Tech Corner: DrupalCon 2014 Developer Wrap Up
The Digital Bungalow team was well represented at this years' DrupalCon in Austin Texas. We brought members from development, sales and marketing to get a well-rounded understanding of the Drupal community and what makes it such a great environment to be a part of. In the paragraphs below our Senior Web Developer, Jesse Day, gives a nice recap of the trends observed and the best sessions of the event.
At DrupalCon I had the pleasure of speaking with many developers, many of which were thinking the same thing as me, "How do we have to change our thinking and our actions to have great success with Drupal 8?" There has been a lot of talk at previous DrupalCons about how we need to work together to get more developers to contribute to the platform core.
This year it was noted that contribution numbers are up. In Dries keynote he pointed to the increase in the number of patches committed per day in Drupal 8 over Drupal 7. Many of the developers are beginning to work on porting important modules to Drupal 8. Digital Bungalow had the chance to join up with the team porting the "Rules" module at Friday's sprint. Though most of us were really digging in to the new plugin system for the first time, there was significant value in investing effort for ourselves as developers, our work, and our clients.
Drupal 8 Entity API
The DigitalBungalow developers split up sessions between us so that we could hit as many big topics as possible and the Drupal 8 Entity API was one that we agreed was a must see. Fago's session was a good kickstart for any developer looking to get up on the new Entity API.
While with Drupal 7 the Entity API was missing quite some essential functionality in Drupal core, Drupal 8 is about to fundamentally change that: Drupal 8 includes a feature complete, object-oriented Entity API just as a neatly integrated Entity Field API.
THE BATTLE FOR THE BODY FIELD: DRUPAL AND THE FUTURE OF WYSIWYG
WYSIWYG is great because it's really easy to use. It's great that we now have it as part of the Drupal core. The question now? How do we combine the simplicity and flexibility of layout that a WYSIWYG editor provides while still maintaining the power and flexibility of structured content that we get from defined fields?
This can potentially be achieved in Drupal with text filters. It's a matter of thinking through how we would allow the content editor to put that information into a WYSIWYG field so they are truly controlling their own content. This was one of my favorite talks. In my eyes, the content editing experience has consistently been one of the major drawbacks of Drupal. Drupal 8 already appears to be a better experience, but Eaton's talk shows that there are further opportunities to make our clients happy with their day to day work.
Time Inc.'s Big Move to Drupal
As a large publishing company, Time Inc has a specific need for a great publishing experience. This has obviously been a point of pain for large projects given that the publishing workflow has historically been a focus of the Large Scale Drupal initiative (http://buytaert.net/announcing-acquia-large-scale-drupal-program). Time Inc. has clearly put time into working with their staff to discover and solve pain points. Over the last 18 months, they have created a Drupal Center of Excellence, hired Drupal experts and consultants and trained many of their in house developers to work in Drupal. They have developed a large infrastructure around managing editorial Drupal sites and integrated Drupal into their legacy systems. They have built a world-class editorial tool for managing online publishing with Drupal. At the moment, they have not been able to open source their work. However, it appeared to be something that was on their mind. I for one am hopeful that they are able to contribute some of their tools back to the community.
As a developer I'm really looking forward to what comes next from the Drupal community. This year's DrupalCon really proved that the community is invested in greatness and driving Drupal forward into the future.