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Last week four members of the CTI team attended DrupalCon Prague. We each had different areas of knowledge that we wanted to learn and improve our skills in and for me, this was Drupal 8.

This conference was a great opportunity to do this with the many sessions on the subject as well as sprints and chances to learn from many of the contributors involved in Drupal core.

I attended the following sessions and would recommend them to anyone who would like to get an overview of the changes in Drupal 8:

Drupal 8 Ready
This session was great way to kick off the week as it gave an overview of all the big advancements in Drupal 8 and helpfully split them job role. Although each area was only given a brief introduction there were lots of links to resources for finding out more.

Using backbone.js with Drupal 8 & 7
Drupal 8 has a much larger JS codebase than previous versions, due to additions such as the Edit module. In order to provide structure to core’s JavaScript backbone.js has been included. This session shows what is available in Drupal 8 and how you can use this today in Drupal 7.

Writing Unit Testable Code in Drupal 8
One of the key reasons for the large architectural shift in Drupal 8 is to allow for unit testing. Anyone who has written SimpleTests (and waited for them to run) will appreciate working with PHPUnit.

Blocks From drop.org to Drupal 8 and Beyond
This session was a great overview of the history behind blocks and Drupal itself. It was great to see how they have evolved over the years.

REST and Serialization in Drupal 8
Drupal is no longer built expecting to return a HTML response to a web browser. The WSCCI initiative has meant that Drupal 8 can now be easily leveraged as a fully fledged REST server.

Aphorisms of API Design
This was more of a general talk on API design and wasn’t specific to Drupal 8. Larry Garfield (Crell) is the D8 WSCCI initiative lead and many of the concepts presented in this session help to explain many of the decisions made in architecting Drupal 8.

Don’t be STUPID, grasp SOLID
Again, this session wasn’t directly related to Drupal 8 but it was very useful in explaining the more advanced concepts relating to OOP.

Drupal 8 Routing: The Method in the Madness
Tim Plunkett one of the key contributors to Drupal 8 talks about the changes made to the routing and menu system in Drupal 8. This is one of the key areas on change in Drupal 8 and this session gave a fairly in depth introduction to all the key concepts.

Leveraging 12 Years of PHPUnit
PHPUnit is the de facto standard in the wider PHP community for writing unit tests. Sebastian Bergmann, the founder of PHPUnit gives a great run down on the history of PHPUnit and some great tips on how to get the most out of it. 

Useful Resources

Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software - This book is the go to resource for deeply understanding the reasons and ideas behind object oriented software.

Symfony Component Documentation - Drupal utilises many of the Symfony components, the documentation for these (and not the full stack framework) are very useful in understanding Drupal 8.

Inversion of Control Containers and the Dependency Injection pattern - For me, this is one of the best articles explaining dependency injection.

Drupal 8 Contrib Experience - This is focused on ensuring the experience for contrib developers and the those developers that are leveraging contrib is as good as possible. The site lists many articles.

Core Group - The core group on g.d.o is a great place to keep an up to date overview of all the goings on in Drupal Core. Particularly look out for “This Week in Drupal Core” which lists a roundup of Drupal 8 blog posts for that week.

About the author

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
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As a company director, Paul is responsible for leading our strategy in relation to culture and people. This work has strongly contributed to our enviable staff retention levels. His pragmatic approach, combined with a development career spanning two decades, is a valuable asset to clients approaching challenging and large scale digital projects. These include SONY Pictures Entertainment, King's College London, Travelodge, Great Ormond Street Hospital.

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