15 November 2016

DrupalCamp Baltics 2016


Migrate initiative

In my Drupal community work, I’ve never had any specific area of focus when it comes to Drupal core development. I’ve usually got involved in Drupal Commerce development, but this time I decided to find something that I feel interesting and useful around Drupal core.

I heard in DrupalCon Dublin that Migrate initiative needs helping hands, so I decided that my personal objective in DrupalCamp Baltics was to get people, including myself, involved with Migrate initiative.

At the time of writing, migrate initiative is in alpha stage, but very close to get to beta. Out of all Drupal´s strategic initiatives, I personally feel this one the most important. I want developers who are new to Drupal find it easy to move their projects to Drupal. On top of that, there are also many cases that are looking for migrating Drupal 6 sites to Drupal 8. This is something that should be comfortable for developers.

I want to give a huge thanks to Mike Ryan, Adam G-H, V Spagnolo and Lucas Hedding for helping me get my head around this initiative while getting well prepared for mentoring the code sprint.

Background of Finnish monthly Drupal sprints

Finnish Drupal community has this thing called “monthly sprints”. After code sprint during SaunaCamp 2014, we decided together with Lauri Eskola (in the sauna, of course) that we’ll organise a monthly sprint in whatever place every second-last Saturday of the month. After that decision, we have had a sprint somewhere almost every month already with 68 different persons involved.

After the first 12 sprints (~year) the monthly sprints extended also outside Helsinki: to Tampere (in 24.10.2015). Tampere is a city in Finland that is famous for being a "WordPress city”. Of course, on behalf of Finnish Drupal Association, we want to bring CMS technological diversity to that city as well. We already have had our second sprint there in 22.10.2016 (thanks to Kalle Kipinä and Pasi Kauraniemi for organising this). We are already now looking for extending monthly sprints to Turku.

Now, how this relates to DrupalCamp Baltics?

Well, week before the camp, during the monthly sprints in Finland, we did huge work in grooming all migrate issues and finding out if there are any issues that needs a reroll. We ended up grooming 100 issues in total having the status of “RTBC”, “Needs review” and “Needs work” starting from the oldest issues first.

We were happy that we found out many issues that aren’t valid anymore or was having momentum before but managed to be brought back to life. We revived many issues and we saw already some momentum gaining by other developers in other part the world already before the DrupalCamp Baltics.

Now, even before taking my plane to Riga, we already did something for Migrate initiative. That’s great!

The DrupalCamp Baltics code sprint

In the morning of the code sprints at Helsinki, I tagged around 15 issues for the sprint before taking myself to the airport. That was easy due to the previous grooming in Tampere (and during that we also managed to detect some novice issues that helped out us to pick up something easy).

Finally arriving to Riga, I went to our Riga office directly from the airport and there we were, ready to go! I was expecting more participants but together with the help of other people remotely in IRC, we were in full speed and focus was great!

We managed to work almost on all tagged issues and thanks to the help of core people  around Migrate initiative (being available and active in IRC), we got two issues committed already the next day. This felt very rewarding and we were doing high fives with the sprinters during the event day after the sprints.


For a couple of years now I have focused more on coding with other Drupal people at Drupal events because I feel that more valuable. But this time I went to see couple sessions as well.

Ruben Teijeiro was presenting about headless Drupal. To be honest, I’ve been in that session already two or three times, but never as an actual participant (I’ve been organising many Drupal events and been either streaming live, recording video or just monitoring the session). As I was able to actually follow the presentation, I ended up with getting excited about the topic because I would be really interested in doing that type of project myself some day.

K. Kažoks presented a case study of Latvia University of Agriculture where they did lots of research around what CMS to choose for migrating out from their custom CMS. All the research ended up in favor of Drupal 8. Before the final decision, they participated in DrupalCamp Baltics 2015 in Tallinn and they got answers to their questions. And that led them eventually to do the project with Drupal 8. That’s another great story!

S.Tereshchenko was presenting a case study where they did a restaurant table booking system. I found out in this session that the service was really topnotch project. The UX seemed to be very well designed and implemented (in the other hand, it didn’t go very deep into technical implementation, so I can't confirm the quality of the implementation myself). The most interesting aspect I found on it was that on top of automatic tests, they had a manual testing group that was really performing specific tasks around the service to ensure the QA.

One session I sadly missed was the session by Kalle Varisvirta about EU legislation. I heard so much good feedback and after-talks about how interesting times we will face during the next 3 years related to that. Good for our privacy, but interesting view for developers. Get ready for it :)


DrupalCamp Baltics 2016 had workshops this year. This is something that was probably really good because many developers specifically in the Baltic area want to really go directly to practice. All of the workshops were carried out by Wunder.


I was specifically thankful for getting an invitation to mentor the sprints. Because of that, I decided to focus on something in Drupal core and feeling welcome to Migrate initiative. This made me feel that me and the sprinters actually made a difference for the future of Drupal and gained experience around important areas, even if it was just a couple of commits and 100 groomed issues.

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