You can either get on the Drupal 8 bus now, or get run over by it later.
It's true. Drupal 8 is coming, and it will be big. Not just lines of code (that too), but big in the sense that Drupal 8 changes more of Drupal than any major release in the last 10 years. The adoption of so many 3rd party components (from Symfony and otherwise) is only part of that picture. That offers challenges for many, but also enormous opportunity. Drupal 8 will allow Drupal to expand into new types of application and new markets, which is a great thing for those who make their living off of Drupal. But where do you get started with learning about Drupal 8?
At DrupalCon Portland, that's where!
There are many sessions slated for Portland at both DrupalCon and at Symfony Live that deal with Drupal 8, either directly or indirectly. Below is my recommended hitlist for Portland for those wanting to get the lowdown on Drupal 8.
What, you're not already signed up? There's still time! Go register for either DrupalCon or Symfony Live, and be sure to get a Combo Ticket so that you are able to attend both conferences as well as Web Visions! (The combo ticket is the same price either way.)
The WSCCI Track
As the Lead for the Web Services and Context Core Initiative (WSCCI), I am of course biased. If you want to know what's going on specifically with the core system, web services, and "other things that Larry broke", then here's the schedule for you:
- The Driesnote (DrupalCon)
- OK, this isn't about WSCCI specifically but you can't quite get away from it. Everyone's favorite Pointy Haired Project Lead will be giving his usual keynote, this time focusing on Drupal 8. You'll be there, right?
- Dependency Injection in Drupal 8 (DrupalCon)
- "Dependency Injection" doesn't have to involve a trip to the doctor. If you didn't get that joke, you definitely want to go to this session by Kat Bailey. It's one of the fundamental principles of good Object Oriented design, and of Drupal 8's architecture. You'll want to know how it works, how it works in Drupal 8, and why it will make your life oh so much easier.
- REST for Web Developers (DrupalCon)
- Drupal 8 is all about "REST", but... what does that have to do with napping? Nothing, actually. Author, presenter, and general purpose expert Lorna Jane Mitchell will fill in the gaps of what REST is (and isn't), and what it means for how to use the modern Web.
- Building web service clients with Guzzle (Symfony Live)
- Web services aren't just about serving requests, but also making them. If you want to connect to other web services from your site, you need an HTTP client. At Symfony Live, Michael Dowling will be speaking about Guzzle, the HTTP client that is widely used in the Symfony world and now baked into Drupal 8. Want to know how to build solid systems that talk to other systems? Start here.
- Composer: There's a Library for That (DrupalCon)
- The PHP world has begun embracing a new universal package manager called Composer. Drupal 8 is using it to pull in our many 3rd party libraries. This joint session by Rob Loach, Sam Boyer, and yours truly will delve into what Composer means for PHP in general and Drupal in particular, and how you can start using it now for both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 to spend less time writing code and more time using and building reusable components.
- REST and Serialization in Drupal 8 (DrupalCon)
- Remember all that theory about REST from 2 sessions ago? Now let's apply it to Drupal 8. Klaus Purer and Lin Clark will guide you through the new REST and Serialization modules in Drupal 8 and how to best leverage them. Hint: You will probably never need the Services module again.
- Modernizing Drupal 8 with Symfony2 (Symfony Live)
- For a big-picture "wait, so how does this damned thing work?", travel with me across the hall to Symfony Live for a part retrospective, part architectural overview of Drupal 8. How is Drupal using Symfony, and where is it not? Seek your answers here, young Jedi.
- Dries & Company Q&A (DrupalCon)
- Now that your brain is full, turn some of that new knowledge into questions! For the last session of the conference, join us for an open Q&A session with Dries and the Initiative Leads. (That sounds like an 80s band, doesn't it?) We'll try to answer your questions as well as we can about Drupal 8 and the future of Drupal, and try to be brief so we can get in as many questions as possible. Hey, I said try...
The rest of Drupal 8
Have any time left in your schedule after all of that? If so, try out these sessions. They're not related to Web Services, but do relate to major changes in Drupal 8.
- The Future of Views
- In case you hadn't heard, Views is in core for Drupal 8. (And there was much rejoicing.) Tim Plunkett will be presenting an overview of where Views stands today, what it will look like tomorrow in Drupal 8, and how you can ready yourself for it now.
- Asset Management in Drupal 8
- One of the biggest changes in Drupal 8 is that global state needs to go away. To do that, we are working to remove drupal_add_css() and drupal_add_js() in favor of a much more powerful system. Come see what it is...
- WYSIWYG in Drupal 8
- Know what else Drupal 8 finally has? A WYSIWYG editor! And not just the dinky little admin form version you're used to, but a fully integrated inline editor. Nate Haug will be presenting on what that means for you as a site builder, and how to leverage it most effectively (or not at all).
- Drupal 8: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
- Join several senior members of the Palantir.Net team to talk about Drupal 8 in this open Q&A session from the perspective of people who make a living building Drupal sites for large clients. The Palantir team includes two Core Initiative Leads — myself and Mobile Initiative Lead John Albin Wilkins — and we'll be answering the question "now that you've built it, what are we going to do with it?"
- The Old and New Field API
- Let's face it, as powerful as Field API is in Drupal 7 the API leaves much to be desired. Fortunately the Field and Entity APIs have been heavily overhauled in Drupal 8 to be OO Plugins. Join Wolfgang Zigler, Yves Chedemois, and Kristof De Jaeger on a tour of the new data system in Drupal 8.
- Upgrading your Modules to Drupal 8
- Oh dear oh dear. This is going to be scary, right? Not if you attend this session with Alex Bronstein, one of the few developers who has touched just about every new part of Drupal 8.
- Using Twig: The New Template Engine in Drupal 8
- After years of PHPTemplate, we listened: Themers, behold Twig, the theme engine used by Symfony2 and now Drupal 8 as well. It has 30% less confusion, 50% fewer div tags, 80% fewer potential security holes, 95% less PHP in-your-face, and is 100% MortenDK approved. Join Jen Lampton, Fabian Franz, and John Albin Wilkins to see why Drupal 8 will make front-end developers sleep well at night.
- Making Drupal 8 Mobilicious
- Mmm... Mobilicious... Courtesy of my esteemed colleague and fellow Initiative Lead John Albin Wilkins, this session will cover what it takes for a Drupal site, and Drupal, to survive in a mobile-centric world. See what's already been done (hint: Drupal 8 is completely responsive out of the box) and what you (yes, you, right there, I'm talking to you!) can do to help finish the job.
- Multilingual Drupal 8
- The Multilingual Initiative has been working to improve Drupal's already first-rate linguistic abilities even further. Initiative lead Gábor Hojtsy provides a look at where we stand and what's left to do.
- Using the Drupal 8 Configuration System
- Gone is variable_get(). In Drupal 8, you'll probably never need your own SQL tables for configuration. Fighting with Features just to get a few config changes to production is a thing of the past. Why? Join Greg Dunlap of the Configuration Management Initiative for a tour of the new configuration system of your dreams.
- Drupal 8 Plugin System Deep Dive
- And last but certainly not least, Drupal 8 will also feature a new unified plugin system, replacing the scattered array of array-based mechanisms for making "things" swappable and configurable. SCOTCH Initiative Lead Kris Vanderwater joins an all-star cast of James Gilliland, Tim Plunkett, and Alex Bronstein to show how to Plug All the Things! in Drupal 8 and make your code easier for others to extend, to boot.
As always, all sessions will be recorded. It's a good thing, too, because there's way too many good sessions just in the list above to fit into one week, to say nothing of all of the other sessions available at DrupalCon, Symfony Live, and Web Visions. Oy!
Oh yeah, and there's also an entire track dedicated to looking at Drupal's future, including Drupal 8 and even a few mentions of (gulp!) Drupal 9.
If you're looking specifically at understanding the Drupal/Symfony relationship, check out Drupal 8 and Symfony: All you need to rock (an all day session on Drupal 8 development with emphasis on Symfony components and Twig) on Monday. For a more Symfony-centric but still Drupal-relevant appraoch, try SensioLabs' workshop on the Symfony Components on Sunday.
Put it to good use
Whew! After a conference (or conferences) like that, your brain will probably be bursting with new information. There's only one way to treat an over-stuffed brain: Apply your new knowledge to something, quickly before it falls out!
DrupalCon and Symfony Live will be hosting our usual Sprint Day on Friday 24 May, all day from 9 am to 6 pm (and if history is anything to go by, continuing in hotel lobbies for several more hours). There will be teams working on all parts of Drupal 8 core, documentation, even project application reviews. In particular, I'll be coordinating efforts to port "page callbacks" to "controllers". (Don't know what that means? See the meta issue and documentation, and then come to DrupalCon to find out more!) In fact, we'll also be participating in the extended sprints hosted by Acquia on Saturday and Sunday.
Whew! I'm exhausted and it's not even conference time yet. Drupal 8 will be here before you know it, and now's the time to get a jump on this amazing new platform before the plaster dries.