drupalcon

DrupalCon Seattle 2019 is a wrap! It's all about the people

I'm on the flight home from this year's North American DrupalCon. Couldn't sleep, so thought I'd jot down a few words after a great experience in Seattle.

Last year, some remember seeing me walking the halls in Nashville akin to a zombie. But not the hungry, flesh-eating kind... more like the thin, scraggly, zoned-out kind. Last year my health was very poor. I went to DrupalCon mostly because it was the first DrupalCon within driving distance of St. Louis since DrupalCon Chicago several years ago. In hindsight it might not have been the best idea, and I had to skip a number of events due to my health.

Since that time, I experienced a grueling surgery and recovery, and learned to live with my new friend, the stoma. (Warning: scatalogical humor ahead—hey, it's my coping mechanism!).

The 2019 Drupal Local Development Survey

It's that time of year again! Leading up to DrupalCon Seattle, Chris Urban and I are working on a presentation on Local Development environments for Drupal, and we have just opened up the 2019 Drupal Local Development Survey.

Local development environments - 2018 usage stats
Local development environment usage results from 2018's survey.

If you do any Drupal development work, no matter how much or how little, we would love to hear from you. This survey is not attached to any Drupal organization, it is simply a community survey to help highlight some of the most widely-used tools that Drupalists use for their projects.

Take the 2019 Drupal Local Development Survey

Drupal, the Fastest - Improving the evaluator experience

At DrupalCon Nashville 2018, I became deeply interested in the realm of first-time Drupal experiences, specifically around technical evaluation, and how people would get their feet wet with Drupal. There were two great BoFs related to the topic which I attended, and which I hope will bear some fruits over the next year in making Drupal easier for newcomers:

There are a number of different tools people can use to run a new Drupal installation, but documentation and ease of use for beginners is all over the place. The intention of this project is to highlight the most stable, simple, and popular ways to get a Drupal site installed and running for testing or site building, and measure a few benchmarks to help determine which one(s) might be best for Drupal newcomers.

Composer and Drupal are still strange bedfellows

More and more sites are being built in Drupal 8 (over 160,000 as of DrupalCon Baltimore 2017!). As developers determine best practices for Drupal 8 site builds and deployment, they need to come to terms with Composer. In one of the most visible signs that Drupal is 'off the island', many modules are now requiring developers to have at least a fundamental grasp of Composer and dependency management.

But even more than that, many developers now use Composer in place of manual dependency management or a simpler tools like Drush Make files.

With these major changes comes some growing pains. Seeing these pains on a daily basis, I wrote Tips for Managing Drupal 8 projects with Composer to highlight some best practices and tricks for making Composer more powerful and helpful.

But many developers still wrestle with Composer, and mourn the fact that deployments aren't as simple as dragging zip files and tarballs around between servers, or checking everything into a Git repository and doing a git push. For example:

  • If I manage my codebase with Composer and follow Composer's own recommendation—don't commit dependencies in my vendor directory, what's the best way to actually deploy my codebase? Should I run composer install on my production web server? What about shared hosting where I might not have command line access at all?
  • Many modules (like Webform) require dependencies to be installed in a libraries folder in the docroot. How can I add front end dependencies via Composer in custom locations outside of the vendor directory?

And on and on.

DrupalCon Baltimore 2017 - participants sitting and waiting to see the opening Keynote
Over 3,000 community members attended DrupalCon Baltimore 2017.
(Photo by Michael Cannon)

During a BoF I led at DrupalCon Baltimore 2017 (Managing Drupal sites with Composer), we identified over 20 common pain points people are having with Composer, and for many of them, we discussed ways to overcome the problems. However, there are still a few open questions, or problems which could be solved in a number of different ways (some better than others).

I've taken all my notes from the BoF, and organized them into a series of problems (questions) and answers below. Please leave follow-up comments below this post if you have any other thoughts or ideas, or if something is not clear yet!

Composer BoF at DrupalCon Baltimore

Update: The BoF has come and passed... and I put up a comprehensive summary of the session here: Composer and Drupal are still strange bedfellows.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, April 25), I'm leading a Birds of a Feather (BoF) at DrupalCon Baltimore titled Managing Drupal sites with Composer (3:45 - 4:45 p.m. in room 305).

Composer for PHP - Logo

I've built four Drupal 8 websites now, and for each site, I have battle scars from working with Composer (read my Tips for Managing Drupal 8 projects with Composer). Even some of the tools that I use alongside composer—for project scaffolding, managing dependencies, patching things, etc.—have changed quite a bit over the past year.

Discussing Open Source project maintenance ('how to not drown') at DrupalCon Baltimore

I'm excited to be presenting at this year's DrupalCon Baltimore on a topic near and dear to my heart: I'll be presenting Just Keep Swimming: Don't drown in your open source project! at DrupalCon next month.

On a basic level, I'll outline ways I deal with rage-inducingly-vague bug reports, hundreds of GitHub notifications per day, angry and entitled users, and keep a positive attitude that allows me to continue to contribute on a daily basis.

Drupal VM - DrupalEasy Podcast and DrupalCon NOLA BoF

As Drupal VM has passed 500 stars on GitHub, and is becoming a fairly mature environment for local development environment—especially for teams of Drupal developers who want to maintain consistency and flexibility when developing many sites, I've been working to get more stable releases, better documentation, and a more focused feature set.

Also, in the past few months, as interest has surged, I've even had the opportunity to talk about all things Drupal VM on the DrupalEasy podcast! Check out DrupalEasy Podcast 172 - The Coup (Jeff Geerling - Drupal VM), which was just posted a few days ago.

And to keep the conversation flowing, I'm going to be moderating a BoF on Drupal VM at DrupalCon New Orleans, Drupal VM and local Drupal development for teams.

Ansible for Drupal infrastructure and deployments - DrupalCon LA 2015 BoF

We had a great discussion about how different companies and individuals are using Ansible for Drupal infrastructure management and deployments at DrupalCon LA, and I wanted to post some slides from my (short) intro to Ansible presentation here, as well as a few notes from the presentation.

The slides are below:

And video/audio from the BoF:

Notes from the BoF

If first gave an overview of the basics of Ansible, demonstrating some Ad-Hoc commands on my Raspberry Pi Dramble (a cluster of six Raspberry Pi 2 computers running Drupal 8), then we dove headfirst into a great conversation about Ansible and Drupal.

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