Drupal & Dungeons & Dragons

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Drupal & Dungeons & Dragons: Solving Real-World Data Management Problems

A magical quest through complex record keeping that takes our adventurers from the mighty cities of Features packages through the deep delves of compound fields, facing off against hordes of PDF output. Explore a the issues of real-world content management and complex data arrangement issues in a format everyone can relate to.

When the D&D Character module for Drupal was released, it was intended to make the lives of Dungeon Masters and players easier. More importantly, it's a great example of some really common and surprisingly complex Drupal module functionality. First, it provides a custom content type with a complex list of fields (using Field API) to allow users to create their characters. Second, it defines several compound fields to help account for the varieties of complex data such as skills, feats, magical items, and weapons. Finally, it make use of PHP's PDF libraries to create printable character record sheets for a character node.

As any good DM or player knows, managing a PC is extremely complex, involving dozens of steps to create and update a good D&D character. In addition to being a fun D&D-themed session, this presentation will also cover how to deal with complex record keeping systems that can prove useful for government or HR offices. In addition to discussing the inspiration behind the D&D module, I'll explore how similar complex record-keeping requirements can be handled with Drupal and custom fields and content types.

What does table-top role-playing have to do with the Drupal community and what you're trying to build? D&D is a complex gaming structure with decades of business rules development which have been customized ad infinitum. The exploration of Dungeons & Dragons as metaphor for business requirements and scope changes or scope creep can help shed new light on developing with Drupal to accomplish so much more than just building a simple CMS.

Using D&D as an abstract frame of reference, this session intends to answer the following questions for developers:

  • What does role-playing have to do with the Drupal community? (A lot, actually)
  • What other real-world applications can this approach help?
  • How do I build a module with custom compound fields for my content type?
  • I can generate nodes as PDFs? How?
  • D&D is cool, but what if I play GURPS? Or 4th Edition?

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