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Coffee & Code: Drupal Style

Last night’s Atlanta Drupal Coffee Club had an impressive turnout and excellent conversations across a range of topics. We try to keep the format for the coffee clubs as an opportunity to be more “hands on” with Drupal and get to work on real world drupal problems. Whether resolving the issues at the meeting, or putting people in touch with other experts in the community who are willing to help out, our goal is pointing people in the right direction and hopefully finding a solution for the problem.

A lot of people comment on the “spirit” of the Drupal community, and it’s no more evident then at the Coffee Club, where there’s an openness to helping others interested in using drupal. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned developer.  

Some of the areas we looked at last night included:

One of the attendees wanted help setting up a development environment with Aptana studio from the start of a new project, through hooking up for remote deployment. We also configured the environment to work with Drupal’s coding standards and discussed how to use the IDE with Acquia’s dev cloud.

Another interesting discussion was from a developer who was working with data stored in Microsoft SQL server, and wanted to see if it was possible to leverage Drupal as a front end to maintain the data using native Drupal methods. We discussed a number of options and weighed the pros and cons of each approach:

  • Using Drupal with MS SQL server as the back end data source and using the schema module to identify the schema of his existing tables. Then create a module to recreate the database tables schema, so they were availablefor Drupal to be able to manipulate the data through native Drupal methods.
  • Creating feeds from his data in MS SQL server and importing the feeds into Drupal as nodes.
  • Setting up additional connection strings in settings.php and how to access the data from code.
  • Using ODBC and DSN less connection strings to link tables between Linux and Windows and make them available to Drupal.

We also had an interesting brainstorming exercise in using Drupal as a framework for managing data in a heterogeneous environment, with Drupal as the “linchpin” holding it together.

The Coffee Club format works well for connecting people. I walked away from the meetup last night excited about the innovative ways people use Drupal on real world problems.

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