MidCamp 2017: We Attended, We Sprinted, We Ate Donuts

Last week Blake and I attended MidCamp 2017 in Chicago, and it was awesome. I always enjoy attending regional camps, and especially those that are relatively close to home for me. It's fun to get to geek out with some of my Drupal neighbors. I also like the pace of these smaller events sometimes. I feel that I'm able to actually spend a bit of quality time with the people I meet vs. DrupalCon where I often feel like I'm being pulled in 3 or 4 different directions all at the same time.

I encourage you to take the time to attend your local camps as well if you get the opportunity. Not sure where/when they are happening? Check out http://drupical.com, and/or locate your regional group on https://groups.drupal.org. I've said this before, and I'll probably keep saying it for as long as I'm involved with teaching Drupal. There is no better way to improve your Drupal knowledge than through mentors and interaction with other members in the community. Regional events like this are a great opportunity to make those connections.

Drupal 8 theming workshop

On Thursday Blake and I presented an Introduction to Drupal 8 Theming workshop. It was an 8-hour long whirlwind tour of all the components that make up a Drupal 8 theme. Really, it's the in-person version of the Drupal 8 Theming Guide on our site. There's always something different—and energizing—about getting to teach these things in person. I love being able to get real-time feedback, and to answer people's questions. Creating training videos can be kind of isolating sometimes. I keep talking to my screen, but no one ever responds.

We'll be doing this training again at DrupalCon Baltimore, and we're also interested in presenting it at some other local camps. If you're helping to organize a camp this year and might be interested, let us know and we can see how it works with our schedules.


I attended a bunch of sessions during the camp, and as per usual I've got a bunch of pages in my notebook full of notes and ideas I now need to follow up on. All of the sessions were recorded and are now available online. I recommend checking out:

  • Understanding Drupal by Mauricio Dinarte. You might think it's kind of silly that I'm attending an "Understanding Drupal" session, but I always love to hear the different ways people explain it, and Mauricio brings a really unique perspective and a good story.
  • Building Great Teams by Drew Gorton. I came away with a bunch of notes about things I'm now going to try and get the Drupalize.Me team to do with me. This sessions is mostly about finding a common purpose and then going out and tackling it together.
  • Whitewashed - Drupal's Diversity Problem and How to Solve It by Chris Rooney. This session left me thinking about how many people lack a solid safety net, and that when that's missing it can be even hard to do things like decide to learn Drupal and switch your career. I wrote down some notes about how I think Drupalize.Me might be able to improve our offering by being aware of this barrier to entry and am already excited for our next team retreat so we can talk about it more.
  • Drupal 8 Caching: A Developer's Guide by Peter Sawczynec. A 10,000 foot overview of all the pieces that come into play when caching content served by Drupal. There are a lot of them, and Peter does a great job of breaking it down and providing information about each layer of the stack.
  • I also attended Tim Erickson's Drupal as a Political Act? session which was more of a discussion. We talked about the reasons that we all adopt and advocate for free open source software, barriers to entry, and more. I enjoy these conversations about using Drupal to make the world a better place, and find them inspiring. And Tim is a great person to chat with about it as he's got a lot of opinions and ideas.


Finally, to cap it all off, on Sunday, Blake and I helped to facilitate a documentation sprint. As you can probably guess, having high-quality documentation is important to us at Drupalize.Me, and sprints like this are a great way for us to contribute back to the community.

So we brought a box of donuts along to help power the sprinters. And also to try and entice people to join the documentation table.

We ended up with a table full of people helping update various aspects of the Drupal.org documentation. Including some work on documentation for the Drupal 8 Migrate API, a new payment gateway for Drupal commerce, and a bunch of work on ensuring content exists for all the modules in Drupal 8 core. There's an open issue to ensure that there is a known URL with good documentation for each of the Drupal 8 core modules, and we made progress on that by adding and cleaning up documentation for 5 different modules during the sprint.

Thanks to everyone that joined us to help out. Some long time contributors like Mike, and Benjamin, and some first time documentation contributors like purplenwu and David. You all rock. Thanks for helping make Drupal better.

I'm already looking forward to getting to attend some more regional camps this summer. Hope to see some of you there.


Stans donuts, it was right next to where we stayed and dangerously good. I had donuts every morning while I was there. We brought a mixed dozen to the sprints. Including, but not limited to, chocolate with sprinkles!

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