DrupalCon LA marked my fifth time attending a North American DrupalCon. As the con wraps up and I reflect on the sessions I attended, the BoF's I participated in and the many conversations I had, there is one thing I know I am bringing with me back to Boston. No, not a suitcase full of t-shirts and swag (well, I am. but that is not important).
It is a sense of excitement.
I am excited for Drupal 8. Drupal 8 is getting closer and closer. As Dries noted in his opening Driesnote, there are only 27 critical issues left for a stable release. With the Drupal 8 Accelerate initiative (Have you donated yet?) and the on-going code sprints, there is the expectation that we could see this stable release as early as September. In my opinion, the timing could not be any more perfect. This was the first DrupalCon where I felt that the community as a whole has matured enough to fully embrace the changes that Drupal 8 brings, mainly being, the integration of the Symfony framework.
I am excited for the Drupal community. Last year at DrupalCon Austin, I could feel the division between those who were Drupalist and those who were Symfony developers (Symfonites? Symfonists?). This year however, I saw the community integrated like never before. In fact some of the best and most packed sessions I attended were not even given by a Drupalist! "The Symfony Framework: Your free new toolkit" and "Routes, Controllers and Responses: the Basic Lifecycle of a D8 Request" each by Ryan Weaver (a core team member of the Symfony project) showed myself (and many of the other attendees) the simplicity and power Symfony brings, and had us itching to build something with Drupal 8 and Symfony. Which in fact I did, right after the session in only 15 minutes.
The quality of sessions given at Drupalcon this year, allows myself and the others who attended, to bring back and teach new sets of skills and tools to their co-workers that can be used everyday. The Session "De-mystifying Client Discovery" by Greg Dunlap of Lullabot, provided some great insights on how to work with clients to better determine their actual goals and needs. "(Re)Launch stratergies: Drupal 8 and the modern web" by Ken Rickard of Palantir.net provided information on topics to discuss with clients who may want to make the move to Drupal 8 and when/if it is right for them.
Sessions such as "Multidimentional testing workflow" by Yuriy Gerasimov and Andrii Podanenko from FFW, and "Front-End Supremacy" by my co-worker Jake Rainis provided insights into processes and workflows that we can be used to deliver more robust, engaging and creative Drupal experiences for clients.
My next few weeks will be full of disseminating all the knowledge I've gained and putting it into practice. I have no doubt that as I do my sense of excitement will spread around my office and be more contagious then the cough that was going around at Drupalcon.
See you next year in New Orleans!