First day at Drupalcon Pittsburgh 2023


My last Drupalcon is exactly 10 years ago, at Portland, in Oregon USA. It was an awesome experience. It was paid by my employer at the time, which comes with good and bad things.

First, my hotel reservation was made at the last minute, just in case I quited before the event happened. You never know these days, I guess. It meant my hotel (to be honest, it really felt like place where it was safe to buy and sell drugs) was an hour away (by walking) from the convention center.

The good things of course, was that I didn't have to pay for the flight or the conference. In the end I didn't get molested, so I had a positive experience of the Drupalcon ✨.

This year though, working at my own agency means I could make my reservation 6 months in advance. AirBnB also changed a lot to hotel/motel reservation experience. So with that in mind, 6 months ago, I've found a gigantic 3 bedrooms apt. at a reasonable price, at 15 minutes walking distance. Awesome. This year is going to be different!

With hindsight...

Now that I'm sitting on the sofa, right in front of the Paints Arena (where hockey games of the Penguins team happens), I'm not so sure my idea was better. If I had done a little bit more research, I would have figured out that this neighborhood is not immune to AirBnB gentrification. The apartment is surrounded by foreclosures, people just trying to get by. And here I am, renting a gigantic apartment at what must be exorbitant price for the yearly salary. The company who owns the apt. is probably doing that all over the city.

Nobody, for sure, ever lived in this apt. for more than a few days at a time. Or else they would have figured out that the dishwasher is not even screwed correctly. That the bath tub is most likely leaking under and into the wall because there is no caulking. The lamps weren't even plugged in. The company made sure it looked nice enough for people to rent and that's it. Make food with the only 1 pan, provided only because someone left a negative comment about it on the website.

The Drupalcon...

In any case, I will stop reflecting on my poor choice of lodging and let's start talking about the awesome Drupalcon! Finding the convention center was easy enough. It really has a beautiful architecture, that incites people to visit under and the top the building. It is a big, very big building. Drupalcon happens mostly on 2 levels, which happens to look like a big H.

The drupalcon organisation team left a lot of time between the sessions, but if you happen to have session on opposite corner of the H, prepare yourself for a good walk. You won't miss the beginning of the session, but you will be walking. Think of it of another opportunity to make new friends 😀.

Jam pack...

Like any other conference like this, it's hard to really guess people interest level in specific sessions. I've attended a few sessions today where people had to watch the entire 50 minutes of the session standing up. My first session, I guess it was my own fault for arriving right on time, was full. I did not repeat the same mistake today.

The takeaway

A few takeaway from today, because this blog post is getting already way too long:

  • Drush 12 was released before my eyes. The new version is awesome and I'm glad I was able to see and understand some of the new changes.
  • The Drupal community is not lacking vision and imagination on what to work next. I don't know how they do it, personally.
  • Everybody hates to be the leader of an open-source drupal module/initiative. But... even making a spreadsheet with a list of the things that needs to be done can be a game changer for everyone involved.
  • I didn't know the Drupal Association had a new CEO. That's good.
  • Everyone sees Layout builder like the future of Drupal. Everyone agrees it sucks right now.
  • Rewrite/rethinking of the fields api has been funded. Data stored for the Fields data should move to the JSON data type, since most databases supports json nowadays and let you do cool stuff with it, like nosql technologies.
  • Taxonomist can be a full time job.
  • The Aaron Winborn Award is a thing. An awesome thing.
  • When looking out for new modules/initiatives for Drupal, search for the triple win.
    • Client needs it
    • Your team needs it and feel engaged by it
    • It's a good team for the whole community.
    You're more likely to succeed and get at least partially paid to get it out there.
  • Something that came out often in multiple sessions: Perfect is the enemy of good.
  • If you want to share something with the world, try to release it when you hit 80% completion (see above). As strange as it might seem, if you release it at 100%, people won't be motivated to participate in it (ie for maintenance). Everybody will assume you're just going to do it anyway. If you release at 80%, it becomes a "group thing" instead of a "me thing". Personal note, I feel like this apply to so many aspect of my life, not just development.
  • Documentation is important, even more in open-source. Burning out is even easier when working voluntarily. It's important to have documentation so people can take over while you recover.
  • Self-checkin is very important. Even in a group, it's easy to forget yourself while giving away your time.
  • Drupal will continue to take hard, big difficult decisions (like this, but not limited to it), even it means losing important people on the project.
  • The new Pantheon front-end sites dev/build/deploy looks very interesting.

I tried to keep that to the minimum, this blog post is already too long. I'm sure tomorrow is going to be just as awesome. I will be able to bring my laptop with me, I'm pretty sure I'm stocked with every swag possible, so I have space for my laptop now 🎉.

Ha, another quick note, the pub crawl was a success to me. I only got a drink, after my 6 hours ride, but it was fun to see everyone before the conference.

Drupalcon pittsburgh 2023 group photo