The ESIP Drupal Working Group sponsored two ESIP members to attend the May 2016 Drupal Conference (DrupalCon) in New Orleans to help these members grow their Drupal skills, learn new technologies and expand their professional networks. Jen Hinds from the Northwest Knowledge Network (NKN) was one of the two members who received sponsorship; here she shares her DrupalCon experience.
Thanks to a generous travel award from ESIP, I participated in the Drupal Conference in New Orleans. This year, over 3,000 Drupalists were in attendance at the meeting. For those unfamiliar with Drupal, it is an extremely robust, community-supported, open-source, content management system (CMS) for building websites.
A little bit about me: I am a web designer and developer at the University of Idaho with over 10 years’ experience creating websites in support of a variety of science-related projects and programs. Within the past three and a half years, I’ve become more and more involved with Drupal and have attended various Drupal Cons and Camps. I always new knowledge, perspectives, and strategies to apply to my work from these events.
At this year’s conference, keynote speaker Dries Buytaert, the founder of Drupal, gave an update on the status of Drupal 8 and shared his exciting vision for the future of Drupal—seeing it as far more that just a CMS for websites. Keynote speaker and content strategist Sarah Wachter-Boettcher urged us to develop sites with kindness, compassion and inclusivity in mind. Our job is to be neutral, rather than assume the feelings of our audience. Given how easy it is to focus on the minutia of one’s own work, I found these broader perspectives to be impactful and inspirational.
I also attended a number of excellent technical sessions with direct application to my work. Some highlights include: learning about site auditing and performance tools; simplifying the user experience for content administrators; and applications of the Paragraphs module.
Enthusiasm at the conference for Drupal 8 was quite evident, and I wholeheartedly share it! Since its release in November 2015, I’ve been building sites in Drupal 8 and am pleased with its “out-of-the-box” functionality (including multi-lingual support, which I used for the first time this year!). While a number of contributed modules are necessary for my projects, it’s amazing how far along one can get on the core functionality alone.
Drupal’s rich and diverse community is best experienced at DrupalCon, through sessions, Birds Of a Feathers, exhibits, social events and more. Thank you, ESIP, for giving me the opportunity this year to participate!