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Developing the Experience Web at DrupalCon Austin

By Rebekah Golden | Posted on June 11, 2014

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From fantastic sessions to “bats of a feather”, DrupalCon Austin overflowed with innovative people and information. This past week, we Janrainers enjoyed the company of over three thousand members of the Drupal community, and picked up a few good insights (some known, some new):

Drupal 8 is going to be awesome!

  • Requires at least PHP 5.4 and uses Symfony as well as HTML5. Also CKEditor will be part of Core, theming with Twig will be possible and configuration management continues to improve.

Don’t start using Drupal 8 yet.

  • Requires at least PHP 5.4 and uses Symfony as well as HTML5. Also CKEditor will be part of Core, theming with Twig will be possible and configuration management continues to improve.

Don’t start using Drupal 8 yet.

  • Still in development, would require a lot of effort to use in production and move forward with the development as it happens. Plus in development means “no guarantees, really.”

Social Login and Identity Providers are the future.

  • As Dries pointed out in the keynote, the web is experience driven. Having to stop and fill out login forms interrupts web experience. Social Login and Identity Providers allow sites to quickly know their site visitors the moment they walk in the door.

Guzzle

  • 4 is the PHP HTTP Client to use.
  • There are HTTP Clients in PHP but as Michael Dowling–creator of Guzzle and who presented the session–pointed out, they either are extremely limiting or require an esoteric level of knowledge to accomplish anything complex. Try it.

Test your code, sanitize your input, talk to your peers.

  • Always.

The conference kicked off with a keynote with Dries Buytaert mapping the web’s growth into generations based on capabilities. Static web, dynamic web, assembled web and everything in between are part of new web era: the experience web. Social login made the list of new technology that makes the experience web possible, and Dries pointed to identity providers as a key component of the future in the experience web. Then he launched into the great new things coming with Drupal-8. Really looking forward to some of the new capabilities that will be available in the upcoming version.

Outside of the classroom, social events poured into downtown Austin. The Women in Drupal mixer hit a major milestone, leaving behind the historic 7-8% female conference attendance and toting an impressive 20%. Open source in general has 1.5% participation among women, so 20% is a mind boggling number, though not surprising considering the welcoming nature of everyone involved with Drupal. The Wednesday keynote emphasized this by discussing the importance of all types of diversity in the Drupal community, including gender, race, and geography.

The tracks I chose focused on security, testing, integration, Symfony, Drupal-8, and caching. Almost every session felt like a day’s worth of information. I’m happy the sessions are online for later review and to help with sharing what I’ve learned with my team. A handful of sessions I attended and enjoyed particularly are:

From information-filled sessions like the ones above, to doing “the patchy pokey” or taking a moment during lunch to knit with other Drupal knitters (there’s a Drupal knitters group on Ravelry!), the whole conference was an event to remember.

Rebekah Golden has been working with Drupal since 2005 and Janrain since 2012, initially in Professional Services and most recently on the Platform Extensions team. This was her first visit to Austin, TX.

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