"Sickly in Seattle"

High altitudes don't pair well with sinus congestion

Didn't get off to a great start in seattle

Constantly blowing my nose

Dealing with health-related challenges while traveling prompted me to do some serious thinking about the concept of self-care, and how important it is to our professional success and overall productivity -- I'll discuss this at the end of my presentation.

In seattle, sickly me needed an efficient way to be able to collect and share notes on DrupalCon presentations and conversations.


Enter the nodeJS - based tool Ghost, a blogging platform editable both from within a web interface and via a smartphone and desktop application.

Ghost immediately made my notes easily accessible both to myself and anyone else  via my personal website, mciverclark.com.

It runs on an ec2 instance of my own alongside many other ghost - based blogs, which I employ for a variety of freelance projects.

And node is becoming more and more relevant to Drupal, as attested by many of my conversations at Drupalcon and by many of the great presentations there. Decoupled or headless drupal is in vogue, which involves an interaction between node.js applications like Ghost, or frameworks like reactJS or angularJS.

Why is that? Well, Drupal is getting better and better at working together with other web services. How did that happen?

Restful API in Drupal 8 Core

Restful API is now a part of Drupal Core in Drupal 8.

And while our Drupal 7 applications already interacts in Node in several ways --

through a custom AWS S3 file browser,

a dynamic map generator that replaced Google Maps recently paywalled embed service

and an employee directory API that utilizes nodeJS and mongodb to efficiently provide information on over 40,000 state employees every day

But Drupal 8 makes interactions like this even easier, and I'm excited about the potential this offers.

Here's a way to better understand what RESTful design entails:

Let's say you're talking to your sister and she wants to borrow the broom or something. But you don't have it - your Mom has it.

So you tell your sister to get it from your Mom instead. This happens all the time in real life and it happens all the time when machines start talking too.

So how do the machines tell each other where things are?

With something you're all already intimately familiar with : using URLs. If everything that machines need to talk about has a corresponding URL, you've created the machine equivalent of a noun. That you and I and the rest of the world have agreed on talking about nouns in a certain way is pretty important, right?

It's great that Drupal 8 is moving in this direction, because it will make collaborating with other developers across our government easier. It will make sharing information about services and events with citizens easier: we could expose, for instance, data about all of the various events going on at agencies and divisions across the state in a way that app developers could capture and present to users on smartphone apps, event websites, and more.

Configuration Management in D8

Managing configuration in D8 has been at the top of the dev team's list of priorities as we're preparing to migrate away from Drupal 7.

I had the opportunity to meet the maintainer for one of the popular D8 configuration modules, config_split.

Phil and I learned about some of the strategies that Drupal 8 developers are using to manage their configuration, and those conversations helped us come to a consensus about our initial approach to manage our configuration in D8 moving forward. Our baseline configuration is progressing steadily in our d8 development environment.

Self Care

I wanted to end by talking a little bit about self care, or the concept of treating yoself.

Personally, I was not treating myself as well as I could have been.

I was upset with myself about things that I couldn't really do anything about, like being sick at Drupalcon.

I wasn't making enough time for myself on busy days with extensive professional and family commitments.

I was generally fixed in a pessimistic and defensive mindset, worried about preparing for things that could potentially "go wrong" (but haven't -- yet) rather than thinking about opportunities for postive developments and personal and professional growth.

To remedy this, I've taken some steps that have helped me immensely. I will share my steps, but I'm not necessarily recommending my specific acts of self-care to anyone else -- more on that in a minute.

  • I began making time consistently every day to exercise. I also ensured that this time is not always right after work, when I usually am at my lowest energy level, but in the morning or midday, whenever I am feeling most energetic.
  • I began going to bed earlier, and ensuring that I had enough time to allow my body to decide when to wake up, not an alarm clock.
  • I made a commitment to have some fun everyday, no matter what -- to do something that makes me laugh, or smile, and has nothing to do with any of the day-to-day stresses in my life, whether it's reading game of thrones or watching Dale and Tucker vs evil with Phil after a long day at Drupalcon.

Everyone has a unique assortment of needs to nourish to maintain their physical and mental health. I would encourage you to treat yoself in the ways that are enriching to you, and if you aren't sure what those are, to work on trying to identify things, even very small and simple things, that can reduce your daily stress level and increase your happiness.

A tiny alteration ina part of your life, maybe one that you don't really even think about, can have a surprisingly big effect on your happiness.

What part of your day can you change even slightly, in a way that might raise a smile or lift your mood?