Drupal is a Webware 100 winner

For the second time in a row, Drupal is a Webware 100 Awards winner. The Webware awards recognize the best sites, services, and applications on the web today.

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!

We have a test framework in Drupal 7

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.

Writing tests for drupal

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.

One million spam attempts blocked

Last weekend, just 3 weeks after we launched Mollom, Mollom has blocked the one millionth spam attempt. That is a million tiny contributions to make the web a nicer place. Incidentally, Mollom also got mentioned on Techcrunch that same weekend. Milestone weekend!

BussinessWeek's Young Entrepreneurs of Tech

It is a real honor and privilege that BusinessWeek included me on their list of top 30-and-under innovators for 2008. I'm very happy to see Drupal getting this level of recognition from the business world. What BusinessWeek only hints at, though, is the importance of all the thousands of people, including my new colleagues at Acquia, who are working every day to make Drupal great. This is a big milestone for Drupal so congratulations to all of you.
Businessweek techs best young entrepreneurs

Website spam and moderation queues

Mollom is a web service that blocks website spam. Websites using Mollom send data they want checked to mollom.com, and Mollom replies with either a spam or ham classification. If Mollom is not certain, it will return an unsure classification, typically prompting websites to ask Mollom's CAPTCHA server for an audio or visual CAPTCHA challenge to present to the user. In other words, Mollom uses a classifier with three states: ham, spam and unsure. We explained that in detail on the "How Mollom works" page.

Over at the Mollom blog, Ben wrote a great post about why we believe this is a key difference, and how that allows Mollom to eliminate your moderation queue. A picture is worth more than a thousand words, so check out the plots below and check out Ben's blog post for more details.

Spam versus ham

The plot illustrates that having a binary classifier with only two states (ham and spam) is bound to make mistakes. The plot is generated from the actual data in Mollom's database.

As you can see on the first graph, a binary classifier with two states (ham, spam) is never going to be deadly accurate, and will require a moderation queue so the user can manually deal with legitimate comments that incorrectly got classified as spam. Unfortunately, moderation queues are not fun, and they don't make you any more productive. You'll still find yourself wading through thousands of spam comments looking for ham. In other words, a moderation queue doesn't really solve the problem -- it just makes the problem look different.

Spam versus ham

The plot illustrates that having a classifier with three states avoids false positives and false negatives. The plot is generated from the actual data in Mollom's database.

Time for something better. As you can see on the second graph, a classifier with three states is going to be a lot more accurate. In fact, Mollom is so accurate that the Drupal module doesn't come with a moderation queue! It an important distinction, and one of the many innovations that we have in store for you. Bye bye moderation queue!


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