March 1, 2016

A Preview of the Upcoming 2016 DrupalCon

This year's DrupalCon is going to be a little different for me.  For starters, it's on my home turf.  While I currently reside in Chicago, New Orleans is my home town; my first love if you will.  But honestly, I have mixed reactions about it being in NOLA this year.  It will be great to go back home and see some old friends and old stomping grounds.  It will also be fun to show my colleagues the real side of New Orleans; not the tourist traps of Bourbon Steet but the places the locals go (or at least did go circa 2006).  The other side of it, however, is that I've been to New Orleans before.  I used to live there.  I grew up there.  While I wouldn't say that L.A. is necessarily a really exciting town and we really didn't stray far from the convention center but at least it was a new place to visit.  I think I would have preferred DrupalCon be somewhere else.  Even with that being said, NOLA is going to be a great place to host the conference.

This will also be my second DrupalCon.  Maybe that's weird that a Drupal Themer has only been to one previous DrupalCon, but it's really expensive to go if you don't have an employer footing the bill.  All my previous Drupal experience prior to joining Duo Consulting was strictly freelance and educational.  I made Drupal sites in Grad School, taught Drupal as a TA, and built sites for various Library groups.  At the U of C Booth School of Business we were on an island development wise. While the rest of the University used Drupal, we were confined to working with ASP.net and SiteCore sites.  So no free trips there.  At FCB, I left prior to the 2014 DrupalCon, but regardless, it would have been a really difficult sell to get them to send me as they only occasionally built sites in Drupal.  Even if I could have afforded to go, there were also some personal implications during that time that made travel nearly impossible.

And finally the third item is that I submitted a session proposal to DrupalCon 2016 titled, "Get Your SASS in Gear!"  That was the price of admission for us at Duo this year.  We don't have to get accepted.  I hear that's a tough thing to do, especially since I don't have typical conference speaking experience.  I've taught classes on Drupal during Grad School.  I've made presentations to classes as a Librarian, etc but never at a conference.  But regardless of the expected outcome, it was kind of cool to submit a session.

Last year for DrupalCon, I wanted a mixed focus of some D8 in order to start the deep dive into the newest version of Drupal, but also some useful D7 education since that was still primarily what Duo was building sites with.  I wanted to return to work with some new tricks and tools that I could use right away and I did.  On of the Front end sessions on Atomic Design, BEM syntax and sass organization really changed my world.  It inspired me to push for Duo to build it's own proprietary Drupal Theme.  We did and it's been in use with all Duo sites since late last summer.

This year, it's all about D8.  If things go according to plan I will have either already built or be in the process of building my first true professional D8 site.  I want to jump into the deep end of D8.  Sink or swim, right?  That's my major for this year.  As for a minor, anything I can pick up for the back end would be great.  I'm a Front End Drupal Developer or Themer but I'd really like to become a more well-rounded Drupal Developer.  I can built sites on my own: I can architect a site, I can develop the site and I can theme it in Drupal. I'm really strong on the front end side but I want to increase the strength in the other areas.  I want to learn new things that further solidifies that all three of those areas.

Once the sessions have been chosen.  I'll write another blog telling you what sessions I plan to attend and if (by some crazy chance) am chosen to present.