DrupalCon Nashville: a recap

Posted Thursday, May 24, 2018

DrupalCon Nashville group photo

"Official Group Photo" by Susanne Coates is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


DrupalCon Nashville is but a memory, and quite a pleasant one at that. Held April 9-13, 2018, in Nashville, Tennessee’s Music City Center; 2,899 attendees gathered to experience Drupal’s premier gathering. I was representing Bowfin, making this my eighth conference.

Following the tried-and-true DrupalCon/DrupalCamp formula, the first day was reserved for paid training, followed by three days of sessions, and concluding with a one-day code sprint. These three days packed keynote presentations, numerous sessions (sometimes more than a dozen running concurrently!), and BoFs, or impromptu "Birds of a Feather" discussions, into an extremely content-rich experience. From vendors promoting their services and agencies looking to hire to friends not seen since the last DrupalCon, the exhibit hall was packed full of fun. The evening’s social events are always memorable, as well.

The conference offered 235 hours of sessions categorized into 15 tracks:

  • Ambitious Digital Experiences
  • Back End Development
  • Being Human
  • Building Community
  • Business
  • Content and Editorial
  • Core Conversations
  • DevOps
  • Front End Development
  • Horizons
  • PHP
  • Project Management
  • Site Building
  • Technical Leadership
  • User Experience

DrupalCon showcases sessions which are typically of noticeably high quality and these are some which caught my attention:

Andrew Taylor’s The Benefits of Continuous Integration.




Mike Potter’s Advanced Configuration Management in Drupal 8.




Kendall Totten and Cassondra Roberts’ One of These Things is not Like the Other; Identifying Patterns in a Mock-Up.




Ashleigh Thevenet’s Don’t Trust Your Gut: Agency Operations Metrics.




Jesus Manuel Olivas and Eduardo García’s Creating a Modern Web Application Using Symfony API Platform, ReactJS and Redux.




Alexis Findiesen’s Modern CSS: You Can do it!




Zack Rosen’s WordPress vs Drupal: How the Website Industry is Evolving.




PJ Hagerty’s The Rise of the Distributed Database.




Luke Probasco, David Strauss and Chris Teitzel’s Defense in Depth: Lessons Learned from Securing 200,000 Sites.




Suzanne Dergacheva’s Building a Great User Experience for Content Editors.




I also quite enjoyed Steve Francia’s Keynote Drupal and the Secret of my Success.




These sessions, and many more, are freely available on The Drupal Association’s YouTube channel.

In spite of the sprawling list above (which was actually whittled down for this post) the real gold hidden in DrupalCon is not the vendors, sessions, or even the parties. It’s meeting numerous fascinating people from around the world. At one lunch I shared a table with friends from Latin America and the Middle East. Each of these individuals bring unique experiences, skill sets and insights. Together we form a community able to solve very difficult problems.

The issues you are struggling with are likely to have already been reolved by others while the obstacles you have overcome may as yet remain a mystery to some. Consider making regular face-to-face meeting a priority via monthly user groups, regional camps and national conferences. Then please find me and say "hello” at DrupalCon Seattle; April 8-12, 2019.

You can teach. You can learn.