Laura Scott: BlogHer, pingVision & Drupal – Part 3

Laura Scott, President of pingVision LLC is a graphic and interactive media designer with a background in print production, television and web. On the eve of the 2006 BlogHer conference and just after upgrading the BlogHer site I posed some questions to Laura and she has provided some great insight. This interview discusses a little about Laura, Drupal and her work with the BlogHer community site.

This is the third part of the interview. Part 1 and Part 2 are also here on Performancing. If you’d like clarification from Laura on any of the points feel free to ask them in the comments and Laura and I will do our best to get you an answer.

As to why this part is so much shorter – just blame my inability to divide properly… 😉

What features in the next Drupal release seem exciting to you?

You mean in terms of the next major release around the end of this year? Well, the improvements in caching and query structures being discussed right now on the development list are quite exciting. Drupal’s power can come at a cost in terms of demand upon the server, not so much in the basic core but when you start adding the additional modules and functionality that most websites need these days. It will be great when the code is made even more scalable, so that we can build more complexity on the same hardware.

But most interesting to me are the continued developments in the theming system. Right now, there’s a lot in a Drupal page that is pre-formatted by the system itself — especially in some of the contributed modules. As a designer, that has driven me crazy more than once. I’m most interested in the changes planned to move this all into the theming, so that what you see is totally governed by the theme and the theme calls up the data in a way that is best for that particular site. We’re still limited by web standards and all the various ugly hacks you have to do to make websites work in Internet Explorer, but there’s still a lot we can do.

I’m also loving the new contributions in the rich media area. With the spread of broadband and the newer video codecs available, you can get some pretty high quality video on websites, even in Flash. And same for the music world. We’re just finishing development on a grassroots independent music community site that would not have been possible on that budget just six months ago.

And all this is changing everything. It’s an insurgent economy being born, and Drupal is right there in the thick of it. It’s great! Really, I’m just glad Drupal is there with such a great community of developers. I take the surprises and API changes as a given, just part of the price of working with free open source software. But considering that nearly all these changes end up making Drupal even better, I can’t complain. I’m hoping that once we get staffed up we’ll have more time to contribute to the community effort. Right now, it’s just one website after another — but that’s great, because they’re all really interesting projects that take us into different directions.