This is my third Drupal specific camp having attended Baltimore’s Drupal Camp and Washington D.C.’s DrupalGovCon. The Chattanooga Drupal Users Group (CHADUG), headed up by Lee Walker of Code Journeyman, meets monthly. Meeting other Drupal users and hearing their stories, particularly how Drupal changed their career lives, has been eye opening and encouraging.
What happened at camp? We met a number of people, had coffee, attended sessions and grabbed lunch and snacks along the way, culminating in an evening event at the Chattanooga Pinball Museum.
Day One was an all-day training session on Gatsby.js taught by Adam Bergstein, a.k.a nerdstein. Decoupled or Headless web is all the rage these days and Gatsby seems to be the defacto static site generator to compliment the Drupal CMS. In addition to Gatsby, we touched on React, GraphQL, rendering JSON API and finally deploying out code to Netlify.
The main consensus, Drupal is hard, but once a developer gets past those “drupally” hurdles, the build experience is rewarding. Something that has stuck with me since meeting the Drupalistas of Chattanooga is the motto, “Come for Code. Stay for Community.”
The camaraderie surrounding this open-source powerhouse left an impression on me. A lot of the developers we met have been at it for years and most were very candid with their struggles and successes. It was good to hear, and also understand, because our build has certainly had similar challenges. From setting up our codebase, to deployment and into architecture. There was an openness and a sincere passing on of learned experiences that I hadn’t seen at previous camps and conferences.
The camp was a great experience for me personally, as we are still in the early stages of our Drupal 8 (9 is coming out soon) journey. As UTC Web Developers, Chris and I both felt inspired to develop something to give back to CHADUG and the Drupal community at large. You can say we definitely showed up for Drupal and we’re also figuring out our part in the community.