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Report from DrupalCon Dublin

Monday, 26 September 2016

After the approximately 3 hour flight, the 6 euro bus ride from the Dublin airport to The Convention Centre Dublin, where DrupalCon was held this year, was about 20 minutes, and was the second stop from the airport.  The Convention Centre Dublin, its official name, or, even more officially in Irish, its name is “Ionad Comhdhala Bhaile Atha Cliath”.  For obvious reasons, I will from here on refer to it as The Convention Centre Dublin. It’s interesting, but the Irish word for Dublin is “Bhaile Atha Cliath”, and no, it is not pronounced the way you think it would be.

Language issues aside, arrival to the Convention Centre was cheap, quick and easy.  This is a modern and very distinctive building located downtown, only a 10-15 minute walk from Dublin’s main street.  After conveniently dropping off my bag inside the Centre, I went directly to check in to DrupalCon (no line, I should mention).  The entire check-in process took at about 10 seconds, which I assume meant my name was crossed off a list, and I was then handed my badge and schwag bag, to be filled with t-shirts, shot glasses, water bottles, pens, flyers and business cards.

I toured around the Convention Centre itself for awhile to find my room for the presentation.  The extremely helpful Convention Centre worker showed me exactly where I was going to speak.

After finding my hotel, I returned to the Convention Centre for the Opening Reception, which involved mingling and drinking Irish Micro-brewed Pagan’s Pillar beer.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

My impression of the international Drupal community is that of hard working, casual, friendly, inclusive expertise. The people seemed to be busy but were always willing to say hello and have a quick chat.

The initial Prenote speech was about the possibilities of Drupal. This was followed by the Keynote by Drupal founder Dries Buytaert, followed by the group photo. After lots of free coffee and cake, specifically lemon pound cake, (one of my favorites), I spent the rest of the day at 3 presentations, Agile Your agile: Changing process one step at a time, Confessions of a control freak: A guide to letting go, and Automated Testing: Php unit all the way.

The first two presentations were general, how to work for greater project efficiency speeches, and the last was a good introduction to how easy Drupal 8 can make Php unit testing.  The emphasis here was about writing tests quickly during the development process to help avoid later bugs.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

This was my day to speak, so I spent much of the morning in the Speaker’s’ Room to get ready for my afternoon presentation.

However, after the coffee break, I did manage to go to a very good presentation, entitled How to contribute to Drupal minus code? This presentation made a big impression on me because there was a list of the many ways we can contribute to Drupal without writing code, namely:

-Documentation

-Translation

-Testing

-Community Building

The great thing about this, as I mentioned before, is that anyone in the Drupal community can starting contributing right away to important areas without being a coder.

The rest of the time until my 2:15 presentation I spent in preparation.  After that, I went to the very code-centric speech in the crowded main auditorium to hear MorgenDK talk about “What I learned with Twig and Drupal”.  The main impression I got was to watch a little guy almost exploding with energy trying to explain how his experiences can help others with their projects.  Again, no secrets are in the Drupal community, but the attitude of “This is what I found, and here is how it can help you!”

The presentation after this was on testing, entitled simply, “Javascript Unit Testing”.  This was for the Drupal QA Community and Developers interested in testing with the Javascript Nightmare tool.  This was a very laid-back presentation about how to start coding Javascript-based test with Nightmare, another Javascript browser-oriented testing framework.

Dublin pub recommendations: 1) Mulligan’s, 2) The Long Hall.

Thursday, 28 September 2016

Thursday was just a great day: I had a relaxed day at DrupalCon because my speech was on the previous day, and I could spend the day mingling, going to presentations, and just enjoying being at a great DrupalCon.

The first presentation of the day was “Testing your code as part of an industrial-grade work flow”.  Ironically, I met the speaker, Matt Cheney the day before while I was walking on the sidewalk to the Convention Centre.  I assumed from the relaxed smile, the t-shirt and the old jeans, that this was a Drupal guy.  I could also guess that he was American; I suppose we have ways of spotting each other.  I was right on all counts, and then he said he was giving a QA talk that day.

This was a good speech, again about the fast and easy ways one can create testing code.  An impression I am getting from Developers is that you create unit-test code quickly to prove, basically, that everything works.  The QA people I talked to had the opposite goal for test-coding: you write code to find bugs, not necessarily to show that your code works.  I am not saying that one side is right and other wrong, but there is a difference in viewpoint in the end goals of testing code.

After a long coffee session, mingling, schmoozing and schwag-gathering, then there was lunch, followed by lengthy but very enjoyable QA-schmoozing and more schwag-gathering.  I went to a speech by the other Anastasios (last name of Koutlas) and Alyssa Stringer at DrupalCon Dublin entitled, “Managing an Agile team of internal and external partners”.  This speech was actually team-presented, and was about organizing work with other teams from external partners. &nb
sp;It was about communication, planning and dividing tasks when there are other teams involved.  This was a good presentation about settings tasks and communicating to make sure everyone is on the same page and has the same goals.

The last presentation of the day and of DrupalCon Dublin 2016 was a QA speech by an actual Test Engineer, this time a Russian living and working in Australia. Although this was a presentation on how to use yet another Javascript-based browser testing framework, this was a great speech from a QA/Tester perspective about how to find bugs, and not how to write test code quickly to satisfy requirements.  The speaker, Vladimir Roudakov, made such a good case for Nightwatchjs, that I have started experimenting with it myself and urge everyone else to do so.

The impression I have received from all of the QA presentations is that there is a need for more Drupal-oriented QA, done by either Developers or Testers, just as long as it is done by someone.

In the end, the presentations were well-delivered, casual but highly-professional and informative.  There were always people during the Q&A to ask questions, even at my presentation.  The community-oriented feeling of Drupal makes it easy to present your own ideas, and feedback is always welcome, both in agreement and even disagreement, but always with the goal of improving Drupal as a whole.

All the best!

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