Coaching in Drupal 8 development

Last month our new trainee Anushka arrived to start his traineeship at MD Systems. He will focus mainly on developing contrib modules for Drupal 8 for the usual 6 months. In these first few weeks I coached him together with Arild to get him starting on Drupal 8 development.

This blogpost is part of the on-going MD Systems Drupal 8 Internships. In these Blogs the students report monthly about their experience with Drupal 8, the development work they do and the cooperation with our Team…

Development Environment

We started by setting up the development environment. The main development tools we use are PHPStorm as IDE, Drush as command-line shell and scripting interface for Drupal and Git for version control. It is very important for all our tools to be correctly configured, this will make the development experience a lot smoother, faster and more efficient. When configuring preferences think about coding standards, code sniffer and code inspection.

Strategy

Before Anushka arrived we developed a strategy for the first few weeks and we decided to create a Trello board with several small novice tasks on contrib modules such as; Monitoring, Captcha, Ultimate Cron and on some Payment methods. While working on these tasks he received extensive coaching. Trello BoardStudent Task board on Trello.com This specific Trello board is only for Anushka’s first few weeks so everything on this board is assigned to him. The Trello board is divided into 5 sections where the status of a task is defined. By dividing the board we can keep track on what he’s working on, what needs code review by us and what is completed.

Trello Tasks Format

We started with a format to specify every task with difficulty level, module, task description and estimated working time. But we switched rather quickly to a new format by removing the difficulty level since it had no added value.

Learning through others

I’ve discovered that by coaching someone else you do learn a lot yourself. Coaching someone is fun and interactive, the person you’re coaching could have a totally different perspective on an issue. This way he could come up with a better solution which you’ve never thought of yourself and learn a lot from the person you’re coaching.

Challenges

The main challenge in helping Anushka to get started was to find well suited novice tasks for him to work on. We wanted to bring him as much variation as possible so he will get familiar with a lot of aspects of Drupal 8 but still let him focus on certain topics so he gets more efficient with delivery. Don’t forget to follow Anushka’s progress on Drupal.org. Blog source: md-systems.ch