Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Impressions from Drupal Developer Days in Milano

Amazee Labs
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Last week, Sebastian and I attended Drupal Developer Days in Milan. An international group of 400 people gathered for a full-week conference in Italy to work and talk about Drupal 8. The local team put up an outstanding conference, featuring a complete program with a week of sprints, high-quality talks and a lot more to like. Sprinters We could only attend from Thursday to Sunday, but the event already started Tuesday with 100 sprinters working on initiatives to move Drupal 8 and its contributed modules forward.

A look at the sprint planning sheet highlights the variety of topics that different sprinters have been working on. The UX sprint was probably the biggest one with Gábor Hojtsy, Peter Droogmans (attiks) and Bojhan attending. I was especially excited to see ifrik and Rachel Lawson (rachel_norfolk) work on improving the organization of the Drupal admin UI. See their plan issue “Restructure the Admin interface” for further details on that.

A lot has been improved related to the UX process of Drupal. You can find a good read here, follow the DrupalUX twitter account and get more info on the initiative page.  The multilingual initiative has been sprinting as well. Check out the great #d8mi initiative page to find out more. Gábor Hojtsi even presented his experiences with the initiative at the WordCamp Europe in Vienna, the same weekend. Related to the media initiative, Christian Fritsch from the Thunder core team has been sprinting together with people like Janez Urevc. Check out the initiative page or follow via twitter for more info. The Search API sprints were packed again. Thomas SeidlMarkus KalkbrennerJoris VercammenMattias Michaux and Christian Spitzlay amongst others have been working on issues for Search APIFacetsSearch API Solr and Search API Solr Multilingual. A lot more had been sprinted on during the week, almost impossible to give a precise overview. Some examples are Drupal Commerce 2 with Bojan ŽivanovićGraphQL with Sebastian SiemssenParagraphs with Miro Dietiker. As part of the #d8rules initiativeyanniboi and various others helped out with issues and we will announce our next initiative meeting soon via the #d8rules twitter account. Sprints are really the key element that allow for collaboration between so many great minds. Its great to see more and more camps taking in sprints as part of their program and having Drupal Developer days as the leading format in that area. Keynotes There was a great variety in keynote topics. We built it, now what good is it? by Jeffrey A. McGuire, Evangelist at Acquia gave a deep dive into the new features of Drupal 8 and what they mean to our customers. Making a Drupal shaped dent in the universe by Bojan Živanović, Development Lead at Commerce Guys is a talk to show how cross-community has developed over the recent years. With Drupal getting off the island, Commerce 2 for example is taking a very forward-thinking approach by developing features not as Drupal modules but small, interoperable PHP libraries first.

On Friday, Data Triangulation: Moving beyond Qual and Quant by Razan Sadeq, User Researcher at Spotify brought in the perspective of an expert working for a big product. Razan was able to show by real world examples from her work at Spotify how UX can be driven by data successfully. Following up, there was Transforming the experience: pixel by pixel by Alessia Rullo, Software solutions user experience lead at Hewlett Packard. In her keynote, Alessia talks about aesthetic considerations with regards to web design and UX.

Saturday’s keynote was Automating Access to Development by Jessica Rose, Developer Relations at DreamFactory Software. Jessica brought together a variety of interesting topics such as diversity and automation. Sessions Check out the program to find a list of outstanding sessions being presented during the “talk days” of the conference from Thursday to Saturday. Sebastian’s talk Decoupling Drupal with GraphQL & Relay was packed as usual and gave a great opportunity to share the details about how we build a decoupled architecture based on GraphQL and Relay that talks to Drupal as a datasource. The slides are up already.

I was excited to be able to talk about our experience at Amazee of using Scrum for project management. SOS - We need a Scrum process! Going from specification to collaboration is a walk through of how we managed the whole process of introducing the process and was a great opportunity to share hands-on experience of the learnings we had so far. You can find the slides here. Are Geeks from Mars and Geekettes from Venus? - I was glad to be invited for a panel discussion on gender & diversity in tech led by Alessandra Petromilli. Together with Razan SadeqKristof Van TommeAlessia Rullo and Jessica Rose we had inspiring discussions around the topic.

Conference Besides the great experience of sprinting & watching sessions, conferences are mainly about connecting with others from the community. The Drupal Dev Days team has made great effort to make sure all the required facilities to make this happen were provided. I’d like to especially highlight the quality of food. Good catering with healthy options makes sure that attendees don’t dehydrate and get the vitamins required to stay energetic over days and avoid the Drupal Flu.

The social program featured a Night at the museum @ Leonardo3, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II with inspiring looks at all the impressive work that Leonardo Da Vinci did. Also many thanks to the Italian community for inviting everyone on Thursday evening for the official social event at a great bar in Milano!

I was really excited to see #TourDeDrupal bringing together a motivated group of 8 cyclers. We rode over 50km along the Martesana canal and back into the city. On Sunday, Riccardo Bessone and I had the pleasure of cycling along Lago de Como and experiencing true retro cycling up to Madonna del Ghisallo.

Volunteers & Sponsors It was especially great to see this size of event to be realized in Italy. In 2011 I had first met Claudio Beatrice (omissis) at DrupalCamp in Brixen/Bressanone with less than 50 attendees. The Italian community has organized a couple of camps over the last years and now, with Drupal Dev Days, they could really show that an international camp with 400 people can happen really well in Italy.

A successful Drupal event wouldn’t be possible without a lot of effort being put into the event. Having organized a DrupalCamp myself, I know how much of your free time you need to sacrifice to make it happen. A big thank you to Claudio (omissis), Marco (mavimo), Riccardo (bessone). Here’s the full list of volunteers: Alessandra Petromilli, Alessandro Sibona, Andrea Pescetti, Antje Lorch, Chandeep Khosa, Chiara Carminati, Claudio Beatrice, Edouard Cunibil, Fabiano Sant'ana, Guillaume Bec, Julien Dubois, Kester Edmonds, Luca Lusso, Marcello Testi, Marco Moscaritolo, Paolo Libanore, Pierluigi Marciano, Riccardo Bessone, Simone Lombardi, Tamer Zoubi, Yan Loetzer, Yi Yuan, Zsófi Major.

Also many thanks to all the sponsors. Upcoming events Which events are coming up after dev days? Here’s my short list:

Thanks again to all the volunteers of Drupal Dev Days Milan. Amazee Labs was glad to be a sprint sponsor. More pictures can be found on our flickr album. See you again soon!