I like networking and learning and I enjoy presenting to audiences, and during the first two weeks of August, I went to two different Drupal Camps: DrupalCorn Camp in Iowa and DrupalCamp Colorado. I expanded the group of people I know, learned what others are doing to solve problems, picked up some tools and techniques, and explored some of the different communities that I hadn’t yet participated in.

I submitted two sessions to each, both of which were accepted. The first was “Multiplier Effect: Case Studies in Distributions for Publishers,” a co-presentation with Courtney Yuskis, the Digital Engagement Director at Meredith Agrimedia. This presentation was a combination of business and technical talk, with a discussion of the use case and results, followed by the philosophy and practical implementation.
“Multiplier Effect” at DrupalCorn and at DrupalCamp Colorado

The other talk I gave was “How to Audit Drupal Sites for Performance, Content, and Best Practices,” which discussed the what, why and how, then provided a survey of tools.
“How to Audit…” at DrupalCorn and at DrupalCamp Colorado

DrupalCorn Camp 2016

Details

What? DrupalCorn Camp 2016
When & Where? August 4-7, 2016 in Coralville, IA
Who organized it? Central Iowa Drupal Users Group
How’d you get hooked into it? Combination of word of mouth—heard that it was a good community—and physical proximity to one of our clients.

Ride the Whale
Ride the Whale! Docker for Drupalists First of all, Tess set the tone with a giant inflatable whale. Silliness aside, it was a great introduction to the practical use of Docker for Drupal development and hosting. We walked through configuration techniques and best practices, and then had a solid discussion about different strategies. I walked away interested in combining that approach with Vagrant, which fills in some of the gaps that individual container configuration can’t address.

Google AMP: How and When should you implement Accelerated Mobile Pages? I learned a lot about the history of practical implementation of Google AMP from Joshua Stewardson, the Director of Product & Technology of the Parents Digital Network. They were a very early adopter and discussed the difficulty adopting a rapidly evolving standard with no off-the-shelf solution available. Since their launch, a contrib module is now available, which if they were to start again they’d use. Google AMP is way more relevant, especially in publishing, as Google will be adjusting their organic search algorithms to prefer sources with AMP support.
Learning about Google AMP

Overall

The conference was held at The Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa, a very modern building with ample and accessible facilities for all attendees. All presentations were recorded and were posted on the DrupalCorn YouTube channel after the conference. The annual cornhole tournament was a lot of fun and fellow Web Chefs, Todd and Brian (who actually looked up the rules on Wikipedia before playing), won, taking home “I (DRUPALCORN LOGO) CORNHOLE” shirts.
Cornhole at DrupalCorn
Socializing at DrupalCorn

While DrupalCorn Camp was organized by a group who works primarily in Higher Education, the actual content had a broad appeal to the greater Drupal community. Very friendly and welcoming and appreciative of their speakers and attendees. And great keynotes from Todd and Angie!


DrupalCamp Colorado 2016

Details

What? DrupalCamp Colorado 2016

When & Where? August 13-14 in Denver, CO

How’d you get hooked into it? Again, word of mouth, new market, and community.

Danese Cooper’s keynote was really inspiring and interesting. She provided a lot of perspective on the evolution of the open source movement, how Drupal related to it, and how the promotion of open source ideologies can help all organizations. I was especially interested in the use of “InnerSource,” which applies open source ideologies to internal software development.

I enjoyed learning about Drupal 8 render arrays from Gus Childs. While I have a lot of practical backend experience, I feel that I have a weaker understanding of how to interact with the frontend at a low level. Stretching my experience and learning how to better work with other components is always satisfying, and I learned some new best practices that I’ve already started applying to my Drupal 8 work.

Overall

The venue was nice, but many of the sessions were spread about and there was a lot of walking about in a building that had other student events going on. Having Sunday morning sessions was particularly difficult with lower attendance. Hopefully, next year’s Camp will go Friday to Saturday. The social networking event was held off campus in a corner of a noisy venue, very few people from the conference were there. It’d be nice if there was a more inclusive choice for a social event. As with DrupalCorn, the presentations at DrupalCamp Colorado were also recorded and posted promptly on their YouTube channel. I gained a lot from the variety of sessions available.


I greatly enjoy community participation and learning from others. Working from home means I don’t get to see a lot of people in person, and Drupal events are a wonderful way to put faces to usernames and expand my horizons.

I’ll be honest, I did this travel immediately after a vacation that I traveled a lot, flying to Virginia and driving to North Carolina, then returning. I’ve put on a lot of miles over the past month. It’s worth it, but I’m making a point of not traveling for the next couple weeks. With Fall’s return, I’ll be preparing for BADCamp—can’t wait!