Playing chess with the lights off

Yesterday was Day 2 of the Lullabot Rock Solid Drupal training — and day 3 is about to start. It’s been a heady collection of serious tools that a dabbler like me hasn’t really had a reason to work with before, but it’s very impressive to see.  

One of the things that sets folks running high-powered sites apart is that they avoid using any sort of GUI (graphic user interface) on their production servers — all of the memory and processor power used to make pretty windows and check boxes can be better used to deliver web pages to users, after all.  

Which means everything is handled from the command line — from a terminal window.  Drupal has it’s own shell system called Drush that makes it possible to do most of the admin functions you would do on the site right from the command line.  

What this requires, though, is a much higher level of understanding of how everything works together — how Apache (the web server) and mySql (the database) and PhP (the markup environment) and drupal work together to make the magic happen.  

A chess master can play an entire game of chess without seeing the board.  Tell him where the pieces move, and he can hold his own version of the board in his mind.  That’s what it’s like watching these guys at work.  And at play.  

What I love about the Lullabot trainings is this moment right now — when I’ve had a few days working with them.  I’ve been playing my own game of blind chess right along with them, and it feels like i could be a chess master too.  Can I keep it up when I get back home?  Or will I turn the lights on?  

Right now, it feels like I could take on Kasparov in the dark.  We’ll see. 

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