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:
So I've been pretty busy the past few weeks coordinating efforts for Drupal's participation in the Google Highly Open Participation Contest (GHOP). This is a contest which gives pre-university students (age 13-18) tasks to work on from various open source projects, both to get them "real world" experience in the open source community, and to win prizes such as t-shirts, cash, or even a trip to Google Campus.
So far the contest has been going on for about a week, and it's been quite a blast hanging in #drupal-ghop and the GHOP group, getting to know some of the students.
Some of the highlights include...
I did a recent interview that talked a bit about the upcoming Drupal O'Reilly book (code-named the "Lullabook"), how I got my start in the Drupal community, and how I went about surmounting the Drupal learning curve.
The short version is that, in my opinion, getting involved in the community is, hands down, the fastest way to ratchet up your Drupal knowledge. It was the only way I was able to make the leap from "total newbie" (who hadn't even installed Drupal at the time) to "contributing my first module" in 2 very short months (I started out my Drupal career as a Google Summer of Code student back in 2005).
It was a lot of fun to reflect back on my first couple months in the Drupal community, which included some of the following highlights. *cue the flashback wipe*
By popular demand, here are the slides from the Google Tech Talk I gave with Geoff Butterfield of the George Lucas Educational Foundation back in October.
This talk consists of an overview of Drupal, who uses it, how it works, and what some of its killer modules are, and then specifics about how it's implemented in the site Edutopia.org.
Here's the video:
And here are the slides: http://webchick.net/files/presentations/2007-10-08-google-implementing-drupal.odp
I've created a post to solicit community feedback for the 2008 Drupal Association Marketing/Communications budget at groups.drupal.org. If you're interested in providing ideas on what types of things you'd like to see the Drupal Association focus on in terms of marketing/communication efforts, and/or you happen to be knowledgeable of costs, benefits, etc.
Note: This is something new I'm playing with, called the "Contributor spotlight." I spend a lot of time on the Drupal.org site (no, seriously. A LOT. ;)), and in doing so, often come across individuals who are doing an incredibly awesome job. I sometimes send off a little personal e-mail to thank them, but this is an attempt to be a little more public with the praise, and to help draw some more attention to these folks and their efforts. So, without further ado, meet catch.
catch is a web developer hailing from the United Kingdom, and has used Drupal since the 4.5.x era.
In order to help get familiar with some of the changes in 6.x, catch has taken it upon himself to go through the core issue queue and really help things clean up: marking duplicate and fixed issues as such, moving new features to the 7.x queue, and testing patches that need review, then marking things "ready to be committed" or "needs work" as appropriate. This is a tremendous contribution, as it helps the core development team to focus on the truly important issues, and his work will directly help Drupal 6 ship much sooner. And it's worth pointing out here that issue queue clean-up is an area that pretty much anyone with just a little spare time can help with.
I asked catch a few questions via e-mail, and this is what he had to say...
Thanks to Khalid for the heads-up about a video out there of my Women in Open Source talk I gave last month at the Ontario Linux Fest. Check it out here: http://www.archive.org/details/onlinux_womeninopensource
The slides for this talk are also available at http://webchick.net/files/presentations/women-in-open-source-onlinux-200...
So webchick.net is finally a Drupal site. It was a bunch of never-updated static HTML files for a very long time, mostly because I didn't really have a reason to start up one of these "blog" things. Well, I found a reason: the incredible Drupal community.
As people may or may not know, my trusty MacBook Pro was stolen from my car in a "smash and grab" on Saturday night while I was having dinner. While I was out drowning my sorrows with Marci at a coffee shop the next day, Jeff Eaton started a fundraiser to help replace the laptop. And within 72 hours, $1,500 USD had been raised!! Enough to replace the window, pay the insurance deductible, cover the difference in coverage, and so on. This outpouring of support is overwhelming; you all are so completely amazing.
So I'd like to use node/1 to personally thank each of the people who contributed.