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Drupal, Technology by Mikaela Kindstedt,

Everyday Open Source & Drupal 8 for Frontend

Otso Kivekäs from Codento gives a keynote presentation in DrupalCamp Finland 2015.

I didn’t know what to expect from DrupalCamp 2015, other than what I had been able to pry out of my workmates beforehand. Those explanations were also pretty vague “you go there and you listen to a bunch of guys”. However, the explanations turned out to be more accurate than I expected. Still, the event gave me a couple of new thoughts that I’d like to share. Here’s a couple of points from a front-end developer’s perspective.

Janne Kalliola started the event with opening words about how open source trumps closed. The next thing that caught my attention was, that it seems that the municipalities in Finland have started to recognize the possibilities in open source. Otso Kivekäs from Codento gave a fascinating speech about how open source and open APIs are being used in the public sector and how they affect us in our everyday lives. It’s rare that you stop to think that which of the applications or web pages in your everyday life uses open source and it was nice to have someone to stop you for a moment and say “hey – this is open source as well”.

Even though the interesting topics in the opening speeches, the main focus of the event was the sessions. I pretty much parked myself into the Frontend seminar room and tried to learn as much as possible. The main focus was of course with the newly released Drupal 8 and it was mentioned in one way or another in close to all of the Frontend sessions.

My hands down favorite seminar was Drupal 8 Frontend (for backenders) by Lauri Eskola. Even though I relate myself more of a frontend than backend I think that the seminar gave a lot and frontenders shouldn’t skip the video just because of the name. While spending a good amount of my time at work with preprocessing and templating Drupal sites I enjoyed hearing about the coming changes in Drupal 8.

Without going too much into technics, there were three main pointers that Eskola talked about:

  1. Theme system. He mentioned for example that theme functions are deprecated in Drupal 8. What this means in short is that you should use more render arrays and define things in render arrays instead of theme functions. Theme functions are converted to templates, which are now used with twig.
  2. Twig and how to use it. Twig is a template engine for PHP that is in use with drupal 8. It was nice to see some concrete examples on how to use twig in Drupal. This might be specially interesting part for those, like me, who haven’t worked that much with twig before. So if you want to get familiarized with twig this might be a good place to start from.
  3. Autoescaping and how to avoid pit falls. This is a new concept in Drupal 8. The change that allows the use of autoescape in Drupal 8 is the fact that all markup is now in templates instead of php code. What this also means is that if you try to define variables or other markup in php code it will be escaped. There are some exceptions and etcetera but you can watch it from Eskola’s session.

At the end of Eskola’s presentation, there is a small demo that gives you a good first view of Drupal 8 in action.

Besides Eskola’s session, there were many other interesting sessions. I would recommend to check trough at least Mikko Forsströms presentation Frontend frameworks.

Apart from being a nice change for an otherwise fast-paced workday, the best part of DrupalCamp Finland was the community feeling that kept throughout the day. It really is wonderful how great the Drupal community is today.

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