DrupalCon Portland: Top Sessions for Developers

Apr 20 2022

Between April 25 to April 28, 2022, Portland will become the Drupal capital of the world. Like the strongest of magnets, the Oregon Convention Center will attract thousands of attendees to the first in-person DrupalCon since 2019.

Valuable insights, new connections, and lots of communication are guaranteed for marketers, designers, editors, project managers, and all others who create or work with Drupal websites. We have recently shared top DrupalCon picks for Higher Ed marketers which is worth checking out.

Of course, the main cohort in the DrupalCon Portland 2022’s audience is developers. DrupalCon is a chance for them to build their skills, hear from top speakers, and contribute to the community.  No matter if you are a newcomer or a seasoned attendee, we hope our top picks for developers from DrupalCon’s sessions will help you find your way through the ocean of great content. 

Top DrupalCon sessions for developers

Day 1: Monday, April 25

Drupal Security Team Update: Drupal 7, Drupal Steward, & more 

Every web developer knows that security is paramount. That’s why we recommend starting a developer’s tour of DrupalCon Portland 2022 with a session about website security by Michael Hess, Backend Drupal Manager.

The attendees will learn more about the Drupal Security Team — the watchful guards whose tireless efforts allow Drupal to bear the title of a very secure platform. The session will be a great opportunity to discover how the Security Team works and how every developer can join in to help keep the CMS secure using their own skills.

Michael Hess will also be discussing Drupal 7's end of life which has been extended to 1 November 2023, and long-term security plans for websites that keep using the 7th core version. 

Another interesting subtopic in this security track will be the Drupal Steward program. This is a paid service from the Drupal Association and Security Team in the form of a web application firewall. The tool provides “virtual patches” for sites to quickly protect them from highly critical vulnerabilities and give developers the flexibility to do the needed updates without haste.

Day 2: Tuesday, April 26

Before decoupling, understand JS. JavaScript for Drupalers: Let's learn this

JavaScript frameworks are a real treasure when it comes to building modern website interfaces. Drupal combines with them perfectly thanks to its API-first approach. Understanding JavaScript definitely opens new possibilities for Drupalers. But is JS easy to understand for someone with a PHP background?

Ashraf Abed, Technical Architect, is here to help. He will introduce his attendees to the world of JavaScript and discuss its complexities: var, let, const, this, ES62015, ES6, asynchronous programming, various shorthand syntaxes, and so on.

With some JavaScript secrets disclosed, Ashraf will move on to the discussion of what makes JS a big deal. He will go over the reasons why so many developers choose to integrate JS so heavily into their apps. The audience will hear what JS can do and PHP cannot, and whether it’s worth investing in decoupled projects.

Elevating Search Results with Solr 7

Developers who have ever faced the task of building a sophisticated search functionality are most likely to be acquainted with Solr. This Java-based search platform can enrich websites with the most sophisticated features like faceted search, real-time indexing, dynamic clustering, and so on. Especially interesting is the new major release of the platform — Solr 7. 

The capabilities of Solr 7 will be discussed by Bruce Yuen, Web Strategist. Bruce will show his attendees in every detail how to use Solr 7 on Drupal 9 and how to elevate pieces of content in the search results using the Solr 7 backend. 

Some contributed modules such as the Search API Solr and the Acquia Search will be involved in the presentation. Bruce will share a link to supporting documents so developers attending the session can grab the code and try it out in practice.

Day 3: Wednesday, April 27

Building a GraphQL API - Beyond the basics

In recent years, Drupal has deservedly earned the title of an API-first CMS. Developers can successfully share Drupal data to third-party applications using the core REST API, JSON:API, and other solutions such as GraphQL. 

As a query and manipulation language for APIs, GraphQL is quite popular among Drupal developers. There is the GraphQL module that helps them with crafting and exposing a GraphQL schema. However, developers need to make it nice to use for API consumers by taking into account all the use cases.

The session by Alexander Varwijk might be very helpful for gaining a deep understanding of GraphQL. He will outline the ins and outs of the GraphQL module’s work and the underlying library. Alexander will also demonstrate the three GraphQL operations (query, mutation, and subscription).

The attendees will learn more about turning a schema into data with the help of Drupal, using modules for a modular API, testing the API for smooth work, and many other nuts and bolts of working with GraphQL.

Day 4: Thursday, April 28

Progressive Enhancements with VueJS widgets

React, Vue, Svelte, Angular — the list of popular frontend frameworks could go on. Every developer has arguments for their preferred one. But one thing causes no doubt: Drupal is a great choice as a backend CMS that cooperates perfectly with them all. 

When it comes to combining Drupal with front-end frameworks, the first thing that comes to mind is headless architecture. However, developers can also incorporate rich front-end elements directly into Drupal websites.

John Locke will cover the capabilities of using one of the JavaScript frameworks with Drupal — Vue.js. He will start with its overview, then show how to create a custom Drupal module for rendering Vue components and how to make these components reactive with JSON:API and Vuex.

The session will cover lots of other specifics such as using Decoupled Menus initiative in practice, setting up a build system for faster development, taking care of routing, and more. Finally, John will discuss the ways Drupal can shine even brighter in the future when it comes to creating excellent frontends.

Drupal State and the Need for a JavaScript SDK

The arrival of JSON:API in the Drupal core gave developers more options to expose content to third-party applications. It made the CMS even more ready for decoupled builds. However, there is one issue here — and the solution to it — to be discussed by Brian Perry, Sr. Software Engineer.  

The issue is that data consumption in JavaScript front ends is not as frictionless as data sharing on the Drupal side. This creates some additional hassle, especially for JavaScript developers who are not too keen on Drupal. As a result, they may not be able to fully appreciate Drupal’s capabilities as a JS-friendly CMS.  

The solution is the Drupal State library that helps manage applications sourced from Drupal’s JSON:API. It includes framework-agnostic utilities that reduce the time needed for JS developers to get things up and running. The attendees of Brian’s session will learn how the tool works, what it means for the future of our favorite CMS, and how everyone can contribute to its further development. 

Bonus: Driesnote

What could be more interesting for developers than the session by the main developer in Drupal’s history? Dries Buytaert, Drupal Project Founder, will give his Driesnote at DrupalCon Portland 2022 where the attendees can learn firsthand about the hottest Drupal development trends.

The keynote by Dries always contains the most important announcements about the upcoming releases, analytics on the state of Drupal, reports on the key initiatives, and so much more. After this session, developers gain a deeper understanding of the CMS and know what to consider in their development practice.

In addition, Dries Buytaert with Heather Rocker, Drupal Association Executive Director, will give a Driesnote QA session, which will be a great opportunity to ask a question.

Even more: Training sessions

Practice is the best way to boost your development skills. With seasoned gurus sharing their best tips, it’s easy even for newbies to successfully dive into Drupal development, theming, contributing, and so on. That’s what makes DrupalCon training sessions so special and useful. An additional opportunity outside of the main conference (and an additional cost), Developers can choose from a wide variety of training topics (or visit as many as they can).

Exciting sessions are waiting!

Of course, we couldn’t cover all interesting topics for developers at the upcoming DrupalCon Portland 2022 in the same article because every session is useful in its own way. However, there is one place you cannot miss. Come by booth 213 and say “Hi” to the ImageX team! You can even book time in advance. We enjoy chatting about Drupal development almost as much as we enjoy building great websites. See you in Portland!