Working for a brighter tomorrow, with more rainbows for all, in front-end development, Drupal and beyond.
We all change and grow over time, and these posts reflect a different era from my life. To view selected highlights chosen because they have a bit more relevance than the other posts, please view the featured archives.
I attended Drupal Camp Twin Cities May 20 and 21, 2011: what a great experience!
Like many, I taught myself Drupal through books, online tutorials and the school of hard knocks. While I’ve been at this for three years or so, I haven’t met with all that many fellow Drupalers. I attended the Drupal 7 launch party in Minneapolis, so there were a few familiar faces at Drupal Camp, and now I’ve made a few more. I’m hoping to get more involved in the Drupal community, and Drupal Camp was a great way to get started.
My time at Drupal Camp Twin Cities 2011 came to a close with the keynote from Jen Lampton, “Taking Drupal Back!” Jen is the director of training for Chapter Three in San Francisco and maintains several modules on drupal.org.
I have worked with large sites that have become completely bogged down. The next time I launch a large site with Drupal, I want to make sure that does not happen. So to learn how, I attended a session on “Better, Faster, Stronger: Designing Large / Enterprise-Level Drupal Environments” by Jason Burnett at Drupal Camp Twin Cities 2011. Jason is director of infrastructure for NeoSpire, a hosting company.
Here is the session description.
Power and performance are key deliverables for any enterprise or large organizational website and Drupal is no exception. The goal of this session is to help you understand what a highly available environment consists of so that you can avoid the common mistakes and pitfalls when designing a highly available and scalable architecture to support Drupal.
Panels is one of those very important Drupal modules that many people use: not quite as common as Views or CCK, but it’s up there. Panels allows you to place content in various areas beyond the default regions in a Drupal theme, to put a complex multi-column layout in your content area, for example. To this point, I have not learned how to use Panels, but at Drupa Camp Twin Cities 2011, Will Jaspers gave a presentation on how to “Become a Panels rockstar in just one day.” Here is the session description:
Panels is a fantastic module which provides much needed flexibility to aggregate content from varying sources and help users and administrators alike use and re-purpose the information your website provides.
Assuming we can cover all of this in just one hour, you’ll learn:
What a Panel, a Region and a Pane are.
How to use the Panels Editor
How to put custom content into a Pane
How to use Contexts and Relationships
How to put views into your panels
How to make your Views re-usable for Panels
How to use the Page Manager
How to make Custom Access Rules
How to use Views as Contexts
A few themes that provide custom layouts
How to code your very-own layout plugin
How to use Panel layouts in Views
My notes on the session are available after the break.
Nearly half of all website visits now come from mobile devices rather than from traditional desktops and laptops. So developing a Drupal site without considering mobile is now impossible. At Drupal Camp Twin Cities 2011, Maksim Pecherskiy presented a session on “Mobile Development with Drupal.”
Maksim went to DePaul University, then did two years of freelancing. He has done mobile work both with and without Drupal. Now he is at allplayers.com
Here is the session description:
Mobile web consumption is on the rise. Of the 4 billion mobile phones in use around the world, over 25% are smartphones, and over 75% are sms capable. By 2014, mobile internet usage is expected to overtake desktop internet usage. Numerous people today already access the internet exclusively on their smartphones and do not own a desktop/laptop. (dotMobi)
As Drupal developers, designers and themers, it's foolish for us to continue to assume that our work will only be viewed on a laptop or a desktop screen.
Today’s website must deliver a tailored experience to the mobile web user that utilizes unique capabilities only available on such a device—geolocation, screen rotation, etc. Furthermore, this experience must be just as flawless as it is on their full size device. The mobile user expects personalization, interactivity, and most likely will not be paying full attention to your web app as he / she is using it.
The following topics will be covered:
What does a user expect when using a mobile site / web application?
Planning your mobile web site and its content (either a from scratch mobile site or an add-on to an existing site)
A classification of different devices and their capabilities
Technical challenges and how to work around them
Unique feature sets of mobile devices and how to use them to their full potential
If I have a Drupal headache, there is a good chance I am working in Views. Views gives you all the power of the universe, as it is an interface to approximate how SQL queries works. However, when you get into the weeds with things like arguments and relationships, things get complicated: fast.
Thankfully, at Drupal Camp Twin Cities 2011, Aaron Couch presented a session on “Developing with Views.”
Views is a super-powerful way to use all of your Drupal data in multiple ways. But it gets complicated quickly. So I of course had to attend the session at Drupal Camp Twin Cities 2011 on “The new Views user interface: How it works and how it was made,” led by David Rothstein.
The session description was:
Recently, the Drupal 7 version of the Views module got an entirely new user interface, thanks to a months-long partnership between designers and engineers working for Drupal Gardens and major Views contributors from the rest of the Drupal community. Working together, we revamped almost every part of the interface, with the goal of exposing the most common functionality in easy-to-use "wizards" while still preserving the full power of the module for advanced users. The result is a totally new experience for site builders who are using Views to build sites in Drupal 7.
Go over the new Views interface and demonstrate how to use it, as well as give some background on the process by which it was made.
Discuss the interface from the perspective of new usability patterns introduced in Drupal 7 core (highlighting places where it follows those patterns and places where it creates new ones), which should be useful for anyone interested in making usability improvements to other Drupal 7 contributed modules.
Talk about lessons learned from the process of doing a design-driven overhaul of an extremely popular Drupal module.
At Drupal Camp Twin Cities 2011, I attended the session “Data Migration for Drupal 7,” by Ken Rickard of palantir.net. Ken is a core contributor, a co-author of the book Drupal 7 Module Development. He has worked on a number of important migration efforts, and is known as the migration expert at Palantir. This included some complicated migrations for ForeignAffairs.com and Grinnell College.
Here is the session description:
We’ll take an in-depth, technical look at the challenges of migrating external data into Drupal. Working from a live example, we'll use Drupal 7’s Migrate module to pull data into a Drupal site.
DrupalCamp Twin Cities 2011 began with a keynote by Angie Byron, known in the Drupal community as @webchick. If you’re not familiar with her awesomeness, here is a bit about her:
Angie is on the Board of Directors for the Drupal Association, and the core maintainer for the just-released Drupal 7. Known simply as "webchick" on drupal.org, she led Drupal’s participation in Google Summer of Code and Google’s Highly Open Participation (GHOP) programs, and guided Lullabot’s collaboration on O’Reilly’s first Drupal book, Using Drupal.
A sought-after lecturer on a variety of topics, especially women in Open Source, she is the featured cover story of April’s Linux Journal.
Her topic for the keynote was "Getting involved in the Drupal Community." The room was packed: even her mom came! She’s a native Minnesotan and grew up in Rochester. So it’s no wonder that she is awesome.