Patriots

Patriots game
Patriots game
Went to watch my first Patriot game at Gillette Stadium last night. It was cold and wet but fun. Check out all the photos in the album.

Giant Lego Druplicon

I'm proud to announce Acquia's newest member of the team, the LEGO Druplicon, courtesy of DataFlow (now ONE Agency). It all started on a hot August day at DrupalCon Munich. On that day, I stopped by DataFlow's booth to look at this amazing piece of art. Obviously I am a bit partial to the Druplicon and the innovative and creative ways people around the world are creating branding for Drupal.

Little did I know some lucky DrupalCon attendee was going to win the Druplicon by guessing how many bricks DataFlow used to build it. After asking a couple of questions, such as “Is it a solid structure or hollow?”, I entered my guess (along with 94 other Drupalists). My mathematical equation brought me to the answer of 12,222 blocks, which was 9 blocks over the correct number of 12,213. I won!

DataFlow went to great lengths to ship the delicate, yet massive structure from Belgium to the United States. After contacting numerous courier companies and hearing the Druplicon needed a special Visa, VAT and insurance documents, as well as it needed to be fumigated (sigh, it's just LEGOs), they found one company that was willing to take on the task. About a month and half later, a pallet jack wheeled into our office and dropped off a 4 foot crate.

Unfortunately due to my travel schedule I wasn't able to open the crate for about a week, which created quite the buzz around the office. We had to schedule the unveiling and make sure we had a crowbar and hammer on hand to open it. Coincidentally this was on my birthday, so it was quite the gift!

I'm happy to report that the 12,213 LEGO Drupalicon made it intact (just a few pieces came loose) due to the wonderful packing material of Belgian toilet paper! I probably don't have to buy toilet paper for a year now. :-)

Lego druplicon
Lego druplicon
Lego druplicon
Lego druplicon
Lego druplicon

A huge thanks goes out to DataFlow who spent the time replicating the Druplicon in LEGOs, as well as shipping it over the Atlantic. We are in the process of finding a permanent spot for it in the Acquia office, so it's on display for everyone to see.

Using the Akiban database with Drupal

For four years now I've been an advisor for Akiban, a Boston start-up building a new class of NewSQL/NoSQL database. I'm excited that after 4 years of hard work, Akiban launched their first Drupal customer solution in the Acquia Cloud. A great opportunity to talk a bit more about what Akiban is doing, and why I'm excited to help their team.

The early phase strategy for Akiban is to augment existing deployments (for example MySQL) to enhance query performance among other capabilities. Our mutual customer was facing performance, concurrency and availability challenges with some custom Drupal report code. The report was built in Drupal as a module, and involved a series of complex joins making performance unpredictable, frequently resulting in slow query performance and periodically crashing the whole site. Using Akiban's database, the customer is realizing 66x performance improvement over their existing implementation, without any significant change to the Drupal application.

One of the core benefits of Akiban is query acceleration. The Akiban database can run along side of MySQL server in "augmentation mode" comparable to master-slave configuration. Akiban implemented a simple Drupal patch which allows the reporting queries to be redirected to the Akiban server. While Akiban’s solution requires data duplication, it also means that there is virtually no intrusion on the day-to-day running of the site.

The report module remains as originally designed but now the problem queries are redirected to the Akiban server. Akiban’s core technology is called Table Grouping. Table Grouping enables for the physical grouping of tables while preserving a logical layer allowing developers to continue to use SQL. This grouping eliminates complex traditional joins while preserving the use of ANSI SQL. In addition, Akiban can create cross-table indexes thus accelerating formerly slow queries. As a result, with the reporting queries now directed to Akiban server, the report performs 66x faster.

The Akiban team refers to Akiban server as a new class of database that accelerates SQL and NoSQL data by 10-100x, while allowing developers to access data in both traditional SQL and RESTful environments (SOAs). Compared to other database technologies, Table Grouping provides an innovative way to store and query structured and semi-structured data.

Akiban's Padraig O'Sullivan is working on a module for Drupal 7, and while there is still some work to be done to test and optimize it, he has already enabled Akiban to run as the source database for Drupal 8 in development. Something to keep an eye on. If you want to test out Akiban yourself, head over to akiban.com and download it.

Holly Ross to join Drupal Association as Executive Director

I'm pleased to announce that the Drupal Association's Board of Directors has appointed Holly Ross as its new Executive Director. Holly is a well-known visionary leader in the nonprofit technology community with a proven track record of developing and implementing organizational strategies that provide direct community benefit.

Most recently, Holly was responsible for NTEN, the Nonprofit Technology Network, which works to help nonprofits use technology to create the change that they want to see in the world. During Holly’s ten years at NTEN, she helped grow the community from just a handful of individuals to over 60,000 people. NTEN has also been using Drupal for the last six years, so she is no stranger to our community.

Holly shared her excitement with the Drupal Association Board of Directors about her new role, saying, “I am thrilled to be making this move, which allows me to capitalize on my experience building community and embrace the added challenge of helping this international community collaborate on the Drupal project. I can’t wait to get started and be a part of a group of colleagues who share the values and passion for technology that I do.”

We are fortunate to have someone like Holly step up to lead the Drupal Association. Holly will start on February 1st, 2013. Like the rest of the Board of Directors, I look forward to working with Holly to grow the Drupal Association and to support the Drupal project.

Holly succeeds outgoing Co-Managing Director Jacob Redding and interim Managing Director Megan Sanicki, who both led the Drupal Association during the search process and have prepared it for new leadership over the last few months. The Board and the entire Drupal Association thanks Jacob for his hard work and dedication over the last several years. He has architected a strong foundation for the Drupal Association that allows Holly to take the organization to the next level. We wish Jacob best of luck with his new ventures. We are excited to have Megan continue with the Drupal Association as Chief Operating Officer, focused on Operations and Business Development.

Holly is looking forward to connecting with our community, and you should feel free to reach out to her with your feedback and ideas at holly@association.drupal.org.

Acquia raises $30 million series E

Today, we announced that Acquia raised $30 million, our single largest financing we have done to date. The investors include Investor Growth Capital, Goldman Sachs, Accolade Partners and our existing investors; North Bridge Venture Partners, Sigma Partners and Tenaya Capital. The new funding will bring Acquia’s total fund-raising to $68.5 million.

It's a lot of money but we're on a big mission. We believe that Drupal is uniquely positioned to provide a single, unified platform for content, community and commerce applications. We believe an Open Source platform like Drupal is the best way to keep up with the evolving web. We believe we can take on a large variety of proprietary competitors across different industries. We know it is true because we've seen Drupal invade enterprises and overturn their established web technologies. We believe Acquia is breaking new ground with our combination of cloud products and business models.

We've made good strides towards this mission. Drupal continues to grow faster than proprietary competitors. And as Acquia, we have grown to 250 employees and are well on our way to posting around $44 million in annual revenue this year on $60 million in bookings. Specifically, Acquia's revenue has grown at 250% CAGR over the past 3 years, making us the fastest growing software company in the US according to Inc. We added more than 100 employees in the past 12 months. We've seen some incredible growth across the board.

But we also believe we are just getting started. We are in the middle of a big technological and economic shift in how large organizations build and maintain web sites. We believe that Drupal and Acquia are poised to come out as the dominant player.

We'll use the additional funding to continue to go after our mission. We're set out to build a successful, high-margin, highly defensible software company. Expect to see us use the money to accelerate our sales and marketing efforts, to continue our international expansion across Europe and Asia Pacific, to grow each of our product teams, and even to build more products. Part of our funding is also to make Drupal more relevant and easier to use by digital marketers and site builders - and things like Project Spark are a critical element of this. As Acquia builds products, we're committed to contributing to the Drupal project - to drive adoption of Drupal and make it more competitive with proprietary CMS players.

Press coverage:

Drupal 8 feature freeze extended

Note: some of the information on this page is out of date.  For the latest information about how Drupal releases are managed, see http://drupal.org/core/release-cycle.

Since Drupal 8 opened for development in March of 2011, the Drupal core team has been hard at work, marching towards a feature freeze of December 1, 2012, just a few short days away!

In that time, we've managed to commit a number of compelling features to Drupal 8: revamped core internals based on the Symfony framework, a new configuration management system, HTML5 form elements and responsive markup, a mobile-friendly administrative toolbar, built-in support for translation, a Twig-based templating system, the Views module, and countless under-the-hood improvements.

The momentum within the Drupal core queue right now is truly staggering, as embodied by this graph:

Drupal core monthly patch volume

Momentum around Drupal core has increased from around 400 patch contributions per month in March of 2011 to over 4,000 in October of 2012.

There are still incredible features for Drupal 8 that are heavily in progress, but not quite there yet, including blocks and layouts, WYSIWYG and inline editing, several more "contributed module to core" projects such as Date, Pathauto, Profile2, and Entity Reference, native web services support, improvements to the entity and field systems, and much. I'm truly impressed by all of the great efforts I see happening in the queue right now.

Given these factors, I have decided -- along with my Drupal 8 co-maintainers Nathaniel Catchpole and Angela Byron -- to introduce a new phase into the Drupal core development cycle: "Feature Completion Phase", from December 1, 2012 until February 18, 2013 (to hit DrupalCon Sydney).

The purpose of this phase will be to provide dedicated time to tie up loose ends on any features that have either been committed already, or features still in the queue that have demonstrated substantial progress before December 1, but are not quite "there" yet. While hard-and-fast rules around "substantial progress" are difficult to define, generally it means patches should be well underway, with a recent patch posted in the past two weeks, ideally with several community reviews, tests passing or nearly passing, and a clear path to getting the feature completed within the timeframe of Feature Completion Phase. Almost-working patches posted for the first time at 11:59pm on November 30 unfortunately won't cut it. :-) Neither will brand new initiatives starting on December 2 or later. Though ultimately, it will be up to the core committers to decide on any "borderline" issues. We also understand that there is some ambiguity around what constitutes a "feature" or not, and will work on a separate blog post to discuss that.

The hope is that this new release phase will both give the folks working so hard on various major strategic initiatives a bit more time in which to complete their work, and also help narrow the scope of overall development efforts in order to help us focus more as a team as we begin preparing for Drupal 8's release.

Here is a diagram showing an overview of the overall Drupal core release cycle, and where Feature Completion Phase fits in. Initiative owners and others who have already achieved their Drupal 8 feature goals are encouraged to use Feature Completion Phase to get started on their Clean-Up Phase tasks early.

Release funnel

Phases of development, represented as a funnel gradually getting smaller as fewer and fewer patches are accepted. In Development Phase, anything goes: major new APIs, new features, etc. Feature Completion Phase allows for tying up loose ends on features that are already committed, or significantly in progress. Clean-Up Phase is for stabilization, better consistency, and completing conversions to new APIs. Polish Phase moves to focus on the upgrade path, performance optimization, and improving docs. Finally, during Release Phase, we crank on critical bugs until we release!

Of course, it's not possible to provide more time to complete Drupal 8 features without also impacting the remainder of the release timeline. Therefore, Code Freeze will be moved out 3 months as well to July 1, 2013. Drupal 8 will be released when there are no release-critical issues remaining.

I want to thank each and every one of Drupal 8's 960+ contributors for all of your astounding efforts so far. Keep up the great work!

Acquia hiring at BADCamp

I love attending events like BADCamp. Being here gives me a chance to connect with many people I've known for a long time, but I also get to meet new people that share our passion for Drupal.

A lot of friendships are made at these events. In the Drupal community, we have a saying: “Come for the Code, Stay for the Community”. It's intriguing to see these friendships develop. Often times we end up working together; either commercially through Acquia, or as volunteers on Drupal itself. This happens for everyone, and it happens often, which is why a lot of Drupal companies use these events to try and hire people.

We're also hiring at Acquia, and we're hiring people all around the world. Hiring remains one of our biggest challenges at Acquia. We've seen phenomenal growth as a company, the fastest growing software company in the US in fact, and are continually looking for talented Drupalists looking to make a difference in our customer's lives. Hence, we're setting up a booth at the job fair at BADCamp.

If you are interested in working on some of the most challenging Drupal projects along side some crazy talented Drupal people, stop by our booth. You can work from our headquarters in Boston, our new office in the Old Town in Portland (a great location right on the light rail), from our office in Australia or the UK. There are even opportunities to relocate cloud operations specialists to places like Australia. Or if you want, we have many positions that where you can work from anywhere in the world.

For example, our technical client advisor organization is one of the fastest growing groups within Acquia. This team is on the front lines, working on some of the most challenging Drupal problems that our customers face. But most importantly, they are making a difference in our customers lives. Whether its ensuring that Egyptian publisher Al-Masry Al-Youm's website stayed up during the country's first democratic elections or working with our partners like Palantir.net and Alfresco to help the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change make thousands of archived digital assets available online, our client advisors spend their days working on Drupal AND making a difference in our customers' lives. Additionally, the technical client advisor role can be the entry point to other roles within Acquia's engineering organization, including the OCTO, engineering and cloud operations teams.

There are more than 30 Drupalists from Acquia here with me at BADCamp this year. We're here to participate with the core developer summit, the UI/UX summit, the product summit and much more. If you are interested, talk to me or any of my Acquia colleagues at BADCamp and ask them what it is like working at Acquia.

And even if Acquia isn't for you, you can help us find great people. We offer a $2,500 referral bonus to anyone who refers a friend to Acquia that gets hired. It doesn't have to be an existing Drupal developer. That bonus could pay for a ticket to DrupalCon Australia or it may help you fund some of your Drupal contributions.

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