Building a Conference Registration Site



May 31, 2007

Worth noting that there is now an interesting install profile for conferences available for Drupal.

I started writing this post shortly after DrupalCamp Toronto, but didn't have a good time to finish it off. James Walker provided a good example of how to reproduce a conference registration site in his workshop "Building an event site in an hour". This functionality is useful for all sorts of organizations including the Drupal community, this recipe has been used for the Open Source CMS Summit at the Yahoo Campus and also at Toronto's Drupal Camp and will be rolled up to be used for the next Drupalcon in Barcelona.

Using existing modules CCK & Views James was able to produce a comprehensive event registration/management tool for a specific event. Users were allowed to register, suggest a presentation topic, vote on suggested topics, sign up to attend an presentation and provide information for post-conference follow-up. The use of CCK's import/export tools allowed James to quickly cut/paste from existing models so that sites could be quickly replicated.

CCK, Views, & Panels are providing a great deal of flexibility for developers who want to be able to quickly develop customized functionality for individual sites. There is a great deal that folks without a background in php can do to customize node types using these modules.

One concern that I had was that this approach seemed to preclude the ability for an organization to set up one site for many events. We have been approached by two organizations so far looking for this type of generic event registration tool for regular workshops and so I was curious to see if this might be a tool that we could use for these clients. The example that James provided would be good for conferences, but not as good for smaller workshops, however the structure allows for the sites to be easily archived for reference after the conference.

About The Author

Mike Gifford is the founder of OpenConcept Consulting Inc, which he started in 1999. Since then, he has been particularly active in developing and extending open source content management systems to allow people to get closer to their content. Before starting OpenConcept, Mike had worked for a number of national NGOs including Oxfam Canada and Friends of the Earth.