How Acquia plans to give back to Drupal 8 in Q4

People wonder what we do at Acquia's Office of the CTO (OCTO). In order to provide some more transparency, I wanted to share how we plan to give back between today and the end of the year.

Drupal 8 beta 1

Now that we're forgoing an upgrade path for a migration path, we need to redefine the release criteria for 'beta 1'. We also need to track the issues that block beta in order to help escalate the most critical of the critical issues. We will work with the Drupal 8 core maintainers to define and communicate these criteria, and help with timely patch reviews and issue management for beta-blocking issues.

Migrate module in core

As a co-author of the Migrate module, Moshe will be assisting the core development team on the goal to get Migrate module functionality into core and support a Drupal 6 to Drupal 8, as well as the Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 migration path.

Improve the Drupal 8 developer experience

We want developers to be productive and enjoy writing Drupal 8 modules, so we will be fleshing out the D8DX battleplan based on discussions at DrupalCon Prague, and working with others in the Drupal community to ensure that we fix the most important developer experience problems in preparation of Drupal 8's release.

Develop learning resources

We will be working on a central resource on Drupal.org for developers to find the information they need in order to port their modules to Drupal 8, including documentation, tools, and other resources.

Evaluate semantic versioning

There was a lot of talk at DrupalCon Prague about lessons learned in Drupal 7 and 8 and how to do better in the future. One such area of improvement is a release strategy that allows for iterative innovation in Drupal core every few months. We plan to work with other community leaders and the Drupal security team in order to come up with a strategy around this. A component of this strategy may be to adopt semantic versioning.

Improve Drupal 8 performance

We will also dedicate the OCTO team's time to help the Drupal core community identify and fix some major performance issues in Drupal core.

Authoring experience improvements

Major development efforts on the UX features the Spark team helped get into Drupal 8 core—WYSIWYG, in-place editing, mobile-friendly toolbar —are winding down. We still have work to do on fixing up some loose ends, and are committed to see this through. We will also backport the major Spark modules to Drupal 7.

Communicate Drupal 8 progress

We aim to continue the weekly D8 progress reports that you can find at This Week In Core, and are actively seeking other core developers to help get these important posts out.

A drop in an ocean

We're a handful of contributors in the OCTO and can only do so much. We will continue doing these things within a community of hundreds of other contributors and supporting their work in other ways. We're looking forward to much Drupal 8 progress in the next 3 months!

To start an Open Source project or not?

People ask me what it is like to be the head of a big Open Source project, and whether they should Open Source their project or not. I wanted to talk about that a bit more in this blog post so more people can pick up my answer.

Having been the project lead of the Drupal project for the past 13 years, I’ve watched my dorm-room activity transform into a community filled with passionate people all working toward the same goal: changing the world and making it a better place through open source.

Today Drupal powers more than 1.5 million sites. Drupal is a source of innovation for business and government. Most importantly, Drupal has helped individuals build a dream, giving smaller groups and organizations a bigger voice, as tools are democratized. But it has also allowed large businesses to develop new ideas, bring and build transformative experiences to the digital world.

The ambitious individuals who would lead the next generation of open source projects will experience moments of joy and excitement. It's exhilarating when your passion drives you to help create solutions to challenging problems. Your joy will be tempered with plenty of moments of frustration and doubt, as roadblocks may stand in your way during crucial points of development. But the successful leaders will be the ones who aren’t dissuaded from their work.

Creating a successful open source project requires much more work than writing good code. If your project is growing, then one day you'll start to see that you are a leader. You’re creating a vision, a culture, and inspiring people to come on board. This evangelism requires a lot of travel, conferences, fundraising, people management, project management and more. Make sure this passion is also within you.

I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world, evangelizing Drupal and have a leading role in a passionate, active community that is making a real difference. I’ve also founded a non-profit organization and a commercial company on that same promise.

As you start to build a community of participants who are willing to commit their time and passion to your project, you’ll soon realize that in life, the luckiest people in the world are those driven by the desire to be a part of something great. When you work in open source, you’ll be surrounded by people like these. Knowing you help make a difference and that hundreds of thousands of people depend on your project, helps you make sense of your commitment. So even on a bad day, it's still exciting.

The world would certainly benefit from having more Open Source, but its not a small undertaking as others come to depend on it. Only you can decide whether you have what it takes. When I started Drupal, I didn't really understand what I was getting myself into. It has been a lot of work, but knowing what I know today, I'd do it again. In a heartbeat.

State of Drupal presentation (September 2013)

Last week in Prague, I gave my traditional State of Drupal presentation. A total of 1,830 Drupalists were present at DrupalCon, a new record for our European DrupalCon!

In good tradition, you can download a copy of my slides (PDF, 31 MB) or you can watch a video recording of my keynote. The keynote starts at 11:42, but don't miss out on the singing carrots introduction. A video recording of the keynote is embedded in this post.

Moeke Hasselt

Liefste Moeke Hasselt,

Vandaag is het een vreemde dag. Ik kan helaas niet bij je zijn maar ik denk aan jou en deel de pijn.

Ik denk terug aan de liefde die je ons hebt gegeven. Met goedheid en lieve zorgen heb je ons omringd.

Kon ik nog maar een keer goed met je praten, of kon ik je maar laten zien hoe ik mijn leven zou gaan leiden.

Maar vrees niet, want je hebt ons een erg goed voorbeeld gegeven. Je was een vrouw met een groot besef van plicht. Bedachtzaam, bescheiden en tevreden -- die dingen staan nu ook in ons hart en in ons verstand geschreven.

Vandaag is het een vreemde dag. Verdrietig om het gemis, dankbaar voor de goede herinneringen, en trots op wat je ons hebt gegeven.

Moeke Hasselt, geniet van je rust, verlost van alle pijn, en van eindelijk bij Vake Hasselt te zijn.

Bedankt,

Je kleinzoon, Dries

Party

Announcing Acquia Cloud Free

I'm excited to announce that Acquia is launching Acquia Cloud Free, a no-cost development sandbox for Drupal development. While Acquia has always had a freemium offer for development purposes, it had an expiration date, and it required a credit card. We've changed that with Acquia Cloud Free. Acquia Cloud Free comes packed with great tools including, but not limited to:

  1. A free development sandbox on Acquia Cloud with development and staging environments, Drush integration, Git repository and more. (The sandbox can't be used to run production sites.)
  2. Drupal development workflow tools that allow you to deploy code between dev and staging environments, replicate files, make backups and more.
  3. Acquia Insight which will scan your site for security problems, performance improvements and general Drupal best practices. Every day, we run thousands of tests on your site. Our team keeps adding new tests based on what they learn every day.
  4. Acquia Search which supercharges your site's search capabilities with more accurate search results, faceted navigation, search analytics and more.

We've put a lot of thought and effort into creating the Acquia Cloud platform and continue to invest it in heavily. As a result, we have seen tremendous adoption. I believe that giving everyone access to a free Acquia Cloud development sandbox is one way we can give back and help grow Drupal. Give it a try if you want!

Three important start-up lessons I learned

The blog post below was a guest article I wrote for Inc Magazine and was published in September 2013. It has been a while since I shared a startup lesson on my personal blog so I'm cross-posting my article here.

When I started working on Drupal in my college dormitory 12 years ago, I had no idea that one day it would be used by 2 percent of the world's websites. What is even more exciting is the open source community that has grown up around Drupal.

I co-founded Acquia six years ago to support the growing number of organizations that rely on Drupal, and also co-founded Mollom to solve the spam moderation challenges for website owners. Six years later, Mollom was acquired, and Acquia has almost 400 employees. As I've encountered challenges every step of the way. Here are three lessons learned.

1. Think big

So often I meet entrepreneurs who are working on a startup concept. They have a great idea and a business plan to bring it to market, but they're thinking too small about what they're trying to do.

I believe companies are most successful when they have a mission to change the world. When you set ambitious goals, you'll better position yourself for success. You become what you believe.

Being shortsighted can be a big barrier to success, because you can easily miss the window to capitalize on an opportunity. It's why I founded Acquia in the United States; I immediately had access to a larger market. We moved quickly to be a global company to maximize our opportunity, and it's made all the difference.

2. Fail fast

"Fail fast, succeed faster" is a philosophy that's been adopted across the company at Acquia. It's perhaps counter intuitive, but the idea is that in building a startup, you're going to fail. There will be problems, and the faster you run into them, the faster you can learn, adjust, and grow.

Implied in the fail-fast philosophy is that you'll be open to failure, and that can be hard for entrepreneurs who are so focused on success. People don't like to fail, so they're not inclined to celebrate their failures and embrace the lessons learned. Yet doing so means you'll more quickly make the needed – and often painful – adjustments to get on the right path faster.

In the initial business plan for Acquia, we expected to support a specific distribution of Drupal that we'd closely manage. Early prospects told us repeatedly it was a great strategy, yet when we took our offer to market, the buyers weren't there. We realized very fast that our business plan needed a big change, that we needed to support Drupal in whole. It was a terrifying proposition at that stage of our business, but we realized that was what the market needed most. We made the change, and it quickly put us on a successful course.

3. Passion makes the difference

I think some people get inspired to launch a startup because of its potential rewards, but launching a successful business starts with having a passion to solve a problem. I was passionate about building websites; it was my biggest hobby before it was ever a business opportunity.

When we started Acquia, our lead investor told me the key to a successful startup isn't in a good idea, but rather is in having a good team. A good team will figure out how to make something great happen. They'll pivot, they'll change, and they'll claw their way to success. Find talented people who share your passion, and together you'll find your way toward building a great business.

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