A Front End Developer’s First DrupalCon

DrupalCon 2021 Logo

2021 was my first DrupalCon despite the fact that I’ve been working with Drupal since Drupal 6. Budgets and timing were always a factor with my previous jobs so I was very excited to be able to attend this year. In the past, I found smaller, local conferences that fit my schedule and budget, and have been a regular attendee at D4D Boston for the past decade. I always placated myself with the thought that being a front end developer, it was fine that I was going to more front-end-oriented conferences because they were probably more relevant to my job.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been most interested in decoupled Drupal and have been fortunate enough to work on a fully decoupled project as well as some smaller, progressively decoupled apps. I went into my first DrupalCon looking over the schedule and scanning for sessions and talks on decoupled Drupal. Do you know how many there were? Neither do I off the top of my head, because there were a lot. I think I counted about six total sessions. That number does not not include the session on Drupal’s JSON:API, a panel on JavaScript that, of course, touched on decoupled Drupal.

My biggest takeaways from the decoupling sessions were:

  1. The impact decoupling initiatives have had on the Drupal ecosystem as described in the Decoupled Menus Initiative Keynote
  2. All of the CMS features that marketers have become accustomed to that you lose when you decouple a site, as discussed in How Drupal Can Be De-coupled: CMS That Marketers Will Love

Drupal theming has come leaps and bounds since I started working with Drupal and it’s even more amazing to me, as a growing number of sites forgo Drupal as their front end delivery, that the Drupal community continues to rise to the challenge to make Drupal a great tool for decoupling and not just a vanilla API.

I always try to come away from a conference with some tasks for myself. This year, I’d like to task myself with following the Decoupled Menus and the Decoupled Translation initiatives more closely to see how they’re informing the Drupal ecosystem, and perhaps do a POC using EzContent to try and incorporate CMS features into a decoupled front end.

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