DrupalCon Portland 2024: Top Session Picks from Our Team

Mar 20 2024

Authored by: Nadiia Nykolaichuk 

“Join us this spring in the City of Roses, Portland!”

— the DrupalCon team

The best opportunity to grow your Drupal skills, plant the seeds of connection, and help the Drupal community flourish is just around the corner! This spring, the world’s biggest Drupal meetup is coming back to the City of Roses, which is one of the most famous nicknames for Portland, Oregon.

Simply glancing at the DrupalCon program will give you a buzz of excitement, much like how you would feel being surrounded by 650 varieties of roses in Portland’s world-renowned rose garden. The schedule is loaded with top-notch sessions by Drupal experts, so it might be hard to know where to start. It wasn’t an easy choice for our team but we’ve been able to cherry-pick our collection of top sessions to attend at DrupalCon Portland 2024.

DrupalCon Portland 2024’s official page.
DrupalCon Portland 2024’s official page.

Top Session Picks for DrupalCon Portland 2024 

Driesnote by Dries Buytaert

Each spring, DrupalCon takes place in North America while every autumn, it’s held in Europe. Despite the change of continents, variety of beautiful host cities, and diverse session programs, one thing remains constant: Driesnote. And DrupalCon Portland 2024 will be no exception, the creator and project lead of Drupal will hold his keynote in the main auditorium of the Oregon Convention Center. 

At DrupalCon Lille 2023, Driesnote was presented as an enchanting fairy-tale about the Drupal Village. What can we expect from Dries Buytaert at DrupalCon Portland 2024? Only time will tell! In any case, and with any presentation style, Driesnote will be a unique chance to learn about the latest Drupal innovations, planned releases, trends, problems, and solutions.

“Drupal's next leap: configuration validation — it's here!” by Wim Leers

Attention, Drupal developers! Here is a feature that is officially called “Drupal’s next leap” in the realm of configuration management by no other than Wim Leers — a prominent Drupal core contributor. Our collection of top sessions for DrupalCon Portland 2024 couldn’t do without an empowering, purely developer-oriented session.

Wim Leers will inform the audience about one of the new things introduced in Drupal 10.2. Modules can now delete their hard coded PHP form validation logic and switch to validation constraints instead. For this purpose, devs can use the new #config_target Form API property, which is meant to simplify and streamline work with configuration forms. 

The attendees will have a chance to see a wealth of exceptional live demos on how to adopt #config_target in 5 minutes, how to modify configuration through using REST, JSON:API, or GraphQL, how to easily make configuration validatable, etc.

“AI readiness: How Drupal can become a leader in the Open Interface Web” by Kristof Van Tomme (kvantomme)

Generative AI came in like a tidal wave last year and became the talk of the town in the Drupal community as well. From that point, the first Drupal modules for OpenAI/ChatGPT integration quickly emerged. We published a detailed step-by-step guide to installing and using the biggest of them — the OpenAI module.

There’s no need to ask AI for forecasts — it’s clear that AI-related sessions are going to be a blast at DrupalCon Portland 2024. One of them is an intriguing session by Kristof Van Tomme (kvantomme). It will revolve around large language models (LLMs), the Open Interface Web, and, of course, the role of Drupal in the new landscape.

Among the questions to be discussed are how to prepare your organization for AI besides adopting LLMs, how to position Drupal as a leader in AI readiness and the Open Interface Web, and so on.

“Using Layout Builder: Practical Advice from the Field” by Heather Wozniak, Monica Flores, Rick Hawkins, and Andrew Morton

Knowing that Layout Builder is a powerful page creation tool in Drupal core and widely using it on our projects, we can't resist mentioning this intriguing session. It promises to improve the attendees’ understanding of Layout Builder’s capabilities and limitations, pros and cons, and share specific tips for setting up and customizing the authoring experience.

The session is going to be held in the format of a panel discussion with Heather Wozniak (heatherwoz) facilitating the conversation from panelists Monica "Nikki" Flores (monicadear), Rick Hawkins (rlhawk), and Andrew Morton (mortona2k).

They will share their experience with adopting Layout Builder for healthcare, nonprofit, government, and business websites of all sizes. The topics will include must-have add-on modules for Layout Builder, what projects and organizations it suits best, what features require custom code, and much more.

The Layout Builder.
The Layout Builder.

“Beyond Inclusion: Doing the Right Thing, Drupal-Style” by Monica Flores and Fei Lauren

Building an inclusive world is something we all should strive to do. As a Drupal development agency committed to accessibility guidelines, we love to share tips on creating accessible content and improving website UX for all users. Luckily, Drupal is our reliable ally for ensuring accessibility because it supports accessible forms, keyboard navigation, ALT text for images, and much more.

However, it’s important to go beyond the standard of accessibility. We found it interesting to look at the art of inclusion from a different angle and a non-technical standpoint. Monica "Nikki" Flores (monicadear) and Fei Lauren (feilauren) will explore how to foster inclusion within the Drupal community, taking into consideration its great variety of viewpoints and personalities.

Thought-provoking questions will be raised at the session. For example, what would be the right, “Drupal-style” thing to do if a teammate won’t work on a project for religious or moral reasons? Attendees are welcome to bring up their cases as well.

“Drupal 11 deep dive: what's new, how to prepare” by Gábor Hojtsy

Did you know that Drupal 11 has already started knocking on the door? Indeed, time flies, and Drupal's major versions change very fast compared to what it used to be like in the past. To be more specific, they are now released every other year in even years based on the new major release schedule. So Drupal 11 is getting ready to see the world in 2024. Based on the latest update, this should happen either on the week of July 29 or the week of December 9, 2024.

You can take a deep dive into Drupal 11 at DrupalCon Portland by attending the enlightening session by Gábor Hojtsy. As the Drupal core initiative coordinator, he knows what’s coming in Drupal 11 and how to prepare your website for it.

Automatic Updates, Project Browser, Recipes, and other Drupal core innovations

Speaking of the upcoming Drupal innovations, there will also be opportunities to learn about them in more detail at dedicated DrupalCon sessions held by project leads and key contributors. Here are at least a couple of the most exciting new Drupal core developments:

  • “Protecting your site with Automatic Updates” by Tedd Bowman
    More up-to-date and secure Drupal websites are bound to become a dream come true for the Drupal community thanks to Automatic Updates. Drupal developers are welcome to discover the hosting requirements, the advanced module setup, and customization examples for Automatic Updates in the compelling session by Ted Bowman (tedbow).
  • “Drupal Distributions & Recipes Initiative Update” by Jim Birch
    Drupal Recipes are set to become game-changers in the realm of assembling Drupal functionality from predefined packages. Jim Birch (thejimbirch) will share how Recipes work and how to get involved. Furthermore, the session promises “a virtual cooking show of applying various recipes from our cookbook,” which sounds pretty delicious.
  • “So I logged in, now what? The Dashboard initiative welcomes you” by Christian López Espínola and Pablo López
    Drupal is getting more personalized out of the box. Thanks to the Dashboard Initiative, there will be tailored administrative experiences for different user personas. Christian López Espínola (penyaskito) and Pablo López (plopesc) will tell the attendees more about the project’s journey and contribution opportunities. 
  • “Navigation changes in Drupal’s Admin UI” by Cristina Chumillas
    An important role in seamless admin experiences belongs to the navigation toolbar. Fortunately, Drupal is getting a new, modern, and user-friendly administrative toolbar very soon. Cristina Chumillas (ckrina), the Drupal core UX maintainer, will shed light on it along with providing the freshest demos.
  • “Project Browser: On the road to Core” by Leslie Glynn and Chris Wells
    Finding and installing Drupal modules at the click of a button is almost the new reality for Drupal users. Recently, we explored Project Browser, and its work was very impressive, so the road to Drupal core looks bright. Leslie Glynn (leslieg) and Chris Wells (chrisfromredfin) will enlighten the audience about the progress of Project Browser and the contribution options.
Project Browser in Drupal.
Project Browser in Drupal.

Final thoughts

It’s a pity we couldn’t make our article endless by including a bunch of other exciting sessions, including regular presentations, as well as contributor workshops, industry-specific summits, and social events to name a few. What is truly endless is Drupal’s power in uniting people from different countries and different backgrounds, allowing them to share their skills and build connections.

To all those who are planning to attend DrupalCon Portland 2024, see you at the Oregon Convention Center! Let’s enjoy the insightful sessions together and discuss any topics related to creating top-notch digital experiences with Drupal and building out our wonderful community.

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