DrupalCampWI and Beyond: Joining A Community

As Brian's previous post says, we've had this idea for Druplash (which means Drupal, Flash, Services/AMFPHP, and most importantly SWFAddress) since last spring. We've both been involved in Drupal in the last several years. Brian got an earlier start, and I was first exposed to Drupal through Kevin Reynen's vision for its use at Bradley University.

A Flashy presentationBrian and I get ready to deliver the first incarnation of our presentation on Druplash/Druplex.

My feelings about Drupal are probably best expressed through a comment that webchick made in IRC last weekend, which I will poorly paraphrase here, "Whenever I have a website project, I look at how I can fit Drupal to it."

Drupal's an amazing project, and you get so much with an install of Drupal - user and role management, a very secure login system, the flexibility of using theme functions to easily change output, using locale to translate parts of the user interface you want to change, and FormAPI, which I have just started working with over the past two weeks.

I bring this up because Brian and I had both been using Drupal for at least a year and a half, yet we hadn't really jumped into the community yet. Brian had gone to one Central Illinois Drupal meetup which I couldn't attend due to a musical engagement, and we'd each submitted a patch or two: I did an exceedingly simple patch to Services, and Brian submitted some new functionality back to WebFM.

Regardless, DrupalCampWI would really open my eyes to how vast the Drupal community is and how I could take part.

SWFAddress Module for Drupal Unleashed

Tonight, Steven Merrill and I committed and released our first beta version of SWFAddress.module for Drupal 5.x. We demo'd an early alpha version at DrupalCampWI a few weeks ago and Steve has been hard at work shoring it up for release.

Steve and I came up with the concept for Druplash and Druplex (what we call Drupal powered Flash and Flex sites) about a year ago and have just been toying with them ever since. We recently got ourselves in gear when Steve needed to build a new portfolio (link coming soon) for his future career as an opera singer.

Using the great SWFObject and SWFAddress javascript libraries and the Services and AMFPHP Modules for Drupal, we figured out how to build full Flash and Flex experience sites which degrade nicely to full HTML underneath for SEO.

Druplash/Druplex Receive Praise at DrupalCampWI

Saturday, January 19, 2008, Steven Merrill and I gave our presentation on Druplash and Druplex at DrupalCampWI. DrupalCampWI was a blast and we had a great crowd for our presentation with some great discussion afterward. Larry Garfield, newly elected Drupal Association Board member wrote up a review of the event and had this to say about our presentation:

My favorite presentation, though, was given by a team from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. They've been working on integrating Drupal with Flash and Flex, and have done some impressive things with it. I've tended to avoid Flash on the ground that I didn't want to bother with a proprietary binary blob. However, Adobe has just in the past several weeks made big strides towards open sourcing Flash, to the point that it is now possible, supposedly, to develop, compile, deploy, and view Flash using no proprietary software. That piques my interest.

What piqued my interest even more, though, is that they're working on a SWFAddress module (as in, wrote one the day before) that they plan to contribute. SWFAddress is a Flash plugin that lets a Flash page have a bookmarkable URL. A bookmarkable, Google-friendly, deep-linking, open source, Drupal-based, Flash web site? OK, now I'm interested! They've already signed up to give a presentation at DrupalCon Boston. You want to see it! (As if you need another reason to go to DrupalCon...)

-- Larry Garfield, speaking about Brian and Steven's Druplash / Druplex presentation (Read his whole blog post.)

Druplash and Druplex at DrupalCamp Wisconsin!

Brian McMurray and I will be presenting at DrupalCamp Wisconsin in January.

He and I will do a session on using Drupal to content-manage Flash and/or Flex sites and I may have a student who will be working on the same thing there. (We like to call these techniques Druplash and Druplex, respectively.)

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