Top picks from DrupalCamp Turku 2016

When it comes to versatility and popularity, Drupal is often the obvious CMS choice. Like all CMS solutions it has its issues but also a lot going for it.  This is my second DrupalCamp and I think the topics of the presentations look quite representative of what Drupal is about and what challenges it poses to professionals delivering solutions to customers. 

Ruben Teijeiro from Tieto started with the topic of  “headless Drupal”. Presenting the notion that Drupal front end is not always the most optimal piece of work, there is variety of reasons to get into the content of this CMS directly bypassing the standard frontend that comes out of the box. Arguably Drupal frontend is lagging on some features when comparing to single page apps and the technical or usability features that these new approaches may offer. Additionally there are various browserless devices emerging (Apple watch was mentioned) and the whole set of applications under the concept of IOT (Internet of Things).

Ruben gave a convincing demo with Drupal 8 on how effortlessly it is possible to switch into headless mode: Turn on the web services modules and start communicating with Drupal content without a browser playing directly the CRUD commands not only with node content but also with views. Also a quick and simple working demo featuring React based front end was presented. I dare say this got me excited. Drupal comes with all kinds of goodies out of the box but what of the current state of front end? I believe there might be some interesting possibilities there.

More on the topic to be found also here: https://groups.drupal.org/headless-drupal

Eero Mäkelä from Vaadin discussed matters of communication between designers and developers. He presented a lots of valid points, and I guess what paused me into a mode of reflection was his expressed opinion that specialization is better way to go than trying to merge developer and designer roles in one person. This regardless of perceived trend that more developers are actually doing more and more design and designers more development. So hence the topic the presentation: the key for better end results is communication. 

Interestingly two of the five presentations circled around devops topics and especially Ansible as the goto tool. Janne Koponen from Wunderkraut talked about Holistic development and operations environments and the ideas behind "Wundertools". Of course since my role now is in support the ideas of creating very smooth and automated ticketing system where one click triggers integrated series of operations: assigning a ticket, creation of version control branch and a development environment for support developer, sounds like an area of improvements worthy of investment. The idea of holistic approach can include also the larger picture than just technical solutions like the presence of support in sales phase.

Sini Tanskanen from A1 Media plunged into the central topic of Drupal: modules. Here Drupal 7 is clearly still a stronger choice if we look at number of modules compared to Drupal 8. D8 is out but what about the most essential modules that can be practically indispensable in most of the web projects?

Sini listed her top list of modules and there was no audible disagreement. Starting from views (which is now in core with Drupal 8) she listed pathauto, webform, date, metatag, rules and devel just to mention some from her top list. I also learned that if I choose Ckeditor there is no need for Imce Wysiwyg.

Finally Antti Tuppurainen from Affecto presented Tiera as a case for applying Ansible for delivering and deploying new websites for municipalities. There are now about 30 municipality sites using Tiera's website system. Antti presented a solid case with detailed examples. His evangelism of Ansible convinced me that this is something were any web solutions providers would have good reasons to invest time and effort. Jeff Geerling and his work was mentioned as a good place to start exploring Ansible with Drupal.

Overall this DrupalCamp was a good experience. It gave me new and valuable perspectives to understand some of the challenges, their possible solutions and also to more appreciate the possibilities that this open source solution provides.

Jukka Ylitalo, Developer

http://turku.drupalcamp.fi/

https://twitter.com/drupalcampfi

DrupalCamp Turku 18.3.2016 SparkUp  

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