Site Building Super Tools (AKA my Drupalcon/camp Sessions)

For the past 2 seasons of camps and cons, I've been proposing some material that has taken a lot of its cues from page_manager and ctools. This has been a really hard road to follow because of the complexity inherent in these tools, and as a consequence, only the camps have really given me any real traction on my sessions. This has been encouraging in the sense that my camp sessions have been very well attended and have gone extraordinarily well, and discouraging in the sense that Drupalcon attendees have missed out on these sessions. In an effort to better explain what I'm trying to propose session wise (and hopefully generate some excitement and momentum) I wanted to write this blog post with a little less formal approach to a session description, and try to really nail WHY potential con attendees should be voting for my session, and why I hope track chairs will give me a chance to present regardless. I'll start with my 'baby':

Customizable Administration Tools

The upcoming presentations of this for voting purposes:

This is my intro session to my very own "Contextual Administration" module, or 'context_admin' for short. Contextual Administration is a site building super module based on the existing site building super module Page Manager (in the CTools suite). Its purpose is to free up site builders to build administrative interfaces they'd normally need a developer to build for them, things like customized node creation screens, automatic node reference handling, administrative views on pages with content creation screens etc. You can think of it as a way to free your customers from having to learn drupal (and a way to free you from having to teach it). In short Contextual Administration attempts to give site builders all the tools they need to lock their users out of the monolithic drupal administration, and instead present them with an easy to use administration system that is contextually relevant. This is no small task, as any developer who's attempted this will tell you, and having a tool designed to do it is really invaluable. This is the session I WANT to present to the community very very badly. Help me vote this in. The other session:

Understanding CTools Page Manager

It's unfortunate that we can only do one solo session because, as much as I want to present on Contextual Administration module, understanding page_manager is JUST as important, if not more so. Page Manager is the underlying technology that lends power to Contextual Administration, and MORE IMPORTANTLY Panels module. It is the future of Drupal 8 (or 9) and people REALLY need to start grasping its concepts, because it is influencing the direction of core even as we speak. This session really tries to dissect page_manager and illustrate how it's put together and WHY it's put together that way. How developers can hook in and start using it, etc etc. It's really much more developer focused, but site builders can get a lot out of this session too as I spend a pretty significant amount of time showing the sorts of insane things you can ONLY do with page_manager based solutions, and try to really delve into WHY people should be using this (for both development and site building). As I said earlier, Page Manager really is a site building super tool as well, and I really just want to expose more people to its power and it's potential as I think it can really change the way people use drupal for the better. It has certainly changed my perspectives.

Conclusion

I know this is the season of session shilling, and I am TOTALLY doing that here, but I hope as a reader of this post you can step away from the fact that I AM indeed shilling and understand that I'm doing it because I think people really need to see these modules, not JUST because I want to present. I'll be at Drupalcon regardless.

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