2018 Drupal MidCamp Recap: Bounteous's Brian Perry Talks Component-based and Decoupled Drupal & Other Highlights

March 23, 2018
By Andy Olson,
Senior Front-End Developer

Earlier this month, I was fortunate enough to gather alongside other Drupalists at the DePaul University campus in Chicago for MidCamp 2018. Myself, along with a few others on the Bounteous Drupal team, were excited to attend, present, and expand beyond "all things Drupal.” Read on for a recap of MidCamp highlights, including two talks by Bounteous’s Brian Perry, and a prelude to DrupalCon 2018 in Nashville.

Component-based Drupal

Perry’s first talk was a co-presentation with Adam Bergstein of Hook 42 on differing ideas of how to implement a Component-based system in Drupal. After a brief overview of Atomic Design and why a component-based approach is a great idea for any project, each developer went into deep details on how to set this up in Drupal. Both recommend making your pattern library an external dependency of your Drupal project. Referencing a talk Perry gave at last year’s Midcamp, Perry’s approach is focused on ease of integrating with components for multiple audiences - site builders, front-end and back-end developers. Adam’s approach is based on keeping your pattern library as platform agnostic as possible, and when building components in Drupal favoring functionality in Drupal Core over contributed solutions. Lastly, they touched on the current state of Drupal’s Layout initiative and thoughts on how component-based Drupal is still a moving target.

Hot JAMS(tack): Lessons from Building a Music Discovery App with Drupal and React

In Perry’s second talk, he covered the process of creating a decoupled app with Drupal and React by way of a fun music-related project. For those looking for an entry point into decoupled Drupal, following along with Perry’s experience may help demystify the process.

Perry was able to provide an outstanding blueprint for anyone looking to get involved with decoupled Drupal and React. Perry’s reviews and real-world perspectives on different APIs were presented in a useful and relatable way. I felt walking out of that session that I was armed with an approach to spin up an app and get in the decoupled game.

For those attending DrupalCon Nashville, Perry will once again be presenting Hot JAMS(tack): Building a Music Discovery App with Drupal and React.

Drupal Commerce 101

I’ve worked with Magento for the past few projects for Wilson Sporting Goods as well as World’s Finest Chocolate, so I was curious to see how Drupal Commerce 2 would compare. The session was a decent overview showing what you get “out of the box” from a vanilla install. The presenter, Carlos Espinoza Rodriguez, did a good job reviewing the standard install and then toggling over to a slick themed version of Drupal Commerce. There are some nice enhancements (multi-step checkout and multiple stores each having their own settings) and it looks very easy to use and plug into a payment gateway. However, I didn’t see a way to handle bundle products in a similar way to Magento’s Bundle Product. I’ll have to explore further as I test drive Drupal Commerce 2 in the near future.

American Medical Association: Topic Landing Pages (A D8 Case Study)

The challenges of Drupal 8 landing page building integrated with a pattern library-based approach to theming were the focus of this session, led by the American Medical Association. We’ve felt so much similar pain and joy on recent projects. The session also closed with the reminder that we all need to look into how Layout Builder in 8.5 and the Layout Initiative will impact this process going forward, which is extremely important.

Power to the authors! Toward achieving fast, flexible visual content authoring

I was delighted to see this presentation regarding the quest in Drupal for intuitive and sophisticated content creation tools. Beating up Drupal’s content authoring seems rather straightforward these days (hey, was it ever NOT easy to pick on?), and any movement on the Layout Initiative is where I am aiming to get more involved in the community and explore at DrupalCon 2018. This session provided a fresh insight into how to improve the interface and pulled some excellent questions from the audience. Lately, I’ve been struggling with providing the content author with an interface that helps them envision the page on mobile. It’s a challenge for authors to assemble and anticipate the final page on all devices and have the content communicate effectively. I’m excited to continue this conversation in Nashville.

Keynote Session: What's So Open About Open Source?

It’s never easy to talk about diversity and inclusion because there will always be someone you offend. Maybe Chris Rooney saw this coming when he wrote his first idea of inclusion: “Don’t ever EVER EVER judge someone presenting at a Drupal event.” Although he got some flack on Twitter, Rooney’s talk on Inclusion was approached with the best intentions in mind on how we can be more inclusive as a community. For example: “drop your weapons,” in which he reminds us we all have different methods of ostracizing others. Whether it be Twitter or blog posts, we need to learn to stop attacking each other because everyone is a perpetrator and everyone is a victim.

Rooney continued on to discuss how we can all be a part of inclusion. He suggests that we all take steps to make diversity more visible within our companies and that we hold our leadership teams more accountable in proactively seeking diverse candidates. To make this idea actionable, he stresses to go out of our way to be more welcoming and accessible to our diverse candidates and coworkers. One of the ways Rooney has done this is by partnering with Palantir to sponsor scholarships for minority youth to attend Drupalcon and receive free Drupal training. Overall, the talk was very informative and it was encouraging to see large diversity initiatives taking place in the community.

Practical UX When You Have (almost) No Time or Money

I ended MidCamp on a high note by Gwendelyn Daniels. I always find topics more interesting when I hear client stories and the journey to finding a solution. Daniels laid out some interesting scenarios for people searching for specific legal issues, including using some free, online tools such as Usability Hub and Optimal Workshop. Thanks to this session, I also now have a vetted list of new tools to test drive for A/B optimization, like Google Optimize, Drupal A/B testing module, the paid tool Virtual Website Optimizer, and A/B testing for Mailchimp. In my opinion, that is the sign of an excellent session – exposure to new tools and inspiration to try them out. If you missed this session and are in the Chicagoland area, Daniels will be giving the presentation at the Fox Valley Drupal Meet Up on Wednesday, May 16.


Organized by volunteers from the regional Drupal community, MidCamp features curated sessions and panel conversations by internationally-renowned Drupal experts. MidCamp offers up to 350 attendees the opportunity to increase their Drupal knowledge through networking, code sprints, training, and more.