The CMS Expo Learning and Business conference is coming up this week in Evanston, Illinois. This event is going to be interesting, in part because I will be presenting (more on that below), but also because the session track really covers a lot of bases.
The event is promoted as "Joomla, Drupal, Alfresco & Plone CMS Training," but that only does it partial justice. Looking at the home page, there is this whole CMS Support Training track going on, and there is a lot to learn from the people that are going to be there. Beyond the big names like Apache, MySQL and PHP, there are going to be some other interesting topics worth hearing about.
White label social networks is the top of the list. Kickapps is going to be at the event, they provide a SAAS system where people can create their own social networks and customize them with their own content. A lot of our clients use Kickapps and other services like it (i.e. Ning) as a means of building relationships online with a low cost to enter and maintain the networks they build. These kind of services typically have a widget framework and an API for integration, as well as terrible policies for supporting those features over time that make people's lives hard when they want to integrate with those systems. I am looking forward to hearing what they have to say, Trellon has needed to integrate Drupal with Ning and Kickapps in the past and I want to learn more about their world.
Alternative e-commerce solutions is another thing I want to learn more about. Magento will be at the event, they provide a stellar e-commerce system that has become very popular recently. As Drupal developers, sometimes it is easy to get stuck thinking that Ubercart or the e-commerce module are the best solutions for any given web site because of their native integration. The thing about online purchases it, there are definitely times you want to have a lot of options for what you are going to do with a site. Sometimes a separate e-commerce system is the right answer and, for that matter, integrating Drupal and Magento is not exactly hard. I look forward to talking to these guys.
Also, I want to hear what the guys from Jentla and Community Builder have to say. Jentla is used to support multisite configurations in Joomla, and Community Builder is a big social networking and user management system for Joomla. What is interesting about these projects is the way they were developed, the model for how each one came about differs characteristically from what we do with Drupal. I am always interested in hearing how cool things came to be and am looking forward to learning more from these guys.
This is not just a learning trip for me. I will be there in my role as Trellon's Chief Internet Strategist to present a session called Socialize Your Drupal Site, where we take a look at Drupal's social networking capabilties from a strategic standpoint and answer questions. In fact, if there is a topic you want me to cover, feel free to post it here in the blog. I will be around before and after the session for workshops and one-on-one time with anyone who asks.
Looking forward to the conference!