SPN Web Developers Lead Popular Drupal Camp Session

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSacramento Professional Network (SPN) Web developers Charles Russell and Ron McClure presented a popular session at Drupal Camp Sacramento on Saturday, featuring the SPN Web site. In the session, called "Drupal Sites without Custom Code," Charles and Ron used different features of the SPN Web site to explain how - and why - they built it without custom code.

Normally, sites built using the open-source Drupal content management system need a lot of custom coding to get the different modules to work together, and to make them fit a client's particular needs. But as SPN Computer Committee Chair Ron McClure, explained, by definition SPN has high turnover because everyone is actively job searching, so if he and Charles did a lot of custom coding and then left SPN to start a new job or a new business, there is no guarantee that another SPN member would have the skills to maintain or edit the custom code. It might be difficult enough, in fact, to find anyone who could maintain Drupal without custom coding.

Other key requirements for the site were that users could enter content themselves, right on a Web page; that it would be easy to learn; and that the site could be built at no cost. On all three counts, Drupal fit the bill.

Next Charles, SPN's Drupal expert and evangelist, took the stage to explain just how he met all these requirements without custom coding. Listing more than two dozen Drupal modules he used, from profiles to search to contact forms, Charles said he often has to find creative workarounds when no one module can do what SPN needs. When the Administration Committee needed attendance tracking, for example, Charles had to combine several modules since no single module did attendance tracking our way. Even themes must be chosen to work well without custom coding, he said.

Charles and Ron plan to take their presentation on the road this fall, at the Bay Area Drupal (BAD) camp. Stay tuned.

Pat Soberanis is an editor, writer, SPN blogger, and new Drupal convert in Sacramento. Her report on the Drupal Training she attended at Drupal Camp can be found on her Web site, PRS Career.