Drupalizing the Great Desert..Drupal Echoed in Dubai during The First Ever Drupal Camp in the Region
The pioneers of Drupal the drupalers the dropak the main sponsor for the very first time in association with The Community Cultivatin Grant and The Drupal Association organized a Drupal Camp on October 26 , 2013 in U.A.E. Dubai being the center attraction for the entire world and the hub of tourism across the world It was extremely surprising to know that people over here know little about The Drupal. I happened to know the fact when I began searching for the venue for the event.
We were running out of time and the event date was approaching it was very kind of Murrey Crowe who were trying to resolve our venue problem. Firstly even we went for paid venues inspite of bearing huge travelling expenses. Eventually the help came from The SZABIST University, Academic City Dubai; they were very humble to gave us the venue. This resolved our major problem and we all the Drupal team members are highly grateful to them for the help at the eleventh hour. Once the venue got finalized then we started marketing and advertising our event through distributing brochures throughout the city.
The Co-Founder of TheVisionSpark Muhammad Shakeeb Khan was also one of the sponsor actively participated in our quest to propagate the event. He also got agreed upon being vocal in the event and become the significant speaker as he has experience in Drupal since Drupal 5 and he also move ahead in making Pakistan group on Drupal.org. Finally the day for the event arrived and I was extremely excited and wanted the success of the event. A day before the event we went to do all the arrangements and organization of banners and brochures and putting Drupal logos on the walls of the class rooms.
The Event started with Mr.Shakeeb ‘s key note speech in which he shared his experience over Drupal and the events he organized in Karachi in 2009 and the sudden spark he created among the participants through sharing the practical examples and his cooperate experiences and his interesting learning outcomes that was immensely fascinating for the attendees . There Shakeeb not only discussed Drupal but also .NET. Word Press as well. People also participated by asking extremely intresting questions and Shakeeb answered all with great zeal and confidence. However he emphasized over Learning Drupal from Ground –Up level to making it as a career oriented platform. His Speech also included his real life success stories , practical demos of premier websites he build in Drupal.
Then the initiation of the Hello Drupal Session conducted by me. Hello Drupal followed almost all the curriculum of Hello Drupal Sessions by Acquia. I put forth all the Drupal Details explaining them the raw Drupal concepts and the Drupal Speak. It was a long session lasting for Three Hours. I went into in details of how the content is stored in Drupal, explained Entities, Nodes, bundles, taxonomy ,users, comments, blocks, regions, view modes, Drupal’s user management, configurations, image management/image styles, theme installation, module installations literally all core subjects of Drupal were taught , something like the Drupal in a Day curriculums. Views were explained to them but the whole session on Views THE VIEWS TIPS AND TRICKS was followed.
The audience had some developers present among them. During the views Tips and Tricks session they were surprise to see the power of VIEWS. Shahid Khan, WordPress Developer at Smith and Ken said after the session “I have been egoist enough to switch to Drupal as I had heard a lot about it, but literally speaking ,I had never thought of Drupal being so amazing and powerful. “
The Views Tips and Tricks session was later followed by the Panels Sessions. During our earlier sessions, there were asked frequently asked questions about making changes in the theme of Drupal, and I would answer each time that they had to wait for the Panels session There were appreciations coming from the audience for what they were seeing and I was just loving it, for the Love I have got for this platform. Shakeeb was busy in ROOM 667 with more advanced users of Drupal. They were discussing all the great things in Drupal specially the new Entites system in Drupal 7 and Entity Based modules. Drupal commerce was discussed at a higher level which is based upon entities as well. Many Students of the University also had come for some of the sessions though they had exam that evening.
As many of the audience in Room 606 were absolute newbies to Drupal, after the panels session, the room turned into an hour long Q&A session. I was asked many things about how they would do something in Drupal and I would guide them. But questions were a bit too more, so I asked audience about how they would go about creating a Task Assignment System in Custom php, or .Net or WordPress. All had their answers until I demonstrated them how to create a basic Task Management system in a Company so that the boss knows to whom he has assigned a task and when. Entity Reference module was used in the demo and they had a system in front of them just within 10 Minutes. That demo really brought some real smiles on faces as if they would only USE Drupal from here. Reem Othman, a participant in the camp, natively from Syria told me about all the regrets going through her mind during these sessions regarding why hasn’t she known about Drupal until then. She is a custom PHP developer working in Dubai.
Conversation then turned into how to go about Learning Drupal. As we already had a session on Drupal Learning Resources, I went through a detailed list of Learning Resources for Drupal. They included not only free resources but also some of the commercial ones as well.We had promised of a session in the last regarding Creating a real word website in Drupal and making it live for the world to see but it was already past 5 pm and university was having exams in the room so we had to conclude our camp.
Dubai is multicultural city. You will find expatriates from many countries here. Our camp had guys and gals from India, Pakistan, Syria, South Africa, UAE and Philippines proving the Drupal Community as one big nation.
Summing things up, we are really pleased that after our event there will be people who will go for adopting Drupal because even there were promises made with me that the first thing they will do when they are back to their homes will be installing and exploring Drupal. We hope we will help community in UAE explore Drupal in depth by arranging such events again. We are soon going to put a request form on our website for when to organize such events in future as well as session requests so that we are always upto mark with the Community Requirements. Our website www.drupalcamps.ae will provide them a mean to commingle with the community and adopt and embrace Drupal.
Hence the Drupal event became a success and our efforts didn’t get futile people got enticed with the idea and showed huge interests in learning and adopting it. We are very thankful to SZABIST DUBAI as well as Muhammad Shakeeb to be the lead to make it happen and be the one amongst those who aims to spread the knowledge worldwide. Hence the Dream became the reality and I wish we will keep following it in future as well with fruitful results.