10th March 2017

DrupalCamp London Wrap Up

John Ennew
Technical Director

DrupalCamp London is now five years old and during this time has gone from strength to strength. This year there was even cake!

Seven Deeson staff attended the event wearing their bright red hoodies, ensuring that the company was well represented.

Here is a selection of our favourite talks:

Everyone’s a Critic: Why and How to do a Code Review

This presentation was on code review – specifically why (and how) you should do it.

Malcolm (malcomio) highlighted how important code review is for everyone in the team and not just a way for junior members to learn. Interestingly, a team collectively reviewing code unsurprisingly reduces the number of bugs introduced, but also ensures that a team succeeds together.

Introducing code review into your development process can open to the door to a wide number of testing processes, such as TugBoat and help your wider team/client be confident in the work you produce too.

Offline First

In this lecture about service workers, Erik explained what they are and used a conference website as an example to demonstrate how they can benefit the end users.

Service workers are built into modern browsers (eg Chrome and FF), have APIs for js, and sit between the browser and network. Service workers allow you to cache pages that have been loaded, then keep displaying the cache while no network is available. When the network re-connects you can then update the content in the background.

This is very useful for example, at a conference where the available wifi is slow or non-existent, and attendees need to access the event's site to check the schedule.

There are also various other applications of service workers, e.g. pre-loading content or hooks for background services etc.

This was a timely talk, as this is an area that we are finding very interesting and are exploring its possibilities in our upcoming projects.

Search and Beyond with ElasticSearch

A really interesting presentation about ElasticSearch. Florian covered the basics of ElasticSearch, how it compares to Apache Solr, and how you can make use of it in Drupal.

He also touched on some really interesting ideas around making your search service the core of your web landscape, rather than a particular CMS.

ElasticSearch has a cleaner API and seems a lot more powerful compared to Solr (or at least it's easier to access the more advanced features), and I'd be keen to investigate hosted ElasticSearch options on future projects.

Component Driven Frontend Development

Deeson Technical Director, John Ennew, delivered this talk on the purpose and practice of component driven frontend development. This covered both the theory of breaking pages down into patterns, as well as the practice of how this fits into a web development project workflow. He also provided practical examples of how to develop frontend outside Drupal and then integrate it cleanly later.

The need to apply good project management and agile development practices to the frontend, is clearly something that a number of organisations and development teams are thinking about; there was quite a discussion afterwards with delegates sharing many of their own experiences.

How to build Drupal Applications with APIs and Microservices

Technical Strategy Director at Deeson, Ronald Ashri, described how nowadays it is impossible to build a complex web application without using some APIs that enrich its functionality. In addition, he said, we are more likely to expose data through our own application for other services to consume. Finally, we often end up building small independent applications (microservices) that provide dedicated access to legacy data or other services.

He shared some practical examples of how we have built applications that include Drupal sites and Silex microservices.

How to do everything with PHP Middleware

This was an engaging talk about the use of middleware within applications, providing a fairly high level overview of how middleware could intercept the HTTP requests and responses around your application. This would mean that your application could be fairly small and just deal with the work that it needs to do, rather than having to handle extra things such as CORS/session handling and authentication etc. It would also mean that you can test your application fully without the need to worry about the peripheral services that could be surrounding your application.

Hearing about building an application using middleware, and having heard the previous talk on Microservices, inspired some really lively discussions afterwards amongst delegates about the differences between them, and how and when you might use middleware compared to microservices.

You just need to find the right application to start playing with using these now!


DrupalCamp London was a real success again this year. We all managed to meet old acquaintances and share experiences of Drupal development. There were many good discussions and a lot of good sessions. We left with a sense that the Drupal community is as strong as ever and is still thinking about the challenges and opportunities of the future.

Same time next year? I think so!