Drupal Forever: A Day in the Life at MidCamp

Drupal Conference

One development framework I have been desperately wanting to learn for quite some time is Drupal - an open source CMS platform built, used, and supported by people around the world. Here at Caxy, a group of us have been diving in to all things Drupal in an effort to continue to learn and grow with our craft. For me, its the first time properly learning how to use the platform.

To begin my Drupal journey, I made the bold move to register for MidCamp, an annual event held in Chicago to bring together people who use, develop, design, and support the Web’s leading content management platform, Drupal. Two of my colleagues and I made the trip to UIC for a day of training, seminars, and lots of free coffee to learn all we could to Drupal-ify our lives and bring our newly acquired knowledge back to Caxy. As if the stress of learning this new skill wasn’t enough, I also decided to keep a Drupal Diary of all the MidCamp madness that occurred. Read below to follow my live log from the event as well as enough reasons to convince you to attend MidCamp 2016.

8:14 a.m. - Drupal training day at MidCamp today! Lets get learning….

9:02 a.m. - "The first time I used Drupal it felt like I was drinking water out of a fire hydrant." Good, I'm not the only one! Hoping to get much more comfortable with the platform today.

9:17 a.m. - Who wants to go to a Drupal conference with me in France? Drupal camps are held all over the country and the world! This conference is already giving me adventurous ideas to attend future events and play Where In The World Is Adam Smetana?

9:22 a.m. -  MidCamp motto:  "Come for the code, stay for the community"

9:49 a.m. -  "We need to get more young people involved in Drupal and continue to improve our diversity.”  Feeling so welcomed here during this Keynote  Speech. Its great that all new users are invited to join and get involved within the Drupal community.

10:22 a.m. - The Drupal association plans on starting an apprenticeship program to train new people and help them find jobs afterwards. This could be the key to keep the Drupal community growing along with future generations.

10:33 a.m. - All the MidCamp attendees are congregating by the stage to take a Drupal community picture for a member who is battling a terminal illness.

10:31 a.m. - Here we go...the first training session: Welcome To Drupal. The speaker gave an honest pep talk that embodies all that Drupal is about: “no one can take Drupal from you or tell you NO, you cannot use it. Its ours. Its open source software.”

10:45 a.m. - I was told that, as a beginner, learning what a “node” is will be one of the most important things I learn this weekend. To continue to pay it forward, a node is defined as any piece of individual content, such as a page, an article, or blog entry.

10:52 a.m. - When beginning to build a new site on Drupal, always focus on structure before presentation. The idea is to get it working and functional, then work on making it look nice.

11:00 a.m. - “I installed it at 12, made a page and block. Looked at the clock and it was 12:05.”  - User attending the camp sharing their first experience with Drupal.

12:39 p.m. - Drupal has over 30,000 modules available on Drupal.org. Looks like I got some catching up to do. For the record, modules add functionality to the site. They can include image resizing, contact forms, and slideshows. Basically, extra features!

12:55 p.m. - Use the acronym READ to help guide your module searching on a Drupal site:  Research what exists, Evaluate the options, Analyze the gap, Determine the amount of change.

1:20 p.m. - Kudos to this presenter for including lots of GIFs in his presentation on Drupal modules! Also, very fun fact just learned: 1,163,073 people in 229 countries speaking 180 languages power Drupal.

1:28 p.m. - MidCamp has such a huge stash of Starbucks coffee- I feel like I could be stranded here for weeks and be set. Coffee and coding, nothing better!

3:05 p.m. - "Drupal 8 won't support IE7, IE8, IE9." -  Presenter during Drupal Theming session.  *Room erupts in applause*

3:53 p.m. - Oh, you know, just working on my first Drupal site. I have a functional site after only a few hours of work. So proud of today’s progress!

4:30 p.m. - ...AND that's a wrap on MidCamp for me! T'was fun and learned more than my brain could handle today. Love you Drupal!

Follow Adam on Twitter at @AdamSmetana.

Were you at Drupal Midcamp 2015? What was your favorite session? Leave a note in the comments to tell us about your experience!