very helpful lioness


Notes from Drupal 8 status update talk

Fri, 10/28/2011 - 13:36 -- webchick

Here are some notes from the Drupal 8 status update talk that Dries and I gave today to the Acquia team, since this seemed like useful info for the community to know as well. :) It covers both process changes for addressing previous issues that arose in Drupal 7, as well as a status update on Drupal 8 progress to-date. This could be useful to folks who have been wondering where all of the various Drupal 8 status updates fit into the "bigger" picture.

Please comment here if I left anything out, or messed up anything.

Free DrupalCon Denver tickets for sprint leads

Thu, 10/06/2011 - 14:44 -- webchick

One of the things the Drupal Association struggles a lot with is the pricing of DrupalCon tickets for attendees. As detailed in the 2011 Annual Report (1.3 MB PDF), DrupalCon tickets make up a significant portion of the organizations' overall revenue, which goes to funding hugely important long-term projects like the Drupal.org redesign and Git migration, server upgrades, programs like the Community Cultivation Grants, as well as salaries for our staff to help run operations. While we are actively working on diversifying our revenue stream through initiatives like a revamped Drupal Marketplace and hosting listings, and adding numerous benefits to our membership program, the fact remains that in the meantime, DrupalCon ticket sales help to off-set significant costs for programs that help benefit the wider Drupal community, including those individuals who could never hope to attend a DrupalCon due to family/geographical/visa issues.

At the same time, we also recognize the wonderful diversity of people in our community. And for students, hobbyists, non-profits, evaluators, freelancers, and others, even the significantly off-set ticket prices (thanks to our generous DrupalCon sponsors) can make DrupalCon attendance prohibitive to the people we hope most can get there. And while we offer full-ride scholarships for a limited number of people in financial need, asking for one is often uncomfortable, especially by people who give a lot to Drupal already. In the past, we've done super-cheap "land grab" tickets (first 100 or so), but often those go to the people who don't need them: the major Drupal shops and others making ample money off Drupal who already know they'll be coming to DrupalCon, regardless of ticket cost.

This time around, we're doing something a little different. The Drupal Association has set aside a number of half-price tickets to students and non-profits, as well as FREE tickets to contributors. To snag one, you have to apply to lead a sprint on the final sprint day. These applications will get checked over by the same group who looks over the scholarship applications, and use similar criteria (involvement in community of the participant, impact of the sprint on larger project, etc.) to evaluate the submissions.

So, if you're someone who is driving important change in Drupal (or someone wants to!), please tell us about your plans and you could qualify for complimentary admission!

What has webchick been up to lately?

Tue, 10/04/2011 - 22:00 -- webchick

At the end of June I wrote up a list of things I'd been working on as part of Acquia's Office of the CTO. Here's another update for this quarter!

Drupal 7

Last quarter was focused primarily on stabilization of Drupal core and incorporation of various processes to help ensure it stays stable. With that in hand, this quarter my focus shifted more towards accelerating Drupal 7 adoption.

Using Git bisect to figure out when brokenness was introduced

Sun, 10/02/2011 - 14:35 -- webchick

I did a fresh installation of Drupal 8 this morning and came across a bit of ugliness: an ugly grey border on the home page, caused by an empty div being inserted into the page:

Default front page showing a mysterious empty, grey-bordered box

My last fresh install of Drupal 8 was about a week ago and didn't have this problem. I didn't relish the idea of going through all of the commits since then one-by-one to figure out where this bug was introduced.

Enter the git bisect command! The git bisect command works by performing a "binary" search between one state of the code and the other in order to find, by process of elimination, where a given problem was introduced. It's quick, it's easy, and by golly it just works!

Here's how to use git bisect, step-by-step!


The "Novice" tag: helping new Drupal contributors with their first patches

Tue, 09/13/2011 - 20:25 -- webchick

Ever use Drupal or Drupal.org and come across some kind of minor, annoying issue... say a typo, or a code comment that could stand to be improved, or some other change that's only a couple of lines of code... and you think to yourself, "Self, this would take you about 5 minutes to fix, but your to-do list is 43.4 km long. Pass."

Well, the next time that happens, please pause for a moment, and file an issue for that minor problem, and tag it as "Novice".

Thanks to the efforts of brand-new contributor demarcoz, we rolled out a new Drupal.org improvement this week: a link to the queue of all Novice issues on the Dashboard! (which was itself a Novice issue: http://drupal.org/node/1266380 :))

New novice link in the dashboard

The goal of the "Novice" tag is to help identify "low-hanging fruit" issues. This way, people who haven't been using Git and rolling patches since they were in diapers can have something bite-sized to chew on while they work their way up the learning curve of setting up a development environment, figuring out quirky git commands, and finding their way around Drupal coding standards and API peculiarities. This is a much nicer introduction to contributing than showing them an issue queue with 50,000 issues in it and saying "There ya go! Pick one that sounds interesting!" :)

And while it might take a new contributor a few days to solve something you could solve in a few minutes:

a) It's really fun to walk new people through this process and see what sorts of things trip new people up.
b) They're now equipped to tackle even harder issues in the queue, and they can eventually help you with your own 43.4 km long todo list.
c) They can also help improve documentation in places where they got stuck, and even help mentor other novices!

So the next time you find a small issue you could solve yourself in a few minutes, please don't! Instead, tag it as "Novice" and help to usher in a new crop of eager new contributors. :)

Tracking the porting status of Drupal 7 modules

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 13:26 -- root

The number of sites running Drupal 7 has been steadily climbing over the past few months, and is now north of 140K sites. At the same time, the number of Drupal 6 sites has started to flat-line.

Graph shows Drupal 7 adoption sky-rocketing, Drupal 6 adoption flattening out.

So if you haven't started yet, now's a great time to begin thinking about and planning your site's upgrade path to Drupal 7.

To assist with this task, there's an amazing, little-known module out there by sun called Upgrade Status, which is an essential tool in the site upgrade planning process. It will inspect the modules installed on your site give you a custom-tailored report about each of their porting status to the next version of Drupal. It also provides other upgrade helpers, such as a block with links that walk you step-by-step through the process of a major upgrade.

Obviously, though, the biggest barrier to doing D6 -> D7 site upgrades (apart from time, of course :)) is the porting status of contrib. So using the magic of Upgrade Status module's data I've set up a site at http://drupalcontribstatus.com/ to track the status of the top 60 contributed projects (the top 50 + 10 that were moved into core):


The intent of this site is to act as a dashboard for folks who want to help the module porting process happen faster. There are helpful links track the issues that block a D7 release (a convention established in a previous post), issues that need review, instructions for how to take over abandoned projects, and so on.

We're currently at 32 of 60 projects ported (though obviously, most of the betas/alphas of these modules are pretty solid or we wouldn't have 100K+ D7 sites...). Can we hit all 60 by the end of the year? :) Let's try! If every DrupalCamp between now and then focused on a few of these remaining modules, I bet we could do it!

PS: Feel free to use the Contrib Status module to set up your own site to publicly track and create momentum around specific modules you care about. But WARNING: The code was largely written between the hours of Stupid O'Clock and Why Are You Still Up Dummy, so I take no responsibility for it whatsoever. :P~ If you have ideas on how to make it better, please leave feedback in the issue queue!

Speaking at WordCamp SF 2011: Suggestions?

Wed, 08/03/2011 - 18:16 -- webchick

On Saturday, August 13, I'm going to be speaking at WordCamp San Francisco, after being graciously invited by Jane Wells, WordPress's UI Goddess. :)

For Drupal community folks, are there questions you have about WordPress and/or its community that I could try and find answers to? Are there things you think I should particularly highlight about Drupal and its community before an audience of several hundred WordPress fanatics?

Drupal Core Diaries: 7.4 -> 7.7. OMG WTF BBQ?

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:13 -- webchick

Some folks noticed that as of Wednesday's release, we went from 7.4 -> 7.7 and are a bit confused about what's going on, as well as why these releases happened in such rapid succession, so soon after the 7.4 release. Here's the skinny:

  • As of Drupal 7.1/Drupal 6.21, Drupal core does monthly releases. This was a new policy the core team discussed and implemented back in May, which lays out a schedule of the last Wednesday of the month for new core releases.

    This policy change has helped tremendously to provide predicability for Drupal site maintainers so they don't need to fret every Wednesday about "what if" a new core release comes out, it's helped to ensure timely fixing of security issues, and also has encouraged a general "swarming" around bug fixes in a timely manner to ensure they make the next release deadline.

    The monthly rate will likely slow down as D7 continues to mature, but for now it's really helping to provide focus on working through some of the backlog and getting contributed module blockers unstuck.

  • When security releases are required, we create two releases. One which has only the security patches, and one that has the security patches, plus all the bug fixes to date.

    Why do such a silly thing, you might ask? Because it's *really* important that security fixes get rolled out pronto, whereas the bug fix releases might conceivably need more testing to make sure they don't create any adverse effects in your environment. So we offer Drupal 7.5 for those who want only the quick fix, and Drupal 7.6 for the whole shebang.

    This graphic by Gábor Hojtsy, included on all release announcements, lays it out rather simply in flowchart form.

  • Drupal 7.6 was accidentally rolled incorrectly, hence 7.7. The only difference between 7.7 and 7.6 is literally a one line fix to the VERSION number in bootstrap.inc (ok, fine, technically 3 lines because of CHANGELOG.txt ;P). I blame being holed up sick in a hotel room with a stomach flu for missing the git commit between vi bootstrap.inc and git tag. Sorry about that. :(

    Thankfully, some helpful friends are helping to work on some automation tools for the process so that doesn't happen again. :)

Hope that helps clarify things!

O'Reilly Webcast on Drupal 7 tomorrow!

Tue, 07/19/2011 - 11:55 -- webchick

The fabulous and ever-entertaining Jeff Eaton and myself will be presenting about Drupal 7 tomorrow on an O'Reilly Webcast about What' new and cool in Drupal 7? at 10am - San Francisco | 6pm - London | 1pm - New York | 10:30pm - Mumbai.

We'll cover some background on the Drupal project, what some of the biggest new cool features are in Drupal 7, impart tips on upgrading, and leave lots of time for Q&A. Please Register now if you'd like to join us! :D

The impact of the #D7CX movement and next steps

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 10:06 -- webchick

Back around the time of the Drupal 7 code freeze, Moshe Weitzman proposed the #D7CX (Drupal 7 Contrib Experience) movement. Developers were encouraged to add a #D7CX pledge to their project pages, indicating that they would port their contributed modules and themes to Drupal 7 by the time Drupal 7 was released.

Here is some data to measure the impact that this movement had, relative to Drupal 6, as well as some recommended next steps to help us complete the work that #D7CX started.


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