Spoiler alert! If you haven't seen “The Last Jedi” yet, this blog post includes what can be considered a minor spoiler. I've seen the movie a few times now (I saw the original Star Wars movie when I was 7 years old, and I've been hooked ever since), and I've been able to fully indoctrinate at least one of my kids in my love for the series. When we first saw the movie on opening night, there was a line of dialog that resonated with me more than usual - I've been thinking about that line for over a month now and have figured out how to relate my love of Star Wars with my obsession for teaching Drupal.
"The Greatest Teacher, Failure Is"
There's a point in the movie when Yoda is speaking to another character and utters this line. As a former mechanical/aerospace engineering college adjunct professor and a current Drupal trainer, I've always believed that for a lesson to truly take hold, there has to be a little bit of pain - not physical pain, but rather the kind of pain that comes from doing something incorrectly (often numerous times) before realizing the proper way of doing something that leads to a more satisfying, correct (and often efficient) result. As usual, I didn't have the proper words to describe it - thanks to Yoda, I do now.
As I look back at my eleven years in the Drupal community, I can point to more things that I care to admit that I didn't do correctly the first time. If I narrow that list to technical mistakes, it becomes very clear that many of the mistakes I've made have had a direct impact on the curriculum I've written for our various training classes.
As we gear up to teach Mastering Professional Development Workflows with Pantheon for the second time, allow me to share some of the failures I've had in the past and how they've had a direct result on the curriculum for this 6-week class.
- "Everything is a content type" - this is something I learned only by repeatedly designing the information architecture for various sites that ended up not being able to completely fulfill all the project's requirements. Understanding the differences between various kinds of entities is key to building a sustainable site that meets 100% of a project's requirements.
- "Core search is fine" - I'm embarrassed to say how late I was to get on board the Search API train. Being able to provide faceted search to clients of all sizes is a huge win.
- "I don't need the command line" - looking back at the first half-ish of my Drupal career, I used Drush only when absolutely necessary. Not learning basic command line tools until well into Drupal 7 definitely held me back. With Drupal 8, if you want to be a professional Drupal developer, there is no way to avoid it. Luckily, using command line tools like Composer, Drush, and Drupal Console are not only "the right thing to do", but also save time.
- "MAMP is fine" - I was late to the party in moving my local development environment from MAMP and Acquia Dev Desktop to a Docker-based solution. I had played around a bit with virtualized solutions, but once you get accustomed to a professional-grade, modern, Docker-based solution, you'll never go back.
While I could list additional examples (multi-branch development, configuration management, display modes) of previous failures - or even one or two that I feel like I'm currently failing (test-driven development), the point is that sometimes it is necessary to fail in order to really understand the value of a success.
DrupalEasy's 6-week live, online Mastering Professional Development Workflows with Pantheon, not coincidentally, addresses the failures listed above. The next session begins on February 27, 2018.
The next session (our 11th!) of our 12-week, live, online more-introductory-focused Drupal Career Online begins March 26, 2018.
I recently shared the community needs and potential strategies for evolving community governance, which resulted from the Community Discussions we held in person and online throughout April and May. You can find the webinar recording and written transcript, as well as the meeting minutes from all Community Discussions, at https://www.drupal.org/community/discussions.
Many community members who participated in these discussions agreed that the next step to take in this process is to hold a Community Governance Summit. However, we are not yet clear on where and when this event should take place, who should participate, and several other important details. I worked with community members to develop this survey so we can answer those questions.
Please take 5 minutes to take this community survey and tell us your thoughts about the Community Governance Summit. This survey will remain open until 11:59pm EDT on July 28, 2017. We will analyze the findings and report back on what we learned in a follow-up blog post by Friday, August 4.
Thank you for your time and participation.
On 28 June, 2017, the Drupal Association Board held the second of four annual public meetings. It was a full meeting where staff provided operational updates and gained some strategic direction from board members on how to proceed in various areas. Some highlights included:
Summary of DrupalCon Baltimore’s performance and impact.
Progress on securing future DrupalCon locations.
An update on the Drupal.org infrastructure RFP that was recently awarded to Tag1.
Whitney Hess also attended the board meeting to give an update on the Community Discussion work and invited the community to attend her webinar that shared her findings and next steps. You can learn more and watch the recorded webinar here.
Also, Jamie Nau, our “virtual CFO” from Summit CPA attended the meeting to review April 2017 financial statements, which showed that DrupalCon Baltimore exceeded expectations, positioning the Drupal Association for a healthier year, financially. This is encouraging news as we work through our financial turnaround, which started a year ago.
In an effort to be more transparent about board activities, the board chose to use this public forum to vote to approve the January through April 2017 financial statements. April 2017 financial statements showed that April was a successful month primarily due to DrupalCon Baltimore's strong financial performance.
You can find the meeting minutes and board materials here.
We were pleased to have community members attend and invite you to attend our next board meeting on 27 September, 2017 at noon CEST. It is located in the DrupalCon Vienna convention center and can also be attended via zoom.