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Drupal GovCon: Day 1 Recap

Jul 20 '16

This week, I'm fortunate enough to be attending Drupal GovGon, which brings together Drupal developers, users, and more in Washington, DC. It's a great chance not only to learn the latest techniques, but also to see how Drupal is being used for everything from government projects to non-profits to entertainment.

Today's keynote was an insightful conversation between Sibyl Edwards and Allyson Kapin on building diversity into both our companies and our projects. In the early stages of designing a new platform, for instance, a team may wish to consider how to mitigate its potential to be used for hate speech, or whether their sign-up forms are forcing people to choose between categories with which not everyone identifies.

Later in the morning, I attended a more technical talk by Will Vedder on decoupled Drupal, also known as "headless Drupal." Thanks to Drupal 8's built-in RESTful API integration, it's now easier than ever to combine the powerful back-end features of Drupal with the flexibility and speed of front-end javascript frameworks such as Angular or Backbone. While Drupal's traditional approach remains the best solution for many websites, this integration promises exciting new possibilities for dynamic web applications.

After lunch, Mike Potter, the lead maintainer of the popular "Features" module, spoke about the differences in Features between Drupal 7 and Drupal 8. With the latter's core support for importing and exporting configuration, Features becomes less critical; however, it remains an invaluable tool for organizing related pieces of configuration and detecting dependencies. Finally, Nick Grace led a session on the power of Google Analytics for setting and tracking business goals on Drupal sites, from tracking page views and conversions to conducting full A/B testing.

All in all, it's been an educational and enjoyable day. Stay tuned for day 2 and day 3!