A Blog Squad collaboration with Fusion Content Strategist Lisa Ruff and Project Manager Jan Evans
About a year ago, we wrote a blog featuring Fusion’s AppDev Discipline Lead, Jamie Kurtz, and the January 2013 release of his first book, ASP.NET MVC4 and the Web API: Building a REST Service from Start to Finish. When we talked to him then, he mentioned he had two more books in the works. Well, Jamie didn’t waste any time! He got right to it, and in collaboration with former Fusion consultant and colleague Thomas Besluau, just published his second title, Pro Drupal as an Enterprise Development Platform.
Blog Squad: What will readers learn from your new book?
Jamie: The book explains how developers can save time and money and can build their applications faster with fewer bugs by using the Drupal CMS as a foundation for their projects. With all the tools out there today, building custom client applications entirely from scratch is becoming less and less compelling. It makes better business sense to use a flexible, highly scalable framework such as Drupal, Joomla, or DotNetNuke as a foundation. This book focuses specifically on why Drupal is a particularly strong choice for the majority of development projects.
Blog Squad: Why did you choose Drupal to focus on?
Jamie: Drupal is the leader in standing alone as a full development platform. It’s something I can build a custom application on. If a client says they need a site that does XYZ, I want to be able to do it without them even knowing Drupal is the backend. Drupal has the ability to solve a customer need in a way that is very similar to the way we build custom apps. Drupal’s foundation and community of support is so extensive that it makes it easy for almost all enterprise application developers to focus the majority of their time and skills on solving clients’ business-specific problems, maximizing the value that they can add to each assignment.
Blog Squad: What was your motivation for choosing this topic?
Jamie: If I didn’t work at Fusion, this would not have happened. I wanted a way to streamline our development processes and save money. And our mobile team needed a backend platform. This was a value proposition for them. I saw how we could use Drupal to stand up an entire website with users, services, rules, and email notifications without writing any code. Also, Drupal is great for our Digital team – they don’t necessarily have the backend experience. Using Drupal as a foundation allows them to do more without having to cross over into application development. It allows us to be more competitive and get things done faster. All you have to do is turn on rules, services, and some security, for example.
Additionally, I love to teach and learn. In order to write a book, you have to dig a lot deeper into a topic and I love doing this kind of research.
Blog Squad: You had a collaborator on this book, former Fusion consultant Thomas Besluau. How did the two of you come together in this endeavor?
Jamie: Thomas started at Fusion about a year after I did, and he is a brilliant engineer. He recognized the same opportunity as I did with regard to using Drupal as more of an enterprise application to save money and time, but saw it more from a marketing angle vs. an enterprise application angle. We each brought a different perspective, and having those two perspectives was what I believe made this book a success. We were also able to split the writing in half.
Blog Squad: How was it working with a partner?
Jamie: We worked really well together. As I mentioned, we complemented each other because we have different backgrounds and areas of focus. This enabled us to split up the work. He focused more on the front-end angle, while I focused more on things like security, rules, and services. Also, writing with a partner was much more fun. We reviewed each other’s work. If I needed to take a night off every now and then, I didn’t feel like I was losing time. It would be very hard to go back to writing alone again…it was very lonely!
Blog Squad: How has becoming an author had an impact on your professional life?
Jamie: Being an author increases my credibility here and there, which helps Fusion. When I show up at a pursuit or client meeting, there’s a chance they’ve seen or even read the books – which helps them feel more comfortable with Fusion as a solution provider. It has also given me opportunities to speak to companies and user groups. Often these speaking engagements lead Fusion to business opportunities.
Blog Squad: Between your full-time job and a family, how do you manage to fit in your role as an author?
Jamie: I am a big believer in keeping my day job to 40 hours. I am very diligent in keeping focused, and getting things done during my time at work. But I’m also ruthless about making time to focus on my outside activities.
Blog Squad: What else do you have in the works?
Jamie: I’ve been working on a product that includes a website and mobile apps. It’s currently built and functional. Right now I’m working with a designer/marketing person to develop the branding for it. I’m hoping for a spring release. I’m also working on a second edition of my Web API book. At Fusion I’m working on pushing our team towards diversifying and getting us into some of the newer technologies such as single-page applications. I’m also planning to start a podcast with my writing partner Thomas, and Fusion colleague, Jeff Pickett – time permitting, of course.
Blog Squad: How did the idea for a podcast come about?
Jamie: Whenever the three of us get together, we always get into these long conversations that are largely technical, but that are always interesting to us. We felt like we wanted to capture and share those in some way, so we’re going to record them as podcasts.
SOUND OFF: What process and cost savings have you realized by using a back end like Drupal in your development?