First impression: Thousands of people in a relatively medium-sized space.
Keynote addresses were quite good including : Clay Shirky and Jared Spool. Dries gave insight into the beginnings of Drupal 8 while I’m still trying to wrap my brain around 6. The second keynote pertained to the effects of the new social networks. How people find power by gathering virtually. The third keynote about usability was excellent and probably stuck with me the most (maybe because it was the last). The speaker had great examples and introduced concepts about user knowledge level and target knowledge level. He reminded us that “good design is invisible.” And, provided us with three methods for user testing.
There were over 85 sessions put into several tracks. The media session was more than disappointing. The presenters were more interested in talking about how they made the module and its history than demonstrating what it will do in Drupal 7.
The HTML5 session was a call for implementing more HTML5 into Drupal core and module… HTML5ify Drupal! Although some features of HTML5 are exciting, in some ways it seems to just add more code to simply mark an item as a header or footer etc. But there are many useful changes as well.
The Views Demystified session was probably my most productive. I like the changes I see in Drupal 7, especially the ability to determine a tag wrapper on certain elements. I knew most of the information in this session but it was useful to revisit things, plus I did pick up some new information.
The Haml, Sass, Compass and Peroxide session gave a glimpse into these new methods of writing styles and markup. I was interested in the ability to use variables and calculations within Sass. I’m still not totally sold on using frameworks and technology that just writes out HTML and CSS. But the possibilities are worth investigating.
The session I attended on Features, Profiles and Drush Make was by far the most interesting. I now have seen a feature being built and used in action. I can see many uses for this type of “bundling” in building sites, especially if you’re building them for vertical markets. The presenter of this session was a young man who actually wrote Drush Make. He was knowledgeable, personable and entertaining.
I attended an Advanced Drush session that was just
Drupal commerce looks promising although the words “if someone would like to contribute that module…” were repeated quite a bit. So I came away with the feeling that there is still much to be done. They are separating some of the elements so that it will be easier to sell subscriptions and donations without making someone go through a shopping cart interface.
Probably the best part of any conference is the time spent with friends and strangers. I met several people made at least one new friend and got to know my co-workers a little better. Dinner with Jamie was a great time. Meeting Mark from Microsoft and Adam was a pleasant surprise.
All in all I have much to learn still but I now have some direction and a glimpse into technologies I didn’t know existed. I did not walk away with any hard knowledge, yet many new ideas to investigate. If only there were 10 more hours in each day!
Final impression: lots of people still drinking in the lobby at 6:30 AM!
Can’t wait for Nashville Drupalcamp and Drupalcon 2012!