Quick Take: DrupalCon Wednesday

Leo Bauza

Category: Development


There IS a coat check!

I want to start with actionable, useful information. There is a coat check. The DrupalCon FAQ claims there isn’t a coat check, but evidence points to the contrary. There should be more outrage over this, but there we are playing it cool here on the ground.

The keynote by Sara Wachter-Boettcher today was awesome. I want to dedicate more time to write about it than I have right now, so check back for “The Tuesday Keynote: Or why it doesn’t matter that Sara Wachter-Boettcher didn’t specifically talk about Drupal” (that title needs work). But from a very high level here are some highlights:

Treat users as whole humans, don’t design experiences for your idealized person that is exactly like you want them to be.

Make space by using inclusive language. For instance at NJI we don’t want developer ninjas who will revolutionize every facet of the web from the first hour they work here. We want you, a good developer who wants to learn new stuff, help us grow, and be chill about it.

Be intentional in the way you chose to present or ask for information. Do we really need to know the information we are asking users for? and if so are we being cool and telling them how we plan on using that information?

Finally, find fractures. Whenever you say “this is an edge case”, reframe that statement to “this is a stress case”. Expose the flaws in your thinking through stress tests (edge cases) and you’ll most likely benefit.

The keynote was personal and probably uncomfortable for a large section of the crowd, something Wachter-Boettcher acknowledged from the start. I was happy about that. As I mentioned in past DrupalCon related posts, the Drupal Community™ has a goal of inclusivity. A keynote like this shows — again — this is a serious initiative.

Where did we eat?

I woke up late which threw off our food game today. We had breakfast at the same place as yesterday. However, my good friend Caity stepped in to give us a true taste of New Orleans. We went to “Wednesday’s at the Park” at Lafayette Square where we listened to Flow Tribe and Marcia Ball (for free). We ate some delicious bbq and had an awesome time. Then I headed to Bourbon Street (because apparently, I “had to”), and I promptly left because it’s too much for me on a Wednesday night. It is everything that everyone has ever told me it was though, so definitely go see it for yourself, it is an experience™.

After that I checked out the annual Pantheon party. I met awesome developers hailing everywhere from Bulgaria to California. I also had a chat with a deaf developer who illustrated a whole new way of communicating in real time. It brought me back this morning’s keynote about UX design. After that there was an after party. Because I am very serious about reporting on all DrupalCon events I went (even though it was way past my bedtime). It was there that I encountered R2D2 smoking a blunt, amongst what can only be described as a sculpture garden on crack.

Not sure I’d recommend this particular party. NJI has been known for throwing some great parties (eg. The NJI Speakeasy) so maybe my bar is too high.

The Talks

“GraphQL and Drupal”, I know nothing about GraphQL or react or relay but this talk was a great introduction to capabilities of GraphQL and of the GraphQL module. I highly recommend everyone check it out, it’s my talk of the day (I decided that while I was AT it, because it was a lot of fun). This talk made me think of something (I think is) important.

Like I said I knew nothing about the technologies being discussed during this talk. As I write this I still don’t really know much about them. There are a bunch of notes and scribbles of terms used during the talk I didn’t understand at all. All this to say, I went to this talk to see capabilities discussed in the talk description. I thought there was some chance they could solve a problem I had thought about.

What you don’t know is somewhat dangerous, but what you don’t know that you don’t know is worse. I can’t look up something I have no words to describe. After this talk I have a vague understanding of what GraphQL does, I know there’s a module I can play around with, and I saw some use cases. Even though I couldn’t implement anything with it right now, I have something to go off of.

The takeaway here is be bullish on crap you don’t know. You may be the most ignorant (to the subject at hand) person in the room listening to it, but if you aren’t there you’ll stay that way.

That’s it from Wednesday. Let us know what you liked @NJIMedia or hit me up @Poettersbetter.

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