AIMCLEAR To Get Its Geek On @ #DrupalCon Chicago

Destination #3 on AIMCLEAR‘s March Conference Road Trip is a new, exciting, & geektacular addition to our agenda of familiar functions. March 7th marks the start of DrupalCon Chicago, a three-day event centered on the popular and prevalent open source CMS platform, Drupal.

Drawing crowds in the thousands, DrupalCon caters specifically to developers, designers, supporters, evaluators and businessfolk, whether they’re knee-deep in Drupal, looking to learn more, or first-timers curious about what it has to offer. Sessions range from beginner to intermediate and advanced levels, painting a comprehensive swath across the design/develop landscape.

From the AIMCLEAR crew, CTO Joe Warner will venture to the Windy City to attend DrupalCon 2011. Over a casual couple cans of Mountain Dew, I chatted with Joe about the upcoming conference– his expectations, sessions he’s stoked for, and general thoughts on the recently launched Drupal 7. Fruits of our Q&A live below the fold.

| Lauren: Word around the AIMCLEAR water cooler is this will be your first time at a DrupalCon event. Truth?


Joe:  Truth. This will be my first time at a DrupalCon event, but I’ve been working with Drupal as a Content Management platform for the past two and a half years. It will be cool to be surrounded by the Drupal community, especially with the recent launch of Drupal 7. I’m excited to see what’s up with the platform. Hopefully I’ll walk away with a good feeling, and continue to use it as my platform of choice for CMS.

| L: The conf agenda features a variety of sessions stemming from six diverse tracks: Implementation and Config, Coder, Business and Strategy, Drupal Community, Design and UX, and Theming. What tracks are jumping out at you as ones you’ll most likely hit up?

J: The Business and Strategy track is definitely one of interest. Sessions like “Getting Early Estimates Right” and “Lessons Learned from the Agile Process Applied” are definitely on my radar. “Resourcing for Drupal – Insight into Building a Stellar Team” seems like it will be a useful session, as we continue to build out our in-house development team here at AIMCLEAR. “Teaching Drupal: Creating Effective Drupal Training Materials for Clients, Employees, and the Public” will also be an important one. Sometimes I forget not everyone I interface with professionally is a geek :).

Implementation and Config is another eye-catching track. “Advanced Features Usage”, “Drupal in the Cloud”, and “Organic Groups 7″ will be good ones, exploring the new bells and whistles of Drupal 7. I’ll definitely be sitting in on “Drupal Commerce: Setting up Shop on Drupal 7”.  Typically when creating sites with e-Commerce functionality in the past, you had to use a third party open source shopping cart a la Ubercart. That might not be the case in Drupal 7 (*crosses fingers* … maybe it’s built in), which would be a time-saver.

The dedicated Theming track looks promising, too. Mobile is very hot right now, so I’ll be checking out “Drupal on the go with jQuery Mobile” as well as “Building awesome user interfaces with Drupal 7’s Form, AJAX, and Theme systems”.

All in all, I’m hoping to learn more for those who have already used Drupal and associated technology- to skip over intro stuff and dig into more in-depth nuts and bolts, so to speak.

| L: What about Drupal makes it the CMS platform of your developer-dreams?

J: What I dig most about Drupal is the way it’s set up, the architecture; it makes sense, it’s easy to work with, and it’s extremely flexible.

| L: Have you tinkered around with Drupal 7 much yet? What about the new version has got you stoked?

J: I haven’t even installed 7 yet. I aim to play around with it this weekend as a primer before the event, to whet my appetite in a way. Drupal 7 isn’t a total platform redesign or anything. What seems to be the best perk about 7 is the fact that there’s now a whole bunch of useful modules and extensions built-in to the platform. Previously, those modules had to be coded and added separately, but now they’re wrapped into the core with that sweet Drupal architecture. So overall, Drupal 7 isn’t revolutionary, but it’s sweet from my perspective– one I’m sure is shared by many developers.

| L: What are the biggest takeaways you’re hoping to return to Duluth with, after DrupalCon?

J: I’m hoping the conference will provide me with the insight and comfort level to start adopting Drupal 7 as the new preferred CMS solution. I want to be inspired by the technology, discover new reasons to use it, new ways to employ it. I have a feeling the presenters and crowd at DrupalCon Chicago will serve up the right mix of information and inspiration.

| L: Right on. Thanks & safe travels, Joe! Looking forward to learning about all you learn about next week.

Hungry for more? Check out a from-the-source deep-dive on features new to Drupal 7.

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