Der Drupal 8 Entwicklungszyklus - Mut zur Struktur

Der Drupal 8 Entwicklungszyklus kommt langsam in das letzte Drittel. Zeit, einen Blick auf die Methode zu werfen, wie dieses große Open Source Projekt versucht, Innovation und Stabilität unter einen Hut zu bringen.
Drupal hat über tausend Entwickler, die am Kernsystem ("Core") mitarbeiten. Die genaue Zahl ist schwer zu ermitteln und auch etwas irreführend, da in dieser Statistik jeder mitgezählt wird, der nur einen einzigen Patch soweit gebracht hat, daß er committet wird.

In Drupal 7 war es so, daß über 80% des Codes trotz einer ähnlichen Gesamtzahl von 25 Personen beigesteuert wurde. Gefühlt hat sich das in Drupal 8 allerdings etwas verbreitert. So oder so sind es eine Menge Leute, die zudem geografisch weit über die Welt verteilt sind. Der Project-Tracker auf hat bekannte Schwächen, als Strukturierung bieten sich eigentlich nur nach Tags und Subsystem ordenbare Listen.

Wo ist denn hier der Überblick

Größere Patches erleben nicht selten mehr als 300 Kommentare

Barcamp Braunschweig - Folien von Vortrag über SASS und Compass

Dieses Wochenende war Barcamp in Braunschweig. Obwohl ich nur sehr kurz dabei war, fand ichs klasse. Die Organisationsform ist wahrscheinlich die Ursprünglichste für "Unkonferenzen": die eigentlichen Sessions wurden erst am Morgen des jeweiligen Tages vorgestellt und den Räumen und Zeitschienen zugeteilt. Jeder stellte in der großen Runde seinen Vortrag kurz vor. Per Handzeichen wurde geprüft, wieviel Interesse bestand, und demnach ein großer oder kleinerer Raum zugeteilt. Das hatte was Spontanes und sorgte dafür, daß der Anspruch nicht die Seele aufaß.

Das Essen war spitze und dank der großzügigen Sponsoren komplett umsonst (ich staune immer noch). Mein persönliches Highlight:

Using Trello - a fresh project management tool

Project management tools, services, tasklists and everything in between pop up a dozen a week. Or least it feels like that at the moment. Wunderlist, Evernote, Catch,  Producteev, Redmine, Basecamp, Unfuddle... you name it. Digging through the sheer volume of new stuff has become quite a task. It makes you feel like in a really big supermarket where they got 325 sorts of sausage: one feels overwhelmed and gives up.

Standing out in a crowded marketplace

So to make an impression on users beyond those that stumble upon your product and just stick with it, a project management tool / task list has to differentiate. From some d.o. post, I was referenced to Trello. I tried it, did not use it much, and came back to it. Recently, I use it more and more and consider it an alternative even to Redmine for smaller projects and projects that just involve myself, though my shopping list I still run on Evernote.

What is Trello?

Make Drupal grow - Project 3%

Drupal 7 is out to the world. Its adventures are still untold. Yet the workful bunch that its community is, everybody is rolling up their sleeves to plan ahead for Drupal 8. As the project and its audience is growing and evolving, so are its challenges. While everyone is rightfully proud of what we achieved, our processes are often a pain.

We need to improve the general structures to be able to aim higher. Being from rather from the design / UX camp I read with great interest a blogpost that Leisa Reichelt wrote recently. She outlines a plan how to keep and grow the momentum of Design / UX that had a great push with the D7UX Project and led to a big focus on an improved UX for Drupal 7.

She advocates to have a dedicated team with different roles to get to that goal. One thing in particular is interesting: she wants the positions to be at least partially funded.
So let's get to the recent practice to fund important key positions in community work.

Experience with funded positions in the redesign

In order to the redesign out of the door, the Association took drastic measures: they hired temporary full-time personnel to guarantee more focus and coordination. Most notable were Sam Boyer for the Git Migration and Neil Drumm for the general management of the redesign. While I am not sure if these are still paid positions, as to all I know Sam and Neill are still very much on their tasks.

Drupal is a volunteer-driven project and that is and will be its strength. But to get certain especially hard or unthankful jobs done, there has always been additional funded work. What is new is to do this in such an official way and to put people into key coordinator positions. I cannot speak for the general experience with that. But the impression is that having paid people gives a much better counterbalance to all the volunteer work. The paid staff is less to not distracted by their dayjob, because their task _is_ their dayjob. They do not need to make their living besides their position. So they keep focused in a much more reliable way.

Suchet - und ihr werdet was erleben - welche Suchausdrücke Leute auf meine Seite führen

Das Betrachten von Website-Statistiken ist doch immer wieder erhellend. Die Suchausdrücke, über die Nutzer zu meiner Website kommen, finde ich von allen die interessanteste und relevanteste. Generell kann man sagen: Drupal interessiert die Leute. Aber kein Vergleich zu Android! Mein einziger Post über eine Android App hat etwa zehnmal so viele Besuche erhalten, als selbst die populärsten und über den Drupal Planet zigfach gerefeedeten Artikel.

Nun aber zurück zu den Suchausdrücken. Ich komme aus dem Staunen nicht heraus.

Platz 1 für Monat September: "Welches CMS". Ah. Themenrelevant. Will hier schliesslich CMS verkaufen. gut.

Platz 2 für den Monat September: Weihnachtskugel (!). Ist es schon wieder diese Zeit des Jahres?

Drupal 7 gets new themes - give Corolla a review

Yes it is going to happen (keeping fingers crossed), Drupal 7 will get new shiny front-end themes. Since my latest blog post, we have been working hard on Corolla, most notably Jeff Burnz and certainly Jaroslav Foksa, who made the theme and tweaked the design quite a bit, so now it is cleaner and straighter and more multi-purpose than before.

Bunches of bugs have been fixed, and the theme is running rather smoothly with D7. Now we need you: give the theme a whirl, install it and click through it. At the moment the Demo site is not representing the latest code, so you'll need to put it on you local D7 sandbox.

The theme is taking care of most every aspect of drupal core, also the admin section. To test this it should also be switched on as Admin theme (set Admin theme to "Default Theme" instead of Seven). Forums, books, polls, images: everything should have a nice styling. There are lots of Color Module styles (all core candidate themes are color-module-enabled now), and it is fun to play around by defining custom colors.

Should work with any version of Drupal 7, sure best with latest head or alpha 5. Bugs and comments welcome on the Corolla issue queue. If you have some general findings, leave them in the "Master Issue" Make D7 look shiny and new in every aspect...

The Drupal way

I've been in the streets of Dries for three and a half year now. It feels even daring saying it are Dries' streets because I know he does not like it if people give him too much credit. But it is true. Dries I believe the key factor for Drupal's success is your astounding ability to gather the right people around you. This combined with a mixture of leadership and fostering self-empowerment appears to work pretty well.

Having started with using the system for my diploma (I guess you say bachelor elsewhere), it has been an amazing ride. But the story of drupal is not so much unique as it is a story of open source. Seeing a new youtube star the other day one can feel the upside of the digital revolution and the new channels of communicating and doing things via the internet.

Like in every other social community there are downsides as well. Even at my first drupalcon in Barcelona I was a bit worried about the quasi-religious way Dries keynote was celebrated. This was not much different from Steve Jobs presenting the Iphone. Give us a sign, we will celebrate whatever you say.

Still this does not need to have negative effects. Personally I find it very important to go outside the community from time to time. Yes, there is a life outside of drupal. Take a bit of distance now and then and balance comes back quickly. Also Mr. Buytaert takes care of staying a normal community member as far as this is possible. If you have been inside the project for a while, he will come up to you at a Drupal Camp and have a little chat. Simple, ingenious method. Which does not say there is not a real interest in the person spoken to.