Life as a Copywriter, My First Drupalcon


DrupalCon Denver: a conference expected to host over 3,000 innovative and progressive individuals, each thinking in the code that will shape the future of web design. More like, the coding language that will shape the future of all of our digital experiences, regardless of device.

As a newcomer to Drupal, I have to admit, entering DrupalCon yesterday was a bit intimidating, bringing about a myriad of questions of what various discussions would be like and if I could even keep up with them in the first place. To my surprise, the conference was more than approachable, as the collaborative community that Drupal was built upon extends throughout every level of learning, from defining nodes to working with Symfony. Ultimately, as Dries Buytaert put it in his keynote yesterday morning, there is a place for everyone within the CMS, whether they are a developer, a site visitor or an author.  

What resonated most with me was the way in which Drupal is evolving so significantly, due to it being completely community based. Yes, the CMS is repeatedly referred to as “open-source”; however, for some reason, that didn’t really sink in until this week, seeing individuals—some from Belgium, Sweden, and other European nations-- meeting to collaborate on a unique program that only occupies about 6% of all global CMS platforms. I was impressed at the organization overall, and the way in which the conference is dependent upon countless conversations all happening online. The advances in digital communication have brought us to a place where individuals separated by thousands of miles can meet and, at first introduction, dive into advanced topics of the deepest functionality.

From the writer’s perspective, web development and design is what is responsible for redefining our trade. Take publishing for example; it’s entirely different from the pre-tablet, pre-mobile era when we didn’t browse Twitter headlines for our news. As writers, our work stands as a translator to immortalize the human experience on paper or online, and relies heavily on communication through the medium of the written word. Though written language has gotten us to the point of being able to flesh out concepts of development online, we can’t exactly create new functions within it, or, if we can, they don’t happen as quickly as those written in PHP or other HTML as they take so much longer to be put into effect.

From the writer’s perspective, web design and development is awesome. Each is essentially the same concept as literature—aesthetically translating the human experience—only they’re digital and interactive, and move at an incredibly fast-pace that can be manipulated to quickly create functions that surpass those created within the confines of, say, English, Spanish or French. And, they’re written, archived, if you will, so digital historians in our future will be able to access the code.

As Buytaert stated in his keynote yesterday morning, constant innovation is critical for the success of any idea. It’s safe to say that this statement reflects upon every industry, as a project’s constant evolution must be acted upon before it dies. Look at publishing and writing, the evolution to the digital space has completely redefined the necessity of some mediums. In one way, it’s purpose has died, yet in another, it’s completely reborn in content creation. And, further addressing the glory that Drupal is, block-to-block and in-line content editing are that much easier.

Lewis Nyman said in his morning session that everything is dependent on user experience, and “mobile isn’t the device, but the context of the person using it.” I think it’s crucial for all of us to take a step back from the digital future and look at the present, user-side of Buytaert’s developer/author/visitor trifecta, as it’s pretty amazing to witness as an outsider with minimal HTML experience. While I may sound somewhat archaic, addressing what many readers may find to be the simple and obvious side of development, being able to witness the internal processes of Drupal development is incredible.