Monday, June 3, 2013

Overloaded - Journaling some progress

his will be a less coherent post than usual, just because I'm in process a lot sooner than I thought I'd be. Going back to my Grand List, the intent was that I would research several different CMS platforms (Drupal, WordPress, Joomla etc) before choosing one, or even deciding that a full fledged CMS was too heavy for my purposes. In an ideal world (I've been using "ideal" more lately. hm. Self-awareness?), I'd probably design my own database and create the whole thing from scratch. Since that would require being a db architect, it would take quite a lot longer than winging it in a CMS.

More recently, I had decided to go with WordPress, simply because I have some experience with it already and would be building on that, rather than learning yet another new skill set. I had been thinking that Drupal was the more sophisticated option, and that I could learn yet more awesome new things by installing it, but second-guessed myself into a corner. Really, WordPress has given me some pretty big headaches over the last couple of years.

This past weekend was the National Day of Civic Hacking. Within a span of four days, my whole outlook and project list merged onto a gigantic, fast-moving highway of projects, people, inspiration and busy, busy schedules. Now I find myself wrapped up in Code for DC, a project to map migration and DC school boundaries, hopefully getting further involved with Girl Develop It, and throwing myself at Drupal Core.

The big problem here is that every single thing I just listed has not just a physical group and projects, but Hackpads, Trello boards, Google Groups, Meetups, Twitter accounts, GitHub accounts, CKAN site, IRC channels, calendars, forums, websites and good lord do I have a lot of tabs open. I think I linked up with everyone from the weekend, signed up for everything I needed to... at this point I'm just hoping that anything important will ping a notification to my email, otherwise it'll be lost in the aether.

But back to Drupal. Let's just take a look at where I'm at, mostly for personal reference. I signed onto, and to Joined the DC Drupalers meetup. Have [just] four IRC channels up in preparation for the Office Hours later tonight from the mentoring people (who I hope will be able to give me dummy points on installation and patches and link me up with an appropriately straightforward project [open issue]).

Some questions, having just read the Drupal overview here (front-end installation stuff) and nearly every other page I could find after that:

  • Why XHTML?
  • What exactly happens in terms of nodes, paths, blocks, users when a page is requested? How does the request play out?
  • Wait, so bootstrap, which isn't bootstrapping, or Bootstrap? argh. But sort of like the WordPress Loop, yes?
  • I've really got to learn PHP/more PHP. What are alternatives to PHP? How else can web pages be dynamic?
  • So there are issues listed on and how are they related? Same thing, different interface? (oh, I see, they're linked and the is the main page for info comments etc)

... a bit brain-dead right now, which is unhelpful given that the mentoring office hours are in... an hour!

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