“I am a believer on every impossible things is possible.” – interview with Gem D. Devanadera

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Today we are proud to introduce you an entrepreneur by heart, a developer by night, a project manager and a module researcher by day, a mother of 3 wonderful kids and simply an incredible woman. Meet Gem D. Devanadera sharing her thoughts about everything from life to work. Ready? Happy reading!

To begin with, can you tell our readers a few words about yourself, please? Specify your non-Drupal related interests or hobbies.

I am a believer on every impossible thing is possible. I love pizza and donut. I have 3 wonderful kids that I consider my most precious possession on earth. I truly believe God is the author of Work and good planning.

On my free time I prefer to play tennis or badminton. I love gardening and cooking because nature is my best suiting stress reliever aside from music. I love to read books about history and tech evolutions.

How and when did you start working with Drupal? What were your first impressions about this CMS? How did those impressions change over time?

I started working with Drupal as a volunteer during last 2012 in a small seminar for a local church in Manila. Then from there I was involved getting small personal Drupal projects from my church mates and friends, and until I became active in the community as an organiser for Drupal Manila.

My first impression about CMS is it is super easy and simple to use, but when I tried Drupal I learned that there are 2 ways you can learn from it. The easy way for non-technical and the hard way for technical peeps.

As I studied more and explored more of Drupal I’ve seen that this CMS rock the most of all CMS. Because Drupal has a very nice community culture, all are contributing in one community for a change. Drupal taught me that I can build incredible things from this platform as time goes by and until now still exploring the wonder and the power of it.

With so many CMS platforms available, what do you think sets Drupal apart from all the rest? What are the most prominent benefits? Is there something you would like to change about the software?

Drupal is not so fancy out of the box and it’s one of the reason why people easily get bored right after the installation and only those with brave heart can withstand it and with few modules installed for beautification and it will no longer be boring. Drupal wasn’t designed for design centric people but for developers focusing on performance, scalability and how third party systems can be integrated in the platform. I think this is one of the major features that separates Drupal from other CMS.

I think  what I would change is the way Drupal  presents its workflow, what I mean is  instead of providing a helper link per module (I believe there is a helper hook per module that does this) for beginners I would suggest to add tour module in the core.

Do you agree that Drupal has an extremely steep learning curve?

Yes, I believe that Drupal has a steeper learning curve than most major CMS out in the market, but this won’t be a problem – Drupal has solution for this, and one of them is through Drupal community. Here in the Philippines we have 7107 islands, logistically it’s hard to conduct tech meetups for Drupal, so that community decided to set up Drupal meetup groups in every major cities around the country and this is the best venue where they can ask some experts in their problems/issues on Drupal.

Have you personally encountered any difficulties with this platform? If yes, how did you deal with them?

Yes, at first it was difficult, especially if there were no available modules so I had to develop one. One of the best features of Drupal is that you can integrate any other third party system to it without exposing security of both platforms via restful api.

Are there any personalities or resources out there that can help Drupal newbies to get acquainted with the platform stress-free?

Yes, as one of the core mentors of the Drupal community here in the Philippines, one of our projects is to conduct intensive trainings for newbies and students who are interested in learning Drupal. Sometimes we do it in the schools or universities. Last year we managed to produce a dozen of trainings that produced mentors in the Drupal community.

What skills are required to get a full advantage of Drupal?

  • For me these are the top 10 skills:
  • Right attitude
  • PHP
  • CSS
  • Git
  • drush
  • sass/compass
  • responsive theming
  • module development
  • automation and deployment using vagrant, chef/puppet provisioner
  • tech public speaker

What is your piece of advice to Drupal newbies who just kickstart their career with the software?

They are on the right track and they should keep on learning for I believe that the current market of Drupal is so hot and has potential to go beyond. Their time and effort will not be in vain, just move forward and keep on contributing to Drupal.

What are the most useful modules you install every time you configure a Drupal website?

Top modules:

If Drupal didn’t exist, which CMS would you prefer using instead? Why?

Joomla 3.x, its object oriented and its framework is now enterprise ready.

As Drupal expert, have you ever faced the problem of website migration from other CMSs to Drupal or vice versa? Did you personally perform website switch to Drupal?

Yes I’ve experienced several migrations already from external sites like WordPress or from data source in an xml or csv to Drupal, just one way.

What’s your view on using automated converters (like aisite)? Have you ever tried one?

I think aisite is an awesome migration tool for different CMS, though I haven’t tried it yet, but would love to try it out  in my next migration.

Do you think that keeping the same design is critical when migrating across CMS solutions?

This depends. Most of my migration’s objectives was just to get the data and use the same data to be displayed in a different UI.

P.S. Left seduced to switch to Drupal? Consider aisite automated migration service to perform the conversion as easy and flawless as possible.Try your Demo Migration with no delay.

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