As most of the Drupal community, the conference routine is very different from our regular schedule and, on the third day, we are all fatigued. I've been getting full nights' sleep, but others might be fatigued for other reasons.
Aral Balkan's keynote. Think of a quadrant. Traditional systems (like Microsoft and Oracle), that are closed and feature-driven, are in the upper left quadrant. Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter are in the upper right quadrant, with experience-driven, closed solutions. The consumer is looking for a satisfying "experience", not just features, hence the move from the former to the latter.
Open source projects (like Drupal and Linux distributions) are open, but they are feature-driven for geeks like us. We like to tweak and tune. But the greater population is looking for a satisfying overall experience. The lower right quadrant is empty: it is the intersection of excellent overall user experience and an open platform. Providing a total satisfying user experience in the open source community is the challenge that the Drupal community faces and will continue to face.
AngularJS Prototypes. Moving beyond static Photoshop comps is not a new idea, but Micah's packed presentation presented an interesting project called Tractor using AngularJS. The project is new and could use folks to help test and build it out. Micah said that he might just go to TWIG, but this entire prototyping structure could conceptionally feed the prototype directly to design.
Make Drupal Amazingly Fast. With 80% to 90% of page load time concentrated in the frontend, Baris covered the major ways to speed up your theming layer. At Monarch, we use most of these techniques, but some were reminders and there were several new options available. There were way too many small tricks and tips than you'd want to read here. Just a couple of things I'd like to note. I had heard about the advanced CSS/JS aggregation module, but I hadn't used it yet. Baris also zipped by several super utilities to minify CSS/JS and to do a lazy load of images, i.e. only loading images when the user actually displays that part of the page in his/her browser.
Essential Techniques for Designing Delightful Web Sites. By the time you get to the last session, your patience gets thin. Christine has extensive user testing experience and data. I was about ready to leave because there never seems to be budget or willingness of our clients to do comprehensive user testing. Instead, she demonstrated the concept of a 5 second test. Very elegantly simple.
However, home pages never rate well in a 5 second test. Yet, the home page is merely a portal to get to their destination. For home pages, a first click test can be much more effective. Users only use a home page to get to their desired destination. If they can get to their destination th first time, you're successful.
Closing session. This is the biggest European DrupalCon yet. The biggest announcement is the location of the next European Con. Here it is. In 2014 it will be DrupalCon Amsterdam!
Now, on to Friday's sprints.