my commute along the Liffey

Drupalcon Dublin took place last week and I went to the sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (27-29 September). Here are some of my thoughts on the conference and the talks that I went to.

Tuesday

Ride the Whale! Docker for Drupalists

Really enjoyed this as an overview of how to use Docker. Even though it targetted Drupal, there are lots of bits that can be used elsewhere. The slides are available too

Weather.com (The Weather Company) as an Inspiration to Extend TMGMT

Disappointed with this talk as it wasn’t what I expected. It turned into a sales pitch for their product.

Configuration Management: theory and practice

Drupal specific, but a very good overview of the challenges of creating development and production environments that mirror each other but still allow small differences. For example, having verbose logging enabled on a development site.

Leading Healthy Teams

A good reminder on not burning out. He wasn’t a huge fan of remote teams though, advised meeting up on site at least once a week.

Wednesday

A Cautionary Tale for Defensive Programmers

Lots of tips on returning early and using exceptions. How to handle and bubble up exceptions in your application.

Building a co-lingual website - lessons learned from ireland.ie

An enjoyable look at how difficult it is to get content in different languages to match up and how hard it is to get it translated. Reminded me a lot of the work that went in to http://www.museum.ie too.

HTTP for Web Developers

I’ve been looking forward to seeing Lorna talk in person for a long time. This was a very approachable introduction to HTTP and APIs. Also included a run through some HTTP clients and how Lorna tests things. I also picked up a signed copy of “PHP Web Services” before the talk.

Imposter Syndrome and Individual Competence

Beautiful slides and a good talk. Everyone in the room had experienced imposter syndrome in some form or another.

entrance foyer of the convention centre

Thursday

Guzzle: Extraordinary HTTP Client

Rob is one of the developers of Guzzle and the Slim framework and showed some really useful ways that Guzzle wraps around curl and makes even multiple curl calls easy.

Search and beyond with Elasticsearch

How to use Elasticsearch to make searching a Drupal site better, faster and more useful. Drupal specific again but with information on Elasticsearch that can be used everywhere. Also showed some sites that use it and one that doesn’t. The room was packed for this one, lots of interest.

Summary

It was hard to go to a conference not knowing anyone beforehand, I’m not one for going up to someone and saying hi. Despite this, I found some people to talk to and had good chats outside of the talks themselves.

I was surprised that there were so many Drupal specific developers and companies. I expected there to be mostly PHP developers that used Drupal, but it was the other way round. I had used Drupal a few years ago and it’s great to see that it’s come on a long way since then. The automations possible now would have made life a lot easier before.

Saying that, the tracks that I enjoyed the most were the PHP and human specific ones. I guess they were easier for me to drop in to despite not having done any PHP in the last two years.

I’m not sure I’d go to another Drupal specific conference, but there’s enough going on in PHP to drag me back and keep me interested. It’s not at all the same as it was back in PHP3 and 4!

some stickers to hand out

I got rid of a lot of my stash of stickers too, if you missed out on them or want any, send me an email and I’ll see what I can do.