Drupal Johannesburg 11 March meetup notes

My thoughts on the meetup

Carl from Cerebra demoing drupal goodnessFor me, it was great to see everyone again, although I was disappointed that there weren't more than 3 new faces among the 15 or so that turned up. We do need to do something to attract more new members. I particularly enjoyed hearing about what new modules people have discovered, and enjoyed the less formal discussions afterwards. The discussion about the direction and future of the group was also very interesting and I think the issues spoken about need to be addressed. On these lines, this post on tips and best practices for local Drupal groups is highly relevant. In particular, I think the group leadership needs to be shared between 3-4 people so that we can grow and improve the group.

Notes I took during the Drupal Johannesburg meetup held on 11 March 2009:

I kicked off the evening by chatting about some of my current favourite drupal modules, and briefly about panels and organic groups.

Next up was Willem from eConsultant who brought up the issue of the local Drupal community: he wants to build a network of local Drupal developers and designers (listing their skills), and wants to use drupal.co.za to be the hub. Wants to spread the word of Drupal. Mentioned a number of South African sites that are built on Drupal, like bulksms.com and the SA 2010 website. Said there are lots of tenders, that the SA government is big on open source, so it's a great opportunity for Drupal. Mentioned the possiblity of a big Drupal company to take advantage of this. Generated a discussion about the purpose of the groups.drupal.org/southafrica site, and how best to deal with support requests. It was suggested that a list manager be used to make it easier to respond (i.e. respond directly in the email). Many people agreed that the assiting others was a central part of the building/maintaining the local Drupal community. Again it was suggested that the drupal.co.za site be used as a focus for the local group - we'd have more control over how it worked - possibly using organic groups to set up a johannesburg group, a cape town group, etc.

Carl from Cerebra spoke about an internal system they've set up at Cerebra - a Drupal platform with 3 content types:

  1. Status update like twitter
  2. Idea (ideas you have, with a voting system)
  3. What have you done (work logs)

Micro content macro results. To identify patterns. Social technologist to create change in organisation. Business intelligence; see who's struggling with something; Work log to see who's doing what. Use open calais and faceted search to 'massage' the data. This generated some interesting discussion, including the issues of loss of working time, and who does what with the data. Also mentioned the usefulness of the Faceted search module and Microsoft's 2019 future vision video. Emphasised the relevance of culture in an organisation/company: "Culture eats strategy for breakfast". Mentioned Safari books online as a good resource (got about 10 electronic versions of all Drupal books).

Andre spoke on the Flag module: links below a node, can build your own. E.g event module - flag

Richard (e-consultant): spoke about one of the most impressive things he did was gallery for 2010 using the core image module with lightbox on top of that. Using a 3d plugin flashloader module which allows you to take image cache and image module to create 3d wall. Views outputted as xml and the xml is used by the flash.

Helmke: started flash design; combo drupal and flash;  learning more about Drupal all the time; is running some personal Drupal training - free; Want's to see how it works out, and perhaps "Let it grow... ".

Training came up again, with Carl mentioning that Cerebra are looking at providing Drupal training.

Guy: put together questionnaire with dot graph svg (?) - he "gets underneath the skin of companies", figures out how companies tick.

Angelo C++ shop - looking for developers.

Greg - works for telementa: mentioned DAMP, the all in one Drupal, Apache, MySQL and PHP installer; Excited about the drupal modules spaces and context, developed by development seed;

Skip - writes modules/ themer; creator of the painter module: dynamic image generation, reflections, drawing of circles, lines etc. Can replace page text with images like page headings. Primary menus.

Patrick Frickel from Collaborative Learning Technologies; relatively new to Drupal; use open source technology to do mainly commercial training. Migrated from being a learning person to being a system analyst, solving issues. Discovered Drupal - Built a drupal site to allow people to show a product and use a tablet to capture the information. QA system. Wants to figure out how to use drupal for his company, and to find people to collaborate with. Spoke about social constructivism and learning.

Anton from Telementa: mentioned a few things:

  1. News from Adrian Rossouw: he's going to be joining development seed - where he will be continuing his work on Aegir and also on context and spaces.
  2. Telementa: headspark - course booking site - prices vary; Dynamic prices to ensure the course runs at a profit;
  3. Execujet - hr performance appraisal site;
  4. Marketworks - webforms, and automating large opinion polls for seta;
  5. Internal site for SCRUM (scrum based intranet) - loving editable fields for views and cck. Also - new weight module for views;

Thanks go to Anton and Obsidian for providing the venue, and to Willem of eConsultant for providing drinks :-)