2019 Session Submissions

  1. Decoupling technique: Tracking email with Amazon SES, SNS, SQS, and Drupal

    By: Jason Purdy
    Topics: PHP / Symfony, Site Building

    Email remains one of the most powerful and direct ways to reach your audience and this session will explain how you can track its performance on a detailed level without impacting your Drupal infrastructure. We will be using Amazon’s Web Services, through a combination of Simple Email Service, Simple Notification Service, and Simple Queue Service to integrate with Drupal to send and track deliveries, opens, clicks, bounces, unsubscriptions, and complaints, all at a really low cost and dramatically reducing the load on your own server.

  2. Why fork Drupal? The philosophy behind Backdrop CMS

    By: Jen Lampton
    Topics: User Experience & Accessibility, Site Building

    Backdrop CMS is the Drupal fork. It is a faster and less-complex version of Drupal 7 with more features you want, and fewer you don't.

    This session will highlight the Backdrop Mission, it's intended audience, and it's guiding principles.

    We'll explain the decision making process, introduce the Project Management Committee, and expand on how the project's direction is set by the needs of the whole community.

    We'll cover topics like how we handle Security and Stability, and talk about how we're trying to decrease the cost of long-term website ownership.

    If you want to see what Backdrop can do, I recommend the other session: The Drupal Fork: Backdrop CMS (live demo)

  3. The Drupal Fork: Backdrop CMS (live demo)

    By: Jen Lampton
    Topics: User Experience & Accessibility, Site Building

    Backdrop CMS is a faster and less-complex version of Drupal 7 with more features you want, and fewer you don't. Come see it in action!

    This session will demonstrate some of the kinds of things you can do with Backdrop core, alone. We'll walk through site-building tasks that showcase some of the differences between Backdrop and Drupal, but mostly you'll see how similar the two projects are. If you love Drupal, chances are you'll also love Backdrop CMS!

    We'll build a Content type, add Fields, set up Views, and more importantly, show some of the things you can do with the shiny new Layouts system. We'll demonstrate some of the features more recently included in core, and point out some of the many usability improvements as we go. At the end of the session we'll dig into the new Configuration Management system, and use it to deploy our changes from a local site to a site hosted on Pantheon.

    Bring your questions, we'll leave time at the end to address them.

    If you want know why Drupal core developers would fork their favorite software project, I recommend the other session: Why fork Drupal? The philosophy behind Backdrop CMS

  4. Backdrop CMS: past and future

    By: Jen Lampton
    Topics: Community, User Experience & Accessibility, Site Building

    Backdrop CMS is now 4 years old. Since its first release on Jan 15th, 2015, what has changed?

    Is Backdrop substantially easier to use than the Drupal it was forked from? Is it more affordable to support? Are the apis you know and love, still stable and functioning as they were? Is the community growing and healthy, or better yet, is it thriving?

    If you haven't been following along with all the improvements to the software and community, this session will give you a good overview of where things are today. We'll cover all the major new features that were added in every on-time release, as well as point out when infrastructure and community tools were put into place.

    A fork happens when one thing ends up going in two different directions. Come see our new direction!

  5. Hacking Amazon AWS for Drupal & Wordpress (with DevPanel)

    By: Salim Lakhani
    Topics: DevOps

    DevPanel automates your AWS account. 

    Develop, Deploy, Manage, and Scale Drupal. All point & click! All in your own account.

    DevPanel sets up a highly-available auto-scaling cluster in your AWS account where you can create as many Drupal sites as you want, each with its own dev/test/live versions. 

    The cluster shrinks down to one or two servers at night when you don't have any traffic and can automatically grow to handle all the traffic for all your sites. This, itself, will save you a ton of money in hosting your sites. If you're OK using SPOT instances, then you can also save up to 90% on AWS standard compute rates too.

    DevPanel is tightly integrated with AWS and uses Elastic Container Service (ECS) with Elastic File System (EFS), Relational Database Service (RDS) and Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) to build a solid micro-services based framework under your AWS account. All the scripts are Open Source and available under GPL on GitHub/devpanel. 

    See how you can start using DevPanel individually and with your teams. 

  6. Stay Hungry. An appetite for New Business.

    By: Brett Tesmer
    Topics: Business Development

    Agencies need new business to survive. Period. Without that stream of revenue, it strains leadership teams by making them wear too many hats. It becomes highly difficult to do everything at the highest level, therefore, implementing a new business strategy into the fabric of an organization, across all departments, and clearly paving a path for its success is what will increase revenue and what we want to educate people on.

    The new business department is the face of the agency and the first interaction a prospective client has with the agency, so it’s critical that the new business teams runs and acts like every other department in the organization. After all, the new business team is responsible for having a solid baseline knowledge of each department and the synergies between them during the life of a project, so having department-wide buy-in is paramount.

    During the presentation we’ll discuss the importance of a dedicated new business department, how to create foundational process across each department, the transition of a converted lead, and effective methods to acquire new business opportunities. With the growing number of Drupal agencies, it’s important to learn how to diversify your new business approach and take advantage of the many tracking and analytics tools to achieve success. Having this understanding will greatly aid in an agency’s growth and provides the lowest barrier of entry for new business prospects.

    Reasons Why this is an Important Topic:

    • New business revenue is the lifeline of an agency
    • Allows a clear distinction of roles and responsibilities; lessens the burden of individuals wearing too many hats
    • Provides a platform to integrate right away to grow the business
    • Increases new business opportunities through strategy

    Who is this Topic Tailored to:

    • C-Level Suite
    • Sales Departments
    • Company Owners
    • Small to Medium Sized Agencies
  7. Contributing Back to Drupal

    By: AmyJune Hineline
    Topics: Community, User Experience & Accessibility

    “We are currently looking for the next Rockstars to join our stellar team! All employees must have killer work ethic and offer fanatical customer service.”

    Job postings, among so many other things, can be unintentionally exclusive.

    Inclusivity is at the heart of an effective content strategy. Accessible code may be imperative for inclusion, but all the code in the world doesn’t do any good if the content is not meaningful to our readers.

    In this session, we’ll go over what we can do as content authors to ensure our readers feel that we are speaking with them, not at them. We’ll look beyond the semantic markup and structured content to see the strategic value of inclusive, well-written content.

    Discussion points will include:

    - What makes content inclusive? Including definitions, clarifications, and real-life examples

    - Why is inclusive language important?

    - How we can embrace accessibility for those with every sort of ability

    - Why awareness and acceptance isn’t enough — how to shift to being more process oriented

  8. Drupal Contributions - A Pragmatic Approach to the Issue Queue

    By: AmyJune Hineline
    Topics: Community

    Come for the code, stay for the community.


    Drupal thrives on community contributions in the form of patches and documentation to both contributed modules and core. This helps the project move forward and stay relevant.


    Not everyone who works on open source projects is a senior developer. Smaller tasks help people increase confidence and gain experience, which, in turn, leads to more contributions. Code is very important, but so are all the other parts. Contributing back to Drupal helps folks to become better developers. A more polished Drupal leads to a better overall experience.


    But how does one become a contributor? Together we’ll discuss what we can do as a community to help foster new contributors and keep the ones we already have.


    There will also be a lightning round demonstrating the process of creating an issue, writing a patch, uploading the fix to Drupal.org, and then reviewing the patch for RTBC (reviewed and tested by the community). We'll even take a look at the upcoming GitLab contribution process because specific tools and processes change over time.

  9. Getting an angry wet cat to purr: turning an unhealthy client relationship into a productive one

    By: Donna Bungard
    Topics: Project Management

    High demands, high anxiety clients are a reality of agency life. Their stresses, deadlines, and sometimes lack of understanding of the technology can create tension and take a project (or the client relationship) off track. Together we’ll discuss common challenges and the strategies that satisfy the clients need while insulating your team; allowing them to be more effective. These strategies will include how to:

    • Herding Cats: wrangle in out of control expectations
    • Stop the Hissing: promote positive, team-focused communication styles
    • Playing Well Together: encouraging multi-player team involvement without sidetracking the dev team
    • Detaching the Claws from the Ceiling: being a calming voice while holding your ground and mitigating scope creep
    • Grooming: performing a retrospective at important milestones that produce actionable improvements moving forward

    Walk away with people-focused tactics that will help you improve your relationships with both the client and inside of your team.

  10. Structured SEO Data: An overview and how to for Drupal

    By: Greg Monroe
    Topics: Business Development, Case Study, Site Building

    The search world is all about social graphing today.  Just look at Google's quick results sidebar when you search for a local business.  You see a picture of the business, rating/reviews, hours, menu and more.  Structured SEO data can help you define and shape what is shown about your site on search results.

    This talk will be a brief overview of some of the various types of structured data with a deeper dive into the Schema.org standard.

    It will also cover various methods that can be used in Drupal to implement structured data on your site.  Some of these are standard Drupal Admin and some may require a bit of coding.

    Note I'm not an SEO wiz that can tell you 'how to make your site shine' but have learned a bit while implementing this on various site.  In other words, I may not be able to tell you what to do for this, but I can tell you how to do it.  :)


  11. Designing Design Systems for Drupal

    By: Jared Ponchot
    Topics: User Interface & Design, User Experience & Accessibility

    Design systems are all the rage these days, but what exactly is a design system? How do you know when you need one? In this session we'll cover the following:

    • What is a design system?
    • How do you know when you need a design system?
    • How do you thoughtfully plan and model a design system for a CMS like Drupal?
    • How do you create and maintain a design system as a team (or teams)?

    I'll share real-world examples from projects of varied scale and complexity that our team of Lullabot strategists, designers and developers have worked on. 

    Who is this session for?

    • Designers looking to learn more about what design systems are and how to model them for a CMS like Drupal.
    • Content editors and product owners looking for practices and approaches to creating great design systems that empower editors of a Drupal site.
    • Content strategists looking for ways to relate the content model to the patterns, components and presentation of the site.
    • Front-end and back-end developers wanting better process and strategies for planning out design systems collaboratively.
    • Project managers looking for practices to facilitate communication and collaboration by multiple disciplines creating a design system.
  12. Var_Dumps are for Chumps: An Introduction to XDebug

    By: Colin Crampton
    Topics: PHP / Symfony, Drupal Core

    (Title is a WIP)

    Over the years, I've been shocked at the number of colleagues and fellow Drupal developers who don't use a debugging tool like Xdebug.  These developers have been 'var_dump'ing and 'dpm'ing their entire career, and may not be aware of the immense time-save, clarity, and utility that a debugger/profiler provides.  In this session, I'd go over general Xdebug pros and cons, give real-world examples of Xdebug usage in a Drupal 8 environment, and show some neat tips and tricks developers can use in popular IDEs.

    In this session, I'd cover:

    • Pros and cons of using a debugger over old school methods
    • Why Xdebug is great for Drupal developers
    • General installation instructions for local development
    • Anecdotal examples of where Xdebug was vital in my day-to-day
    • Live demos of how I'd solve common problems using Xdebug. 

    My live demos would probably use my typical stack (Docksal/Xdebug/PHPStorm), but between now and the first session I plan on gathering some statistics on what might be the most popular combinations - I'd cover the big ones.

    My primary audience would include new Drupal developers and developers who haven't made the leap to Xdebug, but even current users of Xdebug will probably be able to pick up tips or features they didn't know previously.

    Non-xdebug users should leave the session with an immediate desire to go install it and start debugging the smart way!

  13. Dealing with Mental Illness: or How I Learned to Dislike Myself Less

    By: J.D. Flynn
    Topics: Community

    I’m JD and I have mental illness. I’m also not alone. Every year, roughly 20% of the US adult population deals with some form of mental illness, however that number is MUCH higher in the tech community.

    In this talk I tell my story of how I came to terms with the fact that I have mental illnesses, and how I came to realize that I’m not alone. Within my story, I tell how I came to realize I needed help, how I found help, what treatments worked for me, and how I came to be active in OSMI (Open Sourcing Mental Illness) with a mission of Erasing the Stigma that surrounds mental illness.

    Attendees will walk away from this session with knowledge of resources that are available, statistics that have been collected, and hopefully a new view on mental illness that helps them Erase the Stigma from their own point of view.

  14. Mike and Jen's Super Amazing Awesome Presentation, Yeah!

    By: Mike Herchel
    Topics: User Interface & Design, Front End

    Mike and Jen will walk the user through a holistic onramp user story, taking into account the paradigm of a omnichannel digital experience. Blockchain.

  15. The Challenge of Emotional Labor in Open Source Communities

    By: Ken Rickard
    Topics: Community

    Emotional labor is, in one sense, the invisible thread that ties all our work together.  Emotional labor supports and enables the creation and maintenance of our products. It is a critical community resource, yet undervalued and often dismissed.

    In this session we'll take a look at a few reasons why that may be the case and discuss some ways in which open source communities are starting to recognize the value of emotional labor.

    Specifically, we will cover:

    • What do we mean when we discuss "emotional labor"?
    • How is emotional labor different from other kinds of work?
    • What expectations exist around emotional labor?
    • (How) is emotional labor valued in Drupal?
    • What can we do to increase the perceived value of emotional labor?
    • How can we distribute the responsibility to perform emotional labor?

    This talk is targeted towards all levels of the community, to coders and non-coders, and especially to project leads and those who wish to become leads.

  16. Federated Search with Drupal, SOLR, and React

    By: Ken Rickard
    Topics: Case Study, Site Building

    With the announcement that the Google Search Appliance was End of Life, many universities started looking around for replacement options. At Palantir, we wanted to provide an open source option that could solve the following needs:

    • A simple way to store, retrieve, and parse content.
    • A cross-platform search application.
    • A speedy, usable, responsive front-end.
    • A flexible, extensible, reusable model.
    • A drop-in replacement for deprecated Google Products

    Working with the University of Michigan, we architected and developed a solution. You can read more about it at https://www.palantir.net/blog/introducing-federated-search and come to our session for a live demo.

  17. JSON:API 2 - A Path To Decoupled Drupal

    By: Erich Beyrent
    Topics: Drupal Core, Site Building

    With the inclusion of JSON:API in Drupal core, we now have a solid, stable path to support decoupled Drupal through standardization of payload structures and query string parameters.

    This session will cover:

    • Why JSON:API instead of the REST module, GraphQL, Relaxed WS, etc.
    • JSON:API overview
    • Authentication with JSON Web Tokens
    • Requests, filters, sorting, pagination
    • File uploads
    • Gotchas
  18. Reality check: what will it take to decouple my Drupal site?

    By: Philip Curley
    Topics: Project Management, Drupal Core, Front End

    So you’re thinking about decoupling your Drupal site because the Drupal’s API-First initiative is making it easier than ever to plug in your favorite front-end framework and get to work. But what are the gotchas that you might encounter? We are lucky to work with a full-featured platform like Drupal, but what features must you replace in order to build a completely independent front-end?

    Our team has developed and released decoupled Drupal sites and this talk will cover our experiences developing these applications and tools we used to build features we needed. This talk is targeted at developers and those who are considering a decoupled project but are skeptical of the scope of the work compared to a “traditional” Drupal build-out. The talk will review the following topics and concepts:

    • Essential Drupal modules
    • Design & layout
    • Routing
    • Caching
    • Meta tags
    • Web forms
    • Authorization
    • Custom REST endpoints
    • Current and future challenges
  19. Building a data-driven & interactive experience using Drupal

    By: Philip Curley
    Topics: Case Study

    In 2018 our team developed a few touch screen interactive applications for the Sealaska Heritage Institute in Juneau, Alaska. One of them, titled Our Grandparents' Names on the Land, is an application which curates decades of collections of names and places by the Tlingit people native to southeast Alaska.

    This talk is a case-study where we will go over the successes and challenges we had creating an experience which was 1. Data driven 2. Content managed 3. Map based 4. Touch interactive.

    This talk will not be overly technical but will highlight the technologies we used to tie these requirements together and how and why we incorporated Drupal into the experience. Hopefully people will leave with a larger sense of how Drupal can be used to manage more than websites.

  20. Own Your Drupal Career

    By: Aaron Crosman
    Topics: Community

    Lots of people have built their careers around Drupal, and no matter your current role or level of experience you can leverage your experience to further your career. Whether as a developer, project manager, or content creator, understanding the technology you use can help you advance. But you also need to look to your own future, and think about where you want to be going over time. This session will share tips, painful lessons, and other stories to help you think about how to leverage Drupal to advance your career goals.