I have attended Drupalcon for the past three years, and in that time I have learned that the experience can be bucketed into three sections; the community, the sessions and the city. I was happy to discover that Drupalcon Portland was no exception.

The theme of Drupalcon Portland was “Building Bridges, Connecting Communities”, a theme which the 3,500 attendees (the largest number of attendees to date) took to heart.  It was not hard to make friends (especially if you walk around giving out VooDoo doughnuts as  I did) or find someone who wanted to talk Drupal, development or life.  One of the best examples of attendees connecting was the group who worked together through the first night of the conference to build a website for the Oklahoma Tornado victims.

At the core of Drupalcon is the keynotes, sessions, BOFs and what you learn from them; here were some of my main takeaways.

  • Drupal 8 changes everything.  The core of Drupal is being rewritten to run on Symphony 2 (a PHP MVC Framework). This rewrite makes Drupal a more flexible and extendable framework and opens it up to the wider PHP development community. However, this also means that older Drupal developers (such as myself) have to learn a whole new method of development.  The learning curve will be high and to some of the great sessions such as Dependency Injection in D8 by Kat Bailey we should be prepared.

 

  • Content is king. Sessions such as Jeff Eatons Building for a Post Mobile World explained that with the number of different devices out there we can no longer assume how a user will view our sites. Content needs to be truly separated from presentation so that it can be easily adapted for future devices.  Karen McGranes keynote Thriving in a World of Change: Future-Friendly Content with Drupal outlined that there are two schools of thought when it comes to content, team blob and team chunk. We all need to be on team chunk.

 

  • It’s all about the engagement. Dries keynote The Current State of Drupal 8 touched on the fact that building a Drupal site (or any site) is not just about presenting users with content, but engaging them with an experience.  He talked about what changes Drupal 8 will bring to make it easier to build user engagements.

 

One of the great things about Drupalcon is that attendees are encouraged to explore the city they are visiting. I found Portland to be a wonderful city.  I was able to visit the brewpubs of some of my favorite breweries such as Rogue and Deschutes.  Eat at some of Portlands many food trucks and the ever famous VooDoo doughnuts. As well as get lost in the aisles of Powells, the bookstore that spans a whole city block.

I left Drupalcon Portland eager to share what I learned with a re-invigorated sense of excitement for the future of Drupal as both a platform and community.