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Highlights from Drupalcamp Asheville

On August 22nd and 23rd, members of the Mediacurrent team attended the 4th annual Drupalcamp Asheville. With over 100 attendees convening at the Crowne Plaza Resort, our team experienced quality sessions, code sprints, and meaningful one-on-one coversations. Below are their highlights of the weekend.

Zack Hawkins

Zack Hawkins The first thing I noticed about Drupal Asheville was the venue. Located in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, it was not your traditional hotel setting. One of the most useful sessions I went to was 'How not to be a Git'. Here I learned git has an autocorrect setting. By enabling autocorrect, Git will automatically correct your mistyped command. If what you typed could have more than one possible correction, it will error out. The Drupal Speed Clinic session was also really interesting. It covered server side tuning, Drupal modules for speeding up Drupal and front end speed tips. If I had to pick a favorite session, it would have to be Digital Signage with Drupal and Meteor.js. This session focused on using Meteor.js with a Drupal content entry backend. The end result was a fantastic application that took data from Drupal and updated any browser that had the web app loaded in real time. Drupal Camp Asheville had a fantastic venue with great sessions. I plan to head back next year. 

Derek DeRaps

Derek DeRaps Last weekend marked my first trip to the Asheville camp, and I loved it. For a smallish camp, they put on a nice gig! First and foremost, the sessions! Even at cons, the sessions are hit or miss for me. This time, the three-sessions per hour meant a limited choice of quality sessions. I got something from each one I attended. I saw: How not to be a Git, which had some nuggets for even the most advanced git gurus; Drupal Speed Clinic, which I think I've seen Mike Herschel present before but still learned a few things; Developing with Configuration Management on Drupal 7, which really caught my eye because, I mean, a backport of D8's configuration management? Yes, please! (Note, it seems like more of a novelty module and not ready for prime time unless you are prepared to modify heavily); Digital Signage with Drupal and Meteor.js, which was mandatory because it had javascript in the title; Introduction to PHP Code Sniffer and Friends, which taught me some of the background on codesniffer but didn't resolve my existential crisis around the RIGHT way to apply automated review on my code; and CasperJS and Drupal, which I hadn't planned to attend (it got swapped with Automated Testing in Drupal) but was nonetheless very neat. Finally, I presented Layout Nirvana with Classy Panel Styles at 4p in a stifling room (musta been 90 degrees?? A/C pumped all the cold air into the other, freezing session room). It went well, because the crowd didn't throw ANY rotten fruit! The best part? Stephane (Acquia, d.o scor) was in the audience and reviewed my project application before the presentation was even over! One step closer to being able to create modules, hoorah!

Robyn Green

Robyn Green While most Drupalcamps tend to either fall into an “overly crowded” or “too few attendees” bucket, Drupalcamp Asheville this year seemed to find the right mix of small scale sessions with ample room for one-on-one discussions, and a wide variety of attendees and presentations. 

I enjoyed that several sessions focused on integrating outside technologies or libraries with Drupal, such as Meteor or PHP Code Sniffer, instead of just being a core-centric or theme-centric camp, while still providing a couple sessions regarding basic Drupal-only talk. Drupal performance optimization is always a fun topic, and hearing about new modules and Drupal 8 innovations is always a welcome session. The Asheville-area Drupal organization may have out done themselves with this one, and will have a challenge on their hands organizing a larger, better conference next year. My only regrets from the 2014 Drupalcamp Asheville was a lack of dialog with other attendees, but that’s hardly a fault of the camp. 

Matt Davis

Matt Davis I live in Asheville, and have helped organize and presented at our previous camps, but this year I volunteered in a new way. After having a great time mentoring new contributors for the first time at DrupalCon Austin, I decided to lead a Drupal 8 core sprint for the Friday of our camp. It ended up being a lot of fun and quite productive. My goal for the sprint, since it was attended by folks of all skill levels, was to try and move everyone forward a few steps from where they began the day. A couple of them had never set up a local development environment, used git, or installed Drupal before. Several others were experienced Drupal developers who had never contributed to core. We had a great time, and I’m very happy to say that everyone learned a little something (including me), and we even got a few patches submitted out to the Drupal 8 core issue queue!

The camp had an excellent showing of Drupal talent from all over the country this year, and that was reflected in the high quality of sessions. Overall this year’s Drupal Camp Asheville was our largest and most successful yet, and we’ve already got some big plans for the next one!

Chris Doherty

Chris Doherty This was my first time to Drupalcamp Asheville and it won’t be my last. The venue was the scenic Crowne Plaza Resort just outside of downtown Asheville. While the hotel staff kept the conference rooms extra chilly, it did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the participants. My first stop was the “How Not To Be a Git” in which, Adam Jimerson discussed various facets of git such as the trimWhitespace filter for removing trailing white space and git bisect for debugging.  I then went into Stuart Broz’s “Introduction to AbleOrganizer” presentation. Developed by Trellon, AbleOrganizer is a Drupal distribution that provides CRM functionality for nonprofits. It comes packaged with the CRM Core Module which helps provide event registration and donation functionality.  My next stop was Ryan Szrama’s talk about the Configuration Management Module, which is essentially a backport from Drupal 8’s configuration management initiative. One of the key differences between this and the Features Module, is that in Szrama’s words “it treats the entire site as one feature.” I followed that up with Mark Shropshire’s discussion of Meteor.js and Drupal integration, Jim Smith’s talk on the challenges of serving up online images in an age where devices have different pixel densities. Chad Adams discussed the Modernizr javascript library that provides a series of tests help determine browser incompatibilities for that cool new HTML5/CSS3  feature you’re anxious to showcase. If you’re not familiar with Modernizr yet, you will be soon. It’s in D8 core. And finally, I wrapped up the day listening to fellow Mediacurrent member, Derek DeRaps spread the word about his (and Kendall Totten’s) opus, Classy Panels Styles. Like many Drupal events, Drupalcamp Asheville was a good time to catch up with friends, meet new and interesting people and to compare notes.


From what we can gather from their perspectives, the Drupal community in Asheville is a great one. We look forward to the future developments in Drupal that were presented and to many more Drupalcamps in Asheville. 

Additional Resources

Drupalcamp Atlanta is Open for Registration! | Mediacurrent Blog

Responsive Web Design Using Sass at Drupalcamp Los Angeles | Mediacurrent Blog

How to Start a Drupalcamp | Mediacurrent Blog


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