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Meet Damien McKenna

 

1.  So Damien, what's your role at Mediacurrent, both internally and client-related?

 I’m a lead Drupal architect, which means I get to plan out the architecture of new sites. I’m also involved in estimations for potential projects, along with lots of hands-on development work.

 2.  We're so glad to have you!  Give us an idea of what professional path brought you here.

I first got into PHP when version 4 was in beta - it was easy to install, thus readily available from web hosting providers, and easy to get into, which is probably two of the main reasons many people got into it at the time. Over the years I worked on a number of projects, mostly custom CMSes and/or ecommerce systems, including a few years working with ColdFusion and Ruby on Rails. In 2008, I started working with Drupal full-time, and in 2012 I was lucky enough to be hired by Mediacurrent.

3.  How did you first get involved with Drupal?

It’s all the fault of a certain Ryan Price, one of the DrupalEasy crew. While living in Florida in 2007, I was looking for some side work. I met Ryan through a PHP user group where he was looking for some help on two Drupal 5 projects. At the time I felt I could have done something quicker as custom Rails projects - there seemed to be a lot of setup for what was relatively small sites. It wasn’t until the following year when I happened to get a full-time job working at a publishing firm (incidentally, working with Ryan) that I started to see the benefits of Drupal’s flexibility, the wealth of contributed code available as modules and themes, and its amazingly supportive community. Once I got involved in the community through the local user group in Florida and started getting to know people through IRC and Twitter, I was hooked.

4.  Is there a go-to Drupal module that you like to incorporate whenever possible?

I don’t want to seem like I’m bragging, given I’m the current maintainer, but I heavily rely on the “Panelizer” module for all page displays. It was a perfect fit for a project I was working on a few years ago, so I helped port it to Drupal 7 in order for the site to be able to use it. After two major upgrades by its original developer, Earl Miles of “Views” and “Panels” fame, it has grown to be tremendously powerful with several unique features that are definite crowd pleasers.

5.  Do you have any recommended reading or books that you would suggest to others?

In terms of books I’d say Storm Front by Jim Butcher, just because I never miss a chance of promoting his excellent work. I’m a huge fan of the writings of Ashe Dryden, one of the forefront experts on inclusion and diversity.

6.  Any mobile apps that you use regularly?

My phone app habits are limited to “Twitterrific” for catching up on Twitter, “Netbot” for reading app.net, and “The Sword of Fargoal” for when I need to blow off steam.

7.  What do you like to do in your spare time?

Having a family means that there’s always something to do, always an event or class to take the kids to, always a park to run around in. This year one family project I’m working on is to teach our two eldest children about computers, with an eventual goal of hooking up a Lego Mindstorm set and learn to build and program their own robots. I also enjoy watching movies, particularly epic science fiction flicks, listening to good music, and spending time with friends.

8.  What do you like about Mediacurrent?

It’s a stable company ran by people who care about the company and its staff. I get to work on exciting projects with many excellent people, and there are great opportunities for contributing code, time and energy back to the community as part of the job, not just because I don’t like sleep. That might sound like a sales pitch, but I mean every word of it.