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DrupalSouth 2019 day 2 digest - 29 November

Salsa’s key takeaways from today’s DrupalSouth sessions.

Salsa Digital 29 November 2019

9am sessions

The future of Drupal theming

Mathieu Spillebeen (freelancer)

Greg’s key takeaway: Amazing things happen when intelligent people either get fired or willingly leave their jobs to pursue their dreams! Even more awesome when they open-source the product of their efforts...Componentising frontend, and conditionally loading only what is required, can yield huge performance and long-term maintenance benefits...and Drupal already allows for that. Decoupling backend and frontend seems to be a by-product of bad practices of the past — not a real need (not all the time anyway)...but people can start becoming proud Drupal frontend developers again.

The scientific wild-ass guess

Adam Malone, Deloitte Digital

Jim’s key takeaway: Estimate in days rather than hours. Review SWAG estimates on post-project review for accuracy. Quality from reuse. Estimating across all the resources required to deliver requirements was another takeaway.


Preparing for high traffic event, simple steps for success

Sean Hamlin from

Jim’s key takeaways: Over 10, great steps/recommendations from Sean, delivered in simple language. Sean’s key recommendations:

  • Plan for the worst (good rollback)

  • No matter how small or big your site is, use CDN

  • Scale — load balancing is an insurance policy

  • Warmer module to crawl site and request all pages (when you have a site with lots of pages)

  • Know your API dependencies

  • Drupal config — disable any modules (even in core) if they pose a risk

  • Use real-time analytics and react to issues in real time

10.15am sessions

Winning and retaining long-term clients

Owen Lansbury from PreviousNext

Paul’s overview and key takeaways: Exceptionally open presentation providing lessons PreviousNext has learnt over 10 years and their evolution as a company and client landscape in that time. Lesson is to seed and nurture clients, the right long-term relationships are key. Understand your agency’s capacity model, define ideal clients, build multi-tier relationships with the client, and approach a long-term client’s next project as if it was your first.

Cloud Native Drupal Panel

Panelists Mike Richardson (Ironstar)

Nick Schuch (PreviousNext) and

Scott Leggett (

host Nick Santamaria (PreviousNext)

Phillipa’s key takeaways: Technical overview on how the three platforms (Ironstar, Skpr and Lagoon) use containerisation. Questions covered why containerisation, advice for security patching and maintenance of images, use of managed services, and more. Advice was also not to containerise just because it’s cool and ‘new and shiny’ tech — need a use-case for it.

11.15am sessions

Local-CI-production workflow with DrevOps

Alex Skrypnyk

Sonny’s key takeaways: Demonstration of DrevOps, the mature version of Drupal project scaffolding template that’s being used by Victoria’s Single Digital Presence and GovCMS. More powerful, more developer-friendly. SDP guys showed their interest in migrating their current dev tools to DrevOps.

Debunking the myths of digital governance

Morgan Ritchings

Jim’s key takeaways: Great session! Lots of key takeaways:

  • Have a plan for governance (feedback/review/improve...your work is never done)

  • Understanding your organisation (people and process) helps define digital governance frameworks

  • Culture of organisation defines how well different frameworks can work for you

  • Building supportive governance that trusts individuals empowers teams

  • No governance results in the absence of an effective decision-making process

1pm keynote

How is built

Neil Drumm, Drupal

Phillipa’s key takeaways: Interesting behind-the-scenes look at working on the Drupal websites. Loved the stats and graphs, cool to see which countries are doing the most commits.

2pm sessions

Open source your work

Ben Jackson from

Paul’s key takeaways: Open sourcing work has some challenges but many benefits. Opening work improves quality via the principle of many eyes. We should all be encouraged to share, and resist the urge to keep work closed.

DrupalSouth Steering Committee Panel — goals and progress

Kristy’s key takeaways: An introduction to the steering committee, who they are and what they do. They outlined some initiatives for DrupalSouth, including future DrupalSouth events, DrupalGov, local events, how to introduce more people to Drupal, the lofty goal of an Asia Pacific DrupalCon, how to get involved, and getting assistance from the steering committee.


Content processing for site migration

Kelvin Wong

Sonny’s key learnings: Migration talk listing the useful process plugin. Relevant to our in-house migration tool, as one guy asked the speaker if he knows anything that could scrape all HTML content from a website, dump into structured files like JSON and import to Drupal via migrate API.

3.15pm keynote

Security, Drupal 9, and navigating the changing web landscape

Jess (xjm) from Acquia - Drupal Core Release Manager and Drupal Security Team

Phillipa’s key takeaways: Fantastic talk about how all the modern-day dependencies in Drupal and other applications create “additional attack surface” and difficulty coordinating release cycles around other patch cycles (e.g. PHP, Jquery, etc.). Fascinating even for a non-tech like me :)

That’s a wrap

Thanks to everyone who organised this awesome event, especially the event organiser Campbell Tilley and the many other sponsors and the volunteers. Without the support of the steering committee, event organisers, Linux Australia, and the sponsors, DrupalSouth would not be possible. Their efforts are much appreciated.

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