Dropping Support for IE Is the Best Feature in Drupal 10: Andy Blum | NEDCamp

16 November, 2022
Andy Blum

The New England Drupal Camp 2022 is in this weekend. We asked between 5 to 8 questions to every speaker at the camp via email/slack. Some questions were common to all, and some were specific. We also gave them a choice not to answer any particular question. The Drop Times got written responses from most of the speakers. We are publishing those short conversations as a series. The third interview is with Andrew Blum. 

Andy Blum, a Science-Teacher-Turned-Web-Developer, is a Senior Front-end Developer at Lullabot. He is presenting two sessions at the NEDCamp 2022. On Friday, November 18, 2022, Andrew will impart training on ‘Intermediate to Advanced Drupal Front-end Development’ in Room: Connecticut (Craig-Lee 205) from morning 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. On Saturday, November 19, 2022, he will talk about ‘Creating & Consuming Web Components for Drupal’ from 9:00 am to 9:45 am in the New Hampshire room (Gaige 202). Let us hear from ‘andy-blum.’

TDT [1] A brief introduction about yourself and your work in Drupal

Andy Blum: I’m a Senior Front End Developer at Lullabot. I’ve been working in Drupal since I made a career change to web development in 2016. In my time with Drupal, I’ve primarily done theming and site-building, but I’ve also done a little bit of custom module building. Outside of Drupal, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in vanilla JavaScript, and currently, I’m doing a lot of work in web components.

TDT: [2] The community parlance is that ‘you come for the code but stay for the community.’ How did you first get introduced to the community?

Andy Blum: The first agency I worked for used Drupal for most of the sites they built. Phil Frilling, the lead developer, made the recommendation to business owners based on the free and open-source nature of Drupal. Still, many of us on the development team didn’t really have much PHP experience outside of the Drupal 7 theming system.

At some point, I was having a problem, and Phil was helping me work through it, and he recommended I make a patch and submit it back to the community. That was my first introduction to any sort of open-source software, and I was blown away by the concept that I could write a tiny little line of code that made its way into hundreds or even thousands of other projects.

TDT: [3] Tell us about what you present in the New England DrupalCamp 2022 and who should attend your session.

Andy Blum: I have two presentations at NEDCamp this year.

First, I’ll be leading a training on advanced techniques in Drupal Front End Development. That training is built on some of the concepts I repeatedly see in the front-end and twig channels on Drupal slack.

I’ve found that one thing Drupal themers struggle with the most is moving into the PHP side of Drupal’s theme system. We’ll be touching on hooks, libraries, and various debugging tools & methods.

The ideal audience for this training is people with some Drupal experience who know basic site building and configuration tasks but don’t have experience beyond changing the markup of twig files or CSS/JS that’s already being loaded on the page.

Second, I have a session on creating & consuming web components in Drupal. For the last year and a half, I’ve been working in the Lit Element library, building web components for an open-source design system, and during that time, I’ve seen some areas in Drupal where I think web components could be a valuable tool.

This session will cover the basic suite of web platform technologies that make up web components, how to build them in vanilla JS and the Lit Element library, and how to use those components within a Drupal project. This session will be good for front-end developers with a solid foundation in JavaScript.

TDT: [4] Everyone is waiting for the Drupal 10 release this December. What is the most exciting feature of Drupal 10 for you?

Andy Blum: The absolute best feature of Drupal 10, in my opinion, is that we’ve dropped support for Internet Explorer. In Drupal 10 and beyond, the only browsers we support will be those that continue to update their implementations of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It opens a lot of doors for the kinds of things we can do in Drupal core. If you’re interested in some of those things, take a look at the session Mike Herchel, and I gave at DrupalCon Europe this year.


MAKERS & BUILDERS - Hallelujah! As of Drupal 10, Internet Explorer will no longer be supported! How does that change Olivero, and the rest of Drupal core? What new fancy features does this enable? In this presentation, we'll walk attendees through new modern CSS and JS you can use TODAY, now that internet explorer is a browser of the past. We'll cover things like CSS custom properties, new CSS selectors, properties and values, JavaScript optional chaining, and lots more! How can we use this cornucopia of awesomeness in Drupal core? What features become possible that we could only dream of before? This session will get you excited about the future, and you can take these lessons home to optimize and innovate your own projects.

TDT: [5] After multiple extensions of Drupal 7 end-of-life, a final sundown is set for November 2023. It has been around for a decade and is the most popular Drupal distribution. Even after extending the deadline, there are a lot of websites that still run on Drupal 7. What is your advice for people staying on Drupal 7?

Andy Blum: At this point, I’m not sure there’s anything I can say to convince organizations to upgrade off of Drupal 7 that haven’t already started that process. Some of them have definite reasons that it’s not feasible right now, but I hope they’re aware that they’re losing a lot of security oversight of their code. Whenever possible, sites need to migrate to a supported release of Drupal or another platform like Backdrop.

TDT: [6] You had a science teaching background from where you landed up to technology. How does your scientific mind help to solve customer needs in web development?

Andy Blum: I think there are two key skills that I developed in my training and career as a science teacher.

First, like all educators, I developed the skill to break down complex concepts and communicate them. It is invaluable when helping clients understand the possibilities and limitations of new or complex technologies.

Second, science is a process of learning. It’s the ability to make observations, draw logical conclusions, try something new, and infer meaning from the differences. That’s immensely helpful in tracking down bugs in code and understanding exactly why the machine is doing what it’s doing.

TDT: [7] Can you talk a little about the Olivero and Claro themes and what benefits they provide from the legacy themes used in Drupal?

Andy Blum: Olivero and Claro are replacing Bartick and Seven, respectively. Both legacy themes were great and served Drupal well for a number of years, but Drupal’s commitment to backward compatibility makes it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to update those themes with modern solutions.

Olivero and Claro are a clean slate to build something fresh that doesn’t have BC implications and modernize the first impression that Drupal makes to new developers and stakeholders. On top of that, the starterkit initiative will help us keep the code behind Olivero and Claro modern by encouraging developers to create their own copies of the themes’ code rather than inheriting templates, libraries, and assets from the core.


Join Andy Blum for the training 'Intermediate to Advanced Drupal Front-end Development' in Room: Connecticut (Craig-Lee 205) from morning 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on 18 November 2022 and for the session, 'Creating & Consuming Web Components for Drupal' from 9:00 am to 9:45 am in the New Hampshire room (Gaige 202) on 19 November 2022 at Rhode Island College, Providence, RI. Click here to Register.

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