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Highlights from DrupalCon Europe 2022

by manifesto

7-minute read

Drupalcon 2022 X Tpximpact Dx Team

Our engineering team share their personal highlights from the first in-person DrupalCon Europe in nearly three years.

For this year's European DrupalCon, we sent several members of our engineering team to Prague to enjoy the excellent networking and learning opportunities the conference has to offer.  Uniting digital experience experts from around the globe, DrupalCon is the destination for developer trends, updates and innovations on the Drupal platform. 

As the first physical European DrupalCon after three years, this year’s event was highly anticipated. It was a great opportunity for TPXimpact’s team of software engineers and developers to network, learn, and be inspired, with our very own Drupal Developer Lisa Webster also delivering a fantastic talk on accessibility.

This blog is a digest of some of our favourite bits from our team: Jack, Cedric, James Endre and Nic.

Jack Holding

Lead Developer

My favourite session: Using Twig Extensions to provide reusable functionality for frontend development

Hearing from a developer with experience outside of Drupal was really interesting. This session raised some interesting points, made me question some of the methods we’re most familiar with in Drupal and think about improvement, especially as Drupal continues to adopt Symfony features.

I’m now driven to explore how we can improve logic visibility in more concise templates that eliminate the need for most hooks and work more closely with Symfony best practices.

Why I wanted to go

I was interested to see if we should be using more Twig extensions because they have always been useful. I also wanted to find out more about best practices around their application.

The best part of DrupalCon

I got to meet with colleagues in person — some for the very first time! With a large group of us attending, we had good coverage across lots of the talks, which sparked some great conversations and ideas throughout the week. This is something we don’t have the opportunity to do often when we’re working remotely.

The “Driesnotes” are always inspirational and this year was no different. There was a strong emphasis on contribution, which made me think about how I interact with Drupal and how I can be more involved in giving back to the community. It was exciting to see some previews of the further changes coming to the contribution system and how it will hopefully make it simpler for more people to start giving back to the Drupal community but also how we can embrace more open source technologies to build a better Drupal.

Cedric Hillion

Drupal Developer

My favourite session: Introduction to Layout Paragraphs

This session was focused on the editor’s experience, which has often been neglected in Drupal and most probably hampered its early wider adoption. The session showed how adapted the module is for structured content in terms of editorial experience. 

I can see some real potential in implementing it in legacy projects, as it will not require much refactoring and will be easy for editors to use. Also, there is now an experimental addition to it which allows for a closer “in place editing” experience (there are issues with translations so far, though).

Why I wanted to go

As we are using Paragraphs in many of our projects, I was interested to see what could make it even better, especially from a content editor’s perspective. This is for instance something that could be introduced to clients such as THF, as they are using content heavy pages that with time become difficult to edit.

The best part of DrupalCon

To me, the best part was definitely to feel part of a team. DrupalCon gave me a feeling of belonging to a community of developers who believe in the framework they work with and use it as a tool that can empower not only users, but people in general.

James South

Technical Lead

My favourite session: Drupal State and the Need for a JavaScript SDK

This session provided a demo of the current headless menu initiative and explained why the lack of a well-supported client SDK for interacting with a Drupal backend is holding back headless Drupal (in comparison to tools available for other platforms).

Why I wanted to go

As a principal engineer, I wanted to attend sessions that helped me get a better oversight across the projects I work with. Also, I wanted to learn more about what could help inform future tech stack and architectural decisions.

The best part of DrupalCon

As great as a lot of the talks were, the highlight for me was the conversations we had as a team between and after each day at the conference, getting to know each other better and seeing how passionate everyone is for both Drupal and our work within DX.

Endre Soo

Senior Developer

Favourite session: How Drupal 10 will make you fall in love with Drupal theming

The hosts introduced D10 theming to us and all the cool features it will provide out of the box. We started with how menus are implemented in an accessible and responsible way that will make implementing modern menus much faster. There will also be a theme debug checkbox in D10 admin which enables theme suggestions and all the theme debug functions from the UI. 

It was good to see some cool new twig filters which will let us manipulate HTML quicker and with less coding. I really liked the render array template suggestions which will let us map a render array into HTML markup just with a single twig filter. We’ll have better twig dump functions. Another awesome concept is loading CSS and JS directly from templates. With this we wouldn’t have to create libraries and make changes in 3-4 files just to add some styling to a template! Finally it was good to see they want to add modern CSS to core: instead of float they’d use CSS grid, CSS variables.

Why I wanted to go

I enjoy working on the front end and wanted to know how Drupal was keeping pace with the industry and modern ways of working.

The best part of DrupalCon

All the keynotes — particularly the Driesnote and the talk about “the next big things for digital societies” — were really inspiring and reassured me that TPXimpact is going in the right direction. More importantly, it affirmed that Drupal has a bright future ahead. After-conference drinks and chats with the team was great. And the merch, of course!

Nicolas Borda

Lead Software Engineer

Favourite session: Let's talk about Gin!

It was nice to see the process behind the facelift updates that happened from alpha to beta. Seeing things like the collapsible sidebar and RTL support was also nice. What was amazing was the support for adding the sidebar to other entity types and how easy it is to do this using Gin’s API. Another cool feature is the CSS variables you get so the toolbar does not get in the way of your theme, very similar to Displace in Drupal core which we saw in a later talk.

Why I wanted to go

I always make sure we install the gin theme so our clients benefit from a sleek admin experience so I wanted to check out what improvements are in the project.

The best part of DrupalCon

I really enjoyed the team building and collaborating with my colleagues in person having great discussions. The sessions at DrupalCon are always great, they do have really valuable information and some are very inspiring. For me DrupalCons are worth the trip just for that, but really what I usually get the most out of DrupalCons are the interactions.

Overall we had a great time at DrupalCon and are looking forward to going next year.

TPXimpact is a certified Drupal development agency, and we can help you make the most of the new Drupal 9 upgrade. If you would like to find out more about Drupal at TPXimpact please get in touch, or visit our Drupal page.