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DrupalSouth Day 2 digest — Tuesday 4 December

Find out the Salsa team’s top info and learnings from day 2 of DrupalSouth 2018.

Salsa Digital 4 December 2018

Read our session key takeaways from day 2 of DrupalSouth.

Morning sessions

Afternoon sessions

Morning sessions

9am keynote, The future of everything, Charbel Zeaiter

Lots of Salsarians in this session. Here are a few opinions…

Paul’s takeaway: Brilliant session. Find the material online and listen/watch for 40 minutes. Charbel looked at the five waves of tech: the calculation wave (old-school computers performing repetition computation), the information wave (early browser wars and basic webpages; the battle for the browser), the social wave (changing how we connect, how we purchase, how we work), the experience wave (IoT, voice, immersive experiences, robotics, insertable tech, thought-activated tech; the challenge will be battle for talent), and the final wave, singularity (humans at one with machines…and all that scary stuff.). We can’t know the future but Charbel gave us a journey to now, and what may play out in the future.

Alan’s key takeaway: Technology expectations change over time. There's a skills shortage for tech. Future AI will have human bias with the ways it’s programmed. The talk covered a lot of ideas in a short time!

10am sessions

A few Salsarians attended Single Digital Presence: Inside the Victorian Government's Drupal 8 platform by Kurt Foster.

Suchi’s key takeaway: A technical lowdown of SDP as a platform. Really informative.

Alan’s key takeaway: Good coverage for giving a tech person an understanding of what's packed in the SDP project.

A couple of our tech guys attended To Drupal or not to Drupal: A closer look at Wix and WordPress by Vladimir Roudakov.

Greg’s key takeaway: Drupal is not the only CMS, and certainly not the best CMS for all use cases. We should at the very least try other CMSs and see if we can adopt what they are doing better in order to make Drupal a better product.

Sonny’s key takeaways: Interesting comparison of some essential functionalities of the three platforms. Drupal is behind its competitors in terms of user-friendly UI for content management. Average users will find that it's much easier to create a rich content site with WP and Wix. I had a discussion with the speaker about the accessibility aspect of the three. Drupal is still the best in terms of accessibility for visually impaired editors. WP is still a concern with its dynamic UI and needs more time to explore.

11.15 sessions

Not surprisingly, with Alfred moderating there were lots of Salsarians in the Open source for open government with Department of Finance’s Sharyn Clarkson and Nathan Wall, and from Victoria’s Department of Premier and Cabinet Jithma Beneragama and Amber Benjafield.

Alan’s key takeaway: Both still aim for sharing and openness. They have different approaches, and different goals. SDP is encompassing tech and content with a focus on user experience. GovCMS is focused on building a starting point for agencies to manage their own content efficiently.

Laura’s key takeaway: Sharyn Clarkson talked about the positive impacts that continue to develop because of previous collaborations and having an open government mindset. This year, 10 Federal Government annual reports are being published via CKAN. This is in part due to previous work done by the Victorian Government in the open data space. This is a great example of government taking openness and transparency to the next level.

Paul’s key takeaway: Dissected differences in SDP and GovCMS - debunking myth they are the same. GovCMS is platform to enable experiences and help agencies upskill and succeed, SDP more provider of unified journeys across Victorian government data with focus on citizens. Despite the differences in focus, there has been great progress in program sharing between GovCMS and SDP. The panel discussed examples such as IRAP/security planning docs, and modules initially developed by GovCMS but improved by DPC and given back. Much more to share going forward…

Ivan went to Jibran Ijaz’s session Writing tests for existing functionality.

Ivan’s key takeaway: Good warning about overcomplicating the test case. A neat overview of DrupalCI and how to extend Drupal core tests.

11.40 session

Ivan went to another shorter session, Nigel Cunningham’s session Revisions and moderation for webforms and configuration entities? You can’t do that!

Ivan’s key takeaway: Enjoyed the presentation by Nigel Cunningham about his webform revisions module. Would be good to see further progress on making other configuration entities revision-able.

Greg’s key takeaway: Figuring out the best way to get revisions and workflow to work with config would pave the way to reverting undesirable changes. Think of it as a way to have “undo” buttons in the admin UI for configuration, same as we’ve always had available for content.

12.15 sessions

Suchi and Alan went to the session The black dog can code.

Suchi’s key takeaway: An awesome session about mental illness. Social stigma. Anxiety. Coding skills. Failure. Imposter Syndrome. Really touched a nerve. She talked about how her workplace culture is helping her in the journey, and also gave some practical advice.

Alan’s key takeaway: Mental health is challenging to manage, but an understanding employer can allow those suffering to live better.

Greg attended a panel session on Security, DevOps, and your digital ecosystem with Adam Malone, Jesse Boyd, David Hawks, Amin Astaneh and Michael Schmid.

Greg’s key takeaway: Security, like many other things, doesn’t have to be fully implemented from the get go; it should be implemented soon, and then iteratively improved. Policies should be more like guideline frameworks rather than strict/detailed, prescriptive lists of rules and regulations.

Afternoon sessions

2pm sessions

Paul and Greg attended the Editor experience in GovCMS8 session by Ian Humble.

Paul’s key takeaways: Editor experience matters! Traditionally we have backend dev and frontend dev, while editor experience is often neglected. The editor experience really, REALLY matters to client editors and investing in that drives project success. A number of modules were presented and how they can benefit the editor experience in GovCMS8.

Greg’s key takeaways: To add to what Paul said, a simple change to the labels of fields, or adding help text to explain how they work goes a long way to help improve the content editors' user experience (UX).

Again, a few Salsarians were at Suchi’s panel discussion, Remote working - what, why, why not and how?

Laura’s key takeaways: Lots of good answers to why hire remote workers, like: talent acquisition, don’t want to be limited geographically and it grows the pool of talent available; attracting experienced talented parents with young children that want flexibility in hours; and provides better work-life balance for workers who would normally have long daily commutes.

Phillipa’s key takeaways: Lots of good reasons to hire remote, although the importance in some areas of face-to-face contact was discussed, especially for initial contact and pitches. Great to hear about some of the initiatives to bring remote teams together, like Friday drinks via Zoom.

3pm sessions

Another Salsarian talk was Alex Skrypnyk and Stuart Rowland’s Migrations at scale.

Alan’s key takeaways: GovCMS migrations were made easier using AWX, Lagoon and GitLab. These tools are being cleaned up and released to the community soon.

Phillipa’s key takeaways: Migrating over 100 sites to the new Salsa/ platform was a big task! The use of containers and Docker images brought lots of benefits to the new platform. Automated migration scripts were run using an AWX user interface, with over one hundred unique tasks happening with one click.

Greg attended The next 10 years: strategies for a vibrant local Drupal community by Owen Lansbury.

Greg’s key takeaway: We’ve certainly come a long way as a community, and there's still much to be done. Personal and agency efforts need to be made towards contributing and actively participating more. The mocked up photo of a +10-years-aged Dries was funny.

4.15pm keynote

With the exception of the people packing up the Salsa stand, we all attended the keynote, Sally Young on Admin UI and JavaScript modernisation.

Alan’s key takeaway: There's dev being done to decouple the admin UI of Drupal to allow a new, easier, faster editing experience. This is uncovering gaps in the decoupled APIs, and is looking to modernise the capabilities for administrators.

Phillipa’s key takeaway: Sally presented on some exciting work on the admin UI...making it more user-friendly while keeping Drupal’s key points of differentiation.

Final thoughts

We've had a great two days at DrupalSouth! We hope you've enjoyed reading our daily digests...and look out for some more detailed coverage of individual talks next week.

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