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).
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. ;)
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. :)
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!!" ;)
Here are the slides from last night's Montréal Girl Geek Dinner. It provides a basic definition of open source, talks about what some of its benefits are, discusses why someone might want to get involved, what some of those ways are, and how to get started.
It was a lot of fun giving this talk, and it was really awesome to see how many people in the audience seemed excited about the subject matter (or at least didn't fall asleep ;)). I'm hoping that a few of the folks there who seemed extra keen will go on to become more involved in open source in general, but also Drupal specifically. In fact, probably a third of the folks there raised their hand when I asked who'd used Drupal, so that was cool. ;)
By the way, I totally spaced on mentioning this last night, but to anyone who attended, there's actually a Montreal Drupal User Group. Feel free to sign up and talk/plan stuff, because it's ever-so-lonely there now. ;)
A huge thanks to Tanya McGinnity for stepping up to organize these awesome events, and for forcing me to leave my house to go speak at one. ;) Without you, I think a lot of us would still be under the misguided notion that we were the only girl geeks out there in the big city. You rule!!
Both Addison Berry (add1sun) and myself will be speaking there. Addi will be talking about Open Source Mentoring, including efforts around the Drupal Dojo, and then I'll be doing a Drupal demo that will show how Drupal works by giving an overview and building a small website with it.
Additionally, Mike Stewart from the Drupal Los Angeles User Group will be helping to manage a Drupal booth at the conference. Stop on by if you'd like to meet some fellow Drupal users and talk shop with some folks who won't give you a funny look when you say "Druplicon." ;)
Also, on a slightly related note, if you're local to Montreal, I'm also going to be presenting Tuesday night at the January Montreal Girl Geek Dinner about open source. This is the second Girl Geek dinner, and the first one was a lot of fun, so go sign up at that accursed Facebook page if you want to come. ;)
It was really interesting to talk to women behind other projects like Joomla! and Apache and see what their thoughts were about the program, about why they thought so many of us were involved, and so on.
Just a reminder for all those in Drupal-land that on January 15th we'll be holding the very first General Assembly, where the Drupal Association permanent members will vote in a new round of permanent members and a new board of directors will be selected. This is the first time we're going to be admitting new members beyond the initial folks who helped review the statutes, so it's a pretty exciting and important event.
Keith's mission for the past year or so has been to clean up user-facing text in Drupal core. People installing the next beta/RC of Drupal 6 should be pleasantly surprised by all of the improvements, which probably number in the hundreds by now.
Here's one example. In Drupal 5.x, the description for book pages is:
A book is a collaborative writing effort: users can collaborate writing the pages of the book, positioning the pages in the right order, and reviewing or modifying pages previously written. So when you have some information to share or when you read a page of the book and you didn't like it, or if you think a certain page could have been written better, you can do something about it.
Er. A book is an effort? :)
In Drupal 6.x, it's now:
A book page is a page of content, organized into a collection of related entries collectively known as a book. A book page automatically displays links to adjacent pages, providing a simple navigation system for organizing and reviewing structured content.
Simple, descriptive, and consistent with other type descriptions. This is why we love Keith.
These types of improvements are especially important to get hammered out now, because very soon (once Drupal 6 Release Candidate 1 hits) we'll be in "string freeze," which means that this type of text can't change anymore until Drupal 7, in order to allow translators to come in and do their thing. Since one of the killer features in Drupal 6 is the new internationalization stuff, this will be especially important this release. So don't delay; help with string fixes today! ;) If you're looking for a place to start, try the list of documentation issues in Drupal core.
I asked Keith some questions and here's what he had to say: