For a long time now, I've been saying that we need to train more Drupalistas. Almost every Drupal company I talked to is trying to hire talented Drupal developers, but can't find any, to the point that it is holding back Drupal's adoption.
To help train more Drupal users and developers around the world, Acquia will develop and maintain a Drupal training curriculum, and commercially license the curriculum to our partners so they can more easily deliver training to their customers. Chapter Three has signed on as Acquia's first Drupal training program partner.
Having to develop and maintain high quality curriculum is a lot of hard work. By taking on most of that work on behalf of our partners, we hope to enable them to deliver more training, and to deliver it more cost-effectively. The net result should be that it helps to advance the Drupal ecosystem, and most importantly, that we'll be training many more Drupal people.
We're also excited to share that Heather James will be heading up our learning services. Heather has an extensive background in education, and with user ID 740 on drupal.org, an extensive background in Drupal as well. We'll develop our training offerings by looking at Drupal as a domain of knowledge, and what it takes to get someone up over the learning curve quickly above the "kick ass" threshold. To craft high quality learning services, we'll be looking closely at individual learners' needs and goals to expand beyond introductory Drupal workshops.
DrupalCon San Francisco didn't even start, and already we have a first announcement to make! If you follow the Acquia blog, you might have read that we've begun building a free Drupal distribution, named "Drupal Commons", to go after social business software such as Jive Software. Drupal Commons will integrate groups, discussion forums, blogs, wikis, events into a single packaged solution. If you need a communication or collaboration website, or a corporate social network, Drupal Commons might be for you.
Over the last few months, I talked to a lot of Drupal users, customers and Drupal development shops, and it is clear that many of them need a distribution like Drupal Commons, but that the lack of a prepackaged solution was holding them back. Enterprise users weren't 100% sure Drupal could do what they needed it to do and had trouble convincing their boss about Drupal, and Drupal development shops and system integrators struggled convincing their customers without spending weeks building a functional prototype. In some cases, Drupal is too much of a framework.
We've only started working on Drupal Commons a few weeks ago, so we obviously have a long way to go. However, we've put together a little demo video of what we have today to give you a sense of what direction we're heading in. As soon we have a base version working, we'll share it on drupal.org under terms of the GPL like any other Drupal distribution. We hope others will join us in helping to build Drupal Commons.
Drupal Commons is also a good response to some of the FUD that Jive Software has been spreading about Open Source software, and Drupal in particular. The screenshot below, taken from a Jive Software whitepaper, shows how they position themselves against Drupal, and how they justify charging million dollar license fees to their customers. I don't know about you, but we'd love to show how Drupal can run circles around Jive SBS for a lot less money.
A screenshot from Jive Software's whitepaper called: "The unique advantage of Jive Social Business Software over Open Source Software".
Last but not least, I've been supporting and championing distributions since 2006, and I still firmly believe Drupal distributions will be critical to Drupal's success. Without Drupal distributions, we won't be able to successfully compete with commercial vendors. Drupal distributions have great potential, but we have to do them right, and we have to figure out how to make them sustainable. By building a distribution ourselves, I hope to learn a lot, both on the technical side and on the business side. We already have a number of ideas, and will be announcing some of these shortly. Stay tuned!
Jay just posted a blog post, called Building enterprise social communities with Drupal, sharing a white paper that we have written at Acquia. In this white paper, we answer questions like: what kind of social features Drupal supplies, why Drupal is the best choice for building a social site, what Drupal modules are useful when building a social site, and some examples of successful enterprise Drupal communities.
The reason we wrote this white paper is simple: many of the enterprise organizations that we talk to ask us these questions over and over again. Building social business sites is a very hot topic in the enterprise. The work environment in these organizations is evolving, and increasingly more, people want to connect, create, share and find people and information relevant to their work. Needless to say, not all social business sites are equal -- some are team collaboration sites, some are community sites, and others might be networking sites. They can exist behind the firewall for internal teams, or they can be external facing sites to engage with partners and customers.
We wrote this white paper because we wanted to demonstrate that Drupal provides a great platform to build these kind of social sites for the enterprise. If you are interested in building a social site for your enterprise and don't know where to start, have a look at our white paper. Also, if you've built, or have a Drupal site around which you have built a successful community, we'd love to learn about it, and learn from it.
And the answer to yesterday's "Eye grow Drupal" question is: Druplipets. Hundreds of cute little Druplipets, your friendly Druplicon chia pet. Druplipet is the newest member of the Acquia and Drupal Gardens family and will be making appearances at industry events this year. It is making its first appearance at SXSW along with a fun contest. Needless to say, Drupal chia pets are fun and powerful stuff!