Highlights from DrupalCon 2017

June 19, 2017

Each year, thousands of developers, designers, content strategists, and industry leaders gather at DrupalCon to share their ideas and experiences using one of the world’s most popular open-source content management solutions. For the 2017 conference, two of our developers and several other members of our team had the opportunity to attend the conference in Baltimore.

Drupal 8 is the Present and the Future of Drupal

Although Drupal 7 is still supported, the focus of DrupalCon — and the Drupal community in general — is centered on Drupal 8. Released in November 2015, the Drupal community has had more than 18 months to refine the core and migrate some of the most popular modules from Drupal 7 for use in Drupal 8.

When it came to the subject of upgrading to Drupal 8, our team found that a number of attendees were still nervous about the transition — particularly when it came to the stability of available modules. However, the general sentiment was that Drupal 8 was more than ready, and those who hadn’t yet upgraded were excited about the prospect.

There’s a Module for That

One of the defining features of Drupal is the flexibility afforded to its users by the robust library of modules. With the transition to Drupal 8, a number of the modules that were formerly maintained by contributors to the community have been pulled into the core offering. While this does put some of the most popular modules from Drupal 7 more front and center, there were many at the conference who felt this new structure might actually have made them more difficult to maintain.

That’s not to say that modules have gone by the wayside — far from it. A great deal of time was spent at the conference evaluating current modules, discussing ways to improve them, and even speculating on which modules should be pulled into Drupal 9 and which should be left on the cutting room floor.  

Our Takeaways

Our team participated in a variety of discussions and presentations throughout the week, with one of our developers completing Acquia’s Certified Site Builder exam. Our team particularly enjoyed Anthony Simone’s Atomic Design in Drupal 8: Isolating frontend workflow with Pattern Lab! discussion, which centered around a component-based approach to Drupal design that we’ve been championing at OHO for some time.

The team also got some great information from Why Is Drupal So Hard to Learn?, a talk that really drove home the struggle that many developers and content creators have with learning how to tailor their own unique skills to the Drupal platform.

Drupal 9...Not So Fast

Even though Drupal 7 is still supported, and the primary focus of the community is on Drupal 8, some couldn’t help speculating on what the future has to offer — but those folks were few and far between.

Perhaps DrupalCon 2018 will have a greater focus on what’s in store for the next iteration of Drupal, but at least for now the Drupal community has plenty of work to do optimizing the current version and increasing the adoption rate of Drupal 8.

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