DrupalCamp Chicago

DrupalCamp Chicago

I just returned from DrupalCamp Chicago. This is a regional event designed to put people who are interested in Drupal and CMS technologies in touch with each other and to provide a chance for attendees to learn and share knowledge about Drupal. The event was hosted by the Chicago Drupal Meet Up Group, with Kyle Else doing a lot of the heavy lifting. There were over 150 attendees ranging from non-technical users looking to evaluate the usefulness of Drupal, up to Larry Garfield, a Drupal committer and the maintainer of the Drupal database code.

Microsoft was a sponsor of the event, taking a more grass-roots approach than we may have done in the past. This gave me a great opportunity to be part of the event, and to meet many people in the community. My favorite topic of conversation was running Drupal on Windows and IIS, although I participated in a number of discussions about PHP and Apache as well.

Microsoft’s participation in the event was met with universal welcome. I had a number of conversations which consisted of people saying “Wow! It’s really great to see you here.” I received a lot of feedback about people’s experience running Drupal on IIS. And I had a number of opportunities to share with people just how far IIS has come since the introduction of IIS 7.0. People were very happy to hear about the URL Rewriter module.


All of the sessions were very well received. And all were useful and informative, with a number of the sessions continuing informally in other spaces after their time was up. Two of the sessions which I found the most interesting were about jQuery and Drupal7.

The jQuery session, given by Matt Butcher of Aleph-Null, focused on some very practical uses of jQuery within Drupal. He showed how with just a few lines of jQuery JavaScript, you can add some amazing effects to Drupal. He also demonstrated some techniques for streamlining important content on a page without overloading the page and pushing too many things below the fold.

Meanwhile, throughout the event, there were a bunch of people working on a Code for a Cause project. This is where a bunch of the attendees rotated through a room where they all worked on parts of a web site for a non-profit organization. In this case the “cause” was an Autism Resources site called Skoolade. Through the course of the event, the coders worked on the skeleton of the site and got it up and running. The site isn’t fully populated with content, but they got the guts of it working.

Microsoft Touch points

I also had the pleasure of introducing a number of LAMP users to some of the Microsoft technologies that work well with Drupal. In many cases, the Drupal folk didn’t know about some of the strides that we’ve made with IIS 7 and many of the extensions. The best received of these were:

· URL Rewriter

· Web PI

· Web AI

· Web Deployment Tool

· FastCGI

As these are all well covered on this site, I won’t go into the details of them.


To sum up, this event was a great example of how Open Source projects spread, grow and thrive through the efforts of an ever growing community of developers and users. And, I’m pleased to see Microsoft getting this and openly participating with an understanding of the importance of applications like Drupal.

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