DrupalCon Europe 2020 - Recap

Amazee Labs DrupalCon Europe 2020 Recap

A Hallway of Fun

It felt energising to reconnect with old friends in the Hallway track. We did miss being able to see each other in person and give each other a hug (high-five, or just a handshake). However, there were many opportunities to jump into a Hallway track session which would automatically pair you with up to 9 others who share similar interests to you. When registering for your ticket, you had a few questions which you could optionally fill-in, these were used as the basis to pair people in interest rooms.

DrupalCon Europe Hallway Track 1

Day one, it begins!

As we at Amazee focus on building decoupled websites using Gatsby, I had a keen interest in the talk by Oier Bravo entitled “Drupal and Gatsby, static without limits. Compiling more than 100,000 pages in less than what it takes to make a coffee.” Oier gave us an in-depth look into two Drupal modules that they are contributing to and utilising for their client projects: Static Suite and GraphQL Node Preview module.

Gatsby - Instant Navigation: Fast builds, Prefetch, and Made with React

From the addition of named functions to constructor properties, Ayesh Karunaratne gave an excellent overview of what’s new and changing in PHP 8. amazee.io has updated the Lagoon Docker images to include the latest stable release of PHP 8.0.

Nick O’Sullivan presented a thoroughly informative talk on “Decoupled translations with Drupal.” Nick explained how to create a multilingual Gatsby site with content sourced from Drupal, and described some of the key considerations to take into account when building your translation system.

Content Translations vs Interface Translations

Jumping from the more technical talks, I found myself captivated by Marissa Epstein’s session entitled “From squiggles to straight lines: Sketching user experiences to make decisions and get on with it.” Marissa’s enthusiasm for sketching is clearly expressed through this knowledgeable talk that included an overview of the various tools to aid you in drawing sketches for your projects.

Marissa Epstein - From Squiggles to straight lines

Michael Anello’s talk “Taking Maximum Advantage of Drupal Core's Composer Template” gave us an overview of the benefits that Composer 2 brings. You can leverage composer plugins like scaffolding to remove unwanted files or add lines to the robots.txt file.

In the Drupal Initiative’s Leads Keynote, we saw Putra Bonaccorsi, Ted Bowman, Neil Drumm, Ryan Aslett, Baddy Sonja Breidert, Gábor Hojtsy, and Len Swaneveld.

Putra presented the new frontend theme for Drupal – Olivero – which has just landed in Drupal 9.1.0 as an experimental theme.

Ted gave us an update on the Automatic Updates Initiative and the difficult technical challenges they face.

Neil showed us how to get started with merge requests on Gitlab; this should make the barrier to contribution a lot less complicated for newcomers.

Unfortunately, Ryan was unable to present. However, Tim Lehnen stepped in to take over. Tim talked about the composer 2 updates with improved cacheability, lower memory usage, and faster execution time.

Baddy talked about the decoupled menus initiative which aims to bring modern Javascript frontend components to Drupal, starting with a React.js version of the menu system.

Gábor showed us the roadmap plan to Drupal 10 in which we will upgrade CKEditor 4 to CKEditor 5, amongst many other dependency updates.

Len presented the bug smash initiative and how they’ve smashed a whopping 664 bugs between May 30th and December 8th.

We ended the day with some cardio by learning to dance Flamenco in a workshop provided by Marta G. Blanco. A fun-filled event which had several participants on their feet rhythmically dancing to the flamenco music.

Flamenco workshop with Marta G. Blanco at DrupalCon Europe 2020

Day 2, the Driesnote

With the first day ending with us shaking our hips, we were ready to hear the latest from Dries Buytaert in the Driesnote.

Phil Wolstenholme gave an insightful and well thought out presentation about Tailwind CSS titled “Write better CSS by stopping writing any more CSS! How and why to use utility-first CSS on large-scale Drupal websites with Tailwind CSS.” Phil explained how to configure and extend Tailwind CSS to aid you into building an improved component-based theme using design tokens.

Tailwind configuration holds your design tokens


Dries highlighted the latest changes to Drupal and how we’ve stayed relevant for the last 20 years by working on things that mattered, by embracing new technologies, and by making it easy for end users to adopt.

Optimising for impact means caring for people you don't know.

I joined Josef Kruckenberg and Joanita Bonnier for a retrospective on “How did the COVID-19 crisis affect client relationships and what can we take out of it?” It was an intimate experience in which we explored the negative and positive impacts of the pandemic and our learnings that we plan to take into 2021.

COVID-19 Client Relationships Retrospective at DrupalCon Europe 2020

Day 3, Keynotes

We started the 3rd day with an amazing talk by Eriol Fox in their Keynote: "Centering humans and their rights in Open Source Design.” Eriol guided us through a journey mapping activity to shape our minds into striving to be more inclusive and inspire us to put Human Rights Centered Design first.

If we are not intentionally working against injustice, we are unintentionally complicit in it.

Eriol Fox presentation slide - Our Structure

Philipp Melab, along with Laura Gaetano, Shyamala Rajaram, and Josef Kruckenberg conversed in their panel about “Sustainable practices for building and maintaining the Open Web.” They touched on topics such as payments to open-source projects and the feeling of creating something new is not always reciprocated when maintaining a project for several years.

Panel talk on the Sustainable practices for building and maintaining the Open Web featuring Philip Melab, Laura Gaetano, Shyamala Rajaram, and Josef Kruckenberg

Fran Garcia-Linares gave a fantastic lightspeed live demo on “adding end-to-end tests to your Drupal site in 20 minutes with Cypress.” Fran spun up 3 different sites; a simple non-Drupal HTML website, a Drupal 7 website, and a Drupal 9 website, and added Cypress tests to each of them. The live demos worked flawlessly and returned all green status checks indicating the tests had passed.

Fran Garcia-Linares' presentation slide showing the Way forwards as part of his talk - Adding end-to-end tests to your Drupal site in 20 minutes with Cypress

My session about “Building a platform to bring people together to Celebrate Drupal” went well. I described the process of how I built up CelebrateDrupal.org and what learnings I gained from this experience.

Dan Lemon's presentation slide - Chapter 1: Design. Stealing

Siri Chilazi presented a wonderful keynote on “Building Diverse, Inclusive and Equitable Communities.” Siri expanded on important training topics that all of us should attend such as diversity training, leadership training, and unconscious bias training. We all have unconscious bias and in order to reach good behavioural design we must design for diverse, equitable, and inclusive systems.

Siri Chilazi's presentation slide on "Guidelines for Designing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

With a thrilling end to the sessions, we jumped into the Drupal Trivia Night. We created teams of 5 in order to compete for the title of Drupal trivia champions. My team, “WAVATE - We Are Volunteers At The Event” came 3rd, and Edouard Cunibil won the individual ranking by correctly answering the final question worth 1000 points before anyone else.

DrupalCon Europe 2020 Trivia Night Leaderboard

Day 4, Contrib Corner

As always with every DrupalCon, we had a day dedicated to contribution. It was held over Zoom using the Breakout feature, with a room for each table. I jumped into the contrib corner and worked on adding the official DrupalCon Europe photo to the Celebrate Drupal platform so that everyone could zoom-in easily and see each selfie taken via the photo booth during the conference. Others worked on upgrading their modules to be Drupal 9 compatible as well as aligning on issues for the decoupled menu initiative.

Day 4 Contribution Topics

The Open Web

With 4 days packed with talks, networking, social events, and contribution, we believe the conference was a great success. The shift from an in-person event to virtual was a difficult decision to make, but the community was thrilled to reconnect with each other and discuss Drupal and the open web.

If you're as passionate about Drupal web development and the open-source community as we are, get in touch today!

Stay in the Loop

We will use the personal data you are sharing with us solely for the purpose of sending you our newsletter. See more here: Data Privacy.


Let us know how we can help you.