Community Building with Drupal Toronto
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Community Building with Drupal Toronto

A few weeks ago, Torontoist discussed a number of emerging collaborative gatherings, including Talk20 and Dorkbot, and a considerable omission was made when Drupal Toronto was left off that list. Toronto is quite renowned for having a very active and vital community contributing to the development of the Drupal Content Management System (CMS). What is Drupal and why should you care? Put quite simply, Drupal is an open source system for building websites. It is like Movable Type, the engine behind Torontoist and the Gothamist network, but it is extremely flexible and can be used to build any kind of site, from a simple blog to a social networking site. A global community of developers are working on modules that you can plug into the platform for all kinds of applications, from Google Maps mashups, to organizing a portfolio, to tracking recipes, Drupal is fantastic at organizing information at all scales.
Drupal was originally developed by Dries Buytaert in 2001 and evolved into an open source project shortly thereafter. Drupal served as the foundation for Deanspace: a social tool that helped mobilize Howard Dean’s supporters during his unlikely ascent within the Democratic party during the 2004 primaries. The software has since grown into one of the most popular CMS solutions largely due to the sizable, dedicated community developing and discussing the software. Torontoist recently caught up with veteran Drupal developer James Walker to chat about the collective’s monthly meetings.
Drupal Toronto has existed since late 2005 and has since grown to a membership of over a hundred. In addition to the monthly meetings, the group has promoted two DrupalCamp events in Toronto over the last year. The last one of these events had roughly 150 attendees from all over Canada and the U.S. which Walker describes as “a microcosm of the global Drupal community: vibrant, growing and passionate.”
Walker describes the events as “community-driven,” and is quick to point out that the meetings accommodate a wide range of web development skill levels. Conversation could range from “deep API-level, programmer-focused discussion to a general overview of new features in the upcoming Drupal 6 release.” Walker suggests anybody interested in learning about Drupal should attend regardless of their web skills as “the biggest benefit of the events is networking with other local Drupal users and developers.” Torontoist readers interested in taking charge of their web presence and online community building should take note, as Drupal is a great tool with almost infinite expandability.
Drupal Toronto meets the second Tuesday of every month at the linuxcaffe, with the next event scheduled for the evening of September 11. You can check out their site for more information on upcoming events.
Photo by Melsky.