You can't stop the beat!
There were hundreds of developers, designers and IT managers who converged on the campus of George Washington University in hopes of taking home some great new Drupal techniques and most importantly, new modules to help make Drupal work better and faster for our customers.
So what about those terms you say? Well first we have SMACSS (pronounced smack). Smack may be something that a Redskins fan and a Ravens fan talk back and forth to each other, but in the Drupal world SMACSS is Scalable Modular Architecture for Cascading Style Sheets [CSS]. Still sound too techie? In layman's terms, it's basically just a better way to apply fonts, colors, layouts and design on a website. SMACSS is used more as a style guideline as opposed to a rigid framework. It (SMACSS) attempts to document consistency in site development when using CSS. I like to put it this way, if we were playing the game "Name that Tune", if you can name that tune in 10 notes, if I was applying it to SMACSS, I could name that tune in 5 notes. So basically I'm doing the same thing, only I'm using less code to write it and I can apply the code more globally to the site, without writing more code. Hope that makes sense. Forgive me if it's still too techie, I am after all a geek (but I'm a "cool" geek, lol!).
Then we were talking a lot of SASS! No sass isn't the kind of talk you get from a know-it-all pre-teen or teenager, for those of you who have known that luxury, lol. SASS is Syntactically Awesome StyleSheets or some like to call them, stylesheets with attitude. SASS is again, a better way to build StyleSheets using less code and basically having less repetition. The "less is more" motto. If I could get all of my websites built with a "less is more" concept on the outside, it would be a perfect world! Alas, it can't always be that way, but I'm trying! :)
Dribbble isn't really anything pertaining specifically to Drupal, but a few of the presenters dropped it so of course I had too find out what all the buzz was about. Dribbble is not something you wipe off of the face of a teething toddler, lol, Dribbble is actually like a grown up "Show and Tell" website. Dribbble is basically show and tell for designers. Web designers, graphic designers, illustrators, icon artists, typographers, logo designers, and other creative types share small screenshots (shots) that show their work, process, and current projects. Pretty cool! Check it out here: http://dribbble.com/
Those were just some of the more interesting things that I learned; some of the coolest things I learned were about some great modules that I can test out on some of my existing Drupal sites (WCFL Intranet, WCFL Summer Reading Club and Choose Civility.) Modules are basically like adding "features" to your website. Since Drupal is an open source product, thousands of modules are created and you don't always know what the latest and greatest ones are unless you go to a Drupal event. I also learned that if I want to be an "established" Drupal developer, I should get started creating my own Drupal module. Ehh...I don't know if that's going to happen anytime soon, but there is always hope that in one of my idle moments I could create the next great Drupal module!
I could go into greater detail about all that I learned, but so as not to bore you with more techy terms I'll just pass along some of the cooler websites that I learned about while I was there. This was a session on site performance and trends. Here are a few websites to check out:
- webpagetest.org - Runs a free website speed test from multiple locations around the globe using real browsers (IE and Chrome) and at real consumer connection speeds.
- GooglePageSpeed - Analyzes the website and then gives suggestions for better performance
- Yahoo YSlow - Analyzes the website and then gives suggestions for better performance
- WhichLoadsFaster - Is a bit of friendly competition for websites to compare 2 or more website performance
- Httparchive.org - is a website that tracks trends for how websites have been built over the years.
Well that's a brief look into the world of Drupal. Thanks for reading my extra long summary!
PS. I forgot to mention Acquia Man! Acquia Man was just one of those cool tools they always seem to pass out at these type of events. Acquia is actually company that specializes in Drupal tools and hosting, they provide support for their products for a fee. They package the best of Drupal and make it available without having to do much work on your own. Many of the speakers were from Acquia, so they are one of the premier companies when it comes to Drupal.