In Atlanta for Drupal Business Summit, Drupalcamp, and Music

Last month I experienced my first  Drupal Business Summit and Drupalcamp Atlanta. I thoroughly enjoyed both, learned a lot, and met some super smart people. I also got to hang out with my longtime friend and colleague Paul Piszko of Piszko Design. We’ve worked on several Drupal projects together, so this was a perfect opportunity for both of us to connect with the Atlanta Drupal community.

DBSATLBoth events were at the Cobb Galleria Centre. We arrived Friday morning, grabbed some coffee, and sat down for Josh Clark‘s keynote The Seven Deadly Myths of Mobile. One of his main points was to “build from content out, not container in.” This is so important particularly with responsive design.

The other talks were about using Drupal in government, business, higher education, and SaaS. Thomas Erickson‘s talk was literally a portfolio of enterprise-level sites that run on Drupal. Pretty amazing stuff.

The Peer-to-Peer Networking Breakouts were particularly informative. This gave us an opportunity to talk as a smaller group, then continue the one-on-one conversations throughout the day and during the reception.

After the Summit, Paul and I grabbed a bite to eat and headed over to Red Light Café for Michael Tolcher‘s second set. I knew I was in for a fun evening of music when Michael stepped onstage wearing a hotdog costume. I enjoyed his unique blend of storytelling and funky grooves.

The next morning, I arrived to Drupalcamp a little late but was fortunate enough to hear Evan Willhite’s presentation on Speeding up Drupal. Instead of talking about servers and the LAMP stack, he focused on ways to optimize the theme. From a project management perspective, I can see how spending a little more time optimizing code can significantly improve website speed.

After eating lunch outside in the sunshine, I headed in and listened to Johnnie Fox talk about Project Management Tools and Organization. At first I was bummed his talk focused on Redmine, an open source project management application written in Ruby on Rails, instead of a Drupal-based tool. But he offered a bunch of general project management tips that could be used with any framework. Plus, he just seemed like a really nice guy.

Next up was Michael Herchel’s talk, Secrets to Awesomizing Your Editor’s Back-end Drupal. As the title implies, it was indeed awesome. Michael covered a bunch of modules that help site builders create a user-friendly admin for content managers. I can’t find the link to his presentation, so if anyone has it, please send it to me. Thanks @mikeherchel.

After a quick trip to the coffee and cookie table, I was off to SEO for Drupal by David Minton and Stephen Pashby of DesignHammer. Their talk covered on-site, on-page, and off-site optimization. I liked how they split up the talk and covered many Drupal-specific details.

I have to admit, the cookies lured me back to the ballroom. The chocolate chip ones were addictive. By that time, the Florida-Georgia game was on, so I hung out with fellow UF alumni, Tim Welsch of appnovation and watched for a bit.

After Driskel fumbled, I headed into the ballroom and listened to Kevin Basarab and Chris Hales talk about Speeding up Drupal Development with Drush. It was a perfect way to top off two days of Drupal. The command line can be scary, but these guys did a great job explaining Drush by giving useful examples.

Next was the group photo on the stairs (photo links to Mediacurrent), then off to the after party. I met up with Sherra Bell and some other Drupalers. I dipped out early and headed back to Paul’s to watch the rest of the FL-GA game. What a disappointment!

That night, Paul took me to Stankonia Studios for Big Boi’s Halloween Party, an annual fundraiser for The Big Kidz Foundation. Paul was a cactus, and I was Elliott from E.T. We had a fun time and didn’t talk about content types, views, or responsive design one bit.

What a great weekend! The only negative was having to choose between all of the interesting sessions during Drupalcamp. They all sounded so good! I enjoyed meeting a bunch of new people, and I hope to keep in touch with everyone on Linkedin and Twitter. Thanks to all of the generous sponsors and presenters. And a big “thank you” to my friend Paul Piszko and his wife for their hospitality.

Here are some photos from Oct. 26-27:

About the Author:
Thomas is the ringleader at Motionbuzz.
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