5 DrupalCon Nashville Take Aways

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For our Drupal @ Duke meetup, here are my top five take-aways from this year’s DrupalCon Nashville.

1) Web accessibility

Web accessibility has become front-and-center, both in academic shops, hence this opening panel, and commercial as we saw with later sessions. The Higher Ed Summit, which is easily my favorite aspect to DrupalCon, had a panel discussion, which included no less than Duke’s own Joel Crawford-Smith as they discussed the current web accessibility landscape, pitfalls, perils and promises. I have two DCN videos that I hope to watch soon related to accessibility.

2) The Dries Keynote

I’m always curious to see where Dries goes with this, for hopeful obvious reasons. This year was a “Back to Roots” theme. We saw Dries acknowledge the growing complexity of Drupal. Drupal 8.5 is finally offering a compelling reason for upgrading our sites, from better media management to stable upgrade paths and maturing of modern workflows.

3) Steve Francia’s most inspiring if unusual keynote

Frankly, I come pre-loaded to most non-Dries keynotes with scepticism and cynicism, given past keynotes. Steve’s keynote, however, was most inspiring and impressive. OK. a little heavy on the animated gifs, but solid and humbling advice that I found directly applicable as an IT professional. Well worth the watch.

4) Don’t trust your gut: agency operations metrics

Though focused on commercial agency application, this session helps me to better understand how to manage a web development team through metrics, quantifying constraints, outputs, capacity, delivery dates, and so forth. A more mature way to manage a team than by instinct alone.

5) How to build a Drupal site with Composer AND keep all of your hair

Jeff Geerling is well-known and established in the Drupal DevOps community for his advanced work on configuring and maintaining the hosting stack for Drupal websites. Matthew Grasmick was no slacker, either. This was a “hands on” session, and it did not disappoint. They focused on creating a stack environment on Mac, Linux and Windows, and then we stepped through the exercises together. As it would happen, I had to leave early to catch my flight back. However, everything you need to get your fingers with a practical knowledge of composer, specifically for Drupal, is here, at the above link.

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