Acquia (my company) is part of an exceptional group of companies vying for the 2008 Red Herring 100 North America award. The award recognizes the top 100 privately held companies in North America. This is big because previous winners included companies like Google, Yahoo!, Skype, Netscape, Salesforce.com, and YouTube. It is still early days for Acquia but it is good to get noticed early on. The winners will be announced in May so fingers crossed ...
The summer is off to a great start as Google continues to blow loving kisses at Drupal.
Google just announced that they will sponsor 21 Drupal developer stipends in this year's Summer of Code program (SoC). To inspire young developers to work on FOSS projects during the summer, Google will provide a stipend of 5,000 USD to each student developer, of which 4,500 USD goes to the student and 500 USD goes to Drupal Association (or to the mentors). With 21 accepted applications this adds up to a 105,000 USD investment over a three-month period.
The accepted students, their projects, and the mentors are listed on the official Drupal.org announcement. Many of the listed projects touch Drupal core, so it looks like I'm in for a really busy summer. Congratulations to all successful applicants, and thanks to the Drupal Summer of Code organizers, the Drupal mentors, and last but not least, Google. Great!
Given that more than 5,000 products were nominated for the awards, and that nearly two million users voted to select the 100 top products, this award is a great testament to the awesomeness that is the Drupal community. The Drupal community is on a rocking spree!
Every major Drupal release we should ask ourselves what steps we can take to double the capacity of our community.
I spent the weekend in Paris where we had a two day code sprint. Our main accomplishment was getting Drupal's test framework into Drupal core -- the culmination of three years of hard work carried out by many people and companies in the Drupal community.
Here is why a strong investment in testing will help double the capacity of our community:
- For developers, upgrading, maintaining and releasing your modules becomes easier. The combination of test results and code coverage reports makes it easier to determine the release readiness of your code. This translates to fewer betas, shorter code freeze periods and more frequent releases. Furthermore, design for testability leads to easier to use and more complete APIs. It is guaranteed to make Drupal a better development platform.
- For end users, it is important that we provide quantifiable reporting on the health of Drupal core and the many contributed modules.
- For patch reviewers, tests are great because it allows them to focus on the architectural and the algorithmic changes that the patch introduces. With good test coverage, we can rely on the tests to discover any unwanted side-effects. Patches can be committed faster.
- For people new to Drupal, tests lower the barrier to entry and encourage collaboration and innovation, two of Drupal's core values. With good test coverage, you don't necessarily have to understand the entire code base before you can comfortably propose changes or help maintain a module.
- For me, it means I'll sleep better at night. ;-) With hundreds of thousands of people using Drupal, the availability of a test framework takes some pressure of my shoulders.
As of today, it is expected that you submit test cases with your patches for Drupal 7. Writing good tests takes time: it is not unlikely that you'll spent twice as long working on a patch. This might take some time getting used to but you'll find that it pays off and that it is actually very rewarding.
Thanks to Ori Pekelman of AF83 for being such a great host when in Paris. And a special thanks to everyone who helped get the test framework in Drupal 7.