My Takeaway from SANDcamp 09

SANDcamp 09

I don’t know what you did last weekend, or last summer, but I spent my weekend attending the first annual San Diego Drupal camp, also known as SANDcamp, if you are in to the whole brevity thing. Platt College donated the space, and the schedule was filled up by knowledgeable Drupal masters from San Diego’s Achieve Internet, Acquia over on the east coast, Andy from SixFlip, and more. The schedule ran for both days, and there is even a first annual SANDcamp flickr stream where you can view all the fun in action!

Topics covered a wide array of Drupal-y goodness, and found me with reactions ranging from excitement of new possibilities (Drupal-powered Facebook apps?!) to regret that I could have done previous projects much easier, had this seminar been a year or two ago, and not this past weekend… Anyways, my fave list:

  • using SimpleTest to debug Drupal development
  • using VirtualBox to run a virtual setup of Drupal on a server complete with MySQL database where you can develop to your hearts content all in the privacy of your own computer’s memory
  • using the ZEN theme as a quick and easy starter to get where you want to go (including skinning your site to work on iPhones, and for printing)
  • learning about Achieve Internet’s steps towards Building Your First Module (complete with downloadable zip of information)
  • using a new and seemingly awesome Facebook module to have Drupal power your Facebook apps, in about as painless a way as is possible
  • using the Image API and ImageCache modules to easily add images all over your site, including easily automated media galleries, thumbnail resizing, and more.
  • participating in an informal panel discussion on “Professional Development” which, while I think originally intended to be about Drupal use, quickly turned towards the glories of SVN, which Bill O’Connor, Achieve Internet’s Development Manager, says is THE “#1 thing to increase productivity.” With strong words like that, how can you go wrong?
  • watching Andy lay groundwork for “killer user profiles”, to allow a Drupal system to mimic much of the popular feats and treats found in the myspace and facebook realm: “Friending” is easily handled by “Flagging“, User Profile images are better done by ImageCache, Facebook’s wall is easily replicated as Drupal’s Guestbook… and Andy left us with sound advice: when dealing with wysiwyg editors, just say no.
  • and the icing on the Sunday cake: psd2cssonline.com

psd2cssonline

Through following the 25 tutorials, complete with video and downloadable example psd’s, you can learn the system. The system? How to name your photoshop layers correctly so that you upload the psd to the site, and are given html/css/javascript (jquery) to match. Yea. And if you register, you can even get Drupal themes straight from your photoshop files. What a weekend.

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