FridgeCheck visits Drupal Camp MK

About a week back, Skopje had the honor to host its first Drupal Camp event. As a savy user of similar CMS platforms (e.g. WordPress, Jomla) this was the first time I had come across Drupal which in the end turned up great, as the event offered lecturers with great experience in development and technology who gave some crucial insight not only for dummy users like me but also programing practice for more advanced users. Drupal prides itself on the strong community and you could feel the atmosphere was electric and the air was thick with love – love for Drupal and barbecue.  

Since 1st of May the International Workers' Day and the event took place between the 2nd and 3rd of May, the guys from the organization used this opportunity to organize a community BBQ, which turned out to be a great opportunity for the newcomers like me to network with some tech gurus before the official event begin. All in all a well lived day accompanied with some cold beer on a lovely spring day.

Around 50 people gathered on 2nd of May in front of the doors of the faculty of Computer Science and Engineering feeling excited to get the registration and start their sessions. As I mentioned, the whole schedule of the event was structured in a way to offer options for people to choose their session of preference. Since I was a newbie in a team with two developers the first thing I chose to visit was the opening session with one of the main organizers of this event Vasil Grozdanovski who normally opened his day with a talk on how to Build your first Drupal site (best practices).

All in all a very well executed presentation having in mind the fact that he actually set down and went through the process of setting up a Drupal installation and going through the nuts and bolts of how to administrate and operate a Drupal site. But the spotlight of the day was reserved for Jeffrey A. "jam" McGuire who from a personal experience has to be one of the best lecturers that I have had the opportunity to listen to. The official title of his session was Idealism Embodied: Philosophy, Code, Empowerment where he discussed various issues in development related to Drupal which were excellent itself. What really caught my attention was when opened the subject of using error prone systems that hackers and tech savvy people with ill intentions can easily leverage on, this is why according to Jam many government sites have adopted Drupal as it simply offers great of the shelf security functionalities that are valuable to every business dealing with sensitive information.

Lunch time quickly came and afterwards a panel discussion was opened with the title “Why Drupal 8? Why now? PS - Drupal 7 is still awesome hosted by the amazing Jam who talked what the long awaited Drupal 8 will bring to the table and how the later version 7 is still in business, the panel opened up to some intriguing discussions where people from the community had the opportunity to ask their questions and feel free to share their opinion and past experience of using this platform. Sharing knowledge and experience is key for communities and from the first day I could almost feel the people around me as family. Later that night the organizers hosted a party where people mingled with talk of the day’s impression while having a few cold beers on a solid jazz sounds.

The second day of course was reserved for the keynote speaker Michael Schmid on the topic “Drupal 8 Deeper Dive”, who went a step further than the first day and explained the new object oriented programing practice that was taken as a necessary step to bring Drupal closer to the demanding tech world today. He also discussed the difficulties in taking such a radical decision and how long it took for them to go in to the back bone or core of Drupal and re-write everything so that it still continues to offer to the community that look and feel but also greater and more advanced options relevant to the developing technology these days.

Another interesting presentation was held by Stavros Pavlidis on Creating a “Drupal 7 Theme from Scratch”. The title itself is self-explanatory but the importance here was that Drupal offers a large variety of themes that can be installed in no time without touching a single line of code. Honorable mention that day has to be given to Martin Mayer who opened a discussion with the official title “Freelancers Unite” which sparked some valuable discussions towards the opportunity Drupal offers to people who prefer working in this field and realizing ideas in to life through the usage of the Drupal.

As the day came to end I felt like the mission was complete, in the two days during the camp not only did they managed to spark my interest towards Drupal but also through the process of smooth networking meet some remarkable people and learn from their experience. The whole event left me with a feeling of needing more which gets me to the point of giving big props to the organizers who managed despite all the difficulties to execute a perfect two days event, with great impressions of the last and on to the next Drupal Camp hope see you next year in Skopje.

See how the event went through the following photo gallery: