This year I was fortunate to be able to attend the 2016 North American Drupalcon in New Orleans. It was a week filled with all things Drupal. From sessions and conversations to networking and parties. Taking time to decompress and process all the insights gained, I present to you my three big take aways..
In todays world of data breaches and over sharing, security is a big topic. As drupalists it is important that we are security advocates for clients and their data. It is up to us to ask the hard security questions such as "do you need to store that?". Point out issues such as "That feature you are asking for would open up this security flaw..". finally we should all generally be security minded on all projects. There is no website that is "to small" to be hacked. The session "Simplifying Security: Protecting your Clients and your Company" by Chris Teitzel, Drew Gorton and Luke Probasco did a great job at pointing out what our roles are in security and how to have those conversations with clients.
Personalization is not a new concept, but it is trending one. More and more users are expecting their online experiences tailored to them. If users are expecting it, then so are clients. The session "Web Personalization for Drupal: Your Roadmap to Get Started" by John Money and Dave Sawyer did a great job at presenting a picture of what personalization means. The framework of this session provides a guideline on how to approach the topic of personalizations with clients. From the questions to ask, strategies to take and technical options to put in place. Like security, clients will be looking at us to be the experts and inform them about what they need to know.
Finally the biggest thing I took away from Drupalcon was how important it is to be improving. Taking the seedling of an idea and growing it into something complete and helpful. This was evident during the whole conference. From BOFs (Birds of a Feather) where attendees discussed ways to improve Drupal, sprints were people were working on improving Drupal, to the sessions where people were teaching each other how to become better with Drupal. If you have an idea just share it then get feedback about it. It does not have to be perfect and you will never know how it can grow and help others.
I had the amazing chance to experience this first hand. I presented my session "Demystifying Ajax Callback Commands in Drupal 8" at Drupalcon . A session which started life a 5 minute presentation I gave at a local meetup (over a year ago) and refined over the course of a year based on lots of great feedback at many Drupal camps. Leading to the version I presented at Drupalcon (A big thank you to the 141 people who attended).
There you have it my three big takeaways from this years Drupalcon New Orleans