All RPGs and Storygames by Tod Foley are now available at DrivethruRPG and RPGnow. Bring these games to your table!
When conversations began a few months back about DrupalCon Seattle, I was so thrilled about the prospect of heading west and being fully indoctrinated with all things Drupal for the first time! As a newcomer to the field, I have been eager to simply be surrounded by, and learn from, so many in this community. Additionally, DrupalCon is providing the perfect opportunity to hang out with some incredible colleagues.Liz Lockwood Thu, 04/11/2019 - 18:02 The Day Begins: People
The feel of day three was noticeably more vibrant as the surge of conference attendees began to fill the halls of the Washington State Convention Center. It’s been great to see representation from all over the country and be surrounded by an association with such rich diversity.
I learned quickly that there is no lack of learning opportunities at DrupalCon. The number of sessions to choose from felt like a buffet for your mind -- where you could pick and choose, and tailor your experience to be as uniquely tailored to you as you want.
I chose sessions that I knew would provide helpful reminders to me on practices and processes I already have in place, as well as topics in which I simply want to increase my awareness or hear a different perspective.Wednesday Learnings
Much of the late morning to the afternoon was spent in periodic spurts of catching up on work, popping into sessions and dropping by our booth. Here are a few of the sessions I went to, with three key learnings from each:
Getting an Angry Wet Cat to Purr: Turning an Unhealthy Client Relationship Into a Productive One (Donna Bungard, Project Strategist at Tandem)
Communication: Everything comes down to having an open, honest, direct conversation. This is the key manner in which you build trust with your team.
Hearing is good. Understanding is better.
There are always the next steps to be taken. You simply need to identify them.
Lead, Follow or Get out of the Way: Managing Global Teams Harmoniously (Yuriy Gerasimov, Organizer at Drupal Ukraine Community and Clyde Boyer)
Active Trust is foundational to team success.
A common mistake on distributed teams is not recognizing isolation in your team members. Take notice if the communication style of a team member changes (this may point to something not being well in their world).
You don’t talk your way to trust. You have to earn it, mostly with time.
Design Strategies: Our Process for Building User-centered Websites (Valerie Neumark Mickela, Board Member at Full Circle Funds and Andrew Goldsworthy, Co-Founder at Rootid)
(I actually sat down in this session by mistake, but by the time I realized, it was too late to leave without causing disruption . . . it wouldn’t be a full conference experience without a mishap along the way, right?!)
Design and development communications can be challenging: You absolutely cannot rely on assumptions.
In design, you are most often thinking through a psychological lens, versus a creative one.
When considering a feature, don’t ask “Is it possible?” (all things are possible with time and money!) Ask “Is it hard?” (this will provide a more realistic barometer for time and cost)
Finding Your Way: Practical Strategies for Navigating Your Career (Gus Childs, Senior Software Engineer at Mondo Robot)
Be selfish with your career - you should be doing work that’s fulfilling.
You should be excited about these three things when it comes to your career: People, Projects and Money.
Never burn bridges.
The awards ceremony was held at a beautiful location, inside a music venue called The Triple Door, just a couple blocks from the Pike Place Market. After being at the conference for a few days, meeting new friends and getting to know my colleagues better, Splash Awards was a perfect opportunity to catch up and talk about work and life with everyone who attended. While Amazee did not walk away with any awards, it was really fun to celebrate with others, and celebrate the incredible Amazee work that was nominated:
From the Splash Awards, we walked over to Spin Seattle for one of the evening parties. Spin was packed from wall-to-wall with conference attendees and was a really fun way to end the day.
In closing, I will just say that I have been really encouraged by how warm the Drupal community is, and am so grateful for the opportunity to be at DrupalCon Seattle 2019.
Work in progress.
Participatory process to vote ideas and expose participation results.
I am proud to announce that the 2nd edition of my book, Drupal 8 module development, was recently published. I’ve been working on this in the past few months and it has kept me quite busy.
The purpose of this update is to bring all the code and practices covered in the first version up to date with the newest version of Drupal 8. That is 8.7. I know. It’s not even released yet but everything you find in the new book should work with 8.7 already. I’ve been following the change records quite closely during this cycle. If, however, you do discover any issues or that I'm peddling some deprecated code, I’d appreciate an errata report.
Since 8.2 (the focus of the first version), there were quite a few changes in Drupal. There were some new things pertinent to this book, but also quite a lot of changes in practices that resulted in deprecated classes and functions. It’s important to keep up to date with these things. Why? Because Drupal 9 will basically be the latest version of Drupal 8 without all the deprecated code. So if you keep up to date, you won’t have such a big problem upgrading to Drupal 9. Read this blog post from Dries Buytaert on the plans for Drupal 9 to get more details on what I mean. Ah, and did I mention that he was kind enough to write the foreword for my book? So make sure you check that out as well.
Enjoy the book and a million thanks for the support! As usual, you can buy it from lots of places.
Details to follow :)Video: Conference: DrupalCon SeattleLocation: Seattle, WA, United StatesDuration: 30 minutesExtra information:
Same as every month, we wanted to share with you our favorite Drupal blog posts from the previous month. So, here's a list of 8 Drupal-related posts from March that we found the most interesting. Enjoy!READ MORE
Workbench Menu Access is an extension module that applies Workbench Access logic to menus.
This module adds access controls to menu editing and the menu links within a specific menu, both in stand-alone and node-editing contexts.
In Open Source, there is a long-held belief in meritocracy, or the idea that the best work rises to the top, regardless of who contributes it. The problem is that a meritocracy assumes an equal distribution of time for everyone in a community.Open Source is not a meritocracy
I incorrectly made this assumption myself, saying: The only real limitation [to Open Source contribution] is your willingness to learn.
Today, I've come to understand that inequality makes it difficult for underrepresented groups to have the "free time" it takes to contribute to Open Source.
For example, research shows that women still spend more than double the time as men doing unpaid domestic work, such as housework or childcare. I've heard from some of my colleagues that they need to optimize every minute of time they don't spend working, which makes it more difficult to contribute to Open Source on an unpaid, volunteer basis.
Or, in other cases, many people's economic conditions require them to work more hours or several jobs in order to support themselves or their families. Systemic issues like racial and gender wage gaps continue to plague underrepresented groups, and it's both unfair and impractical to assume that these groups of people have the same amount of free time to contribute to Open Source projects, if they have any at all.
These are just a few examples of free time not being equally distributed. What this means is that Open Source is not a meritocracy.
Free time is a mark of privilege, rather than an equal right. Instead of chasing an unrealistic concept of meritocracy, we should be striving for equity. Rather than thinking, "everyone can contribute to open source", we should be thinking, "everyone deserves the opportunity to contribute".Time inequality contributes to a lack of diversity in Open Source
This fallacy of "free time" makes Open Source communities suffer from a lack of diversity. The demographics are even worse than the technology industry overall: while 22.6% of professional computer programmers in the workforce identify as women (Bureau of Labor Statistics), less than 5% of contributors do in Open Source (GitHub). And while 34% of programmers identify as ethnic or national minorities (Bureau of Labor Statistics), only 16% do in Open Source (GitHub).
It's important to note that time isn't the only factor; sometimes a hostile culture or unconscious bias play a part in limiting diversity. According to the same GitHub survey cited above, 21% of people who experienced negative behavior stopped contributing to Open Source projects altogether. Other recent research showed that women's pull requests were more likely to get accepted if they had a gender-neutral username. Unfortunately, examples like these are common.Taking action: giving time to underrepresented groups
While it's impossible to fix decades of gender and racial inequality with any single action, we must do better. Those in a position to help have an obligation to improve the lives of others. We should not only invite underrepresented groups into our Open Source communities, but make sure that they are welcomed, supported and empowered. One way to help is with time:
- As individuals, by making sure you are intentionally welcoming people from underrepresented groups, through both outreach and actions. If you're in a community organizing position, encourage and make space for people from underrepresented groups to give talks or lead sprints about the work they're interested in. Or if you're asked to, mentor an underrepresented contributor.
- As organizations in the Open Source ecosystem, by giving people more paid time to contribute.
Taking the extra effort to help onboard new members or provide added detail when reviewing code changes can be invaluable to community members who don't have an abundance of free time. Overall, being kinder, more patient and more supportive to others could go a long way in welcoming more people to Open Source.
In addition, organizations within the Open Source ecosystem capable of giving back should consider financially sponsoring underrepresented groups to contribute to Open Source. Sponsorship can look like full or part-time employment, an internship or giving to organizations like Girls Who Code, Code2040, Resilient Coders or one of the many others that support diversity in technology. Even a few hours of paid time during the workweek for underrepresented employees could help them contribute more to Open Source.Applying the lessons to Drupal
Over the years, I've learned a lot from different people's perspectives. Learning out in the open is not always easy, but it's been an important part of my personal journey.
Knowing that Drupal is one of the largest and most influential Open Source projects, I find it important that we lead by example.
I encourage individuals and organizations in the Drupal community to strongly consider giving time and opportunities to underrepresented groups. You can start in places like:
- Drupal Core Mentoring to inspire, enable and encourage new contributors to get involved.
- The Drupal Diversity and Inclusion Contribution Team.
- The Drupal Apprentice Initiative by TalentPath, which helps organizations build a diverse talent pipeline through apprenticeships.
When we have more diverse people contributing to Drupal, it will not only inject a spark of energy, but it will also help us make better, more accessible, inclusive software for everyone in the world.
Each of us needs to decide if and how we can help to create equity for everyone in Drupal. Not only is it good for business, it's good for people, and it's the right thing to do.
Special thanks to the Drupal Diversity and Inclusion group for discussing this topic with me.
Lots of people in the Drupal community are eager to learn React these days, following Dries's announcement that React is coming to Drupal.
This is the long-delayed blog post to follow up to the presentation.Chris April 10, 2019
Ubisoft's Yves Guillemot explores the company's trend toward live games and the company's habit of improving a game over rather than "redoing everything each year." ...
It’s been roughly four years since I last attended any DrupalCon, the one in L.A. being my endmost venture to the North American watering hole. After that, I took a break from the seasonal migration and remained at home, in the office, like an overfed cat with agoraphobia.Victor Künzig Wed, 04/10/2019 - 21:18
Normally I would invest my time in writing about attending sessions and/or how talks went from our speakers or BoFs and other social events. But since I spent the better half of Monday on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic, I will be taking this opportunity to compare this weeks experience to the one I had from four years ago.
Besides the summits and the different ways you can buy the ticket nowadays, not much has really changed. DrupalCon remains the biggest Drupal event in the world, and you will meet an overabundance of incredibly friendly people there.Part 1: The journey to Seattle
Like all DrupalCons for me, this one also began with an elongated trip through several airports, first a 1h 5min hop from Zurich to Amsterdam, followed by a roughly ten-hour flight to touch down at Seattle Tacoma International Airport.Italy vs. France
The flights went smooth and apart from the occasional shakedown, I didn’t notice much uneasiness. That is until I was served lunch. There were several intriguing options, I had to make a comprehensive decision between Caesar salad, a vegetarian mozzarella pizza or a turkey and cheese croissant. Naturally given my never-ending love for Italian cuisine I opted for the pizza but it seemed that by the time the food cart reached my row, they were out.
Order at the border
Instead, I received a box that read “Fresh Croissant“ in big, classy letters printed on a reasonably attractive shell showcasing a map of Paris. Trading Italy for France couldn't be that bad, surely. But upon opening my small box of doom I was treated to what must have been the remains of a gutter rat, shipped directly from the catacombs of Paris onto my food tray. It‘s hard to describe the shape, consistency, and scent of the box innards without using chemical compositions or comparison to what floats around in a sewer. The temperature also seemed to vary quite a bit from top to bottom, further confirming my theory of it being alive at one point.
Whatever this was, it wasn't a “Parmesan Cheese, Mature Cheddar Cheese & Turkey” croissant.
Once landed I was keen to leave the rat behind and make my way through the checkpoints. I last visited the US in 2015 and have an ESTA, so I was sure I would be able to get through quickly and effortlessly.
There were only 2 lines, US/Canadian citizens and ESTA/VISA holders, the latter was full of the majority of the passengers from my flight. Because of my seating arrangements, I exited the air tube quite late. The wait was long enough that every so often a disgruntled passenger reached terminal annoyance and broke down before attempting to bargain with the officer who was making his rounds or one of the airport staff members. Results of these interactions varied between total denial and instant gratification. I didn't bother trying to negotiate, I wasn't in a particular hurry, but after thirty minutes of barely any movement, my knees were getting unhappy.
At some point, one of the staffers approached me and asked if I had visited the US since 2008. When I answered positively he immediately pointed me towards line 1. Now, I’m no UX expert but perhaps that information could have been included on the signs. When others within my vicinity heard about my redirection, they promptly followed suit. Soon I was racing most of line two as they migrated like a flock of seagulls to line 1. We waited again.
But that wasn't the end of it. After I checked through the automated migration ATM I had to stand in line again for the final stamp of approval. There were 6 border control officers working that day. Some faster than others and some nicer than others, one, in particular, was having a rough start to the week. To say the least, officer McNasty wasn't exactly welcoming, in contrary, in German there is a word for people like that, we call them “Arschloch”.
He must have smelled the gutter rat on me because he wasn't exactly thrilled when I approached. Our interaction went something like this:
Officer McNasty: “You here for business or pleasure?”
Officer McNasty: “There is no both, there is either business or pleasure. Are you here for business or pleasure?”
Me: “One week business, one week holiday.”
He responded with a frown that would have put my math teacher to shame, but a few minor questions later I finally received the approving stamp as he silently pointed me towards the escalator down to the baggage claim. I was free. Sort of.
The first one to spot both me and my suitcase gets a drink at DC Seattle.
At last, I made it to Seattle, riding into the city I was treated with tall, striking buildings and a glimpse of the Harbour.
Hello Seattle!Part 2: The venue and playing “Guess who?” The fortress of not so solitude
This year, DrupalCon is being held at the Washington State Convention Center. Built in 1988, this large 415’000 sqft complex is humongous compared to the European counterparts. It’s also located in what I would call “Downtown” Seattle. Take that with a grain of salt though as I base this on the six hours I’ve been in the city.
The building also sits on top of a freeway, which you can spot and overlook while you’re inside of it, neat!
When I first arrived, it took me some time to find the entrance. The building, depending on where you approach it from, is rather defensive and resembles a fortress more than a convention centre (think of the freeway as the moat). Even after finding the entrance, if you come in from the west you’ll have to use 4-6 escalators before you see any rooms.
After collecting my badge from the friendly volunteers I made my way through the halls and started to look for familiar faces. DrupalCons are always tricky, you end up meeting a lot of people who seem to know you (or not) and I often have trouble remembering if I’ve met them.
During times like these, I’d like to play the good old “Guess who?” game. The goal is to keep the conversation going until you can figure out who you’re talking to before your cover gets blown.
Admittedly I've never successfully finished a session, but the strategy I’d recommend is starting the conversation with “Oh wow, it's been quite a while hasn’t it? What have you been up to since we last met?”. Hopefully make your opponent reveal some crucial information about their job, location, and where you met previously. If you're lucky one of these things will tip you off and trigger a spark to put that name on that face.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of my blank stare, I apologize. it's not you, it's me.The booth, the booth, the booth is unattended
This is one of the first years Amazee Labs doesn't have a physical booth, but our sister company amazee.io does. I was giddy with my freedom to wander and check out the exhibition hall and while it was still under construction.
If you’re around the exhibit hall you can find some Amazees, of both the io and Labs variety hanging out at the io booth. Come and say hello!Giving back
While the booth was being constructed several of our peeps dug themselves into the contribution hall on the 6th floor.
You can easily spot John from about 600 miles away as he overlooks the kingdom of room 6A with his standing desk contraption. It’s a great conversation starter really, for the time I sat there I witnessed several hundred people approaching him and asking about every little detail of his mobile turret unit.
So if the makers of this product are reading this post I think they should consider making John the official global ambassador of this mobile standup desk unit solution that fits into a backpack and gets a pass from the TSA.Part 3: Extracurricular activities and the endless consumption of beverages
Monday evening presented itself with several social offerings, amongst which was a pub crawl that was attended by a few of the fellowship.
– Image courtesy of Josef Dabernig (@dasjo)
Since I began to fall asleep while walking (I was still running on Zurich time so technically it was around 3 am) I decided to skip the crawl as that would have ended up in a different kind of pizza.
But before that, I realized that for the first time ever, I forgot to pack a toothbrush and some paste. So after taking a nap for about an hour, I was forced to venture out again, this time to find the holy brush.It’s a restaurant
Tuesday evening also saw the Amazee dinner, were we collectively gathered and feasted on quality beverages in a place called “Outlier”. The food was indeed fantastic, some people even dropped phrases such as “this is the best _________ I ever had in a restaurant”.
Everyone seemed equally amazed about the quality of the provided liquid but not the selection. Which is why several of us left afterwards in search of alternatives to quench one's thirst.
In the end, it was a great, cosy dinner, filled with friends and family alike.Part 4: Conclusion and final thoughts Should you go or should you stay?
So, then you wonder, what's this all about, what is the meaning of this stretched out the first impression? To be honest, I’m not sure. You probably noticed that I didn't compare it all that much to L.A., the reason for it is very simple, there is not much comparing needed.
While the venue and sessions may change, and the outside activities like the pub crawls are fun and inviting, there’s not really a wrong way to do DrupalCon. You can find your own way, roam around freely in town and every now and then you might run into some Drupal people that couldn’t be more different but somehow share the same passion.
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