What's Missing at DrupalCon Portland?

Jon Pugh's picture

We are as excited as everyone about heading to Portland in a few short weeks.  I'm convinced it is going to be one of the most significant DrupalCons yet.

However, I was a bit disappointed when I learned that so many of our favorite tools have no session coverage at all.  These aren't some niche modules, either.  These modules have been used in almost all of our projects in the last few years.

Search API, Apache Solr, or "search" at all!

At first, I searched for "search api" on the DrupalCon Portland website hoping to find a session or two on the most powerful module system since Views.  Nothing accepted.  

I thought there was not even one proposed session on Search API after using their seach page for the proposed sessions, but then I found Beginners Guide to Solr Search and Search API and Solr and Search API: Get Better Results Now via other means.  There might be something wrong with their search pages.  

There are at least 8 sessions I found that have something to do with Apache Solr that were rejected.

Then, with a bad feeling about it, I searched for "search".  Only 2 accepted sessions even mention the word search: one is called "Case Studies and Optimizing Content" and the other is about the Multilingual system.  The only accepted session that mentions "solr" was a mapping session!

There is literally not one official session that focuses on the topic of search!  This is almost mind-boggling, since for years, search has been one of Drupal's strong points.

By the way, in case you were wondering, search_api has 17,358 reported installs. apachesolr has 12,675. 


The next big shocker was a search for the word "migrate".  We have used migrate.module for almost every project we've worked on for the last few years, and find it indispensible tool in moving data into Drupal.

Migrate.module has 18,220 reported installs, and was used and sponsored by some of the biggest Drupal sites in the world, like MarthaStewart, Examiner, and the Economist.

There isn't one accepted session that mentions the word "migrate". Three sessions mention the word "migration", one of them is about moving to Drupal 8, and there is no mention of the migrate.module in any of them.  There was only one session that I could find that specifically mentioned migrate module, Managing Big Data with Drupal.


There were three sessions proposed on our favorite Drupal hosting management too, Aegir.  None were accepted. (One does mention aegir in passing.

There are no good statistics on reported installs for aegir, because hostmaster doesn't enable update.module by default which is required to report statistics back to drupal.org.  There have, however, been 9,165 downloads since they started counting downloads.

Aegir is the only tool of its kind in the Drupal universe. It's popularity is growing all the time. It's a shame that it has gotten so little coverage, at the upcoming DrupalCon and ones in the past.


8 proposed sessions with something to do with MongoDB.  0 accepted. 

Making Lemonade

I can't speak to the selection process, and I know it is an incredible challenge to sort through the hundreds and hundreds of submissions the Drupal Association gets for DrupalCon. 

At least now I know what BOF's I am going to propose.  So if you are going to DrupalCon and are interested in these systems, keep an eye out for the BOF schedule.

We will make sure that these topics get covered, somewhere!


Thank you for your feedback. These topics would have fallen in the Coder or Site-Building track. As one of the track chairs of the latter, I can tell you that I absolutely agree with you that these are important topics and I'd like to bring some clarity as to why they are not part of the session program.

We have often made lists of topics which we would like to include in a track, before sessions submissions even start, and it's easy to find at least twice as many essential topics as there are session slots. So we know from the very start that we will be missing important topics.

Some of the topics you mentioned have also been covered extensively at almost all DrupalCons in the past few years (Search and Aegir fall under this category), and in order to bring new topics we need to leave some of the established ones aside (at least for one conference).

As you mentioned, BoF sessions are the ideal context to make sure that these topics get the attention needed to keep the projects moving forward. While smaller in size, they also provide a more interactive experience to the participants and do a great job at putting people together to work on what's coming next (A unified search module? Aegir on D8 anyone?)

Again, thank you for your feedback. The session program is already looking great, and now the BoF is also getting incredibly exciting!

Thanks to both of you, Jon Pugh for the article, and Florian for the clear comment. I will definitely mix sessions and BOFs in Portland, as always.

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