Seattle skyline with DrupalCon logo in the background.

We’re counting down the days until DrupalCon Seattle! This year, the con has a bit of a different layout. There will be five tracks:

  1. Builder – for people who build Drupal sites
  2. Agency Leadership – for agency owners and sales leaders
  3. Content and Digital Networking – for Drupal backend users
  4. Executive Summit – for decision-makers interested in Drupal
  5. Community Networking – for everyone!

Most of the sessions we’re looking forward to fall into the Builder track. Sessions range from technical best practices for developers to communication strategies for project managers. We’re working out our schedules and checking tasks off our list in preparation for April! Here are five sessions we’re looking forward to:

1. Getting an Angry Wet Cat to Purr: Turning an Unhealthy Client Relationship into a Productive One

With every project, comes unique challenges. One of those challenges, at least for a project manager, is translating information from developer to client, and visa versa. It’s important to take technical terms and relay them in a way that’s approachable and understandable. Developers are anxious to meet deadlines, and clients are anxious to show finished results to major shareholders. Project managers have to be accessible and transparent at every level.

This session focuses on strategies to mitigate those tensions. These strategies can be preventative if you’re just starting a project or allow you to resolve issues that have already occurred if you’re in the thick of development. Through a methaphor we (cat-lovers) can all appreciate, this session explains 5 main strategies:

  • Herding Cats: reel in out of control expectations
  • Stop the Hissing: promote positive, team-focused communication
  • Playing Well Together: encourage multi-player team involvement without sidetracking the dev team
  • Detaching the Claws from the Ceiling: be a calming voice while holding your ground and mitigating scope creep
  • Grooming: perform a retrospective at important milestones that produce actionable improvements moving forward

Who: Donna Bungard, Project Strategist at Tandem

When: Wednesday, April 10 at 11:00 AM

Where: Room 609, Level 6

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2. Accessibility Deep Dive Workshop

Accessibility has always been a major part of Sevaa Group’s projects. We work to implement best practices at every level of a project including everything from alt-image text to CSS validation. SiteImprove is a great resource to use post-launch. Use the tool to scan your site, and you’ll receive a score for SEO, Accessibility, among other important aspects. SiteImprove will tell you exactly what the issue is and on what page it appears so that you can fix accordingly.

This workshop will expose us to strategies we can use throughout the development project. With real-world examples and hands-on activities, this session will cover:

  • Principles, laws, standards, and compliance criteria
  • Universal design
  • Types of disability and how they affect users
  • How people use assistive technology to access websites and applications
  • What not to code: real-life examples of markup gone wrong
  • How to choose testing tools that are right for your needs and your budget
  • The most effective ways to test

Who: Aimee Hannaford, CEO and Drupal Architect at Hook 42 | Caroline Boyden, Web Developer at UC Berkeley

When: Wednesday, April 10 at 11 AM

Where: Room 615, Level 6

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3. Progressive Web Apps for Drupal 8 – Reliable, Fast, Engaging

A progressive web app (PWA) looks like any other app, but requires no wi-fi and uses very little data and storage. Users can access PWAs directly from their desktop. In order to build a PWA, you must include three key elements: HTTPS, a service worker, and you must register a Web App Manifest. Unlike other apps, users don’t have to go through a mobile store to get a PWA. They simply install the app on their device. The server worker caches data when a user initially visits a site. Because of this, there’s no need to access the network when it’s time to load content. This makes PWAs fast and efficient. Users are able to access your website more often and your rankings will show that improvement.

This session will cover everything we need to know about what a PWA is, how it works, and what the pros and cons are. In addition, we’ll also learn how service workers, Web App Manifest, and HTTPS work together to power PWAs as well as how to configure the Drupal 8 PWA contributed module.

Who: Parvateesam Konapala, Senior Drupal Developer at Tata Consultancy Services

When: Wednesday, April 10 at 3:15 PM

Where: Room 607, Level 6

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4. Mobile accessibility: the good, the bad and the ugly

In the same vein as the Accessibility Deep Dive Workshop, this session also focues on the topic of accessibility, specifically for mobile apps. A lot of people access websites and apps through their mobile devices, therefore, it’s important that your website is both responsive and accessible from any device. This session will touch on the dos and don’ts of designing a mobile app, device, or wearables. Best practices include pinch zoom, native screen readers, haptic keyboard, and system accessibility settings like font size and screen rotation.

Who: Gian Wild, CEO and Founder of AccessibilityOz

When: Thursday, April 11 at 9:45 AM

Where: Room 6C, Level 6

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5. Expecto Patronum: Harry Potter and the Linux Command Line

Using our favorite wizard as an example, this sessions explains how Linux commands act a lot like spells: you can combine commands to accomplish different things or you can also misuse commands and get into some trouble. This session will demonstrate the various ways that developers can use Linux to solve Drupal problems. Using examples from a Cyber Forensic audit that speaker Charlie Jackson performed for a Fortune 100 company, we’ll learn:

  • How to find the location string anywhere in any broken Drupal site.
  • How to search through compressed server logs for particular patterns.
  • How to optimize images, change image formats, change sizes, and create animated GIFs.
  • How to use the system cron to automate just about anything.
  • How to get help when you’re lost.
  • A bunch of new Linux commands and combinations.

Who: Charlie Jackson, Senior Web Manager at Fujifilm SonoSite

When: Thursday, April 11 at 1 PM

Where: Room 619, Level 6

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Join us at DrupalCon this year! We’ll have free swag and valuable information about Drupal-optimized hosting and development. We look forward to supporting the Drupal community every year, and we’re just as excited to be visiting the Pacific Northwest to be with our fellow Drupalers. See you there!



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