drupal community

I've spent a good bit of time the last couple of weeks getting my thoughts straight for a session I may present at DrupalCamp Colorado called "Plugging into the Drupal community - Essential tools". The process of formulating my thoughts regarding my experiences with the Drupal community and what the project is all about has been a really good one. As a friend pointed out the other day, I'm more of verbal guy, so I've been thinking / practicing out loud and jotting down good thoughts when they come out. I remember David Byrne once saying that he writes music in a similar way.

The idea of the session is to help atendees wrap their mind around the social channels used by the Drupal community so they can get plugged in quick. Not just the technological aspects, but also the cultural implications of how the community uses them. I've been involved with the community on some level for a couple years now, and in hindsight I think my climb up the Drupal learning curve would have been greatly accelerated if I had gotten plugged in to the community earlier. Drupal is really a social solution to a technical problem, not the other way around, and realizing that can have a positive impact on the speed of learning and the ability to make a meaningful contribution.

Based on the voting so far, the session is lagging behind a bunch of other great-looking sessions - probably the material I'm covering seems too basic for the typical DrupalCamp crew. But I think I like the idea of putting a session out there, regardless of if it gets presented, just for the nudge to get some ideas in order. If I end up not presenting, that's just one more session I can either attend or skip out on to rub real elbows with some virtual friends.

Just got my tickets for Drupalcamp Colorado, and reserved a spot at the Melbourne hostel (my first hostel ever). I got so excited I put together a google map, complete with hostel, camp location, burrito place with good reviews and a couple grocery stores.

For those of you who might be considering going, but aren't sure about absorbing the costs, here's what it's going to run me:

$280 for plane ticket
$20 for registration
$22 for 1 night in hostel
$20 for shuttle to airport (will be catching a ride with fellow Drupaler from airport to event on Saturday)
$15 burrito budget (lunches served at the event, will bring breakfast with me)
$357 TOTAL

That's almost a third the cost of just attending a 2-day Lullabot workshop (not including airfare). For me, if I do something like this about 4 times a year, that's about $90 / month, the amount I'm saving by using a Virgin mobile phone and iPod touch instead of an iPhone. So, basically free! ;)

Look forward to seeing you there!

I had short, but interesting dialog with sun on groups.drupal.org regarding how to go about getting a better menu interface into core. Sun maintains the Administrator Menu project and it sounds like the module might be earmarked for core inclusion in Drupal 7. The discussion got me thinking about what it would take to unify the efforts of module creators and maintainers and develop really solid api and tool set for getting around in Drupal. I maintain the Navigate module, which is a proof of concept for the kinds of tools I'd like to see, and I've been trying to decide if I should continue improving the module, or see if I can combine efforts with other like-minded folks in the community to can get something good enough for core.

Leisa, the usability professional working with Mark Boulton on the new Drupal 7 design, mentioned that what Drupal really needs is a genuine interfacelift (get it, interface + facelift? </whimsy>), not just small incremental changes. To this end, they set up a booth at Drupalcon soliciting ideas for improving Drupal's administration system, and have recently posted the videos. This 'facelift' might be a perfect opportunity for getting the infrastructure required for new - more usable - tools into core.

It's premature for me to assume that this kind of effort would be welcomed in the community or that I will have the resources to head up the process, but - at least in my head - it seems like it could have a much more lasting impact than releasing an updated version of a single administration module among many.

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