Recap: Burn it Down and Start Over

March 13, 2012 Lesley Molecke

For our January 4 event, Cameron Goble discussed the decisions, advantages, and pitfalls that came with relaunching with Drupal. If you were unable to attend or need a refresher, we've got you covered:


Cameron Goble gave us a peek into what it's like to organize an IgniteNM event, and how the new Drupal website at helps manage the mountain of work.

The New

With so few volunteers, and so much attendance, Goble recognized the need to inject new energy, ease transition of responsibilities from one volunteer to another, and reduce website maintenance. Regular maintenance of the old site, necessitated by regular events, was getting burdensome.

The new template:

Drupal helps organize IgniteNM events

Managing the timeline of IgniteNM event tasks is huge job. Drupal gives the volunteer admins one tool per task, and automates much of the work:

  1. Gather presentation proposals: 5 weeks before the event
  2. Voting: 4 weeks before the event
  3. Chosen presenters upload slides: 4 days after voting closes
  4. Lock things down: 1 week later
  5. Admins prepare for event: Next 2 weeks
  6. Event: 5 weeks after Step #1

Drupal Site Enhancements

Gather proposals
The new site uses Drupal’s Webform module, which makes it easy for Goble to set a deadline for submissions.
Submissions go into a table in Drupal that Goble can easily export and review.
Replaces the old site's UserVoice to collect proposals, which required:
  • Community members had to leave to propose a presentation.
  • Volunteer administrators had to manage a separate set of usernames and passwords. This created an artificial threshold that might prevent volunteers from volunteering.
New Pollfield module and Voting API provide a system that:
  • Is akin to municipal voting, where voting opens after all topics are collected, rather than as they come in.
  • Hides results until the voting deadline has passed.
  • Hides presenter information, allowing the community to vote solely on the interesting-ness of the topic.
Replaces UserVoice to tally votes, which has the same problems as noted in the previous section. Additionally:
  • This problem caused the volunteer admins to overwrite votes in order to give interesting topics a fighting chance.
  • The old voting system wasn’t fair - the first vote would always be at the top, and late entrants would be sorted at the bottom.
  • Voting began as soon as the topic was submitted.
  • Topic and presenter information were listed, which may have benefited popular presenters, and penalized newcomers to the IgniteNM stage.
Presenters upload slides
New form allows presenters to upload their slides. Form is the same for everyone, including:
  • Legalese at the top, with guidelines for presentations, agreement to abide by Creative Commons License, so that IgniteNM can post the presentations on its YouTube channel.
  • Only allows PDF uploads, which helps enforce formatting guidelines.
  • Uses filefield aliases to help admins manage the multiple presentations with the same name.
Once presentations are received, Drupal and makes it easy for admins to presentations and presenters through the “Manage Slidedeck” view. The old site didn’t have a utility for accepting presentation files. Instead, presenters emailed their slides to event organizers, which meant:
  • Multiple formats, often unusable.
  • Volunteer admin’s personal email address was exposed.
  • Late submissions.

Drupal Automations

Drupal View
To automate the tasks, Goble uses Drupal View to manages a huge, complicated SQL query in a simple interface.
Drupal View has filter sections that help site understand what to do and when - is it time for an event? Yes, then display idea form. If no, then look elsewhere for a variant.
All of this allows Goble to input very little information, and get templated product for public view in return.
JavaScript Timer
With all the other automation, all the organizers need to do is keep the schedule correct.
Content Creation Kit Module
Allows admins to see all of the elements that comprise an event. Goble is happy to know that this features is being folded into Drupal 7.

Upgrade Path

Goble is happy with the “automaticity” (nice new word!) of the site, BUT:

Goble Needs Help

Goble claims that he is not a “web person,” and thus hopes to get some help from the Webuquerque community with: Design and layout and Contemporary web development.

Learn More

Contact Cameron

Cameron Goble owns See Yourself Teaching, small business that helps people teach:

Rate Our Speaker

If you attended the event and have not yet rated our speaker, please head over to SpeakerRate and let Cameron Goble know you what thought.

Your input and feedback are essential for helping Webuquerque provide the best content possible. Be sure to tell us what you thought!


Due to technical difficulties, we don't have video of this presentation, however Cameron was gracious enough to sync his recorded audio with the presentation deck, which is available on Vimeo:

Slide Deck

The slide deck is available on SlideShare:


Photos are available on Flickr:

Thanks to All Our Volunteers!

Webuquerque just wouldn't be the same without helping hands from our community members:

Support the Community!

As we mentioned earlier this year, Webuquerque is no longer hosting monthly presentations at this time. We'll be keeping this site up to serve as an archive of the past three years, as well as for future news about Adobe and Webuquerque.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the new httq group for local web events.