Interview with Cindy McCourt, Drupal trainer and author

Cindy McCourt Community Interview cover
Community Drupal

Agiledrop is highlighting active Drupal community members through a series of interviews. Now you get a chance to learn more about the people behind Drupal projects.

For this week's interview, we spoke with Cindy McCourt, consultant at IDCM Innovations, Drupal trainer, and author and co-author of several books ranging from Drupal to fantasy fiction. Give it a read to see what drew her to Drupal and why she thinks it'll continue to be a great solution to site builders' and developers' needs.


1. Please tell us a little about yourself. How do you participate in the Drupal community and what do you do professionally?

Professionally, my passion is empowering future site owners to understand their options for creating a Drupal site. Then, if I can’t be in on the front end, I help site owners learn how to use their new site. The books I have authored and co-authored on Drupal reflect my desire to help as well. 

As for the community, I do what others do. I give back using my skill sets. Coders give code. I am a builder, so I teach people how to build sites with Drupal as part of the Drupal Global Training Days


2. When did you first come across Drupal? What convinced you to stay, the software or the community, and why?

I discovered Drupal 4.5 when performing an open source content management system review for a client. Of the 20+ systems that I reviewed fourteen years ago, I chose Drupal for my own use. I felt that Drupal offered what I like to call a data management system, versus a page management system. I liked where Drupal was going with this idea and haven't been disappointed. 


3. What impact has Drupal made on you? Is there a particular moment you remember?

When I found Drupal, I walked away from HTML pages and Dreamweaver. I’ve never been one that looks for the opportunity to code. It’s just not my thing. I like tools that help me get a job done. 

For example, if you've ever managed hundreds or thousands of HTML pages, like I have, you know that code and content reuse is required if you want to be efficient. Drupal offers that.

Also, if you have ever built an online data management system, you know the power of databases and what's required to integrate web pages and said database (even if coding is fun). So, to have that done for you, for free? To me, selecting Drupal is a no-brainer. 

As for a moment in time that I remember, the day I installed Drupal on my server to test it for my client. That was a game changer for me, as you can guess from my comments. Today's version of Drupal might be light years from D4.5, but even back then Drupal's concepts were where websites needed to be.


4. How do you explain what Drupal is to other, non-Drupal people?

"Drupal is an open source content management system used to build websites and online applications." I assume I heard this somewhere from someone, or something similar. Anyway, I usually get nods of understanding with that statement. 

If someone is interested in knowing more, I let them guide the discussion based on their needs. Given I can fill many pages of a book, I can also go on and on about several aspects of Drupal if you let me.


5. How did you see Drupal evolving over the years? What do you think the future will bring?

Like I mentioned before, I saw Drupal as a data management system and over the years, it has exceeded my expectations. Nothing has happened to make me believe that Drupal will not continue to provide site builders with the micro tools needed to create what they need.


6. What are some of the contributions to open source code or to the community that you are most proud of?

Compared to the actual coders in the community who enabled Drupal’s success, I have nothing to brag about. I do my best to submit observations when I see something wrong. I try to be respectful when asking for help. And, when I teach Drupal classes, I speak firmly on the fact that there is no room for curt and disrespectful behavior when communicating with the community. Drupal is free because a lot of really smart people have contributed their time and know-how to make it so. They didn't have to.


7. Is there anything else that excites you beyond Drupal? Either a new technology or a personal endeavor. 

I am talking with a developer colleague and friend about writing a Drupal 9 how-to book. 

If we can come up with something fresh, it will be a combination of a planning and click instruction book with insights based on the 20+ cumulative years of experience between the two of us. The development approach being used as Drupal moves towards D9 offers us a chance to plan now for next year.