A report from DrupalCon Austin

  • Mikkel HĂžgh
DrupalCon group photo

DrupalCon Austin was last week, and I was the Liip delegation. Being my first American DrupalCon (6th overall), it was very interesting to experience the biggest DrupalCon yet.

The Drupal community was as vibrant and welcoming as ever, and the amount of energy being expended by thousands of volunteers to get Drupal 8 done is astounding.

Whither Drupal 8?

Having been through quite a few Drupal release cycles by now (4.6.x, 4.7.x, 5.x, 6.x, 7.x, and now 8.x), I know better than to ask (or attempt to answer) the “When is it coming out?” question, because the answer is the same as always: “When it's done”.

That being said, we are getting close. The most important thing at the moment is the beta blockers list, which currently consists of 11 issues. Once all beta blockers are resolved, Drupal 8.0-beta1 will be released, and if this release will be anything like the previous, we will see a lot of new momentum when that happens.

Once the beta lands, contrib module authors will have a stable API to develop against, which means that they can start the mad rush to get their modules upgraded to Drupal 8.

It also means that using Drupal 8 for new projects becomes a reasonable option, and given how much more functionality comes out of the box in Drupal 8, I think we will see a lot of people doing this, since unlike previously (especially with Drupal 7), they will not have to wait for Views and other indispensible modules to be upgraded.

So, at least to a developer like me, it doesn't matter much when the official, final 8.0 stable release will come. It matters a lot more when I can start using it (I have a few Drupal 8 hobby projects already, but it's not being used at Liip yet), and that is getting very close.

How was the conference

Seasoned DrupalCon visitors will know that some the most important work and interaction happens outside of the official prorgam. Hallway chats, code sprints and social events are where long-time community members spend most of their time.

And this year was no different. Every night had one or more different parties (Viking Fest, woo), and hundreds of people were hanging out in the coder's lounge, before, during, and after the main event. Meeting new people, and collaborating is really the name of the game, and in that regard, this year was a great sucess for me.

I spent quite a bit of time working on Twig-related issues (one of the new exciting changes in Drupal 8 is the replacement of the old and tired PHPTemplate engine with Twig), and a general clean up of the markup output by Drupal.

The #DrupalTwig effort is just one of the many new things in Drupal 8, but it was rewarding to see several long-standing issues get resolved during the week, and it looks like we will have a great theme system in Drupal 8. Thanks to Scott, Joël, Morten and the others for spearheading this effort and helping me and others get up to speed so we could help move the project along.

Looking forward to next time :)

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