Perhaps part one never got to the reason for the title. After all, I never made a mention of WHY you're never alone... I'll get there this time.
I had two companies building proof of concepts that their CMS was suitable for the task of building an enormous social networking site.
First... The Joomla people delivered. In fairness, they did start 1st. It was nice! Shortly after, the Drupal shop finished their attempt. We were blown away! The multiple levels of users, the criss-crossed permissions based access rules... The ability to make detailed changes to forms, fields, layout, access, functionality... We had many conversation with both shops. The Drupal shop never hesitated to accept a challenge. The Joomla shop needed to talk to their developers and get back with us.
The answer became very clear and on Feb 29th, Leapday of 2008 laketrash.com was relaunched as a Drupal site. Thus began a rapid development for many months. Sadly, timing and the economy came to play and the project ran out of development budget on 11/4/08 and ceased. At this time there is an unfinished and unmaintained site at that address. It does stand as a testimony of what Drupal5 can do.
Now... why do I say that "You're Never Alone... With Drupal?"
Here are the facts folks. when I started steering that giant site towards Joomla, I went hunting. I was looking for meetups, conventions, podcasts, blogs, forums, etc. Preferably ones that did not require a paid membership. I found precious little. In the 18 months since I had walked away from Joomla it did not appear to me that this fragmented community had come together.
What I DID find in Drupal-land was more opportunities to connect to the community than I could make time for.
BOOKS? O'riely, Packt, APress, Addison-Wesley, Wrox, Manning Publications, UIT Cambridge ltd, and others keep the NEW RELEASES flowing!
PODCASTS? Please.... I have nearly all of them on auto d/l when one is released. There are SO MANY that I'll never get to them all! Oh yah.. most are VIDEO too!
MEETINGS? Look out! on any given month there are literally hundreds of meetings across America and even more if you include all of North America. Some meetings are local groups others are DrupalCamps. oh yah, don't forget code-sprints, conventions, workshops, seminars, etc. If you have the time and inclination, you can spend quality time with people. Often times, the people you hang with end up being the people who actually build the functionality that you use to develop websites.
WUNNA CHAT? Good grief. The #drupal-support is like a 24/7 support line. When I 1st popped into the main room #drupal I met and chatted with people whose names I recognized from posts, podcasts, and blogs that I had seen. In chat, you can't learn everything you need to know about Drupal. But when you're trying out some module and you swear you did everything right... Pop in to #drupal-support where people seem to have nothing to do but get people off of the beginner status.
LIVE TRAINING? Oh My! If you don't mind spending a little dough then you can attend any one of dozens of meetings a year where the whole purpose is to teach and train people how to develop sites with Drupal. Module selection & configuration, Best Practices, SEO, Profiles, Social networking, E-Commerce, Upgrading, etc. etc. etc. These topics and more are covered many times over coast to coast and very frequently. See www.lullabot.com www.DoItWithDrupal.com www.DrupalCampChicago.com just to name a few.
After the first 30 days of feeding my brain on Drupal I started a local group for my area. Now the word is out that If you live near Indianapolis, the <a href="http://groups.drupal.org/indiana">Indy Drupal Users Group</a> is a place to get connected. Now we make it a point to travel to some of the regional and national meetings together. We see that Drupal is more than a CMS. It's a Web-Application Framework that is flexible enough to handle what ever you throw at it.
Drupal as a thriving community that just happens to have an awesome CMS growing in the middle of it. I'm proud to be a part of it. A year ago today I didn't know any one who uses Drupal. Now they're in my city, in my email, in my chat rooms, in my podcasts, on my twitter, on my facebook, on my linked in, on my AIM/Gtalk etc.
You get it... You're NEVER alone..........