erdfisch Blog

Girls Day 2017 at erdfisch

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Every year here in Germany we have Girls' Day. This is a day in which girls can see what it is like working in male-dominated industries (there is an equivalent Boys' Day as well).

We at erdfisch have been taking part in Girls' Day since 2015, so this was our third year. We had the privilege of welcoming Anna, Bianca and Franzi into our office in Heidelberg.

Why do this?

Why is it worth our time taking part in something like this?

Well, if you need a reminder of what a privilege it is to do your job, spend a day explaining the miracle that is open source web development to some teenagers.

I'm very proud of the fact that we are more than just a bunch of developers - in our work, we interact with other developers from other countries and other companies every day.

We meet at international events like the incredible Drupalcamp that took place in Iceland earlier this year.

We are participants in an extremely open way of working.

When explaining to teenagers how Drupal gets developed, you start to realise what an incredible privilege it is to have such a career.

It is, in itself, so much fun to explain why people around the world share their their time and talent for free, and how the economics of open source actually works.

It's more than just a job. It's a career or "calling" (in German, the word "Beruf" for career and "Berufung" for calling are very close).

And there is no reason why this privilege should only be available to men and not women.

Learning open source through Drupal site building

For me and my colleague Peter, Girls Day was a day in which we took time out from our work to explain how Drupal works, and to provide a full day's site building training.

This is a great benefit to us because it helps us to appreciate what it's like to be a beginner again, and to be a site builder.

It makes you find good examples of contributed modules that you can use to introduce the idea of Drupal's incredible extensibility.

We got the girls set up on https://pantheon.io/ - Pantheon is a great platform for trainings like this.

We introduced extensibility by swapping out the default Bartik theme with a modern alternative https://www.drupal.org/project/robotic.

Robotic has a nice slideshow function so that the girls could quickly personalize their sites with colors and slides.

Next, we got to working with content types and fields. We introduced the concept of adding a new type of field through the contributed geolocation module, which allows you to create a field with a location on a Google map.

From there, it was about adding our content, and then displaying content with views. We used calendar module to show how it was possible to build sophisticated views.

It didn't take long before the girls were working on their own concepts.

Anna built a showcase for her mother's store: http://dev-anna-felix.pantheonsite.io/

Bianca build a site which allows her schoolmates to log in and cast votes and choose destination for their school outing: http://dev-klassenfahrt.pantheonsite.io/

Franzi built a site for her music school orchestra: http://dev-musikschulorchester-wiesloch.pantheonsite.io/

Drupal 8 is getting to where we want it to be

It's been interesting running this event over the past three years, because we've been able to take a snapshot each year of how Drupal 8 is progressing in real life.

We're now at the point where Drupal 8 finally feels stable and fun to work with.

It's where we want it to be - a system which you can spend a day learning and really achieve something worth while. And understand how far you can go with it.

And how rewarding it is to be a part of this incredible thing. Don't let sexism, racism, snobbishness or any other thing exclude you from it.

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