Earlier tonight, Jimmy Berry posted a plea for the Drupal community to clean up their messes in terms of testing. Since Jimmy did a whole bunch of the heavy lifting involved in getting the SimpleTest framework ready to commit to core, a major milestone in Drupal's development, we'd do well to listen to his words and his frustrations when he sees all of his hard work falling apart due to neglect.
Today, the Google Summer of Code 2008 accepted students were announced. 7,000+ applications to 175 mentoring organizations from nearly 4,000 students, of which 1,125 will be funded. Altogether, this means a $5.6+ million dollar investment in open source from our buddies at Google. Kick ass!
Note: Please read the date of this post before sending me e-mails about it. Thanks. ;)
Since I got my start in the Drupal community in 2005, most have noticed that I've been a wee bit, erm. Obsessed. I try to help out in as many ways as possible, and often this means juggling about 50,000 different priorities at a given time, the last of which is always sleep.
Well, it was fun for the last 2.5 years, but enough is enough. While I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the Drupal community, my participation has often been at the expense of relationships with family and friends as well as my own personal health and well-being. :( So, it's time to say "goodbye, world" to the Drupal community and instead embark on a new chapter in my life...
In case word hasn't reached you yet for some reason, Summer of Code 2008 is a go, and this is the week for college/university students to submit applications to work on projects for their mentoring organization of choice over the summer. Our hope is of course that a whole bunch will choose Drupal, which is an awesome, knowledgeable, and fun community to be a part of, and very supportive of SoC students (I know, because I was one myself back in 2005! :D).
As part of my duties for the Drupal Association, I help to administer initiatives that help bring in new contributors, like Drupal's involvement in Google Summer of Code. A huge thanks to the admin team -- chx, cwgordon7, and dmitrig01 -- for their tremendous efforts in getting the program kick-started!
We're trying something new this year that we haven't done in years past: public community review of student ideas and proposals, prior to their submission as formal applications for Summer of Code. There are multiple reasons why we chose to "beta test" this approach, which I will detail after the break.
However, for those who want to help bring new contributors to the Drupal project, and have a hand in deciding what new awesome projects get funded over the summer with Google's multi-thousand dollar investment, please jump in and help review some student proposals! The absolute deadline for student applications is Monday, March 31, 2008 at 17:00 PDT, so it's imperative that students get their questions answered and their proposals reviewed and refined as soon as possible so they have ample time to get their applications in.
Still stuck... er, I mean... visiting ;) Boston after Drupalcon, thanks to a lovely winter storm in Canada that refuses to go away. Karen Stevenson was nice enough to put me up in her hotel room for a night, so I wanted to pay her back by making this important issue my "itch of the week": we need to figure out a data model in order to move CCK fields in core efforts forward. See Karen's Field Structure thread for more details.
This week's itch is another usability itch: adding example text to all textfields in core. There's work there in process to do stuff like emulate the Yahoo! registration form, where a faded-out example value is placed in initially, and disappears when the box gets focus:
On browsers that lack JS support, the example text will just be displayed next to the box.
How does this work?
In case you haven't already heard the buzz, Drupal 6 was released today, about one year after the release of Drupal 5! The announcement post goes into great detail about all the fantastic improvements, but I'd like to focus on a different angle: the hundreds of contributors who helped Drupal 6 come to be.
How many contributors were there?
How many people contributed to Drupal 6? It's very difficult to define. Depending on your calculation method, that number ranges from around 250 to more than 700. And the actual number is *much* higher than that, of course, when you factor in the entire iterative process of how an idea turns into an improvement in Drupal. Every contribution matters, from initially reporting bugs/features, to adding further clarifications, to thoroughly reviewing patches, to making minor tweaks that aren't large enough to warrant credit alongside the primary patch author(s).
But here's what we do know...
I noted in my Drupal 7.x Personal Battleplan that I was going to focus on Usability and QA stuff this go around. So I've started a new segment called "itch of the week" to keep track of the efforts I'm working on to that effect. It'll be interesting (well... to me and probably no one else :P) to see if I can keep up with these weekly or not. ;)
Anyway. The first itch goes to.... permission descriptions!
This is a patch that was originally written by kkaefer way back in fall of 2005. It came back on my radar when I was observing Marci working with Drupal on her blog and struggling to figure out what the various options meant. It further came back on my radar when I heard a support request come in from a client about why their editor could see private site content intended only for administrators. Permissions are sometimes poorly named (I've come across some doozies in contrib :P) or have other implications that are not immediately obvious, such as roles with "administer nodes" permission bypassing any access control on content. This patch attempts to make these more obvious to folks.
Anyway, if this sounds like something that's interesting to you, please help review the patch, and we'll see if we can get it into Drupal 7.x. :)
The Drupalcon Boston site has a list of contributors who need financial assistance to attend Drupalcon, but I want to draw particular attention to two of them: Jimmy "boombatower" Berry (donate) and Adam "aclight" Light (donate).
Jimmy is one of our GHOP students, who started using Drupal only a month or two ago, but has since completed 12 tasks for the Drupal part of the Google Highly Open Participation program (GHOP) (which makes him #2 in terms of the number of tasks completed for Drupal) and has done some truly outstanding work in a very short period of time.
Among his accomplishments are Simpletest unit tests for the core comment, path, book, blogapi, filter, and content translation modules. He also created a 30 second commercial for Drupal, documented all of the core global variables (something chx was very happy about), converted the Bluemarine theme to a tableless layout, documented how to build "click heat maps" for Drupal (and went above and beyond by creating a Click HeatMap module that integrates Drupal with the ClickHeat library), and even wrote a Version Control API-Git backend for the Git revision control system (and he did this in under 2 weeks without having even used Git before that time). Expanding the base of contributors who can work with Version Control API is critical to Drupal.org ever shifting to a different version control system than CVS, as well as opening the user (and thus contributor) base to Project* module. So for all of you who've long wanted d.o to move to another version control system like Subversion, here's a chance to put your money where your mouth is. ;)
As for Adam, I've already written about his substantial contributions in a past contributor spotlight feature, and I'd love for him to be sponsored to go to Drupalcon on that basis alone. Adam was the one primarily carrying the torch during the latter half of the GHOP program, and was critical to ensuring its success. And an additional benefit of sending Adam to Drupalcon will be to get some critical face-to-face time the Project* module maintainers, Derek Wright and Chad Phillips. Project* module is arguably our very most important module, since it covers our ticketing system, the Drupal project and module downloads, and the basis for the incredible Update Status module, which helps ensure your Drupal site is up to date and secure.
I want to sincerely thank the broader Drupal community for already pitching in to fund Derek and Chad's trip out to Drupalcon. Let's make it a complete set by sending these other two fabulous contributors, and help improve the fundamental infrastructure we all use every day, as well as just say "thanks for being totally awesome!!" ;)