Keeping Up with the Latest Drupal Modules

I'm really enjoying Lullabot's Do It With Drupal conference. The Marriott here is incredible... easily the largest hotel I've ever stayed in. I'm on floor 7 out of 41, and surprisingly you can get around all 41 floors without ever touching a button in an elevator. That's right... the buttons are on the wall outside and you're stuck heading to the floor you punched in once you board. (In the case of one woman I ran into on my floor, it means you might also get stuck in the elevator, too.)

After chatting with various relative newcomers to Drupal, I wanted to point out again a feed that helps me stay on top of all the modules getting released. Bookmark http://drupal.org/taxonomy/term/14/0/feed in your feed reader, and you can see what is being worked on and released by whom. There are other related feeds that refine what modules get included (like the new modules feed at Drupal Modules), but this one will show you any project getting created on drupal.org, even when it's just a twinkle in its developer's eye.

Getting familiar with the large module library can be intimidating, but once you have a solid understanding of what's available and what sorts of modules are available, keeping tabs on what's coming down the pipe through this feed can be quite helpful. For me it's a great way to see all the latest modules being released that deal w/ Ubercart. Combine that with some reasonable short term memory and you can start recommending "the right module for the job" in no time.

Using Drupal Covering Ubercart

Lullabot's new Drupal book, <a href="http://www.usingdrupal.com"><em>Using Drupal</em></a>, is getting quite a bit of coverage and has already garnered at least <a href="http://www.topnotchthemes.com/blog/081203/using-drupal-book-review">one solid review</a>. (Thanks, Steph!) What's particularly exciting about the book for me is that this marks the first major appearance of <a href="http://www.ubercart.org">Ubercart</a> in print!

I was informed about the chapter a bit before the book was announced publicly and was totally excited by the news. What made it even sweeter was that <a href="http://webchick.net">webchick</a> did a thorough technical review of the Ubercart chapter and flooded our issue tracker for a couple of days with bug reports and usability suggestions. Isn't it great how that works? The book gets a better chapter and the community gets a better Ubercart. <img src="http://www.bywombats.com/sites/all/modules/smileys/packs/example/smile.png" />

At least <a href="http://drupal.org/node/333901#comment-1110386">one person believes</a> that the chapter devoted to Ubercart is worth the price of the entire book. If you've been waiting for a chance to get a solid overview of and introduction to installing and configuring Ubercart, then <em>Using Drupal</em> is the book for you.

Ubercart Sessions at Drupalcon DC

<a href="http://dc2009.drupalcon.org/?ref=default"><img src="http://dc2009.drupalcon.org/sites/all/themes/dcdc/badges/badge_basic.gif" alt="" title="" align="right" style="margin: 0em 0em 1em 1em; border:0px;" /></a>Honestly, it feels crazy early for me to be submitting session proposals to a conference four months out. I was motivated by the reminder that the deadline is nearing to get our Ubercart session proposals up on the site for folks to scope out and vote into being. If you haven't posted your proposals yet (not counting BoF sessions), get on it! The deadline is December 10th.

I'll be teaming up with Lyle, the other core Uberdev, and the rest of Team Ubercart to present a couple of sessions:
<ul>
<li><a href="http://dc2009.drupalcon.org/session/ubercart-drupal-6">Ubercart on Drupal 6</a> - The abstract says it all, but the gist of this one is a brief project overview, status update, and explanation of all the changes and new goodness that have come our way during the Drupal 6 migration. With a beta on the near horizon, the 2.0 version <em>should</em> be widely used by then with work on the 3.0 under way.</li>
<li><a href="http://dc2009.drupalcon.org/session/advanced-ubercart-usage">Advanced Ubercart Usage</a> - In this session, I'll be spending some time highlighting some of the great ways people are using Ubercart and how we've helped make their dreams come true. Any advanced core/contrib module is fair game, and this includes things like the User Points integration and customization for <a href="http://www.digitaldollhouse.com">Digital Dollhouse</a>, <a href="http://drupal.org/project/uc_node_checkout">node checkout</a> system for <a href="http://www.doitwithdrupal.com">Do It With Drupal</a>, and <a href="http://drupal.org/project/uc_node_access">node access purchasing</a> sponsored by <a href="http://www.flatworldknowledge.com">Flat World Knowledge</a>.</li>
</ul>

This time around we'll also enjoy sitting back and relaxing while Mike and Tim from the <a href="http://www.commerceguys.com">Commerce Guys</a> give a beginner's introduction to installing and configuring Ubercart. Their session, <a href="http://dc2009.drupalcon.org/session/starting-your-own-ubercart-store">St... your own Ubercart store</a>, will essentially be an expanded version of what I've crammed into the "Introducing Ubercart" hour at the last three Drupalcons.

Anyways, while <a href="http://dc2009.drupalcon.org">Drupalcon DC</a> feels like a long way off, I know it'll be here before I know it. I can't wait to go. I'm looking forward to the event itself and to visiting family in the area. I especially look forward to visiting the <a href="http://www.nasm.si.edu/">Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum</a> and highly recommend it to anyone looking to geek out while sight seeing.

So... unless you're coming to <a href="http://www.doitwithdrupal.com">DIWD</a> in December, I'll see you in March! <img alt="Cool" title="Cool" src="http://www.bywombats.com/sites/all/modules/smileys/packs/example/cool.png" />

Selling Customizable Products with Ubercart

We were shortsighted. I wish we'd been thinking more along this line from the beginning. Who knows what sort of e-commerce situations Ubercart would be able to handle now if we had geared it toward customizable products from the get go? Drupal really is the perfect CMS to handle this sort of e-commerce need...

These thoughts are provoked by a recent German store, <a href="http://www.leinwandfoto-discount.de/">Leinwandfoto Discount</a>, that blew me away when I saw its live site listing this morning. Using <a href="http://drupal.org">Drupal</a> and <a href="http://www.ubercart.org">Ubercart</a>, the development team created a site where users can upload photos that can be turned into canvas prints for their living room walls for a small fee. Geez, I'd love to have <a href="http://www.bywombats.com/blog/ryan/10-24-2008/selling-customizable-produ... Uberkid</a> on my wall. Check out their site and give these guys <a href="http://drupal.org/node/325583">some feedback</a> if you have a minute. Not only did they build a great site, but they also gave the code back to the community in the form of a couple new and reworked contributions. Way to go! <img src="http://www.bywombats.com/sites/all/modules/smileys/packs/example/cool.png" />

They're not alone in the innovation, though. A recently launched site by popular <em>Milenio</em>, <a href="http://chic.milenio.com/">Fotos Chic</a>, also sells prints of photos on Ubercart. Earlier this year, <a href="http://www.lullabot.com">Lullabot</a> sponsored development of the first <a href="http://drupal.org/project/uc_node_checkout">UC Node Checkout</a> module that's getting plenty of use to help folks build customized product forms. You can demo this one first hand by signing up to learn more about Ubercart at <a href="http://www.doitwithdrupal.com">Do It With Drupal</a>. <img src="http://www.bywombats.com/sites/all/modules/smileys/packs/example/wink.png" /> Other sites are building full user marketplaces and affiliate programs using contributed modules that I only wish I had the time to play with and hack on. C'est la vie. I can at least keep plugging away on the core.

Here's to development in <em>community</em>.
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