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Drupalcon Boston: Day 2

Here's a brief rundown of the sessions I attended today.

FastCompany.com Case Study

This site recently re-launched in a massive way - the entire site (as well as a companion site) was re-written in Drupal with social networking at it's core. It launched with more than 500,000 nodes that were imported from a previous content management system.

One of their goals was that they wanted users to find each other from common ideas, not common resumes. Facilite new relationships - not existing ones.

During the design phase, about 200 professionally wireframes were created. Lullabot and Achieve Internet did a lot of the heavy lifting for the site's functionality while Tree House Interactive did the themeing.

One new module that was developed for the site, slot machine (not yet released) allows editors to manage scheduling and promotion of content. The site utilizes over 120 modules and uses caching extensivly - wherever they could, they cached. The utilized the views_fastsearch module for targeted searches.

The site has extensive user profile functionality it uses the Node Cluster (new, not yet released) module to manage multiple profile pages. Lots of existing groups and users (100,000+) were imported.

Drupal was chosen mainly for its flexibility and proof of its scalability. They saw Sony's and other large sites' success, as well as Drupal's momentum.

Keynote: Chris DiBona and Leslie Hawthorne of Google

"Open Source is Magic" - and Chris, the open source program manager at Google, proved it during his talk. He gave a brief history of the open source movement, sprinkled with hilarious quotes ("Linux is a Cancer" - Steve Balmer) and impressive statistics (more than 70% of email programs utilize open source code).

Leslie Hawthorne is the program manager for both Google Summer of Code and the Google Highly Open Participation Project. She gave a nice overview of both programs and apparently loves the Drupal community, all thanks to webchick who inspired her early on.

Popular Science Case Study

The site was redesigned by pingVision. They talked a lot about the various content types on the site, and how they used them. It was a very detailed case study.

One of the more exciting things to come out of it appears to be the Drupal Markup Engine, a new module that works with CCK to allow editors to place media within content with simple marker. It was also said to handle related content somehow.

Other modules utilized on the site are node reference (for various media), taxonomy image, Yahoo terms, node carousel, nodequeue, JavaScript tools, abuse, and avatar approval.

On the hardware size, the effectively used memcache to handle excessive pathauto queries - they indicated this provided a major performance improvement. So much so that it really took everyone by surprise.

The project was a bit of a sprint - only 3 months of development time with 12 developers and the Popular Science staff.

Theming with the Theme Developer Module

If you haven't seen Moshe Weitzman's screencast for the theme developer module - go check it out - it'll change the way you look at themeing.

As part of the devel module, it give you a Firebug-like experience, only for Drupal theme templates and functions instead of CSS. When inspecting a page element, it provides suggestions to override current theme functions. The open-source Krumo library is needed for some of the advanced features - see the devel moduule's readme.txt for more information.

Moeshe talked about themeing in Drupal 6 a bit as well - he recommends creating a new sub-theme based on a downloaded theme for all new themes. Subthemes inherit all of their base theme's stuff. You just need to override the stuff you want to change. Drupal 6's .info files for themes are the key to subtheming and some other neat tricks.

Triggers, Actions, and Hooks, Oh My!

John VanDyk gave a great overview of using and implementing actions and triggers in Drupal 6. His presentation was part demonstration, part code - it was a great mix. If you want to learn how to implement actions and triggers in your modules, hopefully this session will be available for download.

John covered everything from creating new basic actions, altering current actions via drupal_alter, creating new triggers, and even touched on advanced actions with configuration settings and context.
Submitted by michael on Tue, 03/04/2008 - 9:36pm
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