DrupalCorn Camp 2014
If you’ve never been to a Drupal camp you’re really missing out. Camps are kind of like conventions but they’re smaller and a whole lot easier to participate in. The talks are more like discussions than lectures, it’s easy for everyone to interact with anyone else, and it’s a great opportunity for anyone to give back to the community. I’ve been to DrupalCorn for the last two years and both times I’ve come away feeling like the experience was more valuable and rewarding than just about anything else I’ve done in the community that year.
Keynotes and Talks
The first keynote was Jen Lampton and Nate Haug discussing Backdrop, a fork of Drupal. It had been a while since I had really paid much attention to the project and it was really interesting to hear the reasoning and rational that went into the decision to create Backdrop. The data and trends they shared regarding the community particiapation over time for the Drupal project, and the assumptions they were making about the reasons for those trends, make a good case for Backdrop. I’m still not convinced that the trends we’ve seen for Drupal over the life of the project are necessarily a bad thing, or that the project isn’t on the right path. There are lots of reasons why participation in open source projects change over time and some of those reasons have nothing to do with the technical decisions and direction of the project. It will be interesting to see how things play out as both Drupal 8 and Backdrop near their release dates. Even though I’m sure I’ll feel much more comfortable with Drupal 8 Nate and Jen made a convincing argument for having an additional (and complementary) option available for those that prefer the model being used by Backdrop.
Josh Koenig gave the keynote on the second day talking about the future of innovation an what he calls “the integrated web”. It was really interesting stuff and Josh is a very dynamic speaker, which was a good thing for those who stayed up too late playing cornhole.
The talks were really good and certainly worth the time to watch if any of the subjects seem interesting. They were all recorded and posted to the session pages on the DrupalCorn site but some had some audio issues so they may not all be available or a bit hard to listen to.
This year I was lucky enough to be able to give two talks. The first one was a response to a request on how to use Sass on Drupal projects, Creating Mobile First Responsive Themes With Sass, Compass and Susy. The second, and I think the more popular, was on Enabling Automated BDD Testing In Drupal With Behat. Behat is something I’m looking into more as a good way to do application and acceptance testing in Drupal. There’s a lot of interest in Behat and a bunch of work being done within the Drupal community right now so there’s lots of opportunity to learn and opportunities to participate.
Two other VMLers, Andrew Koebbe and Chad Peppers, as well as Scott Wilkinson went with me this year and all three got to speak as well. Andrew gave a talk on So Sassy! An Intro to Sass and Compass, Chad’s was Introduction to Entities which was definitly a firehose of information, and Scott talked about Responsive Images with Picture & Breakpoints.
I had a couple of opportunities to contribute while I was at DrupalCorn, which is one of the biggest reasons I’ve enjoyed going to DrupalCorn so much. Having time to do things like this is a rare opportunity, my time is more often taken up using Drupal to build client sites as opposed to contributing back to the project itself.
While I was getting ready for my talk on Behat I found a relatively simple problem in the Behat Runner module that I was able to create a patch for. There hasn’t been a lot of movement on the patch yet but it was rewarding to find a problem and actually be part of the solution.
During the code sprint I had the pleasure of sitting right next to Cathy Theys. Not only is she awesome at helping folks contribute to Drupal she helped me get my first core contribution to Drupal ever. It was a small update but seeing this tweet the day I got back from Iowa was an awesome feeling.
A Big Thank You
This was my second year and the second year that my company VML has sponsored the camp and made it possible for me to go. We’ve gotten a lot out of Drupal at VML and it’s fantastic to see us give back in such a great way.