Drupal Workgroup and Clinic Starting up in Ventura

We're starting a Drupal Study Group in Ventura. Last night was the first meeting at Chief's Pizza in Ventura.

At first, I thought it would be more convenient for folks if we tried to hold meetings closer to the main parts of town or nearer to the freeways. To my surprise, the first meeting was attended by people from Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, as well as Ventura and the location did not really seem to help or matter to people.

It was a small group, but we quickly ate up the 2 hour meeting time discussing and working on solutions to specific questions that we had about our day to day use of Drupal. We pretty much just opened our laptops, moved some benches to make for better viewing and jumped in on specific questions. Here is a summary of our main discussion points.

* Installing multiple Drupal sites under OSX, using MAMP. This turned out not to be a discussion of Drupal multi-sites,but more about simple Drupal configuration issues in settings.php. Also mentioned how etc/hosts and Apache configuration files can make this easier.

* Discussion of specific theming challenges associated with the Nice Menus module. In particular, we discussed how certain CSS selectors effected menus made from <ul> and <li> elements. Also discussed related id's css classes and selectors, such as .menuparent and #block-nice_menus-1

* Turning on built in web developer tools in Safari to examine Nice Menu html and CSS.

* CSS selector weighting and matching and how it applies to Drupal theming, especially sub-menus.

* Discussed use of jQuery Cycle plugin and corresponding Views Cycle module with Views in order to create a 'slider' like one that a participant had seen on an existing site.

The participants made it clear that what they want is basic help. They feel that Drupal Camps and regional meetups are great fun, but that many of the discussions and presentations are either way over their heads or not something they can directly apply to their own Drupal sites at this time. They appreciate those events, but are also looking for something more basic and practical.

We plan to hold bi-weekly meetings of a 'clinic' nature; one where you come in and get help on specific questions and work on your own projects and exercises.

One thing I noticed is that the Pizza parlor was a nice place to meet, but not an ideal working and learning environment like the Dojo is. Wifi, no sports/TV's, more space, projector, etc all make for a nicer workspace. Also, it looks like being in central Ventura is not that big of a convenience and that Ojai is not that far out of the way for many.

So we plan to hold future work group, or clinic if you prefer, meetings in people's homes or at the Ojai Digital Dojo (which is part of our home). In the spirit of the Drupal Dojo, we will open our homes and dojos to small groups who wish to improve their Drupal skills. I've emailed one of the Drupal Dojo organizers and they are supportive of our goals. We plan to post future event notices in the Drupal Dojo group and here on the Ojai Digital Dojo blog.

Image from Drupal Dojo group at groups.drupal.org

All are welcome, but these clinics are aimed at addressing specific questions, with an emphasis on helping 'beginners'. Please leave a comment or send us an email to let us know you are coming.

For Digital Dojo located events, directions are in the sidebar (be sure you come to the 963 West El Roblar address, not the mailing address on Ojai Ave). Also, If folks are hungry, there are pizza, burgers, BBQ and several Mexican food takeout, plus an organic market within a few blocks of the Digital Dojo and people are free to come by during the 6-7pm hour to work on their own or eat pot luck. Pizza can be delivered. Kitchen facilities are available. We have filtered water, teas, coffees and various jucies and sodas. You are always welcome to squeeze all the fresh orange juice you like.

There is no cost for these workgroup meetings, although it would be nice if you chip in a few bucks towards any food or drinks if you can't contribute to pot luck.

For more information or to set up your own private digital dojo learning session, please contact Markus Sandy at 805-798-0436 or via markus.sandy@gmail.com.

We will also be announcing some Drupal learning events coming this summer. The first will be a Views intro and theming class on June 19th. Stay tuned for more info.

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