The doors of the Innovation Center at the University of Illinois were open from 9am to Midnight on Saturday, June 27th. Over 100 Drupalers showed up for 3 awesome meals and 15 hours of their favorite CMS. The main attraction was showing off Drupal7 but two separate rooms were utilized for workshops. In one workshop Matthew Lechleider & Sean Charles took a group of Drupal beginners and walked them through the build of a not-so-simple site. The other workshop had Hans Riemenschneider & Bob Snodgrass taking beginners through Drupal in the context of how designers interact with Drupal.
The intro to Drupal 7 was given by Larry Garfield. Most people in the room had never seen a Drupal7 site before and thats fair since it isn't scheduled to release until some time in June of 2010. The version available at the time of the Spring Jam was Drupal7 Alpha3. Larry was unapologetic as some pages through up errors and some processes returned unexpected results. We were looking under the hood of an engine that was still being manufactured. In spite of these bumps, many of the changes from Drupal6 to 7 were laid out in a real and practical way.
The rest of the day was filled with specific topics in Drupal7. Brandon Morrison delivered the session on Theming in Drupal7 session. I explained how CCK has become FIELDS and how the VIEWS interface has changed, Larry took the stage again to go into detail about the new Drupal Application Program Interface. After that, Ruben Rodriguez gave an overview of what the shape of E-Commerce transactions will be like in Drupal7. One of my favorite speakers was Katherine Lynch from Drexel University. She is an accessibility expert who has a real passion and skill for explaining how to ensure that web pages and web experiences can reach anyone regardless of any disability. Brandon returned to round out the evening with an in-depth look at image handling in Drupal7.
After all was said and done, I walked away with one major conclusion. Drupal7 has made tremendous advances in many areas. This also means that I will need to make tremendous efforts to take advantage of these improvements. What's exceptionally cool is that there are a large number of Drupal7 books coming out very soon. We can also expect that podcasts, screencasts and videos will be popping up everywhere as more and more people find their way in Drupal7.