From Interior Decorator to Architect: Changing How We Work


In 2008 I co-authored Front End Drupal. The Web was a different world back then. We were seeing the rise of a new role on the Drupal team: the themer. "Front end development" consisted mostly of fighting cross-browser ugliness, cleaning up Drupal mark-up and learning just enough PHP to be dangerous. Microsoft had just announced support for jQuery and Nicole Sullivan's OOCSS was just starting to get attention. Today we see the decline of the term "themer" and the rise of "front end developer". The number of technical languages and libraries accessible to the front end dev has exploded. The practices we thought of as "best" are constantly being ripped out and replaced with new ones.

It is hard to find the right project to put these new methodologies into practice. Sometimes it's best to just plug your nose and jump right in, so during the upgrade of Drupalize.Me, we opted to restructure our tickets from a build-and-theme "decorator" approach to an object-and-test "architect" approach. There were growing pains. There were lessons learned. There were do-overs and never-do-agains. In this session you'll get a rare behind-the-scenes look at the project management, and implementation, of an OOCSS approach to theming.

In the session themer-turned-project-manager, Emma Jane, will cover:

  • Roles and responsibilities: who did what on the project.
  • Workflow: how we restructured our flow from a build-and-theme to design-pattern-architecture
  • Sample theming tickets from the project: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
  • Recommendations: What was worth the learning curve investment, and what wasn't.

As a wrap-up to the session, Emma Jane will spend a few minutes talking about how the experience of this project has influenced her PSD to Theme curriculum and how we can apply these lessons to onboard future front end developers as they learn to theme Drupal.

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