very helpful lioness

Contributor Spotlight: Drupal 7 Chix

Wed, 03/24/2010 - 14:50 -- webchick

I struggled for quite awhile trying to come up with a single woman to pay homage to this year for Ada Lovelace Day and in the end, I couldn't do it; there are just too darn many women in the Drupal community out there kicking ass! :D So instead, here's a tribute to several of the Drupalchix who are actively working to make Drupal 7 the most amazing release yet.

Ariane "arianek" Khachatourians

Ariane has a project management background and put it to great use in the core queue by heading up the charge to revamp all of the help pages in Drupal 7. She took the initiative with 18 days of UI thaw remaining to lead a team of eager documentation contributors (as well as doing a huge chunk of the heavy lifting herself) to convert all help pages in core to the new help text standard. And from there, Ariane has stepped up to help in larger Documentation Team coordination efforts. She has also stepped up to do project management and wrangling at local code sprints, to help keep them on track and focused, and has an incredible knack for taking complex information and condensing it down to the point where it can be understood by mere mortals, e.g. http://affinitybridge.com/blog/drupal-simpletest-module-abridged.

Her write-up of her core contribution experience at http://affinitybridge.com/blog/story-drupal-7-core-help-update does a wonderful job of telling the "true story" of the kind of effort that goes behind these sort of epic changes. I love that post, because it totally mirrors the same feelings I had with my first few core contributions.

And aside from her Drupal contributions, Ariane has just all-around been an awesome friend who's really helped me, both on personal stuff like having a kind word to say when I'm feeling down, and more practical stuff like helping out with Marci and I and our epic move to Vancouver this summer.

Thanks so much, Ariane! :)

Jennifer "jhodgdon" Hodgdon

In addition to being the other major driver on the D7 help text update issue, and helping with larger Documentation Team coordination, Jennifer has been an invaluable force in keeping our API documentation and coding standards up to snuff. She has identified and fixed gaps in our hook documentation and coding standards, she arranges periodic IRC sprints in #drupal-docs to bring new contributors on board, and made tremendous improvements to the extremely critical Form API reference, among dozens of other valuable contributions.

In her "spare" time, outside of documentation/standards-related efforts, Jennifer has also helped tackle bugs in some of the tweakiest and most neglected parts of core, including Actions/Trigger module and the Search module/API, stepping up to be a maintainer of the Search module, and of general Documentation.

Can't wait to meet you in San Francisco next month! :)

Jen "jensimmons" Simmons

Jen kick-started a drive to put a new, modern-looking theme into Drupal core to complement the many UX improvements in Drupal 7, by unleashing Bartik. ["Bartik" being an homage to one of the first computer programmers — Jean Bartik. She was one of the six people (all women) who programmed the ENIAC computer (the first general-purpose electronic computer), and is sometimes credited as the team leader. She later worked on the BINAC and UNIVAC teams.] While Bartik's not quite ready yet, it's pretty darn close. If you want to help get this into Drupal 7, please download the code and try it out, and post and/or fix issues that you find.

Jen's front-and-center move to get a design movement going on in Drupal core has really helped mobilize Drupal's front-end developer community in the core queue, and has so far had many wonderful side-effects including two more core themes being developed, a patch that fixes long-standing issues in Color module, and adding some sensible defaults to core's image handling. Watching Jen act as the lead designer and in a "maintainer" capacity for the theme has been quite amazing, as she's managed to strike a nice balance between protecting the original intent of the design, and incorporating useful feedback from the community.

Keep up the great work, Jen! :)

Jacine "Jacine" Rodriguez

The designer behind the much-lauded Skinr module, Jacine came rocketing into the Drupal core queue recently and has been acting as our lead "markup marine": kicking Drupal 7's HTML and CSS into shape to address long-standing issues from themers, and correcting bugs in our adherence to standards and best-pradtices.

I've been incredibly impressed with Jacine's deep knowledge of this esoteric topic (as a backend dev, anything to do with CSS scares the crap out of me :P), and like Jen, her efforts have really started to raise awareness with other front-end developers that there's a great spot for them on the core development team. Jacine is also assisting Jen with pushing Bartik into core, and is actively working to develop guidelines for Drupal core themes for future releases.

I first met Jacine back at the Drupalchix get-together at Drupalcon Boston 2008, and it's been really amazing to watch her grow into a leader in the Drupal community. :)

Karen "KarenS" Stevenson

Karen Stevenson is one of the maintainers for the CCK module, as well as Date, Calendar, and other of the "must have" modules that are installed on basically every Drupal site.

While Karen has not been as active in the core queue as some of the others, she has been quietly working away on some of the most important stuff in Drupal 7. She was part of the original Fields in Core sprint, which helped lay the groundwork for moving CCK into core in Drupal 7, and also did a bunch of the initial heavy-lifting to get Daylight Savings Time support into Drupal 7 core.

Lately, she's been biding her time working on making the upgrade path from CCK to Drupal 7 Field API much smoother, both as a set of code and also with some useful documentation.

Rock on, Karen! :D

Leisa "leisareichelt" Reichelt

Leisa, along with Mark Boulton, headed up the D7UX project, an ambitious effort to re-think Drupal's fundamental user experience from the ground up, by doing design out in the open with constant community feedback. The vast majority of this work made its way into Drupal 7, including a new administrative theme, revamped IA, revamped navigation, contextual links, and administrative overlays.

Leisa was fantastic throughout this process, not only about taking the
community's feedback in stride (which could sometimes be quite brutal),
but also in her efforts to educate the larger development community
about the importance of user experience design. She hung out with us
on IRC, posted responses in the issue queues, and the effect on our
community has been transformative. Leisa also pioneered an initiative called "Micro Projects" --
http://www.d7ux.org/microprojects/ -- which paired a UX expert with
an open source developer to help create interfaces that make sense,
giving both of them valuable experience working with the other. The Drupal 7 Media module is the result of one such pairing.

But moreover, her work has brought open source user experience design
and the "community-driven" process of design to the entire larger UX
community, including the start of http://www.designintheopen.org/, a community for designers and user experience folks in open source. Leisa is helping to teach the larger UX community how to interact with open source communities, and open source communities about the importance of UX, and I believe this will have many positive repercussions in the future for the larger open source world as a whole.

Katherine "ksenzee" Senzee

Katherine was also a huge driving force for D7UX, on the implementation side of things. She's best known for driving home the administrative overlays in Drupal 7 despite, as heyrocker notes below, immense odds and no small amount of developer backlash. She's been a great help putting her wizard-like JavaScript powers to use on the usability issues in the Drupal core queue.

Katherine also seems to generally be smart as a whip about every possible Drupal topic, dealing out helpful advice in #drupal most hours of the day. Her patience with newcomers and sense of humour help keep the overall community tone in IRC fun and inviting.

It was awesome to hang out with you in Montréal, Katherine, and thanks so much for the Cherry Coke! :D


Submitted by heyrocker (not verified) on

Katherine 'ksenzee' Senzee

Who has struggled and fought against immense odds and no small amount of developer backlash to get the Drupal 7 overlay up to snuff, as well as an endless array of other core contributions to D7.

Amye 'amye' Scarvada

A driving force in the Portland and PNW Drupal communities, organizer of Drupalcamp Portland and co-organizer of the Open Source Bridge conference, project manager who will whip your ass into shape.

Katrin 'nonsie' Silvus

Co-maintainer of Domain Access, developer of one of the largest DA installations there is, and it is multi-lingual (with RTL) to boot. Could you do it? I couldn't.

Even just sticking to the PNW I could do this all day. Drupalchix FTW!

Submitted by webchick on

How could I miss Katherine Senzee?!? And Leisa Reichelt, as well! See, this is why next year they need to time #ALD10 when I am not in the middle of a frantic site launch. :( I will amend the post shortly!

+1 to to Amye and nonsie, too. But the tough thing is that if we extended this list to all the women helping out in areas other than Drupal core, it would NEVER END. :D

Submitted by seutje (not verified) on

if we extended this list to all the women helping out in areas other than Drupal core, it would NEVER END. :D

but... isn't that a good thing? :P

Angie, that is so lovely and flattering coming from you - you are *easily* the most inspiring and encouraging woman in tech as far as my career has gone, and I'm sure many would say the same.

Working with my partner in docs crime Jennifer, with your additional support, has been a great experience, and it's awesome to see so many other DrupalChix kicking butt!

I've had so much support from the other core devs, Drupalchix, Pacific NW Drupallers, friends, and coworkers, they all deserve a shout out!