2009/02/23

Moving Ahead With Drupal

The need of several interesting projects to have a website made me decide the time has come for a renewed surge of brainpower and time to be applied to learning Drupal.

New connections have been made over the past year with others interested in learning Drupal or using it more effectively. Collaborating with both these new contacts and Drupal people I met in previous years, when combined with regularly scheduling blocks of my time for working on Drupal projects, will over the long term give me adequate skills for version 1.0 websites for projects about which I'm passionate. For those projects which reach critical mass, website developers and graphic artists on the project teams will make version 2.0 of the website much more effective than 1.0 at achieving the website goals.

A recent post on oDesk gave interesting insights into several differences between Drupal and Joomla:
"...There are currently 4,695 Joomla developers on oDesk, and 201 open jobs. Joomla has shown steady growth over the last two years, from 300 jobs posted per month at the start of 2008 to over 500 today. The average Joomla job size is 125 hours. There are about half as many Drupal developers (2,212) and jobs (108) on oDesk, but the average job is almost twice the size, at 234 hours. Drupal, too, has shown steady growth from 125 jobs posted per month last year to 250 today. So, Drupal jobs have half the frequency and are twice the length, which may point to the platform being used more by larger enterprises, vs. smaller projects for smaller businesses for Joomla. Although there are fewer Drupal jobs for providers to choose from, it seems to be much less competitive of a skill. In fact, it made our list of the top 10 skills with the least competition and most opportunity..."
Four resources will be leveraged whilst jumping into this second round of Drupalizing.
  1. The Wisconsin and Midwest Drupal community.
  2. The northeast Wisconsin technology community, including Drupalers.
  3. Online resources such as Lullabot, tutorial videos and the Drupal Handbook.
  4. Three books from Packt Publishing and O'Reilly Media.
The Wisconsin and Midwest Drupal community includes a great group of people passionate about Drupal and other technology topics. The closest organized Drupal group that meets regularly is in Madison, Wisconsin. A tentative goal is to attend at least six monthly meetings per year. There is also an active group in Chicago, and I'd like to get down to at least a couple of their meetings during the next 12 months. Wisconsin Drupalers are in the planning stages of the second DrupalCampWI. I was fortunate enough to participate in the first DrupalCampWI in 2008 and am looking forward to the second one. Not sure if a date has been set yet, but it's looking like late spring or early summer.

With regards to the northeast Wisconsin tech community, my goal is to continue identifying and connecting with Drupal users and enthusiasts in this region. Drupal-focused meetings are in the early planning stage for both the NEWLUG group in De Pere and the FDLLUG group in Fond du Lac. I'll also be setting up a few Drupal meetups in northeast Wisconsin if I can get at least one or two other Drupalers to commit to a day/time when they're available to meet.

There is a surfeit of useful, high-quality online Drupal resources, including Lullabot, a bunch of interesting Drupal video tutorials on opensourcecms.com and, of course, the official Drupal Handbook. Using these online resources effectively and finding more will be an important part of my Drupaling: La Partie Deux.

Three books I'm using as background reading and hardcopy references for building website in Drupal are:
  1. Building Powerful and Robust Websites With Drupal 6 from Packt Publishing.
  2. Using Drupal from O'Reilly Media.
  3. Head First Web Design from O'Reilly Media.
After I use the books to help me build my first couple Drupal websites, I'll do a review for each book on this blog.

Today is Fat Tuesday so as they say in New Orleans, 'Laissez les bon temps roulez' and let the Drupaling begin...

*****

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