So I’ve been an active Drupal user now for about a year and a half. It all started when I managed the migration of the X PRIZE Foundation websites to Drupal. Very early on in that process I knew that I had come across a very special software platform and I continue to be amazed by it all the time.

In February of this year I discovered the LA Drupal User Group. It’s true what they say, Drupal is all about its community which I’ve now directly experienced the benefits of having attended several meetings and becoming friends with some great people. In my attempt to contribute I did a case study presentation describing the detailed Drupal work I’ve done for X PRIZE.

This great Drupal community in LA provided me with exciteful anticipation to attend my first DrupalCamp LA. Also knowing it was being managed by Chris Charlton and Crystal Williams from the LA User Group only re-assured in my mind that it would be great.

This second year saw nice growth. There were over 430 registered users for the event. I was only able to attend for Day 1 but I can definitely say that in just the time I was there, the information I learned, and people I met was fantastic. I also got to have discussions with several Drupalers throughout the day. Below are some of the highlights for me and other details from the event.

Keynote

Opening session included presentations from Jonathan Lambert of Workhabit and Kieran Lal of Acquia. They discussed the current state of Drupal and plans for growth into the future while evangelizing and showing their passion for this great open source platform we love. You can see a few notes taken from Viktor Kane here.

Kieran also discussed the Drupal.org redesign project and urged users to visit the Flickr group to submit their design ideas. He also mentioned Leisa Reichelt’s involvement.

Building APIs for Modules

I was able to catch some of this presentation where Adam Kalsey of Workhabit walked us through how he created the Activity Stream module. I didn’t know Adam had written this and was a bit floored as I’ve become pretty passionate about Lifestreaming and have dedicated a site to it at the Lifestream Blog. Adam’s module adds Lifestreaming functionality to Drupal by pulling data via API calls from several web services like Twitter, Delicious, and Last.fm

This was actually the second time I had seen Adam give a presentation as he provided a Scaling Drupal presentation at the LA Drupal User Group a few months prior to this. He’s a top notch speaker who exudes knowledge and enthusiasm and I’m already greatful having learned plenty from him. I highly recommend you catch him speak if you get a chance.

Slideshow for the session is available here.

Using Open Source tools for Open Source Development

This session was run by Mike Stewart whom I often see at the LA Drupal User Group. He provided demos of several open source tools he uses for Drupal development. This included using Ubuntu for his OS, and several other tools including Geany and Scribes. But the coolest thing for me was that he had wrapped all of these into an image using the open source virtualization package VirtualBox. I have used VMWare but wasn’t familiar with VirtualBox and was very happy to learn about it.

Mike was planning on providing a Virtualbox Ubuntu image that included all the tools he showed but I haven’t seen it yet. I will add a link if I do come across it.

Tuning for Scale and Performance

The presentation so good the first time I saw it I figured I’d watch it again and see if I absorb anything more. This was led by Adam Kalsey but also on the panel was Jonathan Lambert and Aaron Stewart of Workhabit. For the most part I had paid attention the first time but got some additional recommendations such as:

Scaling Drupal: Drupal on the Cloud

Also hosted by Adam Kalsey (ok starting to feel like I’m a groupie) where he discussed Cloud computing and how to host Drupal in the cloud. Coming into this I had very little knowledge in this area and was just vaguely familiar with Amazon Web Services but once again Adam provided a good intro whiched helped me get a better understanding of how it works. I was pretty intrigued by the setup and how it works but I’m not so sure most IT departments are ready to start adopting it on a large scale. I do see it as the future and it’s just a matter of time before more companies start moving to this model instead of investing in large hardware deployments and the management that goes with them. I’m hoping I can learn more about Cloud computing and dip my toe in soon.

Here’s the slideshow presentation from this session. Workhabit also has a good post on Drupal running on Amazon’s EC2 here. In that post Workhabit provides us with a test image we can play with Drupal on in EC2 as well.

Along with VirtualBox and Amazon’s EC2, virtualization was definitely a theme I see making big strides in the years to come.

Other Sessions

I didn’t go to any of the Designer/Theming sessions but I heard great things about those presentations. There were also many new and curious users that came which were treated to some good intro sessions which showed them the power and flexibility of the system for several niche sites. I’m also bummed I didn’t see Ethan Kaplan’s case study on the Metallica site.

Other Related Stuff from DrupalCamp LA

Well that’s it folks. I really look forward to next year! In the meantime you can catch me often hanging out on IRC at #drupal-la on irc.freenode.net or just go to Drupalchat.net

email