April 2010

Working to get Leslie’s wireless going before the big party at Marcs.

Krumy and Mick

Drupalcon San Francisco 2010I’ve officially gone off the deep end. Started off my trip with a H.A.R.D. run. Five miles with Krumy and Blue Eyes. That in itself is nothing unusual. But Blue Eyes wanted to start at 4 am. Yes, that’s 4 am eastern time. So she could get her 20 miles in. Krumy and I would just be doing the first leg with her. Others were lined up for the later legs. So up at 3:30 to dress and drive into Annville by 4. I think Krumy said it best in a past blog post, “One thing about running with this group – it’s contagious. You find yourself agreeing to things you promised you would never do.” 3:30 is just too damn early to be getting up no matter how you look at it.

Made it to the airport to a delayed flight. They were waiting for a mechanic to show up to take care of a small maintenance issue. That’s always comforting.

Like a Fish Out of Water

Got to SF with only a slight case of motion sickness. No reading on the plane this trip, just daydreaming. Adhered to my #1 rule though (no barfing at all cost). Hopped a shuttle to the hotel. Back in the city. Sorry to those of you who think San Francisco is great. To me it’s just another concentrated area of concrete, steel, and people with too much noise, overpowering smells, and overwhelming commotion. Not my thing. Why can’t they have these conferences in Rocky Mountain National Park or Yellowstone or someplace where you can camp out and talk Drupal by a campfire? I just don’t understand.

Tried to check into the hotel at 1:30. Room’s not ready, take a hike till 3 please. Out into the streets to find some lunch. Back to the hotel, check in, nap, wrestle with the computer to get connected to the wifi, and figured out the game plan for tomorrow. No TV remote in the room. Oh well, I don’t want to get sucked in anyway. Whined to a friend about being in the city and about dreading the next four days of trying to find a niche to fit into, and then off to bed.

Code Sprint Day

Leisurely morning getting out of bed – 10am!!! Errr…well…it was 7 am in San Francisco but I was still on east coast time. Put on my big girl pants and made my way over to the convention center, stopping for breakfast on the way. Registered and sat down to look over the conference book. Code sprint started at 10. [What's a code sprint? Version 7 of Drupal is in the works. In order to release it, the remainder of the bugs must be patched and tested. The code sprint is a mass effort to get as many items in the issue queue taken care of as possible.] No idea what I’d be able to do to contribute but headed over anyway. Sat down in the “documentation” section, sure that I didn’t know enough to join the Services or Code testing areas. The guy next to me immediately started jabbering about some node thing he was working on. I was out of my league. The best developers in Drupal were sitting all around me. I clearly didn’t belong. Checked email, typed a few text messages, and packed up. Nothing for me to do here. Headed towards the door and got about 10 feet from it when a guy jumped in front of me blocking my way.

Him: “Are you here for the code sprint?”
Me: “Well, I was but I’m in over my head.”
Him: “No, no. Come sit down. We’ll have you testing in less than an hour.”
Me: “You sure? I really have no idea what I’m doing.”
Him: “Positive. Do you have a testing environment set up on your laptop?”

Within an hour, I had a server set up, was applying patches, and testing code with the group I was sitting with. Woohoo! Finally got over a hurdle I’ve been trying to clear for 6 months! And one that opens up a ton of other doors. Let the conference begin!

Went to lunch with my group, locals who knew their way around SF. I picked their brains on what would be a good route to run and see the city. Worked with the group until 5, then headed back to the hotel, grabbed supper, and decided what sessions I was going to attend for the next 3 days.

Conference Day 1

Me with Dries Buytaert, Drupal founder

Me with Dries Buytaert, Drupal founder

Long day of sessions today. Nothing earth shattering – just confirmation of how far I can go with Drupal and how far I have to go with Drupal. The best part was the keynote speech by the founder of Drupal – Dries Buytaert. It was what I was looking forward to the most today. His speech last year was incredible. He didn’t disappoint. He has an amazing grasp of the larger picture of not just Drupal but technology in general and a clear vision for Drupal, and clearly illustrates Drupal’s path for the future. He has a way of creating a culture of sharing and collaboration, of making you want to give back to the community, and of energizing and inspiring you….I drank the Drupal Coolaid.

I attended sessions on security, the Top 20 Drupal API’s, the Views module, Object-oriented PHP, and Drupal as a Web service. Cool stuff.

There are 3,000 people attending this conference (up from 1,400 last year) so I was glad to see a few familiar faces – people I met at the DrupalCamp in Colorado last year. Got caught up with them.

Also made my peace with the city today. Not quite as intimidated or overwhelmed once I figure out where I’m going. The walking commute to and from the convention center is actually kind of nice. (Did I type that out loud?)

Drupalisms of the day:
Talk is silver, code is gold.
I want a Druplipet.

Conference Day 2
Another full day of sessions. Hard to believe it was only one day. Tried a different tactic this morning – session hopping. Instead of trying to stick it out in a session that I wasn’t getting much out of, I sat in on several for a few minutes each to get a feel for them. Ended up staying in sessions on internationalization (translating your site), the Views module (another one…it’s a complex module! I also have 7 hours worth of video waiting to be watched on the views module. Did I mention it’s a complex module?), practices to keep your admin simple for your editors, panels module, Drupal 7 theming, Drupalchix, and got stuck in one that I really didn’t belong in but didn’t have the heart to leave…something about gardening with Drupal. What??? Lots of good info I need to explore.

Also met up with Laura from PingV of Colorado. Her company helped sponsor the DrupalCamp Colorado last year. Found out the DrupalCamp CO is on for this year but the dates are still being decided. Woohoo!!!! Two trips to Colorado already in the works for this summer.

Conference Day 3

More of the same today – sessions, sessions, sessions. One on making patches to submit back to the Drupal community, one on Drush (a command line thing that speeds up development) taught by a 14-year old!, module development, etc. Started to get fried near the end. This is it, thankfully. Time to go home tomorrow….taking a lot of good things back with me – collected lots of resources to work through and made some connections I can turn to when I need a push in the right direction.

Looking forward to getting home and back into the regular routine again. It’s been ages since I’ve seen that routine. And I promise, HARD, that includes getting my butt out of bed to run in the morning!

The Drupal Song at the closing ceremony – the person playing the accordion is the 14-year old presenter:

Never did finish this blog post. But this was the essence of the conference. Don’t have the time or brain power to articulate the rest right now except to list some interesting facts from the conference:

  • $72,000 spent on coffee.
  • ZERO IE6 users on the DrupalCon website (yeayyy!), 43% Apple users.
  • Had up to 2200 people use the internet simultaneously consuming a 92 megabit pipe. Whoever did the wifi at Moscone needs a raise.