It’s almost here - 77 days and counting until DrupalCon Chicago

This year's DrupalCon Chicago event is shaping up to be the best ever; there are session proposals from top Drupalists around the country, Drupal 7 will be GA when we meet and well what’s more fun than winter in the windy city.

To help make the best of your DrupalCon experience I wanted to highlight some key sessions submitted by Acquia’s finest, I hope you find this list valuable and take the time to vote on these sessions. Voting is easy, simply log on to http://drupal.org then go to https://chicago2011.drupal.org/ you can use the links below to fast-track to each session description, like what you see, click on the stars at the end of the session description. One star = I have no interest in this session, five stars = I totally want to see this session; you choose the number of stars. I may be biased but I think the sessions highlighted below deserve five stars.

TRACK: IMPLEMENTATION AND CONFIG

Drupal 7’s Multilingual System
Speakers - Gábor Hojtsy, Acquia and Amir Helzer, Icanlocalize
This session will go through the different elements of a multilingual Drupal 7 site: Drupal itself, contributed modules and themes and most importantly, your content. It will explain how to benefit from the drupal.org localization server for interface translation and how to create and manage multilingual content.

Under the Covers of Drupal Commons, the "Instant Community" Distribution
Speaker – Jay Batson, Acquia
Drupal Commons is a pre-assembled Drupal distribution you can use to build a community site. Whether for internal collaboration or for an open community, Drupal Commons slashes the work required to stand your site up. In this session, find out what’s inside Commons, and how to use it – and extend it.

Configuration Management with Chef
Speakers - Mark Sonnabaum, Acquia and Dustin Currie, Levelten Interactive
Many configuration management tools exist - cfengine, bcfg2, Puppet and Chef. This session will focus on what makes Chef different from other config management tools, such as the ability to override cookbooks, the hosted repository of cookbooks and the chef-solo tool, which can be used to configure a system in the absence of a chef server.


Easy Drupal Hosting Lifecycle: Local Dev., Production Deploy, Cloud Scale, and Sleep Well

Speaker – Barry Jaspan, Acquia
Drupal site best practices workflow includes initial development on local workstation, testing in a staging environment, and a production environment ranging from a single server to a high-performance high-availability cluster. This session will take you through the workflow process.

"Think Drupal: The Site Planning Formula"
Speaker - Jeffrey A. McGuire, Acquia
Learn to "think Drupal" when planning and building websites. This session will go from sketches and mock-ups, to a sitemap and functional plan, and finally to a full Drupal website, all while learning to "think Drupal".

Failure to Launch: Drupal Performance Tuning
Speaker - Kenny Silanskas, Acquia
Everyone wants a fast website, especially your users. This session will show you the optimizations you'll need to build a blazing fast Drupal website that can withstand even the largest surge of traffic.

Using Hudson to Reduce Deployment and Maintenance Costs
Speaker - Chris Pliakas, Acquia
Hudson is gaining popularity in the Drupal community as an easy-to-use tool that automates and monitors repeated build tasks. Leveraging Hudson can streamline development life cycles and lower costs by aiding proper deployment workflows, improving code reliability, and facilitating communication across the team.

TRACK: DESIGN AND UX

A Collaborative Approach to Solving Some of Drupals UX Problems
Speaker – Jeff Noyes, Acquia
This session will be a collaborative workshop to solve some of Drupal's usability issues, or at the very least flesh out the positives and negatives of many different ideas.


Interface Therapy: Emotional Design and Drupal’s User Experience

Speaker – James Elliott, Acquia
This session will detail how the user’s experience can be elevated from usable to enjoyable. We’ll look at where and how this has been achieved previously and how we can apply similar techniques ourselves to bring the same level of UX to our sites, modules, and themes.

Building Awesome User Interfaces with Drupal 7's Form, AJAX, and Theme Systems
Speaker – Alex Bronstein, Acquia
This session will present an overview and some of the gems of Drupal core's form, AJAX, and theme systems, and how these systems can be used to implement the desired UI


The Type Revolutionary’s Cookbook

Speaker – Kevin O’Leary, Acquia
The session will begin with a brief history of type on the web then move into the current state of the art. Topics will include an assessment of services than license @font-face fonts including Typekit, Monotype, and FontDeck, and how to use them successfully with Drupal.

TRACK: BUSINESS AND STRATEGY


A Sprint in the Life of a Highly Agile Drupal Development Organization

Speaker - Jacob Singh, Acquia
Acquia's engineering team has been building DrupalGardens at a fast pace for the past year and now that we are heading into open beta we decided it was time to open up and share what has worked well with the community. This session will take you through a 21-day sprint in the life of the Drupal Gardens team.


Toe to Toe with WordPress

Speaker – Jesse Beach, Acquia
This session will compare the 3.0 release of WordPress to Drupal 7 and compare their respective features in terms of level of effort required to utilize them effectively.

Strategies for Client Management
Speakers - Chris Strahl, Acquia, Vanessa Turke, ImageX Media and Amye Scavarda
This panel session will pull together experienced, mid-level and new project managers from the Drupal community to talk about strategies for client and project management. We'll be talking about instructive failure points in our own work, with personal stories of how we mess things up and how we recover gracefully.

Competing with Giants - How to Win with Drupal vs Proprietary Alternatives
Speakers – Bryan House, Acquia and Peter Guagenti, Acquia
In this session, we'll share our experiences positioning Drupal with the analyst community and with senior level executives from prospective customers. We'll discuss Drupal's weaknesses and lessons we've learned when Drupal has lost during the selection process, and how we, as a community, can work together to improve our chances in the future.


Business Trends and Market Feedback of Drupal Distributions

Speaker – Matt Ackley, Acquia
More and more Drupal distributions are arising around the marketplace, this session will take a look at the variety of distributions, but more importantly the business trends we see Drupal distributions addressing as a mechanism to accelerate Drupal adoption in the marketplace.

TRACK: DRUPAL COMMUNITY


This is Horribly Broken, How Can We Fix It?

Speaker - Gábor Hojtsy, Acquia
Have you ever encountered a moment using Drupal when you found your work broken due to Drupal core or some module? Managed to track down the cause outside of your code and configuration? Great, you can get it fixed for yourself! This session will teach you where to look if you'd like to contribute, with a bit of version control, Drupal community process, politics and crowd dynamics enlightening factored in.

Agile Design and Engineering Inside the Drupal Gardens Team
Speakers – Jeff Noyes, Acquia and Chris Brookins, Acquia
In this session we’ll show you how Acquia applies user experience design with Agile development to build rapid solutions that tailor to the needs of a targeted audience. We’ll reveal how we decide what to include in our products and by when.

25 Ways to Make Drupal Easier
Speaker – Jeff Noyes, Acquia
This session will reveal 25 ways to improve Drupal core and contributed modules. Some suggestions will be based on actual data, others will be heuristic evaluations based on field experience and/or competitive research.

TRACK: CODER


How to Detangle Your JavaScript

Speakers - Katherine Senzee, Acquia and Paul Lovvik, Acquia
JavaScript is a beautiful language, and JavaScript code can be written to be as obvious as code in any other language. But in practice it often looks like a tangled mess, even to experienced developers. In this session you will discover exactly what it is that makes so much JavaScript code difficult to understand, and learn practical techniques for reworking that code into something you -- and others! -- can easily read and maintain.

Drupal Usability for Developers: How to Get Real People to Love Your Work
Speakers - David Rothstein, Acquia and Gábor Hojtsy, Acquia
This session will introduce you to usability-related APIs and other resources that are at your disposal, and give concrete examples of how to improve your module's user experience with minimum coding effort.

There you have it, the best of the best list, see you in Chicago.