DrupalCon Nashville Notes

Like last year I’m keeping an extremely rough setup of notes from DrupalCon as a repository of things I’m picking up and tracking of sessions that looked like they would be interested but that I couldn’t attend because I was in another session. I’ll clean then up a bit and add to them over time.

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make the event a success.

I’ve assembled a playlist of the various sessions I though were good when I attended, or looked good but couldn’t attend.

Monday I attended the Community Summit, and while I had lots of great discussions, I didn’t take a lot of notes. The biggest two things I noted were that Western New York DUG is doing interesting stuff with online meetings that might be worth checking out and emulating for the SC DUG. And that Mid-Camp keeps a list of all the various channels that have videos of Drupal Camp sessions.

DriesNote:

Roadmap:
The current roadmap looks pretty cool, assuming everything comes together as well as we all hope it will:

Dries showed off some great stuff from the new demo site called Umami. Umami has been committed for 8.6, and we might be able to see it later in 8.5

JS modernization and a new admin interface design are on their way, media library is part of that, but is likely a year out from being ready for prime-time.

Webchick summed this section of the talk nicely:

We are very over due for the needs of content creators, so it’s great to see meaningful headway on some of these processes.

Dries then moved on to start talking about values. It’s something he’s still not clearly fully comfortable doing, but it was good to see him try. The first public version of his attempt to define a set of values is up.

My read is that its well intended and has some ground to cover is it gets revised. I haven’t done a deep dive into its details yet, nor the response, but early reviews are mixed.

Although there was much less discussion today in hallways and informal chatting than I’d expected to here.

And there is definitely some ground to cover on issues that got us here in the first place:

(That’s not related to the DriesNote directly, something she ran into at later session but was on topic of my comments)

JavaScript and Accessibility: Don’t Blame the Language

This was a really good session on accessibility with both a real world set of examples and realistic discussions of what’s hard and what happens when things pass tests but don’t get tested by humans.

Major take aways:

  • Modern tools support JS and it no longer gets in the way of accessibility. WCAG 1.0 said this was a problem 20 years ago, but that’s not the current best practice.
  • There are constraints to the work because of accessibility, but it they don’t have.
  • “There are times that I go to use an interactive calendar on the web and all I hear is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and so on to 30 or 31…with no indication that these are dates…just a mass of numbers in the middle of the page.”
  • We used to test sites by disabling CSS/JS. Now it makes more sense to try to navigate the site with a keyboard and see what happens. Remember that just because something is possible it doesn’t mean it’s obvious or good. This doesn’t get you to a great site, but allows you to pick off errors before someone finds them for you later.
  • When you tab to things, the visual affordances some designers hate can be put back in as a compromise for people using accessibility tools.
  • I need to spend more time with the iPhone voice over tool so I can test things better.

Things I didn’t go to in this window:

UX for Admin:

This was a really interesting session on the Material Admin theme, and what’s been needed to make it work.  It’s not perfect, and may or may not be ready for prime-time, but it looks like a great idea and show what we can do to make the admin much better.

Related projects:

  • https://www.drupal.org/project/material_admin
  • https://www.drupal.org/project/material_admin_support
  • https://www.drupal.org/project/type_style

Major take aways:

  • We’re behind, some of fixing that is easy, some of fixing that is hard.
  • When you’re UX is bad, people perceive things to be slow even if they aren’t. People think that material theme is faster even though it is demonstrably not.
  • Growth and survival of the project require us to have a better admin.
  • He’s trying to make sure add-ons for the theme/module are pretty standalone and just work. But theme’s can’t require modules which is silly.
  • Contenta uses Material by default on front and back because it provides decoupling well.

Skipped in this window:

Salesforce BOF:

This BOF was a chance for Cornell to show off some great stuff they have been doing with Message Agency. They have done some cool stuff that shows the power for D8 and a good Salesforce integration.

It should go without saying, but it needs saying too much:

A Salesforce is a CRM. Drupal is a CMS.

Use your tools for what they are best at.

The content in Drupal, actions recorded back into Salesforce.

Lessons:
1) Know strengths of each tool
2) Understand user needs
3) Determine how you will use each tool
4) Get the details right: SSO, Data Mapping, etc.

Drupal is much better at providing accessibility, including Form Assembly which is hard. The SF eco-system is mixed on the whole.

One option for multiple databases is Snap Logic (apparently it is “capital intensive”).

So you have a Code of Conduct… now what?

This was a mini session that is worth watching if you’re unsure about the importance and value of having a code of conduct.  The hope had been to have a discussion about the importance of Drupal’s CoC, but everyone who attended largely agreed about the broad strokes of the major issues that have been discussed lately in the community.  We ended up talking more about how to broaden the discussion than about the CoC itself.

Skipped:

Handling a Big Year: ACLU.org in 2017

This session was an interesting look at the impact on ACLU’s D6 (yes that’s right) advocacy site running on Pantheon.

Moved to Pantheon in 2013. And that move dealt with limits of their old hosting solution. Unfortunately some of my old-timey knowledge of why that had that solution was so old they couldn’t tell me much about how they had managed to make that move.

“Crazy things happen all the time”

Slide of Donald Trump and how that effected ACLU traffic

After the their ED made a Rachel Maddow appearance on 11/16/16 they saw an 85x traffic spike. Tag1 was called in to help sort out what happened.

Traffic spiked to just over 500 requests per minute during the interview.

They found it was database bound, which was very common on D6, but still something they see frequently.

Found queries with 3 table join with no indexes on the base table. Able to go from 200,000 rows being scanned, down to 76. They were responding in real-time in crisis response mode.

After the wave passed, they called Pantheon to help build out environments for testing using multi-dev.

During the spikes that followed for the first travel ban, which were even larger they worked to reroute errors to Fastly, which served a PayPal fundraising link: at least the donations kept coming but that wasn’t good enough.

They needed a botnet to replicate the traffic. Tag1 used: Locust to create load tests, SaltStack to organize the bots, and EC2 to be the bots. They were failing at ~600 requests per minute and they were able to get to ~5,000 requests per minute. At that point the payment gateways were also starting to buckle, which isn’t a thing most people see.

The final wave they discussed came after the Net Neutrality lose, which peaked around 1,900 form submissions/min.

ACLU needed more logging, but didn’t want them logging personal information. Turned out the payment gateway’s CDN was detecting a DDOS and blocking them. See curl_log and curl_loadbalance. They also intentionally shift load from MySQL to Redis and PHP(?!?) because they knew Pantheon could scale that are far and as fast as needed to handle the waves, but MySQL was a limiting factor.

Skipped:

Wednesday Keynote by Steve Francia

Creator of Hugo and BFD in the Go community. DA Board member.

He has been helping Google put together documents to help guide their engagement with Open Source communities and projects.

https://opensource.google.com/
https://opensource.google.com/docs/

Things he argues we pioneered in Open Source:
– Distributed leadership
– Collabortive Development
– Community Engagement

Interesting to reflect that its about the process and the community, but not about the technology.

Unrelated:

BOFs Board:

Manage Yourself First

80% of leadership is just showing up. The other 20% is actually caring.

You will make mistakes. How you handles those mistakes will define your success.

Find Trusted Mentors

Do what people think you can’t.

Guide teams to successful outcomes.

People buy outcomes, so do teams.

You must be prepared to react positively to the unexpected

You should read books that speak to you, but you should also read books that aren’t about you or people like you.

Ken really likes even though it is written in the most macho way possible:
Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone

Go back to a point for basic agreement, even if that agreement is basic facts and that you screwed up.

Empathy is a great thing that asks you to choose sides even when you shouldn’t.

Your job is not to normalize and enforce things.

Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny
Mother Knight

Skipped:

  • https://events.drupal.org/nashville2018/sessions/dont-trust-your-gut
  • https://events.drupal.org/nashville2018/sessions/organizing-wordpress-community-victories-challenges-and-lessons-learned
  • https://events.drupal.org/nashville2018/sessions/continuous-integration-has-never-been-so-easy
  • https://events.drupal.org/nashville2018/sessions/accessible-editor (https://twitter.com/hanabel/status/984105892911239169)
  • https://events.drupal.org/nashville2018/sessions/new-help-system-drupal
  • https://events.drupal.org/nashville2018/sessions/enforcing-code-conduct
  • https://events.drupal.org/nashville2018/sessions/extending-abstract-class-privilege-outcomes-and-lessons-learned
  • https://events.drupal.org/nashville2018/sessions/community-convos-camp-organizing
  • https://events.drupal.org/nashville2018/sessions/media-module-core-setting-drupal-8-media-library

Salesforce BOF

Mostly a good discussion and a few new ideas. Also good to catch up with old friends and ideas.

Community Convos: Governance Retrospective

(Note: recording was intentionally stopped after the presentation but the discussion continued for quite a while).

Following Con last year Whitney Hess put forward some ideas, but it wasn’t clear where to go next.

It wasn’t clear that the DA should lead this, so it fell to the CWG cause they were last group standing.

Take aways:

  • Governance should evolve over time.
  • Need a values statement
  • Need to define the community and its membership.
  • Clearly document that structures and procedures.
  • CWG needs to improve CoC and enforcement.
  • Community needs to improve its global outreach.
  • DA should set higher standards.
  • Community matters should escalate to groups, not individuals.
  • We need community onboarding.
  • We should engage with other communities to discover best practices.

What’s Happened:

  • Dries stepped down as DA board chair.
  • DA hired Rachel Lawson.
  • DA created an updated CoC.
  • Dries is doing a round table on Thursday.

What’s Next:

  • Trying to figure that out…
  • Need to determine if good feedback was gathered so far.
  • Need to figure out an ongoing and continuous feedback process.

The expected frustrations with Dries and the values statement were expressed. Communication between Dries and other folks continues to be a challenge. The bottleneck of single point of contact is making it hard to stop having a single point of contact.

Skipped:

  • https://events.drupal.org/nashville2018/sessions/continuous-integration-nirvana-tricks-reach-heavenly-automation
  • https://events.drupal.org/nashville2018/sessions/hostile-drupal-tips-tricks-running-drupal-hostile-environments
  • Cthulhu Drupal: Coding with Lovecraft

Drupal for Nonprofits BOF

The main discussion centered around what’s holding back D8 adoption and the ongoing sense that the main forces in the Drupal community no longer concern themselves with the nonprofit sector.  This year’s BOF was small because NTC started today in New Orleans.  From a rough head count if the people I new were in New Orleans had been at the BOF there would have been a similar number of people.

 

Unrelated:

http://www.ashedryden.com/blog/the-ethics-of-unpaid-labor-and-the-oss-community

Thursday Keynote: Emily Rose aka Amorelandra

In 2013 51% of internet traffic was “non-human”. SEO industry calls it NHT. By 2014 it was 61%.

Q&A with Dries.

Related Twitter Hastag

Automatic’s Support of Camps and staff to do so: It’s great, but it’s not in the budget (DA budget). He talked about creating it as a DA service that could be self-sustaining, but the WordPress model includes a donation of 8 FTEs.

What if your responsible for 1000 D7 sites? When we will know when there is a concrete answer to the question of the EOL for D7: This is an open issue without a good answer that needs a good answer. Move to D8? (but he doesn’t understand why that’s laughable without more detail).

What about the small shops and builders: He doesn’t feel like they were really left behind. Rachel also checked to what the DA could have done better with the new home page, but the language wasn’t a great choice.

What can a consumer do to preserve the open web: Not use Facebook. People read the web through Facebook like they do with Google. Don’t install an ad blocker.

Why don’t you hear more about Diversity issues from you? It’s important, and we have to do better. We aren’t were we should be, and I’m happy to show more leadership. I could do more by talking more about it in public and on twitter. Wants to think more about it, and doesn’t feel like an expert. He acknowledged his mistake in the DriesNote in Copanhagen. He also commented about shuttingdown after being called out because of how it was done. Wants understanding of the fact that he’ll make mistakes.

When are we moving to Github? A proof of concept is in place to move to GitLab! Our tools are better than GitLab in many ways, but GitLab wants to have our better strengths in their code base. So they are working on doing that for us and for all their users.

Is Drupal 7 Dead? No. Most sites are Drupal 7, and some new sites still launch there. But all the innovation is on 8.

The new values and principles need work to more fully reflect the community. The process: a group together in December to review the community feedback. And it was clear he needed to do this. He’s been working on it since then, and has found it hard work. He wanted to make it Collabortive, but also wanted to put a stake in the ground. He knows that it needs work, but isn’t entirely sure of the next steps. Doesn’t want to the single owner. He would like to assemble a working group with a charter.

Did you create drupal to be modular and community driven from the start or did it change into that over time?

There were other CMSes in the world, but they were a shit show. I was working on the Linux kernel and liked the modular nature.

Why do you think people are hesitant to update their site? Decided to elect minor updates not major. Mostly that it add complexity.

Will the new principles state that destructive beliefs, not just actions, will be banned. He defers to the working group.

Rachel acknowledged the tweet, but didn’t know what to do with the fact that it actually called her out. “I wasn’t paying attention.” and then blamed questioners for not asking questions earlier. @drnikki was given a space, and directed people to DD&I meetings.

A really bad response from the audience calling on women lead. Tim Plunket responded appropriately.

Random Unrelated: