On 19 January 2008, more than forty people interested in Drupal gathered in the Multipurpose Room at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) to share what they know about Drupal and to learn more about the topic from others at the event.
Drupal is a framework for building and maintaining websites. Although it is often referred to as a content management system (CMS), it has broadened over time to become a content management platform, which is more flexible and powerful than many CMSs.
The forty-plus people participating today in DrupalCampWI ranged from people totally new to Drupal (have never built a website with Drupal and have never maintained a Drupal site) to individuals who are Drupal ninjas (write or maintain modules, are hardcore coders or are on the Drupal Association General Assembly). Two tracks of sessions were set up, with one track for newbies/users and the other for ninjas/developers. The wide range of skill and familiarity with Drupal made it difficult to have sessions highly applicable to any one participant, but if someone was out of their depth in a session, participation in the session let them meet people with whom they could talk after the session or after the camp.
I fall into the category of zero experience with Drupal. My reason for participating in the camp is to learn some basics about Drupal from people who are using it and to make some connections with those people. After this camp I'll have some personal contacts in case of difficult questions I run into that I can't figure out myself and can't get answers via drupal.org forums or via Google. It would also be nice to walk away from the camp with my first few Drupal beta site pages, but if I don't accomplish that before I leave here tonight, it has still been worth participating in the sessions and connecting with some of the people at the camp. Especially useful so far were the sessions about CCK, Views, YUI and Podcasting.
Serendipty, as usual, played a significant role in creating value for me participating in this camp. One of the people I connected with today is Jeff Blessing, an MSOE instructor who is doing some cool things with innovation and entrepreneurism. He has an event called the Innovation Chase being planned for Spring 2008 -- stay tuned for more details on this event. After talking for a while with Jeff, it was clear he needed to connect with Justin Kruger/Fireseed and James Carlson/Bucketworks, both of whom happened to also be participating in DrupalCampWI. When Justin and James showed up, I connected Jeff with them, and some fun things should flow from those new relationships. When I mentioned the Fireseed/NVIDIA event being organized for Milwaukee in February 2008, Jeff mentioned an MSOE grad he knows who works for NVIDIA full-time from Brookfield, WI. Jeff is going to connect with that MSOE grad to see if he will participate in the Fireseed event and/or the FS3 project. I'm also going to connect Jeff with some people who are doing things in the Appleton, Wisconsin, area with innovation and entrepreneurism. Expanding the tech community in Wisconsin and the Midwest is always an agenda item for me when meeting new people at events like this camp.
Thanks to Blake Hall, Jeramey Jannene, Web414, the event sponsors and everyone else who made DrupalCampWI happen. Now it's time to sit down and get my first Drupal site built and launched...