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DrupalCon New Orleans Recap

By kmoll
Jul. 5, 2016

DrupalCon is one of my favorite weeks of the year. Now that it’s over, I’ve had some time to go back and reflect a bit about the week and what I got out of it. This was my fourth DrupalCon, so I was able to go into it with some experience and a great idea of what I want to get out of it.

There are so many great things that come out of that week that it's hard to list them all. It's an event where you can greatly increase your knowledge, education and experience with Drupal and see what's coming on the horizon. The Driesnote is always the kick off and Dries not only talks about the current state of Drupal, but also gives his predictions on the future state of the web and how we can steer Drupal to meet these needs ensuring Drupal remains a viable platform into the future. This year he focused on end to end web experiences. He highlighted a case where with Google Echo and the Alexsa integration module, he could shop for products from a specific retailer and if they were not available or on sale, he could get notified when it was, and then decide to purchase with a click of a button. This is a powerful experience that brands can offer that keeps customers engaged with their brand. It was really cool, and Drupal, more specifically Drupal 8, will be a great way to leverage customer experiences for things like that.

A few other important things that came out of DrupalCon was the announcement of the new initiatives. Our own Tim Millwood got some great press as leading the new workflow initiative, you can read his recap on DrupalCon here and see his sessions here. Workflow initiative is near and dear to my heart, not only because a co-worker is helping to lead it, but because I’ve been working in the publishing space in Drupal for a long time and this initiative aims to solve many (if not all) of the pain points I’ve experienced.

Another important talk was Alex Pott and Matt Tift’s talk on configuration management. This was important to me because I work on building platforms for my clients to build multiple sites on, not just building out a single site. The new configuration management system in Drupal is amazing and powerful, but until now a best practice on how to build a workflow with managing and deploying configuration for multiple environments has not emerged. This talk lays out a proposal for that, and as of now looks like the way we will implement our configuration workflows. Really cool stuff.

It gives you a chance to meet up with co-workers and clients that you normally talk to with a keyboard (especially important for me as a remote employee). My current client was able to bring in their remote team and have a week of great, focused workshops that helped us plan out the future solutions we will work on and implement over the next year.In an industry that's becoming more and more based on remote work, I can’t stress enough the importance of being able to meet with coworkers face to face and talk through problems.

Last, but not least, it gives you a chance to explore and immerse yourself in the culture of a great American city. This might be my favorite aspect of DrupalCon. I love to travel. I travel as much as I can. So far every DrupalCon has been in a city that I’ve wanted to go to and explore but hadn’t yet. This year in New Orleans was no exception. As a big fan of music (especially live music), New Orleans has been on my travel bucket list for quite some time. In the french quarter, you can walk down most streets and find live bands playing at almost every bar. Jazz, blues, rock, soul. You name it. There were two particular places that stood out to me: DBA, we went to a few times and saw some amazing music. I also got a tip from a local friend there about a band called Rebirth that plays the Maple Leaf bar there on Thursdays. It’s one of NOLA’s best new brass bands and they did not disappoint. If you are ever in town there on a Tuesday night, do yourself a favor and check it out.

So once again, I had a memorable experience at DrupalCon. I learned more than I could have imagined and was able to enjoy a historic city that I’ve always wanted to go to. For anyone out there that hasn’t been to a DrupalCon, do yourself a favor and make it a point to attend the next one. Dublin is the next European Con and the next North American Con is in Baltimore.

You’ll do wonders for your career, and you might just have a lot of fun!

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