We’re happy to announce that once again, we’ll be participating in the Bay Area Drupal Camp (BADCamp,) an annual celebration of open-source software at the University of California, Berkeley. This year, in addition to contributing to the free talks and trainings, we’re excited to participate in a new way — one that we hope everyone will be a part of.
I want agency life to mean smiles, rainbows, and slaps on the back. But in a business that trades in collaborative intellectual output, that feelgood place doesn’t happen overnight. Over the past 11 years I’ve worked in marketing strategy and account management roles in Europe and the US, at shops like Mucho Design, Orbital BBDO, and EuroRSCG, and I’m now an account manager at Kalamuna. Over time I’ve picked up a thing or two about how agencies can do great work on time and on-budget, with more than enough feelgood to go around.
Our time on this earth is limited and we have a commitment to leave it better than we found it. Practically, this means refusing to corroborate the agendas of organizations who, knowingly or not, act with blind disregard to the consequences of their actions on present and future generations. Moreover, it means devoting our collective energy towards causes that will impact the world in a positive way. Kalamuna works primarily with mission-driven organizations. The best way to live up to our values is to act upon them.
Late last year, we upgraded our blog from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. Our main objective was to invest in our skills within Kalamuna so we could, in turn, better serve our clients. We have a lot of Drupal 8 migrations lined up over the course of the next year or so, and we foresee many more coming down the pipeline. This gave us a chance to learn the ins and outs of Drupal 8, with the added value of sprucing up our very own blog. This post is a summary of takeaways from our experience that I hope will help you on your own Drupal 8 adventures.
As developers of all skill levels begin to migrate from old versions of Drupal to Drupal 8, it is always good to have references for some of the more arduous tasks. Many of our clients for whom we've built Drupal 7 sites have used the media module and the awesomeness that it gives to their sites. Now, as I migrate some of these same sites to Drupal 8, I hit a bump in the road. The Drupal 7 Media tag can’t be rendered in the Drupal 8 site I am migrating to. This is because that functionality is not present in the Drupal 8 site.
During our agency’s weekly video call, our developer in Romania, Emanuel, showed us images of massive protests in his city’s streets. On a Slack channel, someone else posted an image of Beavis and Butthead’s Beavis alongside Kellyanne Conway. These are just two of several occasions when I’ve thought, “Uh-oh. We’re talking politics. Someone’s going to get pissed and there’s going to be a fight.” So far that hasn’t happened.
We do a semi-institutional event called a “KalaSalon,” where a few of us talk about what’s on our minds, and how things relevant to “work” are relevant to “life,” and vice-versa. It’s part of our whole west coast we’re-holistic-let’s-see-what-works deal. During our last KalaSalon, I talked with Jr. Developer Katy Pool, Sr. Developer Rob Loach, and Sr. Interaction Designer Thiago de Mello Bueno. We ended up on the subject of “constraints,” and how they’re useful in all kinds of situations.
At Kalamuna we not only build Drupal websites, but we also provide support services for a plethora of clients. One of these is providing security updates; we pride ourselves on keeping our clients’ sites safe and free from vulnerabilities. But, I have to admit that when I hear of new security releases I cringe. I think about the tedious process of going through each site or trying to recall who has what modules installed on their site. But I just discovered an app that finds all of the new security updates for me: Evercurrent. Read on to see how it works.
We create sites for universities and mission driven orgs, but we still love to get in on the ground floor with exploratory ventures. It’s in this spirit that we’re excited to announce our work with a University of California at Berkeley (UCB)-related civic software project called AppCivist, which leverages expertise from senior design, UX and development team members Rob Loach and Thiago de Mello Bueno. The new app seeks to help citizens dig into local issues that affect them, and then propose and collaborate on solutions.
Every year I try to attend as many industry conferences as possible, but over the years I’ve become more selective about which ones I go to. I find them to be incredibly valuable and insightful, but they also cost money and take time, so I grade them pretty hard. This year I had the pleasure of attending several UX-focused conferences. Each was great in different ways, and I came away leaving inspired each time, and wanting to share some of the lessons I learned, so I wrote this blog post.