Drupalcon: Day One
Well, day one has come and gone. Christina is in bed beside me asleep and feeling more toward the better side of things. She's been sick since last night, unfortunately, most likely due to the disrupted schedule and lack of good food and enough water. Nik gave her a cocktail of medicines that have been helping. Hopefully she'll feel up to a tour we will take tomorrow of La Sagrada Familia... which is incredible! I'll post pictures later of the place lit up at night. Onto some details about the conference...
The venue for the Drupalcon is amazing. (See the first picture below for a happy shot of the banner they hung for us!) It's an old factory that's been converted into a hi-tech convention center. I'm sure the brick and cement walls do wonders for the wireless network reception... but it works and it's nice. And there's free food for lunch. Overall it's about a 30-40 minute metro/tram ride from our apartment. It was fun seeing more and more Drupallers as we got closer and then entering geek heaven when we got off the tram at Cornelia Center. The organizers couldn't have picked a better place.
The day started off with a quick introductory session followed by a nearly on time first session. I'll have to post a pic of the swag we got, but it was all incredibly cool and useful (a public transit map, a lens/LCD cleaner, a MySQL cheat sheet, and Lullabot buttons!). We also got cool Drupalcon shirts that you can bet I'll be sporting in the Ubercart office.
I attended The Observer session by Moshe Weitzman and Barry Jaspan. (I met them earlier at the family gathering at Moshe's which was much fun - and also informative!) The wireless wasn't working for a while, so there was plenty of question and answer time which proved quite fruitful. I learned about the great solution they setup for publishing content at The Observer, including their edition nodes and ability to preview editions for certain days in the future (or I suppose in the past) so their editors can preview an edition before it gets published. They talked a little about the process of communicating with a client and stressed the importance of wireframes and design documents being received up front. Obviously, you can't wait till the whole site is done to start theming, but they would have preferred to wait a little longer on this particular project. The also gave a quick plug for Advomatic hosting for any looking for a good host.
Next I made it to Simon's session on the state of e-commerce. He provided a great birds' eye view of the project, covering the main bases for a wide set of modules. There's just sooo much to cover, but his slides were concise and his info about upcoming features for version 4 was quite exciting. I'd be lying if I said I didn't imagine how I might implement some of the stuff in Ubercart. They'll have PDF invoice generation, a recurring payments API (I think has existed for a while, but the question comes up often in the Ubercart forums), and product features which will be "integratable" with actions for workflow stuff. We've really got to define actions for Ubercart. I mean, we're practically doing it already w/ our own hooks... it should be a piece of cake to define them as events. (Oh bother... I always mix up the actions/events terminology.) I also realized I was doing something silly with the checkout pane/order pane APIs and may try to correct the problem when I return. It would be something along the lines of adding _validate and _submit functions to the checkout process instead of including that code in the checkout pane callback... that would allow me to simplify the checkout pane API even more and be more consistent with the Forms API. I'll chew on it...
Lunch was good. It was baguettes, cheese, some weird green mass filled fried thing, and other finger foods. I ate it outside with a guy named Joe Golden from Vermont. We chatted a bit about his work and a bit about Ubercart when Olav and his fellow German Friedrich (sorry if that's spelled wrong ) joined us. Olav wrote a VAT module for Ubercart... and get this. He and Friedrich co-authored a German Drupal development book and included a chapter on setting up a store in Drupal... using Ubercart. I was totally pumped to find out about it and wish I could've talked to him more. I hope to see him in an Ubercart session. Although I met him a little later in the day, I also found by accident Aymerick from France (and the Ubercart forums). He's contributed role product and expirable product modules to Ubercart, and I hope to see him again, too.
I also ran into Jeff Robbins from Lullabot and had a good chat with him about his recent improvements to Contemplate (better UI, file exports to put templates in a sites/all/contemplate directory, and more). I got to fill him in a little on Ubercart and toss around some general excitement about Drupal development and the Drupalcon. Perhaps some day we can get on a Podcast to share a little more. Remember... Lullabot loves you. (Will post a picture of the proof later. )
After lunch I caught the Forms API 3 session. Here I learned a little about the upcoming changes to the Forms API for Drupal 6. It's exciting stuff that will affect every Ubercart module, but it won't be too bad to update. Image buttons are now in core. Also, individual buttons can now have validate and submit handlers, and you can embed data on buttons to pass through the form in the new $form_state array. $form_id and $form_values are no more, but their old contents and new info will be sent in the state variable. Multi-step forms have also been improved, which will be a big plus for Lyle who's been struggling with them in Drupal 5 for taxes forms. There is also no more returning of a URL for redirection... you simply set it in the $form_state array, which is good for affecting the redirect with hook_form_alter() I suppose. His was a great session to sit in on, and it ended with Ewoks dancing on the screen.
After that I caught the Drupal College session, which was a small presentation and then brainstorming session on an official Drupal training course. The idea is for it to last a little longer and include company partnerships. There's still more thinking to be done, but it sounds exciting. I wish it'd been around when I was just graduating... I won't be attending myself, but I would be interested in doing mentoring and training with the guys if it ever materializes. I wish them all the best!
I didn't attend a final session but chose to hop online for a few minutes... bad attendee. But I did get the opportunity to meet other developers, including Alan from NowPublic. I got to gush to J.R. from Hawaii (now living in Barcelona) for a while about Ubercart, and this is also when I hooked up with Aymerick. I'm sure there will be plenty more to tell... Afterwards, we all headed back to the apartment, hung around for a while, and went out for a quick bite to eat. Turns out when I went to pay for my hamburguesas there was a 5 EUR bill on the ground that the waiter handed me to pay him with. Well... I did, and I ended up making 1 EUR back just to eat at his restaurant! How about that! In Barcelona, you can get paid for Drupalling and paid for eating. }:)