It is said that once you dream in a foreign language, you are really starting to internalize it. Well, last night I dreamt in Drupal. I saw blocks and nodes aligning and snippets of php to accomplish my tasks. I felt as though my subconscious was building a new website all night long, tinkering with shiny new tools in the stillness of the dead of night.
I have just wrapped up four days of non-stop Drupal with the awesome Lullabot folks. I really do see how it works and how much you can really do with it now. Wow. I feel like one of those giddy, born-again types who has seen the light and feels energized to spread the word.
People that talk about Drupal always talk about how it is very powerful and extensible. Understanding how all the bits of code are related and how that system was intended to be used was really the core thing for me to "get it". The Lullabot team took us on a reality-based tour using projects they have built with Drupal as their examples. We used our own installs to practice some of the different techniques and tools we saw in action in those sites. The themeing part was very cool as we took an un-Drupal-looking theme and applied it to our own sites in a matter of hours.
The workshops were great not just for learning Drupal but it was a great opportunity to just chat, make connections and be entertained by the five different personalities of the Lullabot team (there was a lot of laughing). It was a really open format that lent itself to discussion and allowed for questions that were outside of the defined course descriptions while keeping on topic and making sure the core goals of the class were completed. The Lullabots truly are experts at what they do but they don't have strange pretensions that they know it all nor that Drupal is a perfect system. It was refreshing to have real people just being, well, real. The workshops felt like having a group of friendly colleagues get together to problem solve and show you tips and cool things that you hadn't figured out on your own yet.
Drupal is powerful and extensible and the community supporting it is vibrant and hard-working. Poking at it on my own I got the engine going but now I feel that I understand how to put it in gear to actually go somewhere with it. And the road is wide open.