SANDCamp Day 1 Recap

Good morning!

Yesterday I went to Day 1 of SANDCamp,Drupal at the Beach! I know I know, I'm not currently learning PHP, and ya I had no idea what Drupal even was... so why did I go? The simple answer is because I'm one curious cat!

SANDCamp to the Drupal community is sort of like what Rails Camp is to Ruby...without the actual camping part. It's a local event consisting of two training days, and two "camp" days. The training days include a host of different classes, offered at a much cheaper price than if taken elsewhere. And the two camp days are what I got access to, consisting of five different tracks. I stayed in the same classroom all day to attend courses offered on the Intro track, taught by Doug Hoffman and Rich Yumul from Sage Tree, a Drupal Consulting Agency. Sage Tree built the Comic-con website, but made it clear they are not responsible for the ticketing system! Yup... still biter about that! 

Here are a few highlights of what I did and learned: 

  • INSTALLATION PARTY - We installed Acquia Dev Desktop, and migrated a Drupal project to play with throughout the day. Like Rails, you can use a localhost to view your build before taking it live. 
  • Drupal is a Content Management System, sort of like Wordpress but with A LOT more power and control. It was built by Dries in a scripting language called PHP. It's an Open Source Community like Ruby! In Ruby, we have gems to help assist our builds. Drupal has modules
  • Some common themes throughout the day included "Don't Hack Core" and "There's a Module for that!". "Don't Hack Core" refers to every Drupal project. From my understanding, every project comes with a set of folders that are referred to as the core. This is the basic structure to make everything work, and if you start to manipulate the core, you're going to screw things up for yourself big time. So stay away from pretty much all the files except the sites folder. However, Drupal 8 has accounted for some of the confusion here. "Is there a module for that?" refers to what can easily be thought of as plugins. Most of them are free, built and maintained by the community. You can even build and upload one yourself!
  • We worked with Drupal 7, but Drupal 8 has been released! It uses something called Twig to make your Drupal life easier. 
  • The layout of a basic Drupal pages consists of blocks. And views, which are basically lists of [enter thing here],  are very very important. An example of a view could be a slideshow of pictures, a table, map, side bar... any list of content is called a view. Taxonomies is how Drupal creates categories, and related content to each other. 


  • Drupal can connect to databases. In our workshop we used SQL. What's nice about Drupal is that they've developed a GUI for SQL statements!
  • While building, you can generate dummy data, such as blog posts. This reminded me for seeding the database in Rails! 
  • I couldn't help but compare my Rails experience to Drupal. What can sometimes seem kind of tedious, building out an authentication system from scratch with Ruby/Rails, was literally done in two seconds using Drupal. Drupal also allows you to create user roles and their permissions! 
  • Drupal can use Bootstrap (in the form of a module), and it's also useful to know some CSS to customize your site. 
  • The Drupal people responsible for making your site look pretty are called "themers". They can sell their themes too, to be used on any Drupal site. 
  • They have a backend to Drupal as well, which involves much more coding with PHP. That's what my friend and GDI chapter leader, Alanna does! But everything we did today required no coding at all! BTW Alanna will be giving a talk today about work/life balance as a Drupal developer! (You go girl!)
  • Leslie Fishlock of Geek Girls was the keynote speaker. It was so good to see her again. She is such a warm and caring person, and I'm grateful for her encouragements! BTW, I totally owe you a blog post of the meetup I attended last week with Geek Girls and Hired. It was SO GOOD!
  • My goal/side project idea is to recreate my blog using Drupal! I currently use a CMS called Squarespace to run this site. I decided to use it because I wanted to build a nice page, but didn't know any HTML/CSS at the time! But now I have even more tools to achieve the same end result, which blows my mind! Learning is so much fun! Is getting paid to learn a thing?

Interested? Checkout the Drupal Meetup Groups

Ok! That's enough for now, especially because the first class of Day 2 starts in an hour and I haven't even left my bed yet! Time to get moving! Sorry for any typos... no time to correct right now!