Jeff Robbins, from Lullabot on Drupal (Podcast and Interview Transcription)

Recorded during an earlier interview.

Related blog post.

Drupal is often referred to as a content management system but it’s also a web framework. It’s basically a PHP web application framework in the same way that Rails is a web application framework for Ruby, Drupal is a web application framework for PHP. But it’s really focused on CMS that’s built on top of it but it’s really, really flexible. And so there are all these modules out there that can add, basically sort of fundamentally change the way that Drupal works.

Lisa Padilla: Hi, it’s Lisa Padilla. Welcome to Lisacast, another episode. Today’s guest is Jeff Robbins who is Co-Founder and CEO of Lullabot. And for those of you who don’t know Lullabot, Lullabot is all about Drupal and Jeff is going to talk a little bit about that. Jeff Robbins, are you with me?

Jeff Robbins: I am, are you with me?

Lisa Padilla: Yes, that’s great. Could you also just say before we started that you do your weekly Drupal Podcast on BlogTalkRadio?

Jeff Robbins: No, we do it a little more home-brewed, yeah, no, we —

Lisa Padilla: Do you guys edit first before or do you do live shows?

Jeff Robbins: No, we do a lot of edit. We do a lot of editing and make ourselves sound smarter, although, I guess there is only so far that we can go with that. But yeah, the live thing is exciting, it’s very exciting.

Lisa Padilla: Yeah, I still get excited right before shows start and I think it’s because of the live act and because there have been a couple of times when I interviewed Rafe Needleman, he was actually tied up with his toddler and he was a few minutes late and so we just started without him. But it does offer spontaneous conversation to start to and maybe the show goes the different direction. So there is that. But you are here and let’s talk about you. Let’s jump right in and talk about your background.

Jeff Robbins: Okay. What would you like to talk about?

Lisa Padilla: Well, our listeners here might not know that you have an always been an entrepreneur that you’ve had around in the music industry.

Jeff Robbins: Well, I guess, yeah, just sort of a different type of entrepreneurship I guess but yeah, my sort of previous career was as the front person for a band called Orbit. We were on A&M Records for most of the 90s and did the Lollapalooza festival and had top 10 modern rock song and stuff like that. So, yeah, did that. Well, I started a web company, I actually worked at O’Reilly in like 1991, ‘92, ‘93 when the web was kind of coming into being and I actually started one of the first web development companies. But when my band got off for the record deal, I was happy to go do that and stop explaining to people what the Internet was and why they should have a web site and that kind of thing. Everyone eventually figured out what the Internet was and why they ought to have a web site. But meanwhile, I was playing rock shows.

Lisa Padilla: Yeah, that company was Liquid Media in 1993, right?

Jeff Robbins: Yeah.

Lisa Padilla: So, you have done quite a bit of web development too and have done Ringo Starr site, is that right?

Jeff Robbins: That’s true, yeah, I got to spend some time talking to Ringo onto the phone and helping him with his various technical computer problems. He is a lovely man.

Lisa Padilla: You must have started with music then, and how did you come to start at O’Reilly?

Jeff Robbins: I just was doing various temp jobs to, I was playing in my band and was looking for jobs that were paid well but didn’t tie me down too much and I ended up getting a job, a temp job at O’Reilly doing illustration work for some of their books. And they liked me and I really liked them and so they kept me on and I worked there probably two or three years or something like that till I left to go do the web stuff which happened relatively briefly and then my band got signed.

Lisa Padilla: And it’s no coincidence probably that you have authored a book under the O’Reilly name?

Jeff Robbins: Yeah, our book is called Using Drupal. It’s the first O’Reilly book about Drupal and they came out just about a month ago, something like that. It’s been selling very well. It looks like we are going to do some more stuff with O’Reilly. I am not quite sure what yet but we were having a good time together.

Lisa Padilla: Okay, and this book is really wonderful just from a person who is interested in learning new web 2.0 class systems but having a limited amount of time and meeting to get the biggest thing out of that for my time. You really turned around my thinking on Drupal and something that looked daunting to me and I had heard colleagues that cursing not having in-house Drupal specialist and then hearing sporadically that somebody would pick up a book and figure it out and sort of inspire me to drill down to that book, and now I am total convert.

Jeff Robbins: Oh that’s great, yeah, I mean that’s kind of why we started Lullabot. So, my band got robbed in 2001 and I started building web sites with my wife who is also an O’Reilly author, Jennifer Robbins. She has written Web Design in a Nutshell and Learning Web Design. And so, we did Ringo site and kept building other sites. And eventually, I was kind of looking for something to kind of integrate the needs of all these people that I was building sites for and I ended up finding Drupal in building a big web project using Drupal. And it was really frustrating, there is a lot of promise in Drupal, there is a lot of hoops and dreams and it’s really cool, there is all these modules, there is like I don’t know probably I haven’t looked recently but last time I looked, there were about 3,000 different modules for Drupal that like various I don’t know pick a web feature and there is a module for it, there is eCommerce and buddy lists and rating systems, and whatever is out there, tutor integration and there is modules for it. But when you actually sit down to do it, it’s not always really clear how to do it, which modules to choose, what’s the best way to do it, or any of that kind of stuff. And I basically got about half or three quarters of the way through the project that I was doing, I mean this is years ago. And I had no idea how it’s going to finish the project and [Full article]

10 Replies to “Jeff Robbins, from Lullabot on Drupal (Podcast and Interview Transcription)”

    1. Thank you, I like your site as well.

      Regarding Joomla: Yes, my company, sometimes uses Joomla for it’s clients. It’s well suited for many types of organizations, businesses, and other kinds.

  1. We’ve have done web design for 6 and have a few essential things for everyone. First, user must know what a site is about in seconds. This may be singing to the choir, but I can’t explain you how many websiets I come through with these simple issues. Oh and one other tip, If you use CAPTCHA make sure the letters are readable.

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