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DrupalCon - Monday


By Brian - Posted on 24 August 2010

While the conference proper didn't start until Tuesday, there was some stuff going on Monday, including a bar-camp style "Unconference", and a number of full-day training sessions, of which I attended the "Drupal Powered E-commerce" one, which was put on by Commerce Guys, a shop that specializes exclusively in building e-commerce sites using Drupal.

The session was presented by Ryan Szrama, original developer of Ubercart.  The day was a rapid-fire sequence of quick (15-30 min) lessons, followed by equal length practice sessions where the attendees replicated what they were just shown.  In addition to Ryan, there was 4-5 other people from Commerce Guys there to answer questions.  This was really great and allowed anyone to be able to get personal assistance at any time.

The lessons covered all aspects of Ubercart, including installation and basic config, setting up products and catalogs, creating product classes and attributes, cart and checkout, "Conditional Actions" (a sort've homegrown trigger system), shipping and tax rates, payment systems, multilingual sites, and product "features" such as associated files (ie digital downloads) and purchasable user roles.

All in all, it was extremely comprehensive, and I really feel like I learned a lot (although my brain started turning to mush around 2pm due to jet lag, felt like I was pulling an all-nighter).

I was particularly impressed with Ryan's candidness about Ubercart's shortcomings.  He is very open about the fact that when he started Ubercart, he was brand new at not just Drupal, but also PHP and MySQL.  Given that, I think Ubercart is a tremendous accomplishment.

However, for various reasons, Commerce Guys intend to gradually move away from Ubercart.  They are hard at work building a brand new e-commece system for the soon-to-be-released Drupal 7, using everything they learned from Ubercart and utilizing all the great new stuff in D7.

After the training was over, some people were heading to the official DrupalCon bar, "FooBar", but I was near catatonic from my fucked up sleep schedule, so went back to the hotel and crashed.  Then I woke up sometime after midnight, wide awake, raided my room's mini bar, wrote my epic "Journey to Copenhagen" post, then tried to get a few more hours sleep before the next day's sessions started.

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