Tanner J. Ferguson

DrupalCamp Colorado 2014

August 11, 2014

DrupalCamp Colorado happened just a couple weeks ago, and like many Drupal Camps and Cons I've attended in the past, it was another great opportunity to learn more and connect with members of the Colorado Drupal Community. I had the pleasure of attending some great sessions this year that I wanted to take note of here.

Collaborative Content Management with Migrate

Peter Weber gave a great talk on leveraging the Migrate module in conjunction with Spreadsheets to provide a single collaboration point to gather and stage content for launching new projects. Migrate module, and data migration in general, is a complex and in-depth topic, but Peter focused on the common pain points of gathering content for a site and how Migrate can be used to alleviate those issues. Taking this approach, you can setup spreadsheets matching the content structure of the site. Utilizing tools like Google Docs, you can make this an easy and instant collaborative experience. Since Migrate is capable of importing, rolling back, and importing as many times as you need, this means you can continuously update content through the spreadsheet. Updating the actual site content is a simple matter of replacing the latest version of the sheets, rolling back, and running the import again.

While Migrate can be a lot to get into at first, this use case provides an excellent intro to using the module. I hope to have a post in the near future on how to get started with your own content migrations.

Front End Ops

Ryan McVeigh presented on the surge of new tools available to Front End Developers to automate many of the day-to-day tasks that end up being repetitive and time-consuming. It was a great overview of some of the most popular and useful tools currently out there, including Grunt, Gulp, Bower, and Yeoman. It's impressive to see how much task runners Grunt and Gulp can do with considerable speed, from compiling Sass, to minifying Javascript and optimizing images. Of particular note for me was Yeoman, which was a tool I hadn't really seen the benefit of until this session. In short, Yeoman is a generator that lets you reach a starting point for new projects rapidly. Ryan demonstrated a generator that quickly gets you up and running with a Drupal sub-theme of any flavor after filling out a few quick questions. I'm hoping to take a stab at my own very soon in order to automate creating site-specific install profiles for a project I'm working on consisting of six sites using a custom distribution.

Scssy Wild West

Tim Whitney gave a very engaging talk on organizing CSS, reviewing techniques such as SMACSS, OOCSS, BEM, and ... here's the most specific CSS rule ever thrown in during QA. It's very common in talks about CSS methodology that the presenter is speaking to the advantages of their methodology of choice, but while Tim certainly has his own specific methodology and shared it as part of the talk, the more overarching point of the talk was to focus on implementing CSS that works with the application in mind, rather than making a specific methodology work. Particularly in Drupal, there's a lot of movement behind making Drupal output the specific markup and classes that you want to make your system work. The downside that's not often talked about is that not only can this be a difficult and time consuming process, but it can ultimately result in a frontend that ends up being fragile and unable to scale with the CMS and the rest of the project as it develops further down the road. Drupal doesn't have the prettiest markup, or the most useful classes, but there are ultimately plenty of good classes in good places that can be used to implement styling that doesn't break upon placing a field or entity in a new place.

2015

Planning is already underway for 2015, with discussion for possibly having 2 events next year in Denver as well as Boulder. If you're interested, join in that discussion and get involved at the DrupaCamp Colorado Project Page on drupal.org.

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