DrupalCamp Chicago 2011

Andi, the NUAMPS web team’s newest addition, and I spent Saturday at DrupalCamp Chicago. The event featured eighteen sessions with about 300 in attendance; including professional developers, themers, project managers, hobbyists, and beginners. Many were from Chicago, though some, including presenters, had traveled from across the country.

Neil Hastings of Treehouse Agency spoke on his belief in fully utilizing Drupal Core. Instead of using many bulky contributed modules, Treehouse uses smaller snippets of custom code to render their sites. The biggest eye opener along these lines was his session about custom View Modes, core in Drupal 7, that can be leveraged as a healthy alternative to doing everything with Views or a mess of custom template files.

Another useful session was given by Kate Lynch, of Drexel University Libraries, about the importance of including accessibility in your plans while building a website. She gave helpful pointers on what level of detail you should follow depending on your expected audience, as well as how to easily execute such a plan from within Drupal. Within these topics, she also included discussions of the evolving trend of responsive web design.

Overall, DrupalCamp Chicago was a refreshing reminder that we are successfully keeping up to date with the techniques and technology we leverage when building new websites with Drupal. At the same time, it gave us an insight into the newest techniques we can use to continue to best serve our clients.