DrupalCorn 2018: The weather was gray and cold but the people were bright and warm

a peice of corn that looks like the Drupal drop and the words DrupalCorn Camp 2018

I have never been to Iowa. I thought I had driven through it, but on reflection, I think it is one of the states I had missed. I went to their capitol city, known as “The Hartford of the West” for the first time and the weather decided to just flat out not cooperate. It was the coldest I have seen a place this year and a light mist or fine rain stayed with me from landing to take off. Good thing I wasn’t there to see the sun, instead I was greeted by the wonderful heart and soul of the Drupal community as we gathered for DrupalCorn 2018

Food and Fun

Speaker Dinner

After getting settled into my hotel, I made the short walk in the cool evening air to Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing where I was immediately greeted by so many awesome familiar faces and new faces that made me feel right at home. It was a great way for us to get ready for event ahead.

Game time

After dinner, the Drupal community did one of the things I always expect them to do at camps, we played board games. A wide selection was brought by a few amazing folks. It was an amazing first night but soon enough we had to part ways as day one and the early morning start were approaching quickly.

After Party

After the end of the first day of sessions we came together for a meal, a few drinks and a Cornhole Tournament at Big City Burgers and Greens. The staff was pretty friendly and they kept us well stacked with fries, veggie burgers and all the fixings, as well as a literal mountain of popcorn.

The cornhole tournament used a bracket system and there were winners for both most points and for most creative name. While I still think my team’s name, “ZETTAWITH3TEEES”, based on this XKCD comic, should have taken first on the name competition, we didn’t come in first on the points either. Still, it was all in good, good fun.

Friday game time

Yep, we played even more board games afterward. Drupal folks love board games.

Saturday night

While there was no ‘official’ after camp events, some of us put out the word that we were going to get some very creative burgers at Zombie Burger and Drink Lab which features items like “THEY’RE COMING TO GET YOU BARBARA” –
‘two grilled-cheese-sandwich’ bun, American cheese, caramelized onion, bacon, Zombie sauce. And my favorite: “THE NEGAN”
vegan patty, vegan bun, vegan chipotle mayo, guacamole, caramelized onion, lettuce, tomato, red onion (vegan)

After dinner we went and found some DrupalKaraoke. It was awesome to sing with my community and at the stroke of midnight, the whole place sang happy birthday to me, as it was my 40th.


Opening Remarks

Friday Keynote

Learning @ Work
Tiffany Farriss

It is a rare session that challenges us to think about how we are approaching learning and feedback. I really enjoyed this one because it dug at the roots of why we approach learning the way we do. Walking away from this talk it made me appreciate just how disruptive Drupal and OSS has been and how we need to continue to look for new models to improve int he future rather than just relying on the old ways we have traditionally thought of learning and education.

Raw Notes:
What lasts?
What can Roman Concrete teach us
centuries old, but held up better than modern
Palantir – she became CEO, more than a title change
Operational side is part of it
allowed her to focus how they deliver
Putting things out there and see change happen as things are shared
Success of a company is based on people, who leave, which happens sooner than you think
Average tenure at tech is 3 years
how do we succeed together?
A Sr. only hiring strategy is problematic for multiple reasons
Everyone loves supergroups, but they do not last long
not a strategic choice for a company
not sustainable
Sr. only strategy gives no advantage, then you are just a vector to getting short term teams together of rock stars
also perpetuates inequality
missing out on the pipeline and retention problems we already have
diverse teams outperform uniform groups
represent the people we are serving
Culture, the way we do things around here”
pattern of basic assumptions
needs to have a lens of past experience where we understand the past
a learning organization is an org skilled at creating , acquiring, transferring knowledge and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights
Individual learning is different.
taking individual lessons and boiling it up for long term team knowledge
Affirm, Inform, Transform
Iteration on how things work is super important
this is what good journalism does for us
Transformational leaders can see the advantages of tech changes
Napoleon, Waterfall approach to war
attrition warfare
‘to grind down’ losses are staggering, really bad for people
losses on both sides about equal
one side breaks rank, they lose position and resources and then lose
Napoleon kind of invented agile
decisive victory, with as few resources as possible
He invented Maneuver warfare, confuses decision making ability
cannonballs were not standard sizes, got that solved and they got better
faster to deploy and worked everywhere
punch through cavalry lines and infantry as a spear,
made a playbook that he gave to his lieutenants
Napoleon had first mover advantage
adjusted per situation
leveled up his combined arms approach
no new tech, just combined things differently
different mental model
taking responsibility 2000 individual websites vs building a platform
easier to do individual sites, you can do it in a day
faster to set up that way
takes a lot more complex modeling and collaboration to pull off a platform
in cases of scale, generates efficiencies
Drupalgeddon – solved in 5 minutes
but greater initial investment
must create a culture that promotes learning
our educational system comes from Napoleon’s ideas in the Prussian system
emphasize a good soldier strategy
obedience, duty, diligence, reading and writing and maths
this is elevating a tactic and elevating to a strategy
in the US system, same thing, gave rise to obedient factory workers
works great for highly structured jobs, like manufacturing
most of us are knowledge workers here at DrupalCorn
Solving things that can’t be solved by computers
don’t let the robots take our jobs, require critical thinking
only some people thrive in autonomous situations
how do we enable people to do this
“deeper learning” said IBM in the 80s
National research council created charts defined:
Cognitive, intrapersonal, interpersonal
Fixed vs Growth mindset
no one controls where we start
growth says you can learn and work hard at it
hard work makes you smarter
not about who you are
Michael Jordan became the best at practice
first in, last out, focused on fundamentals
Company needs to demonstrate a genuine belief in human development
open to receiving feedback and you give them training
talk about all skills as learnable
hire Jr. people and let people do new things
present managers as resources for learning
Perfect practice makes perfect
Malcom Gladwell – don’t waste your time with his book
10,000 hour rule
Pot Roast story
little girl, saw mom cut ends of pot roast, asks why
her mom didn’t know why, learned from her mom, asked grandma, she didn’t know, asked great-grandma, she had to to fit it in her old pan
not all practice leads to improvement
Naive practice – play mindlessly
not getting any better this way
even 10,000 hours does not make you improve, automated ability
Orgs don’t just ‘get better’ takes work
quality and quantity of practice matter
everyday skills – arrested development – expert performance
experts don’t waste time examining small pieces, they work in patterns
they see things as units
Double loop learning
blame game a lot, smart people do not like to be wrong
OSS is fairly used to single loop learning
try smarter, not harder
like Scrooge McDuck
if leadership can’t create “psychological safety”, not going to build trusting teams that can succeed
Members of a team:
* respect each other
* interested as each other as people
* not reject for who you are
* trust one another to have good intent
manifested as:
* seeking and giving feedback
* making changes and improvements (don’t stick to a bad course too long)
* obtaining or providing help or expertise
* experimenting
* engaging in constructive conflict or confrontation
Deliberate practice
creating the expert
have to become an expert then an innovator
important to mentor to gain even higher level of expertise

My Session

Let’s learn Git. No more excuses.

I really live giving this talk. I am convinced now, after seeing Jansen’s talk at WordCamp LAX that I need to strip out all the code and just focus on presenting the concepts in a more memorable way. I tried to incorporate more conceptual walk throughs vs commands this time and I really liked the improved flow. Next time I give this, I might not have any commands actually included other than add, commit and log --oneline.

A Drupaler’s Guide To Marketing
Drew Gorton

I have not seen this talk before, but being on the same team as Drew, I am pretty familiar with what he had to say. I tend to forget that not everyone has spent years floating in the same acronym soup I have. It was actually refreshing to hear the feedback and watch as people parsed out the meanings of some of the terms, really clicking with them for the first time. This is for sure a talk to share with any developer who is struggling to communicate clearly with their marketing colleagues.

Raw Notes:
More money spent on websites than ads
websites are the biggest marketing spend
breaks down ecosystem
wix to Drupal to Adobe
WP used by practitioners
Adobe is top down CMO decisions
Drupal is getting squeezed in the middle
google search prompting tells us there is a problem
the sales/marketing funnel
Awareness, interest, decision, action
many, many players and moving pieces of marketing
CMS is just a tiny fraction of the landscape
digital marketing lots of tech, many measurements
many acronyms
All easy,, learn 9 today
tools to understand the rest
CTR – Click through rate
2000 visits/5000 impressions = 4% CTR
CPC – Cost per CLick
2000 visits/$1000
$.50 PCP
CPL Cost per lead
$1000/80 newsletter (for example)
CPL = $12.50
are these good?
It depends, need to compare to history
compare to peers
CAC – Customer Acquisition cost
NNN – Net New Names
MQL – Marketing Qualified Lead
CLV/CLTV/LTV – Lifetime value
S/ME – Sales/Marketing Efficiency
For every $ spent – how many new $ come back
MoM – Month over Month
“CPL is down 35% MoM” example
There Acronyms seems confusing at first, can take some time to parse
but very doable
this all makes reporting easy
track progress over time, KPIs can improve
Sharing things you care about does not always work
“We typically improve our client’s Cost per LEad (CPL) by 15%”
this explains value in their terms
very interesting is their KPI metrics
measured things, shared insights, simplify reporting

Demystifying Diversity and Inclusion
AmyJune Hineline
Lisa McCray

Inclusion and diversity are hard concepts to nail down. At the core, the idea is simple, we want everyone to feel welcome in our community. But achieving that is a lot of work. It is good work, but work nonetheless. AmyJune and Lisa laid out small but effective real world things we do to actually make some change happen. It was a great talk and one to share with folks who are eager to help make their teams and the world more inclusive, equitable and just.

Raw Notes:
How are things all the same, tend to get more of what you got
but how are they different
making an effort to respect those difference is diversity
If we are talking about D7y in people
look at all the attributes of a person, not just one
more like this vs you may also like
More like this, optimizes similarities
looking beyond what is most similar
We need inclusion not just integration, or assimilation
treating people fairly means treating people with same result not same standard
Equality vs equity vs justice
Inclusive language – words matter
Parent, not mother or father
difference between sexual orientation and gender, but we are not talking on that today
pronouns can not be assumed
community, how do we do it?
Start with job descriptions: watch for ‘coded’ language that teds to appeal to specific groups and excludes others
think about process. Does it give advantage to certain people
Can you learn from it and move on
foster Inclusivity at events?
people with disabilities
19 year olds, what do they do?
Call for Papers
to have a more diverse speaker line up – you may need to invite a diverse range of speakers
Include a Diversity and Inclusion section in the CFPs
‘lift and center their voices’
Accessible Presentations
font size and weight,
content placement,
slide effects,
visual content that needs to be described,
mic or not?
inclusive body language
Be an ally
sharing pronouns
DD&I slack channels in Drupal
Local Accessibility meetups
Volunteer at local camps, meetups, and DUGs

Saturday Keynote

How to Fall in Love with Drupal Again
Matt Westgate

Matt literally has the experience of building something very successful and then burning out to the point of leaving Western culture and his possessions behind, only to return to keep making Drupal. I really enjoyed his presentation and his view of the world was just refreshing and honest. If you have been feeling a little detached and burned out on this space, watch this session recording and it might help you too.

Raw Notes:
Drupal Song
15 years of Drupal
Lullabot founder and Tugboat and Drupalize.me
Act 1 Falling in love with Drupal,
Act 2 Falling out of love with Drupal
Act 3 Falling in love with Drupal again
Core values of Drupal
* Be Human
* Collaborate Openly
* Have Fun
* Kick Ass
Used to have World Book Encyclopedia
year in review book annual
one day brought a computer home and encyclopedia got dusty
56K modem
Yahoo was his now encyclopedia
Saw source code and freaked out, fell into it
ended up on pagetutor.com
old school, notepad and HTML
taught HTML at library on his own
this is all around year 2000
Windows98 were available Apache, PHP, MySQL
Started a web company, Moment Design
built his own CMS
WYSIWYG editor, more time fixing pug than building features
started to resent the software he made
yahoo took him to Drupal.org next
didn’t get it at the time
came back to it later, the more read about the Node system
first project where he saw good documentation and modular architecture
emailing patched back and forth
maintainer text file, he got to be a part of it
Met John van Dyke in the etymology
fixed computer bugs for advancement of real bugs
John became his first Drupal mentor
wrote the first D book
Threw first get together in Antwerp
Acquia FUD
worry Acquia was the first large commercial factory
would they make their own closed
fought it,
was just being scared, it didn’t signal the end
JS came through
Drupal 7 changed things
Drupal’s place became the place for large scale digital experiences
not for the hobbies small projects anymore
He burned out, sold his stuff and went to a monastery
Learned to understand suffering
come from a place of abundance
Acquia made it easier to choose Drupal as Enterprise CMS
yes, And… thinking leads to better collaboration
You matter more than the cause
Jeff Eaton’s talk at DrupalCon Nashville
it is easy to lose yourself in a good cause because you are passionate
Drupal is people too
Watched a lot of people,
Creating Healthy Culture of Expectation
* Don’t glorify death marches
* Don’t punish boundaries when people exercise them
* If you notice signs of burnout in others, help
* Do more than Drupal
Life is the stuff that happens while you’re waiting for moments that never come

Making Search Work

I enjoy any talk that begins with asking you if you really want to do the technical thing they are talking about. I live the advice that ‘not all sites need search’ or ‘it is sometimes better to just let Google handle it’. To me this means you should be having discussions with your project leads around expectations to the point that they understand the technical debt such things would invoke. I understand the implementation details around Drupal search and options like Solr even better now. Great one for devs that are new to Drupal for sure.

Raw Notes:
We normally think of search as an afterthought
need to question the need
6 page marketing site, not real need for search
firs ting people think of we think at Google
everyone expects their site to be as good as Google and their 1000000 engineers
and enormous amount of data
Go to a site, look for careers
cmd+f (if not there, that is not good)
put it on the page
next: google – vml careers
google already does it, on small case just don’t put search?
good intuitive nav
Can I build my site without search? – keep asking
Spire website (natural gas)
Natural Language Navigation
just fake it and it suggests the best things
What do we want to search?
just content and titles only?
content type audit is needed
only search for full URLs, if no way to get to taxonomy page, no use
after understanding which entity types
example 4 different indexes on a page – summary page
search by index? Multiple searches?
sort by is important as well
relevancy is score from search term, number of times it appears mostly
Sometimes want to see recent, not relevant
want to make sure it can be themed
what do you want items to look like in a search result?
Tyson food site example
Mobile users matter, don’t just think desktop
Now we are sure we need search and know what to search
let’s Setting it up
Strategy 1. No search
Strategy 2. create indexes, not as fast as Solr and not as advanced at all
no distance or location services, but it works
Drupal.org uses DB search, set up right
Strategy 3. Solr – best in Michael’s opinion
Apache project
different search algorithms
Works well with Pantheon and Acquia
Strategy 4. all other options, ElasticSearch, Algolia, legacy Google Search Appliance
many more with APIs
Search API module ties it all together
lot of plugins for backend and front end
servers and indexes are outside Drupal and need to set all that up
Solr – need a service
again, Pantheon and Acquia have a service
Or go find it hosted, WebSolr (+1), Searchstax, OpenSolr
locally, you can set it up quick with Docksal
really quick and easy setup
Solr schema.xml file
it says what we can search for
found in the search_api.solr Drupal module

Views for solr environment
delay, default is 2 minute delay before query is available once uploaded
tab shows schema file
after set up server,
select bundle – the content types
not scanning the site every search, passing that to index, just searching index
don’t put everything on DrupalCron, use other crons for services
now we have to add fields, tell D what to send to Solr
Rendered output is what he always starts
render before send, this has performance issues
Good part of planning phase is to think of the use case of things people will actually look up
experiment and tinker until it does what they would expect
if not doing server side rendering, not going to index, searching is harder
turn on HTML filtering, not for HTML itself (FFFF might be part of something else)
can create facets as well
weight H1s and H2s in search as well
Search Views
creating a page or blocks
creating search forms, its’ just a get
sort criteria needs set, default is create date
make sure mark Sponsored
don’t forget ‘no results’ setting
‘no results spellcheck module’ idea from audience
Facets = filters done after search
Facets Module – works with Views
lot of flexibility
last part is pretty it up

Code Koalas Presents: The 7 Deadly Sins of Client / Partner Relationships and How to Avoid Them
Ryan Wyse

I am a huge fan of any talk that presents communication as the solution to issues. Clearly defining what people actually want and how we are going to deliver it is the heart of my belief that we can all work together better. I live the 7 deadly sins analogy as well, making this a bit of a sermon. It also was piled high with real customer stories, which help make this an essential talk for any client manager in your life.

Raw Notes:
Origin of the name
child’s koala toy they would hang out with while coding
Lot of projects
7 mistakes we made and you won’t have to
Really just one to rule them all
** Communication is everything **
Just saying ‘communicate better’ does not work
things pile up and time slips by and that bothers others sometimes
made him late
just communicating at 5:00pm when alarm went off was better system
** Sin of Nothing **
Drupal client taught themselves Drupal
they defaulted to communicate less when they were not getting enough feedback
read into what people are saying a little more
not wanting to rock the boat, tell people we are doing a great job
having ‘out of band’ meetings
Sin of the missing expert
bad project from there being no one really in charge or having any tech knowledge on their end.
must ID who is actually in charge
** Sin of Money **
conserving funds, non-profits and the like
communicating sense of money back to the team is the issue
Project managers can get into mindset of fast but expensive and hard to switch to slow but good an cheaper
** Sin of Complacency**
not thinking ahead. not innovating
companies can get into mindset of how it is, not fixing that
** Sin of Omission **
Sales calculator app in React
talked to sales, marketing and sales
built what they wanted
then 6 months of emails
later we found out, no one could actually deploy an app,
costs real morale
Beginning of project question “Who can say no?”
** Sin of Names **
Not all things mean what we think they mean
same word for different things
QA – some devs think, throw to client see feedback
vs bug in ie9, fixing pixels
what does that mean
** Sin of Deadlines **
deadlines are never real. They are made up
conversations in timelines
couch things like little changes before launch
understand what is really driving deadlines and who is looking
Q/A – pause costs

Why contributing to the community is important for your companies health

For me, giving back to the community is literally how we get to keep our jobs in Open Source. If the underlying code does not evolve and keep better meeting the user need, the user is going to find new tools to get done what they need to do. Turns out there are a lot more benefits, proven time and time again, that go far beyond just keeping our jobs when we donate time and efforts back to projects. Every manager in the world needs to see this talk and these data points

Raw Notes:
People in audience are already giving back
highly effective companies do give back
need to find something that aligns with your core values
will it help your employees grow
** Common myths **
* no time
* to many projects
* employees don’t want to
* so many people are already giving back
88% of employees believe effective employee engagement helps with retention
Successful companies give back!
* Connects your brand to the community
* Socially responsible
* differentiate your company form the ‘greedy’ ones
* People love sharing stories about give backs
* Boosts employee morale – people want to belong to something bigger than themselves
* Makes your community a better place
* Created new connections
Amazing marketing strengths of Drupal
* forward thinking
* independent
* great support network
* contributions from the smartest in the field
* customer focused
* checks and balances built in
* Big Brands use Drupal
Want traction, lead the wave
position yourself as an expert
just create it and let us all make it better
build agency trust – proven experience
Iron sharpens Iron – making the code helps you better understand all the code
builds your brand
lets you become thought leaders
What to do now?
might seem daunting to write a module, other ways to do this
* Submitting custom modules, if you write for yourself, other might find handy
* Fix module bugs, there are a lot of them
* Beta test modules
* build better design and UX
* Write instructions
* Write for Drupal
* Create default content
* Marketing
* Admin sorcery
much more than just coding
get people to sign up for Drupal accounts
comment on what works and what doesn’t work
They do Workshop Wednesdays, talk to help others do this
create success stories
be a Drupal champion, let people jump on your wave
Promote what you’re doing
Be the Expert

Docker Based Battle Royale!
Wilbur Ince

Many Docker solutions entered and many left. Spoiler alert! Turns out there are many tools and just like any tool, there is a right one for your unique set of circumstances. I have been swearing my allegiance to Lando but after seeing how much faster Docksal is on a Mac, I am going to be doing some deeper investigations. It was exciting to see the issues Wilbur overcame through the demos and I loved seeing side by side info on what makes each unique. I know I am going to end up referring a lot of people to this talk as I discuss local solutions in the future.

Raw Notes:
Promoting the Twin Cities Open Source CMS Unconference
In local dev we need a bunch of stuff
clone of server env, but other things as well
local dev tools
Gulp –
Composer – Drush
+ replicate across platforms
load of issues
No more asking (are you on a mac or PC or whatever)
The trouble with normal is it always gets worse
Bruce Cockburn
the old days
install webserver stuff locally
Great for solo devs, single project
onboarding is slow and messy
Multiple clients/hosts
Not so old days
build for each project
consistent and custom
Huge Files
Must be maintained
The age of Docker
we build an env from containers
containers are lightweight and swappable
add what you want
cross platform
customizable with config-code
docker tools extend Docker making it easier
Flightdeck – TEN7 Tess FLynn
Lando – Tandem
DDEV – Drud
Docksal – FFW
Start with Docker
there is a community and Enterprise edition
he has only used community
FlightDeck – bare metal docker
Alpine containers, works very fast
1 dir 2 files
no scripting, no DNS,
Docker4Drupal Complete docker based system
not lightweight, powerful but DIY
layered on top of docker
provides popular recipes
github and Pantheon Auth
great documentation
Pros recipes, Pantheon integration, Extendable
Command line glitchy
slow on a MAC
DDEV easy to config and install
easiest inti
good init docs
no DNS config needed
great basic install
slow on MAC
installs containers in a VM
Much faster for MAC users
easily scriptable
Commands to add functionality – fin addon install pma
Excellent browser tool
Shows ALL
super helpful
Docksal is faster on mac, just a lot
no clear winner, different tools for different teams
but Docker is the key to them all

Contribution Day

I love a contribution day. There is some discussion of calling them Sprint Days, as we have in the past, but honesty, I like the new name better. Feels less rushed and can better invite new folks in who would like to contribute. Huge thank you to the organizing team for making it possible and for helping some new folks get going with contributions.

I got the privilege of working with Dan Ficker on building some Tours for Drupal 8. I am working on a project called Dwayne’s Tours, super early stage right now, to just go ahead and build tours for the project on my own that can be shared and used as a jumping off point for people implementing tours. My biggest accomplishment, other than Dan’s PR, was building the README and the TEMPLATE to make it easier for folks to get going with making their own tours. I will write more on this but when I get further along.

Wrapping Up

I got to turn 40 years old in Des Moines. I have mixed feelings about it. About turning 40 I mean. In retrospect, maybe not the most exciting place you can spend a birthday, but as I said while there, if I could pick one community to celebrate this event with, I would have honestly said the Twin Cities and Chicago Drupal community. No offense to the rest of the communities I am part of, but it was just amazing to see so many friendly faces gathered around me who fundamentally believe, as I do, in this crazy Free and Open Source Software movement that is helping change the world for the better.
I am not sure I will be back to Des Moines any time soon, but I can say I have fond memories of it thanks to the people I got to spend time with. If I do go back, I a pretty sure it would be for a future DruaplCorn, the best named of all the camps.

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