Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Drupal Dev Days Szeged wrap-up
Last week was packed with sprinting, presenting & exchanging ideas at Drupal Developers Days Szeged 2014. Let me share a recap with you:
Connecting with the community
Wolfgang Ziegler (fago), our community friends Klaus Purer (klausi), Thomas Seidl (drunkenmonkey) and me passed by beautiful Budapest for some Parlament sightseeing and reached Szeged on Sunday evening, ready to spend the upcoming week sprinting on Drupal 8 and related projects. The conference hotel is located just next to the venue in walking distance to the city center with plenty of good & traditional restaurant options. The abording Tiza river provides a scenic setting and invites for a quick break when the mind needs to clear up a little during sprinting. Check out my flickr set for some visual impressions.
After the good feedback on DrupalCamp Vienna that we had received as Drupal Austria members, we already felt quite proud of what we had achieved last November. Now, having attended last weeks conference, I feel like the Drupal Dev Days team just set the bar even higher. This is what dev days should be like: an entire week of sprinting & sessions where the community could get a lot of work done.
Dev Days are a unique chance of bringing together hundreds of people passionate about Drupal core to discuss hard problems and get work done in a very productive environment. The dev days team has shared these impressive stats:
115 core commits, 706 changed files, 11k+,7k- lines 7 change records 19 beta blocker/targets fixed 7 "hard problems" discussions
Of course, moving on with the Drupal 8 Entity system was fago's first priority. Fortunately, the smart folks working on the Entity Field API and the Multi-Lingual iniative have been able to use the opportunity to make great progress on having the Entity system automatically generating the schema for content entities, which besides being super-useful will enable all content entities to be translatable. I joined the Lewis Nyman and the Drupal 8 front-end united sprinters to help with making Drupal.org finally responsive. Great progress has been made and I'm really looking forward to see this deployed. For now, you can go to http://bit.ly/responsivedo (user/password: drupal), give it a test-ride and report issues to the Responsive Bluecheese sandbox project.
Tons of stuff has been worked on by many sprinters. One initiative that I'm really glad to see is the joined effort to make Search API for Drupal 8 the definitive solution for advanced contrib search solutions. Yay, for not having to choose between Apache Solr Search module and the generic Search API any more. The team around drunkenmonkey with nick_vh, mollux and others seems to have reached a lot. It looks like we can expect a flexible-as-usual Search API for Drupal 8 with quite some usability improvements. Easily setting up a site-wide search seems to be a high priority, which also means that we need an approach for including several entity types within a search. Note that per Switch from Field-based storage to Entity-based storage, fields in Drupal 8 can't be shared any more. Still, we think that there should be a way of indexing similar properties across entity types like a "date changed" field in a uniform way so that the search can be filtered and sorted on those. Personally, I'd envision some kind of meta-entity that allows to create fields that are based on similar fields of the underlying entity types and bundles. Similar to the abstraction that media module provides. This would allow us to use arbitrary search results in Views in a structured way. Here is the related Search API issue.
Sessions & BOFs
fago's session Drupal 8 Entity API has been substantially overhauled since last time in Vienna. Seems like the Entity system has made quite some progress during the last 4 months.
Drupal 8 Entity API Slides My Blocks & Layouts from D7 to D8 presentation covered all display approaches from Contextual blocks over EVA to the big three: Context, Display Suite and Panels to provide a perspective on what has been planned for Drupal 8 as part of the WSCCI & SCOTCH initiatives.
Panels lovers like Schnitzel and me are curious about where the Drupal 8 cycle will lead us in terms of fundamental Panels features like adding context based on CTools Context. I recognize that a lot of ground work has been made by converting Blocks to the Plugin system. An exensible Layout module couldn't get finished on time for core and there is a notion of a Context API but it isn't used anywhere, yet. On the other hand Display Suite has already been ported to D8. I understand that the Display Suite maintainers want to keep their focus on the entity view mode level while the Panels people are more into the generic layout approach that can also be applied to the page level using Panels everywhere for example. Let's see where this goes, also worth a mention is the Display Suite Inception module. Among the manyfold inspiring sessions, here are two presentations that I especially enjoyed: Community Building with Mentoring: What makes people crazy happy to work on an open source project? (slides) by YesCT and Building really fast websites with Drupal 8 (slides) by Wim Leers.
The community rocks & Drupal 8 is getting closer
Being someone that follows Drupal core development mainly from the side lines but who tries to keep a good overview of what's happening, Drupal Dev Days were really inspiring. As Florian Loretan mentioned in his talk Drupal 8 for real, it's not only about when Drupal 8 is going to be released but we should be closely watching the what Drupal 8 is going to be about. I think that the new and shiny architectural advantages that the Symfony integration provides us with, should also allow us to better decouple systems and make them reusable. For example for the upcoming Drupal 8 port of the Rules module, we envision to have Data selectors and the Conditions UI to be components that can be leveraged by other systems independly. Imagine a data selectors being used by a CTools-like Context UI, Metatag module or for setting default field values and visibility condition for blocks to be specified using the Rules Conditions UI.
Drupal Days Days Szeged 2014 have clearly shown: The community rocks. Now, let's start building websites in Drupal 8 already! If you are interested in collaborating on a project that requires development resources from Drupal 8 experts, let us know.