The Cape Town Drupal community may still be relatively small, but it is a great source of support and knowledge sharing. I have been attending monthly meetups since 2009, when I was still at the bottom of the learning cliff, and it was at these gatherings that I was kept inspired to keep learning and where I discovered the benefits of the community.
Sharing tips and having a debate about Panels vs Context in person, over a beer, is much more engaging than an online debate or reading a comparison chart. It also opens up opportunities to collaborate on projects and pass work onto community colleagues, when the backlog is too full.
One might think that sharing knowledge between potential work 'competition' is not a great idea, but the way that we see it, is that if the local community all produce a similar standard of work, then it is a reflection on Drupal as a whole, and encourages more clients and young developers to choose this platform over others.
Amazee Labs Cape Town is seemingly still at the forefront of building with Drupal 8, so when Nelly Moseki, our junior developer, stood up this past week to talk about Paragraphs and Translations in Drupal 8, she was initially talking to the uninitiated.
The Paragraphs module was first developed for Drupal 7, although apparently still a bit clunky, it has had a fairly slow uptake. The Drupal 8 version is a revelation in content creation. Giving the end user more flexibility in creating dynamic, media-rich pages, it also allows the developer to keep some control over the content loaded and how it is managed and displayed. We have been exploring the possibilities of what one can do with Paragraphs, and so far we are well inspired.
Working with colleagues from the Zurich/Switzerland office, we have been required to build sites with up to 4 languages, so not only have we been encouraged to use the Paragraphs module, but we have had to integrate this with Translations. Considering that South Africa has 11 official languages, it is surprising how few people at the meetup have used translations before.
Nelly gave a live demo of how Translations and Paragraphs work in sync with each other - or not - depending at what level one checks the "user may translate this" box. While it caused some confusion at first, it opened up for a very lively Q&A session through her presentation, which spilled over into the post-beer chat part of the evening, and I think all Amazee Labs team members were fielding questions on the two modules for the rest of the evening.
Also on the agenda for last week's meetup, was DrupalCamp Cape Town, taking place on Friday 21 October 2016. We are starting to look for sponsorships and speakers, so the call for both was put out to those present. While we average about 20 people per meetup, we are expecting to swell the ranks to over 100 Drupalists at the Camp.
For Nelly, this was the first time she has done a presentation to the Cape Town crowd, and was great practice for her Camp presentation. Speaking at the monthly meetups is a fabulous opportunity to practice one's public speaking skills, even if it is a short demo or sharing a new module, so it often surprises me how hard it is to get people to come and speak.
It also surprises me how many Drupal developers there are out there who haven't come to a meetup before. As Barney says, "Sharing is Caring", and when it comes to Drupal in Cape Town, we are a community who does just that.
Hope to see you at the next one!