DrupalCon DC and mobile web technology

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DrupalCon DC

drupalcon DC
Three days after DrupalCon DC it is finally time to join the other Drupal bloggers and give a view on my highlights, and more particularly the mobile highlights on DrupalCon DC. One thing was sure, I had a more stable internet connection on my mobile device (through Edge/3G) than on my laptop! It kept me nicely informed on all the tweets (currently I use Fring, but suggestions are highly welcomed - for a windows mobile device), the after-parties and my incoming mail... So this is a reason to provide a nice Mobile Drupalcon website next year. I'll have to offer my services to Jean-Baptiste and Joeri from the winning Drupalcon Paris 2009 organization.

Ok, back to DrupalCon. We all agree that it was a great success (of course) and we have all shown how strong Drupal (and it's community) is. The presence of a lot of researchers show that Drupal can maintain a position in innovation in terms of CMS system so the future looks bright :)

For who missed the sessions (or like me, missed a lot of the sessions), here is an overview of the video recordings of al sessions.

Some keypoints

Some of the main conclusions on the session I attended are:

  • Drupal has the power to become the first full powered Semantic CMS system, enabling a high degree of data portability and optimisation of search and indexing of your site. http://bit.ly/17MAnV . The creation of mash ups will never be easier!
  • Drupal still has some usability issues and a steep learning curve for beginners. This also includes the provisioning of documentation. Joomla is perceive much more user friendly.
  • Joomla and Wordpress seem to have a very high market share
    http://bit.ly/ojQOb (but some argued that google trends is a bad metric, given the fact that Drupal users, use Drupal.org to find things... Just a bad excuse!)
  • Solr powers fast complex search and is beeing powered by Acquia: http://bit.ly/vc35n. Check out the Musescore handbook for a demonstration of a Solr powered search.
  • ...

And what on mobile?

(You saw this one coming ;))
Of course I looked out for the session involving Mobile devices and Drupal powering mobile websites. As already seen on the DrupalCon schedule, there was no Mobile session that reached the final schedule. So in stead of attending the non-existing mobile sessions, I organized two Mobile BoF sessions and I did some "fundamental" research by approaching friends, developers and agency guys with some questions about mobile Drupal. The main response was that currently customers don't ask for mobile enabled websites and that developers and web-agencies also almost never propose this to their clients. Main reasons seem to be the risk attached when entering a new market where other technologies and rules apply (please reply if you have other experiences).
Further I often got the response that the network in the US sucks in comparison with Europe, so why bother making mobile sites. anyone can proof this, or is this just perception? I'll have to do my research on that.

We can only expect things to change in the coming months (year?), but as a developer you can help by checking out the mobile web and learning to create a mobile version for your clients. iPhones are already ubiquitous and this will only grow with new Windows-Mobile, Android and Symbian devices. We should not stay behind!

But still, there was a session talking about using mobile devices for collecting data for your website:
Using SMS For Data Collection. This session got a lot of attention and more people are looking at this option for:
- data collection in far away areas
- easy data collection from regular users
Some of the issues are the cost for obtaining shortcodes and making deals with operators in different regions and countries.

Mobile Tools module

During the conference I have been working on my new and upcoming Mobile Tools module. During the BoF sessions, I have been demonstrating some of the functionality of this upcoming module. I got some valuable feedback that I will incorporate in the first release. More on this later (when I release it).

And finally: is this the usage of this Blog moral?

And final, I learned that providing a lot of links in my blog posts, and at the right hand side is very altruistic and makes Drupal very moral ;)
Check out the keynote of prof. Weinberger!

Keep tuned and see you all in Paris!
DrupalCon Paris