One of the great joys of my job as a web developer, and of my life in general, is the opportunity to learn new things. Every time a new technology is released, or a new project crosses my desk, its time to buckle down and figure out what my known unknowns are and start filling in the gaps in my knowledge.
Working at Blue Tent is fantastic in almost every respect – I get interesting projects to work on, the opportunity to live and play in the mountains, and a steady paycheck to keep my climbing rack full, my skis waxed, and my bikes tuned. I say ‘almost’, because there is a downside to life in a small dev shop in a small mountain valley in western Colorado – the lack of a vibrant developer community. There’s always Google and IRC, of course, but there’s really nothing that can beat asking a question face to face of someone with some real world experience.
So I’m looking forward to having the chance to do just that at DrupalCon Denver – to listen to other developers talk about how they’ve solved problems similar to the ones I face, to be able to bounce ideas and questions off of them, and also to just hear what cool projects other folks in the Drupal community have been working on recently.
Here are some of the talks I’m looking foward to:
I’m not sure what the ‘Apps’ concept is about in Drupal, but a lot of the work I do is building applications on top of Drupal. One of the big challenges building of maintaining projects like that is how to deploy and distribute them. The Features module, drush make, and installation profiles have really changed my life in that regard. I always try to stay on top of what’s going on in the distribution/configuration management space so I’m going to check this one out.
Over the years my projects have gotten bigger and bigger and I work with more and more people. There’s a lot written about how to manage these teams and projects but not a lot about how to develop a process that’s right for you. None of the standard approaches seem to be a perfect fit with the culture and type of work we do here at Blue Tent, so I’m interested to hear how another team went through the process of developing a process that works for them.
I’ve recently embarked on a charitable Drupal project in my free time. One of the project requirements is that all content published on the site be available in several languages, including Arabic (right-to-left reading languages present extra challenges). Drupal has so much multi-lingual support its kind of dizzying to try to pin down the best approach in this particular scenario. In Drupal development, you can save a ton of effort if you use the appropriate tool for its intended purpose, so I’m hoping to sort out which modules are meant for which use cases in multi-lingual world.
So, yeah, did I mention a lot my work involves building applications on top of Drupal? I store and display tons of custom data all the time within Drupal. In the past we were limited to custom tables (Schema API), with custom forms (Forms API), and custom views handlers (Views API). I’m kind of ashamed to admit that I still haven’t written a single entity. I’m really interested in the question of when to use entities and when to use custom data tables and also just getting human-level intro to the core pieces of Entity building.
I spend a lot of time writing custom views filter, field handlers, display plugins, &c. I’m curious what’s new in Views 3 for Drupal 7.
One of my personal interests has always been how technology can be leveraged to create positive changes in the world. I’m interested to see what various teams have been using Drupal to accomplish. There’s nothing cooler to me than using virtual tools to effect real change in people’s lives.