I attended a Drupal Camp in Asheville on Saturday. It was their first Drupal Camp there. The camp was hosted at A-B Tech right in downtown Asheville. A-B Tech is a beautiful campus nestled on the side of a hill. The college was nice enough to open up their wi-fi network to all attendees. The seminars were held in a few computer labs. To ice the cake, they had the computers in the labs available for us to use as well. The computers in the lab I was in most of the day even had dual monitors. Sweet!
The organizers of the event offered coffee and doughnuts to the attendees in the morning. At lunch we were all treated to a pizza lunch with some awesome cookies for dessert. Everyone I talked to was super nice and friendly.
WordPress has been my content management system of choice. Almost all the sites I have built make use of WordPress. I have dabbled a bit with Drupal, and wanted to become better informed about what it has to offer, and learn a little about how to make use of it.
I attended most of the classes in the “Beginner” portion of the seminars. Doug Vann was the speaker at all but one of the seminars I attended. Doug is one of the foremost speakers and educators for Drupal. He has spoken all over the country, spreading knowledge about this open source content management system.
He started off the day giving a little bit of background about Drupal, and then proceeded to talking about the inner workings of the system. I was amazed to find out the power of this CMS. WordPress is great for small to medium sized sites, but Drupal really opens up when put into use on a large site with lots of people who are adding content. There are ways to limit what additional users are able to see and add too.
Early on Doug explained that there were several Drupal packages out there that different organizations have put together. This was a huge relief to me! I had installed and played around with the package offered on the Drupal site, and it is really, really stripped down. Being a novice, it is daunting to wade through the multitude of modules available and try to decide what might be useful. The package he used and we were able to install and follow the demonstration is called Acquia. Many of the most useful modules are already included by default. Doug took us through several different settings and setups in the Drupal backend.
John Paul McNeal
The last class I attended was taught by John Paul McNeal. He delved a little deeper into CCK. CCK is the main content creation mechanism inside of Drupal. He is a great speaker and very knowledgeable about Drupal. Unfortunately, I was about learned-out for the day! I don’t think I got as much out of the class as I would have liked.
I am looking forward to learning more about Drupal. However, I think the projects that I typically have are not involved enough to wade through all the settings it takes to configure Drupal. The one thing I missed at the camp was a class on theming. Doug never really touched on creating themes, and I did not really expect him to, since it was mainly beginner topics. Maybe at the next camp I can learn more about theming.
Hopefully the guys who put on the first Drupal Camp Asheville will do it again next year!