Discussing D7 at October’s DrupalDC Meetup

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This week's DrupalDC meetup still brought in about two dozen members despite the fact that many government offices were closed for Columbus Day. Most DrupalDC meetups feature lightning talks about various topics, but yesterday’s meetup was a conversational one which focused entirely on Drupal 7, which was just released in beta. Drupal 7 still has several critical issues, around 6 or 8 right as of the meetup, but that number could go up as more module developers try to upgrade and come across incompatibility issues with D7.

Use D7 Now for Less Complex Sites

Most of the night's discussion focused on whether Drupal 7 is ready to use for new projects. The consensus seemed to be that several popular modules such as Views, Context, and Panels (in alpha) are usable enough for people to start building less complex sites on Drupal 7 right now.

If you have a complex project that will use many contributed modules, on the other hand, or if you need to upgrade a complex site from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7, you may be in for a more difficult time. Many contributed modules have not been upgraded for D7. To know when your site is ready to be upgraded, use a project called Upgrade Status. It will go through all the modules you have and tell you whether your site has a reasonable upgrade path to Drupal 7.

If you need to upgrade modules to Drupal 7 yourself, the Coder Upgrade module is designed to help you turn a Drupal 6 module into a Drupal 7 module. With simple modules it may do all the work for you.

You can find great module and theme upgrade information within two documents which detail most changes from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7: Converting 6.x Themes to 7.x and Converting 6.x Modules to 7.x.

Most of the meetup consisted of a lively debate as to who should be starting to use Drupal 7 now. Discussion focused on the availability of developers to deal with early adopter hiccups or potential upgrades from 6 to 7, the time frame for site launch, and the complexity of the site. If you are not expecting to upgrade soon, it was pointed out that Drupal 7 may be a better option since the Drupal community only supports two versions of Drupal at a time, and there is community pressure for Drupal 8 to follow Drupal 7 swiftly. Ultimately, building a site now will get you familiar with Drupal 7 quickly, which can be very useful. If you can create your site using core modules then Drupal 7 is probably a good choice at this point.

Free Drupal Training Next Monday

Next Monday at 6:30 p.m., Oceana in Dupont Circle will host the monthly free Drupal training session. More information can be found at DC Drupal Training. These free training sessions are on the third Monday every month, the Monday following the DrupalDC meetup. This month's training will focus on Organic Groups. Room has also been set aside for coding sprints.

Trellon and Drupal 7

Trellon is in the process of updating our contributed modules for Drupal 7. Our current focus is on a rebuild of the Activism module for D7. The Activism module for D7 will let users engage in online activist activities:

  • sign petitions,

  • write letters to congresspeople, and
  • send e-postcards.

The updated module will be very flexible, allowing for a high degree of abstraction. This flexibility will let you add a connector to use whatever CRM you want with it, write your own activities or reports, and plug in new and exciting ways to select targeted constituents. As of now, we have the CiviCRM integration module mostly ported to D7 as the basic CRM, and we're building out activities and reports.

If you are interested in the Activism module, contact us at heytrellon@trellon.com. We're going to be pulling in people from all over the community to help.