Frontend Drupal developer with a penchant for arts & crafts. A floral geek some might say!

Drupalcon Amsterdam

Saturday, 11th October '14

It's been a while since I've been to a Drupalcon, the last one was London, so I was pretty excited about going to Amsterdam. Having been to the city before for Frontend United I knew it was gonna be a good host city. The conference itself was pretty darned good too. My first observation was that the frontend track had matured wonderfully, frontend was no longer a secondary thought in Drupal. This is something I obviously already knew but it was nice to see packed rooms and super inspiring talks.

My top three talks were:

Lorna Janes OOP for Drupal devs

There was a UX talk on 'Engaging UX and Design contributors' at the same time as this but it was packed and I couldn't get in the room so thought I'd go to my second choice talk. The first 35 minutes of this talk I was like "I CAN do this" then it went a little over my head but actually was really interesting and a good session for the frontend devs especially - it takes the scary out of PHP and Lorna Jane speaks with such passion that you can feel her excitement.

John Albin's Styleguide driven developement

Focussing heavily on styleguides and being more agile between designer and frontend. Getting frontend devs in sooner to help make styleguides, refactor code and make an indepth styleguide. This will make the site have much leaner CSS and make more defined decisions on page components. Solves specificity wars and overly generic class names. We learned earlier in the week that SMACSS is in D8 and that we should be thinking more that way with our theming. You can find the D8 coding standard here .
John is working on an automated styleguides - KSS node - it's work in development but looks really promising and there is a work around to get it working now.

Chris Ruppels Automated frontend testing

Casper.js mentioned heavily in this talk and looks pretty darned cool. Chris gave a wonderful example about dev who entered 10mb of inline CSS and next morning when the test ran and noticed this, the problem was fixed, the code was lean and the site ran fast - it wouldn't have been picked up without frontend testing tools. He showed how you write the tests, like jQuery; and how easy it is to test feature components and user actions (we always forget the logout button on sites at Torchbox). Great for Role testing - change username at top of testing files, can Editor see foo? Can Editor make a change to bar? Also good for adding content, this could be great for adding a simple styleguide to the site - and to check it is removed.

More indepth information about the performance testing tools online, a lot are grunt. Worth a watch.

Regression testing tools like Wraith are actually good for seeing if things AREN'T changing - not sure if you're code is affecting a feature block elsewhere, test both pages on CSS change and see where changes are. Also, forgot about IE? need to tweak some things? Use wraith to check it's not changing in other browsers. All this can be automated in Jenkins. Or Ghost inspector can do all this for you.

These three sessions gave me a lot of inspiration and some ideas to take back to Torchbox. Not mentioned above was the picture/breakpoint session,

I'm going to add these to my site and see what happens!

Also with the Frontend United team we are hoping to redo the website with D8 and the classy theme. I love that the is a big new turning point in Drupal Frontend right now.


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