Appropriately enough for this month of thanks and lessons learned, Schipul generously sent nine employees to DrupalCamp in Austin last week. Speakers and attendees came from nearby and far away to get together and talk about all things Drupal for two days. We all returned to Houston exhausted but educated, and we’re excited to share some of the lessons we learned over the weekend.
â€œThanks to Ezra Gildesgame, I learned a lot about custom module development, including creating my first custom module right after his presentation. Using Drupal’s hooks system to tie my module into things like form redirection on submission.
Quite a blast, and exponentially better than the previous year. A lot of thanks to Four Kitchens for killing it this year.â€
Jason Smith’s presentation on Integrating Third-party Data was a great look at tools to use when mixing Drupal with other web systems. Kieran Lal really motivated the group with his presentation on Drupal in Enterprise by showing the power and reach of Drupal. And in Reuse with Drupal Features, Chris Chistensen shared the power of using Features and version control to save time and energy in development and in deploying code for Drupal sites.
I was inspired by Tom McCracken (@levelten_tom)’s presentation on building online users. It’s important to be a leader in your niche by innovation and creating great content. My favorite quotes:
- Being a leader is: 1. being the best you can in your niche, 2. maximizing your returns, 3. maximizing good will
- “Great companies are great at innovating.” “The software’s not done until the last user’s dead”
- “CMSes transform subject matter experts into publishers.”
The slideshare presentation is available here.
â€œThere’s always a party when Coke is around.â€
Your brand is what people think, how they feel and what they are saying about you and your products.
I basically learned a little bit about a lot of things. I was given a great starting point on how to begin to understand things like Jquery, PHP, etc.
I also learned about some processes that we can implement in order to streamline our Drupal process for both ourselves and our clients. I learned about some awesome modules that will knock my clients’ socks off. And I learned that figuring out Lone Star riddles while drunk is hard.
DrupalCamp was great and totally worth going for me. I became a lot more familiar with PHP from the 10 Themeing Techniques session (strings, arrays, objects, etc.). I still don’t think I can write them but definitely have a lot better understanding for editing and problem solving.
The other session I enjoyed, and was most helpful for me as a project manager, was How to Get Early Estimates Right. It really broke it down from estimating by feature, how to stay on track and why it is so important.
Here are a few things I learned about:
- Drupal has a Drag â€˜n’ Drop Upload module that allows users to drag images and files from the desktop or a folder into the body area of the WYSIWYG while editing a content page. This gives users another easy option for adding these to a page. Here’s the Drupal Module info and download page: https://www.drupal.org/project/dragndrop_uploads. Kinda neat.
- Kate Broussard, web developer for the Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services at University of Texas and speaker for the session Developing for Usability, pointed out how she uses simplified themes and custom blocks based on roles to make administering sites easier for the foreign language professors. The clean admin theme she uses is Rubik. Kind of neat look at how to keep things simple for admins that are either not tech-savvy or do not have a lot of time to spend clicking around to find things.
As a first-time attendee, I was really impressed by the strength of the Drupal community. This is one of the major selling points for Drupal as compared to other content management systems, and it was exciting and inspiring to see it in action. My favorite session was Tom McCracken‘s Building Web Leaders with Drupal. He discussed how we can leverage Drupal to turn people who are already experts in their niche into publishers, and what else is the internet really for?
I’ve compiled as many relevant links as I could find, including lots of the presentations that were given, on Delicious under the drupalatx tag. You can also relive the weekend via the #drupalatx hashtag on Twitter. Geek out, guys.