Drupalcon London 2011 Day One Catch Up
The first day of the biggest Drupalcon to date saw over 1,700 drupalers descend on Fairfield Halls in Croydon for Drupalcon London (or Drupalcon Croydon as it was jokingly referred to by Robert Douglass and Jam in their 'Survive and Thrive' fun filled intro session). After our visits from the ghosts of Drupalcon's past, present and future, including a very amusing rap from 'The Ghost of Drupalcon Present' it was time for Dries traditional Drupalcon opening keynote. I won't go into detail about this at the moment because I'd like to cover that in a separate post, I'll try to get that done in the next day or two, maybe if there's any downtime at Drupalcon Wednesday or Thursday.
The first session of the day after the keynote that I chose to attend was the intreiguingly titled 'one click' seminar by Capgemini's Marcus Deglos, or @manarth to the twitter hordes. He discussed many tools and methods for automation of deployments of different environments (staging, local development, testing) - ideally doing it 'in one click'. Marcus kindly said that he would share his slides via slideshare, so if you are interested I'm sure you could obtain the link from him via twitter (indeed he may have tweeted the link already - I haven't checked as of typing this). Of all the tools and methods he mentioned Webistrano (a web app designed for allowing you to automate site builds and development tasks built on ruby on rails) which definitely warrants some further investigation if you're in need of deploying multiple instances of the same environment.
After skipping lunch as I'm not a bangers and mash fan (the good people at Burger King proving an adequate substitute) I returned to Fairfield for the Data Migration seminar hosted by Moshe Weitzman. Moshe, along with his Crvye/Acquia colleague Mike Ryan are responsible for the Migrate module, which I have to say is one of the single most awesome modules I've seen in Drupal to date. It allows importing of data into Drupal from all manner of outside sources from various types of database tables to XML to CSV and the ability to make plugins to allow importing of virtually anything else. There are many example files and helper modules and substantial work has been done on the Migrate set of modules. For anyone needing to move a non Drupal website to Drupal, this could be the answer to your prayers and a much quicker process.
After that, a very interesting discussion took place in the same room on one of the longest and most heatedly discussed topics in the Drupal community of the last few years, the topic of how drupal developers and professionals could be certified in the community and the reasons that such certification or proof of competencies are potentially needed. The reasons discussed were many and all valid, everything from individuals wanting proof of their capabilities for current and future employers to government departments wanting organisations to have certifications on products they will be working with before they can be considered for government contracts. The discussion did not reach any kind of conclusion so I'd be very interested to know if any headway is made with this in the next couple of days, or if any was made after the conclusion of this seminar/panel discussion.
The most heavily populated session that I attended all day (apart from the keynote) was the session on the entities module. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Drupal 7 will know how important the entities module has become and this session was a great overview of why entities has been implemented the way it has. It also gave a useful insight of how the field api can combine with en'ities, and areas of Drupal 7 where entities has been rolled out, such as the brand new commerce module and the rewrite of organic groups for Drupal 7. Once I get a chance to try and implement something in features myself I will return to the topic of features and try and cover some of what this seminar addressed in more detail.
That brings to a close the recap of day one, sorry if its been a little on the brief side but I've been up since 3.40am this morning so sleep is probably in order. Stay tuned for coverage of day two and day three.