
Google Analytics
Google Tag Manager
Heat Mapping Tools
LOT OF STUFF
improve your skills
Build your own website

Storybook: An Interactive Pattern Library for Your Decoupled Applications
Brian Perry

Brian is an excellent presenter and this talk is a continuation of an idea I first heard him discuss at Midcamp. Now, I will always caveat that front end stuff always seems a little out of my wheelhouse, as I don’t really touch that side of things in my day to day. However, this adds a bit of magic show element to any of these talks where I just get to be impressed a thing is possible without fully grasping how it does it’s thing. ‘Knobs’, for instance, seems like a completely logical tool anyone would want to use for making fast changes when prototyping or developing but I can’t point to a single thing on my agenda to have a reason to dive into it at the moment. Still, I am very grateful to get to attend these talks and expand my knowledge base around this area. You never know what tomorrow will bring or when I am going to need to need this stuff. It was a very good demo.

Raw Notes:
Atomic design approach
Atoms -> molecules ->Organisms -> Templates -> Pages
build components and prototype them
integrate with Drupal in interesting ways
test things before you integrate fully
can be Twig
Examples:
Artsy.net
on github as well
website in github
bulk is in React
slide shows, galleries, ect
reaction is the folder you want
Another example
Uber React-Vis
visual storybook focused on components for visualization
JSX add on
knobs
Adding Storybook to a project
npx create-react-app my-app
cd my-app
npx -P @storybook/cli getstorybook
npm run storybook
starts a localhost instance site
going to be pretty bare bones but that is scaffolding
Individual story files
config.js file
iterates through options and pull in what you want
example story: Album
Music discovery app
Row with an album cover, name, render method to render JSX
select album function
src/componets/Album.stories.js
import React
import {storiesOf}
import { Album }
import { AlbumList }
CODE EXAMPLES
Album story
Addon: Actions
Can see a lot of things
log the actions and functions
with Knobs you can fiddle with things in real time to experiment before committing
Lot of demo!
List View story
Combine all this with Puppeteer to test all the things
deploying is straightforward as well
build to a .out directory
or NPM script
and can post that anywhere with static JS bundles
Drupal and Pattern Lab?
style guide guide, gatsby edition
the storefront in the workshop
really is a dev tool

5 Essential Lessons You Can Learn From Art History
Jennifer Smith

I’ll admit it, I didn’t fully read the session description before I got there and thought we were going to be looking at classical architecture, painting and sculpture from all throughout history. Instead we started in 1900 and I quickly got acquainted with the importance of The Bauhaus and Swiss Design and how we can all benefit in our daily choices from embracing simplicity over needless ornate embellishments. I also learned how to quickly apply the Golden Ratio to a layout without a lot of hassle, which I am going to start leveraging as design choices pop up. TL;DR – centering is the lazy way to show you don’t know about design, so stop centering everything and flat is better than drop shadows.

Raw Notes:
There is design in everything
If you follow best practices
looks more professional
takes stress away
impresses others
don’t make your company look bad
10 minute art history
Early 1900’s
could go back further but this is modern era
Emphasis on tech
manufacturing process and function
style subordinated to purpose
Electricity comes around
have to design things to use it
like fans and such Peter Behars
tea kettle
unified appearances
glass walls was a super big innovation
reason behind every component and decision
Van de Velde
trained as a painter
served as an architect, designer, teacher
jewelry and other common things
furniture
first real silverware sets
art to industry as well
German Association of Craftsmen
form determined by function
elimination of all ornament
elevated functional aesthetic
1918 war ends and design things ramp up in post war
1919 Bauhaus school
to this day still think German Engineering is good because of this
free to people who qualified, school just for designers
building for a soft machine, humans
Bauhaus became a philosophy
eliminate elements that do not matter
form follows function
everything is designed
make design accessible, avoid overloading and over stylizing
Craigslist is EVERYTHING at once, Google is one thing, done well
1933 Nazis killed the Bauhaus
1940’s Swiss Design
after exit from Germany, kind of makes sense
not specific to Swiss, but international style
flair for design forever there though
international typographic style
this is used by all large corporations now
Used Asymmetric layout
and GRIDS FOR EVERYTHING!
sans-serif
Flush left, ragged right
preference for photos over illustration
Dieter Rams, less is more
record player
Braun juicer
inspired by that juicer, Apples products in the 90s
10 principals list
Less is more!
don’t give the user more than they ask for
focus on needs not distractions
fierce reduction of elements
United vs American Airlines apps
United has a lot of unneeded parts when you first look
new flat design is actually just the swiss style
shiny is not needed
Windows 10 no rounded corners, grid
LingsCars.com best site about what not to do with design
how to eliminate unneeded objects?
Do you really need this in a box (boarders are a sign of weakness)
Does this need a drop shadow (most likely no)
Does it help to have this in 3D
does the gradient convey more information?
BWI is actually on the right path
but there is a video on their desktop site that takes a lot of space
mobile apps are cleaner
Using mind maps, helps figure out what is important before design work begins
don’t give people sloppy stuff
Eye pattern testing showed no real difference between serif and sans-serif
on-screen considerations
Xheiht 65% of the Cap height
strong counters
do not use Script or Cursive
use a typographic grid
Always adhere to type ramp
visually 2X the size so people can see the import stuff
Rule of thirds
Golden ratio
Fibonacci sequence based on rabbit research
very replicated in nature
multiple by 1.62 for a perfect pleasing size rectangle
helps to not center everything
PhiMatrix
can overlay Golden Ratio on your screen over anything
and break down proportions as needed, repeatedly
Google Materials
https://design.google/

Thursday Keynote

Exploring the New Drupal Front-end with JavaScript
Dries

I always love a good Driesnote and was a bit curious how this would stack up. A visibly more relaxed Dries, in front of a smaller crowd than DrupalCon brings, really had a conversation with us and introduced several members of the audience to the history of Drupal for the first time. More importantly than our past, it was great to hear an impassioned view of the future and what that can look like. Not too dissimilar from WordPress, the take away for me is embracing JavaScript on the presentation layer is not optional anymore, so it is up to us to make sure our testing frameworks and APIs are up for it. Especially in a world where every new dev is at least learning JS basics, it is going to make adopting Drupal even easier int he future and will let us draw from a much larger pool of devs to grow the community.

Raw Notes:
History of JS, Drupal, API-First, JavaScript-driven Drupal admin interface
Brief history of JS across the stack
JS was invented in 10 days
Brendan Eich wrote the first JS version
in the beginning everyone thought it was amateurs
JS was not cool at first
XML
asynchronous JS
lead to AJAX
then frameworks like JQuery, dojo, mootools prototype
adopted by Drupal, first CMS to use JQuery
put it on the map
2008, Chrome build JS engine V8
10 years ago, they were very future looking
10x performance improvement over internet explorer with V8
2010, twitter made unprecedented move,
implemented new API server for everything/everyone
Moved the rendering to the user’s browser
model is common now, but this was a first
over capacity whale showed that this initially did not do well
time to first interaction was pretty poor
had to download a lot of things
in 2012 partial rollback of rendering back to the server
AIRBNB made the code very reusable
JS word right now, Babel, nightwatch
tooling has really evolved
History of Drupal
message board for his friends
registered dorp, means village
typo to drop.org, happy accident
thought up public name for code, 30 seconds. Thought of Drupal
Google and Mobile had no real existence
1 our of 40 sites on the internet use Drupal
14 million visits to drupal.org per year
reinvented ourselves many times
each morning we are born again, what we do today matters most
slow start on D8 after release
but getting better
51% increase in D8 adoption last year
REST API first initiative
Drupal’s REST support is pretty good, rich and mature
user logging/reg, media,
JSON API and GraphQL
pretty robust, moving them into core
pretty close
maybe in 8.6
more and more companies designing API first
Chupachups UK, Warner Music, teach.org many, many others
people at sea using Drupal locally and syncing once back at shore
integrate with anything including other Drupal sites
NewBalance is ideal use of both traditional and decoupled
Working on JS-driven Drupal admin interface
Drupal’s own UI is still not JS first/forward
could be more interactive and better if we do embrace it
Drupal needs cutting edge experience
Trying to replace a single page, they identified 6 steps
1. stabilize the JSON API module, pretty close
2. Improve our JS testing infrastructure
3. Create designs for the administration UI
4. Allow contrib modules to use React or Twig
no big bang swap of whole UI, introduce more dynamic incrementally
not everything needs React, but want it when you do
5. Implementing missing web services APIs
like permissions, found gaps in coverage
Admin areas have some things that are only in that use case
6. Make the React UI extensible and configurable
Good news, this benefits EVERY decoupled builds
why should we care?
used to be you made a site and just left it alone
now people live in the frameworks like Drupal, always changing
Drupal is no longer the Drupal you used to know
it continues to evolve all the time
slides at https://dri.es

Iterative UX: Find It Cambridge Case Study
Benjamin Melançon

I was very curious on this talk what a Find It Cambridge even was. Turns out it is a resource that can greatly help any community better organize it’s events and resources. Benjamin is just the nicest guy as well, which never hurts a presentation. For instance he deferred to team members in the room who had worked on this this project with him for various sections, making it seem like their whole team was up there presenting and he was just a player in the larger picture. I have heard too many talks where this would not have happened, even though the team is literally in the room. It encourages me to think about these sort of opportunities to involve others in my sessions. I don’t actually think my notes on this one are that good, as I had a few distractions in this one, so this is a case study I would encourage you to just watch for yourself on youtube thanks to the hard work of Kevin Thull

Raw Notes:
must have a budget
an ongoing budget if not a large one
Research
iterate on what someone else has built
what another website does
issue is they want Google/FB/other expensive commercial site
find something similar to what you want to build and use the elements that work well
Sommerville pub was there to help them figure out what worked well
research showed more info was expected from a .org vs a .gov
that is changing in Mass thanks to mass.gov!
Resource Portal Interviews
Students from the school of public health reached out as part of a project to research with them and provide analysis
Testing other sites
You need content, you can not design without content
Google sheets originally,
then another content store was used
compare to other sites
see how buttons work well there
a wireframe allows us to experience design while implementing quickly in dev
Best 7 letters when talking to a designer or Developer
HTML
CSS
discontinuous Improvement
have to break and improve things
Go where your users are
use IE if they still use it at your user’s facilities
visualize everything
visual maps
Lessons learned from user testing
there were many
not including 141 programs that forgot to check themselves as All Ages
water play parks
seasonality or weather dependent results
more use cases
curated lists of things

Building a better page builder with Bootstrap Paragraphs
Jim Birch

Going to be very honest here. I originally went to see this because I wanted to support Jim giving the last session of the camp. I always love his talks but going in I had a fear my mind would wander and my notes would be pretty spotty. However, this is actually a really interesting area, even though front end. Jim’s presentation skills are second to none and his raw passion about this subject matter is infectious. At it’s core this is a talk about DRY and how to make everything reusable. This is a great lesson for anyone, not just front end folks.

Raw Notes:
Why?
Different widths for different content elements
better typography
wanting images
structured content
ability to add semantic markup
easy to administer
slide things around
Bootstrap framework – HTML and JS pre-configured
powers about 25% of the web as a front end
mobile first and responsive
Create grid markup and readable
documentation
standardization helps
on-boarding is easier
Customizable
completely
mixins for adding existing styles to semantic html
best practices for small/lo budget projects
get 80% there when you start
Open Source – MIT license
If already using Paragraphs
how many times have you repeated yourself
but a litttttle bit differently
install this modules and start exploring right ow
Strategy – create a module to give you want you need
create base templates and CSS that could be included with any Bootstrap include
harness the power of Entity Reference Revisions fields to neat Paragraphs
Have global width and color options
Inspiration – Les and David Needham’s great presentation using Paragraphs
they came out with idea of paragraphs as content paragraphs and layout paragraphs
and ponies
Global settings
Every paragraph should gave widths and backgrounds
list/text
widths
tiny/narrow/medium/wide/full
background colors
empty classes follow the standards for bootstrap conventions
Content bundles
layout bundles
image includes a link field
blank
embed JS or connect to mailchimp, Pardot, Eloqua, etc.
Drupal Blocks – render them in line with the other paragraphs
not everything works though
copy and extend for custom blocks
Views paragraph bundles, reference field, lets yo put a view into a paragraph, even with an argument
Columns
up to 6 pieces of content
distributes equally
two uneven columns 1/4s and 1/3s
3 uneven columns, it gets messy but possibilities are wide
column wrapper
another layer
carousel for those that like them
images and text, just no other carousel inside a carousel
slide interval speed settings
Accordion
collapsible
Modal – 4 fields – title, body, footer
Tabs like the accordion
tabs and accordions in a tab
2 Submodules
contact and webform
Contact form let’s you reference the content form entity
add new or use existing contact form
Webform, same thing but for Webform module
using Block element modifier markup
BEM
Markup – div.paragraph
modifiers
Twig – width example
Drupal asset libraries to apply styles
theme has hierarchy to the modules
module libraries folder
custom blocks
add fields
dropping in setting default
make your own content fields
manage display
Working globally
mostly config and a couple templates
packaged up in a module
thought was ‘how can this be reusable?’
does not want to rebuild again and again
create a module structure
Drupal console has a command that magically does this
add templates and CSS and JS
configure in the .libraries file
export the config
Just delete the UUIDs
Rename field_ to your own machine to avoid future collisions
if needed, add function to override template in .module
Bootstrap Pages module
article content type and an author and a landing page
meta tags and schema.org, optimized images, responsive, precofigured URLS
taxonomy
views
use frameworks to save time and be more productive
this is his attempt to do this
also can use this approach for any other framework
make it reusable

My Sessions

Nobody Wants a Website. They Want Results!

Discovery, discovery, discovery, discovery!

I got to talk at MIT! This is pretty exciting to me. I not only got to deliver 2 talks at this camp, which is cool into itself, but I also got to give two related talks that are part of a larger set of topics, which is the sales/project process. With ‘Nobody Wants a Website’ I focus on the qualification process and uncovering KPIs or at least what is measurable early. I got to follow that up a day later with ‘Discovery, discovery, discovery, discovery!’ and dig into what I think of as the most important part of the whole process. It was a really great feeling to give this ‘cycle’ of talks and I am guessing this is how Matthew Barney feels whenever they show all of Cremaster Cycle at once.

Sprints Day:

I always love a contribution day. The community coming together to make the project happen and evolve the state of things. I was very happy to get a chance to wrap my head around the Tour module, specifically the notion of leveraging routes and attributes. This is one of the more overlooked aspects of Core in my opinion and I look forward to being able to better get a grip on how to contribute back to the project moving ahead

Wrapping Up

I always will like Boston for the history, for the warm people if it is warm outside and for the pretty awesome Drupal community based out there. I am actually going to be headed back that way in the near future for another event. I am already looking forward to next year when I might again get a chance to speak at MIT in the shadow of the offices for the W3C, Stallman and Tim Berners-Lee at Design4Drupal 2019!

Leave a Reply

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