Drupal for Developers Session at ConFoo

This week I had the chance to speak at ConFoo, Montreal's annual conference on web technologies. The conference attracts speakers and attendees from across Europe and North America, as well as locals from Montreal. On the list of speakers this year were Andrew Zmievsky who presented on Geotools and ElasticSearch and James Duncan from Joyent speaking about Node.js.

My topic was 'Drupal as a programmer-friendly CMS'. Besides introducing Drupal's features and architecture, I wanted to show attendees why Drupal is a good choice for developers. The conference includes sessions on a variety of programming languages, databases, libraries, and frameworks, but this was the only session dedicated to Drupal at the conference.

Introducing a room full of experienced developers to Drupal in an hour was not an easy task. We've recently started running a one-day Drupal training course for developers, and I tried to fit the essentials from the intro section of that course into a one-hour presentation.

I wanted to convey Drupal's strengths as well as the fact that it's a complex system that has a steep learning curve. I covered the basic Drupal CMS concepts, but also features that are new in Drupal 7 that make it more of a framework: renderable arrays and entities. I highlighted two major contributed modules that make Drupal really powerful: Views and Features.

I also included a 10-minute segment on 'How Drupal Works', which included the bootstrap process, the hook and menu systems, and the form API. The 'Things Developers Like' section included a laundry list of reasons why Drupal is developer-friendly: command-line integration with Drush, coding standards, the Drupal security team, and the Devel module.