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Drupal Association Board election results for 2011

Earlier this year the Drupal Association began a process to elect and build a new board. In July a call for nominations was made and the community responded with over 50 submissions. The nomination committee spent many weeks reviewing the nominations, following up with potential candidates, until finally submitting a slate of nominees, which was confirmed by the board. I'm happy to announce the new Board of Directors:

  1. Jeff Walpole (until 2014)
  2. Vesa Palmu (until 2014)
  3. Tiffany Farriss (until 2014)
  4. Cary Gordon (until 2013)
  5. Danese Cooper (until 2013)
  6. Mike Woster (until 2013)
  7. Angela Byron (until 2012)
  8. Mitchell Toomy (2012)
  9. Unknown - one open seat, to be filled

The Board also approved Dries Buytaert (me) to fill the "founder role" in this year's Board of Directors.

The Board's term will begin on November 1, 2011. The first meeting of the new Board of Directors will be on November 16, 2011. This will be followed by the Drupal Association Board Retreat in Chicago, December 9 - 11, 2011.

Selection process

A nomination committee consisting of over eight community members considered over 100 candidates before settling on the great groups of individuals that we're proud to welcome to the Drupal Association. We believe this Board brings a lot of expertise to the Drupal Association, as well as more diversity in terms of industry representation, agency size, skill sets, gender, and geographic location. As the Association has grown so has the extent of financial and community responsibility and this board represents a shift to better address those needs in order to build a strong Association to support our community.

At-large / Community board seats

To ensure solid community representation we will also begin the process of electing two "At-large Board Members". At large board members are nominated and selected by the community at-large with no prerequisites for nomination. We are currently looking at the best method to get community involvement and will begin the process very soon.

Advisory Board

The Board of Directors is a guiding force for the Association and helps to set strategic direction. However, we recognize that the board members do not have all of the answers. To advise the board we have sought out talented individuals with a wide breadth of experience and expertise to serve as the Association's advisers. Our advisory board is designed to grow and expand with the needs of the organization and the community. One of the many ways the Association is working to stay strongly connected to the community is by seeking out community leaders, influencers, and talented individuals that can lend insight into the direction of the Drupal to be advisers to the Association.

The Association's advisers currently include:

  1. Kristof Van Tomme
  2. David Strauss
  3. Larry Garfield
  4. Kieran Lal
  5. George DeMet
  6. Bevan Rudge
  7. Greg Knaddison
  8. Laura Scott
  9. Khalid Bahey
  10. Fernando Paredes García
  11. Moshe Weitzman

We're growing

One year ago the Drupal Association hired its first employees to strengthen our conference and our volunteer community. In that year surpassed a million nodes and hosts over 12,000 developer accounts. DrupalCon welcomed nearly 5,000 attendees and over 1,000 people have been trained at the past four conferences. Membership in the Association has also doubled in the past year and we are still growing. We are on target to have 2,000 individual members and over 750 organization members by the end of this year. This is an exciting time to be involved with the Drupal project and the Drupal Association, and I believe the new Board of Directors will help the Drupal Association get to the next level. So please join me in welcoming all the Board of Directors for the Drupal Association.

Here are bios of each Board Member and a short introduction as to why each member was selected:

Angela Byron

The Drupal Association needs to make sure it doesn't lose connection with the developer community that made Drupal into what it is today. Angie with her self-made success and long time contributor is someone who personalizes the values of our community. Angie also provides continuity in the Drupal Association board.

Danese Cooper

Danese has a very strong track record in open source governance: the experience she gained beating the drums of Open Source at Sun, Intel, Wikimedia foundation and now the Gates Foundation makes her a strong Board Member.

Tiffany Farriss

Having served not only on the Drupal Association board but on the governance committee, Tiffany provides important continuity in the Drupal Association board. She brings experience in a mid-sized Drupal business active in the Drupal community, events (DrupalCon production), and financial skills, having served as the Drupal Association treasurer.

Cary Gordon

Cary played an important role in the professionalization process of DrupalCon and was member of the governance committee. Cary is the owner of a small Drupal business and as such is representing smaller Drupal shops. As a member of the previous Drupal Association board, Cary is also important for continuity.

Vesa Palmu

As a serial entrepreneur and owner of Mearra, Vesa represents the European Drupal business ecosystem. His company, a medium sized Drupal shop in Finland that is expanding outside of it's borders, is similar to many Drupal shops in the European market. Vesa has been one of the organizers in the Finnish Drupal community and he's the informal national representative for Finland on the Drupal Association's European community dinners. Next to his professional experience Vesa brings affinity with the world of NGO's through his involvement in several smaller not for profits and the Finnish Red Cross.

Mitchell Toomey

We chose Mitchell because as a senior employee of the UNDP he brings insights in Drupal's role at big Drupal customers and at international governmental organizations more specifically. Mitchell leads an international team using the Teamworks Drupal-based intranet application and active in six regional hubs throughout the developing world with a current focus on Africa. He has an MBA in Organizational Behavior and Information Technology.

Jeff Walpole

Jeff was selected because on top of his business experience, he brings key insights on the use of Drupal in government and the Drupal distributions/products ecosystem. As the CEO and co-founder of Phase2 Technology, Jeff is a business leader in the Drupal community. He knows what it takes to build a multi-million dollar services company, and to invest in and market Drupal products.

Mike Woster

Drawing from his experience as the COO of the Linux Foundation and holder of an MBA, Mike has strong experience in running a tech non-profit. His knowledge of the tech non-profit world should give the Drupal Association insight into what financial and organizational models the Drupal Association might consider and how those would impact the community. His MBA from Kellogg School at Northwestern University has been put to immediate use in his role at the Linux Foundation interacting with lawyers, reading financial reports, and managing a distributed staff. His undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M University and industry experience as a developer ensures he understands the “tech” side of a tech non-profit.

Dries Buytaert

Dries Buytaert is the original creator and project lead for Drupal. Dries also co-founded the Drupal Association and served as president of the Drupal Association since its start. He is also co-founder and chief technology officer of Acquia, a venture-backed Drupal company with 160 employees. Dries is also a co-founder of Mollom, a small web start-up that helps you stop website spam. Dries holds a PhD in computer science and engineering. In 2008, Buytaert was elected Young Entrepreneurs of Tech by BusinessWeek as well as MIT TR 35 Young Innovator. Dries brings community experience, business experience and continuity to the Drupal Association. As a native of Belgium that moved to the US, and that travels extensively, Dries is able to represent the international ecosystem.

Mobile for Drupal 8

In my State of Drupal keynote in Chicago I said: "If I were to start Drupal from scratch today, I'd build it for mobile experiences first, and desktop experience second.". I believe in that more than ever.

We already have a number of initiatives under way that will make Drupal a great platform for building native mobile applications (e.g. the Web services initiative) as well for building mobile web experiences (e.g. the HTML5 initiative and the Design initiative).

However, there is more that needs to be done to make Drupal a go to platform in a mobile world. For example, a couple of weeks ago I talked to a number of big media companies, each employing hundreds of editorial staff. They all believed that in less than two years, most of their editors that report from the field will be using tablets instead of laptops. Applied to Drupal, this means we need to make the Drupal administration back-end and the editorial experience mobile-friendly, something that isn't covered by the existing Drupal 8 initiatives. Another example would be responsive web design.

The mobile internet is coming at us fast and furious. We need to move fast and we might only get one shot at this. I want to make mobile the big theme for Drupal 8. That is why I decided to launch another initiative related to mobile.

I've asked John Albin Wilkins to be the Initiative Owner for the Drupal 8 Mobile Initiative, and to work with the existing initiatives to fill the remaining gaps. To learn what that means, please consult John's announcement blog post, which includes an overview of the initiatives' goals. Like with any of these initiatives, they don't actually materialize unless people decide to help. To get involved, please join the discussions in the Mobile group on and help work on Mobile issues on

Questions for my BADCamp keynote interview?

Did you know there is a DrupalCamp that is bigger than most past DrupalCons? It's the Bay Area Drupal Camp, or BADCamp which is expected to draw over 1,400 people this year for three days of trainings, summits, sprints, sessions, BOFs and parties all across Berkeley this weekend.


Instead of giving a morning keynote, I will be interviewed by Josh Koenig after we've been both been drinking for a while. I'm very excited about the interview format and having it in the evening. The traditional keynote presentation format works well for making statements, but DrupalCamps inspire often a different mood. I expect the interview format will fit this ambiance by being more probing and personal than a straightforward keynote could be.

We still haven't decided on the questions... and that is where you come in. If you were in Josh's positions, what would you ask me? What topics should we discuss together? Just suggest your questions in the comments of this post. Josh will pick both the most popular and the most interesting ones and see where they go.

I look forward to seeing many of you at BADCamp next week!

PayPal developer community using Drupal

Drupal continues to rack up successes among large developer communities, with x.commerce joining Twitter, which made the move last month. X.commerce is a new division of PayPal that serves as an open, central meeting place for over 700,000 developers for eBay, PayPal, Magento, and other eBay properties.

X com

These communities join those of Brightcove, Symantec, DivX -- and, of course, Drupal. All told, that's millions of developers relying on Drupal-run sites for coding tips, product info, and idea exchange.

x.commerce's communities were formerly run on Jive, a proprietary package. Through Acquia, eBay engaged VML to create the site, with additional consulting by Cyrve (now part of Acquia) to migrate data. Acquia provided a Technical Account Manager (TAM), who helped coordinate resources to put the site into production and will be on call as it grows.

Like many developer sites, x.commerce centers around its documentation and its communities. The latter are a model of social networking at its best, in the service of a question-and-answer format. Developers help each other by responding directly to questions, either publicly or through private email; vote on questions (and answers) to highlight those of importance; promote conversations through other social sites such as Facebook; and bookmark discussions to form personal collections. The results are evident in the enormous level of activity within the forums (which, by the way, are built on Organic Groups).

This project is an excellent example of how open-source software drives innovation. Under Jive, eBay wasn't able to develop features that it needed. If eBay needed to do something that wasn't in Jive's roadmap, that was just too bad. Drupal, of course, allows them to create whatever they need, or developers outside the company to do it. That jibes well with x.commerce's ethos of open development, as is demonstrated by the extensive APIs it provides for eBay and PayPal, and the freedom the company allows its developers. I believe that their openness is a key factor to their success -- there are over 4,500 apps on Magento alone -- and that their move to Drupal will allow them to grow at the speed of their community.

I'm going to India

As you know, I'm no stranger to travel — I flew over 100,000 km in 2010 and over 300,000 km in 2011. But India is one place I haven't visited yet, even though I feel that Drupal's success there is crucial to its worldwide adoption.

Besides having a strong Drupal community, India is one of the world's fastest-growing economies, with great promise to continue its rise for several years. Where a country's economy grows, so grows its need for online solutions. So the opportunities for Drupal there are obvious.

So I'm excited to be visiting this coming month. My schedule is:

  • 7-8 November in Delhi
  • 9-10 November in Mumbai
  • 11 November in Hyderabad

My time will be split between events with the Drupal community, press meetings and private meetings with Acquia partners and customers. I'm grateful for volunteers who have been making plans in the Drupal India group. If you're local and would like to meet, be sure to check in there. Even if we can't meet, I'd especially appreciate Indians' comments of what you hope I know about Drupal in India when my trip is done.

Nat "catch" Catchpole

I'm pleased to share that Nat "catch" Catchpole has accepted my invitation to become my Drupal 8 co-maintainer. For the duration of one release cycle, he will help me co-ordinate Drupal 8 development.

Nat has been working with Drupal for almost 6 years and is one of the top two contributors to Drupal 7 core. In addition to being is known in the community as an incredibly talented engineer with a passion for software design, Nat is also a driving force on performance and scalability efforts. Additionally, he pays careful attention to core development processes and how they can be improved. I firmly believe he is what Drupal core development needs right now.

One of the things that I like best about Nat, is that he doesn't like unnecessary complexity. I believe he will be a great help in driving architectural decisions, helping to improve the framework aspects of Drupal core, and saying no to cruft.

Nat is working out of Japan for Tag1 Consulting. Note that Nat will be traveling between 4th-22nd October, but will get set up as co-maintainer this week.

I'm extremely excited to work alongside Nat to set the direction for the next version of Drupal! Please make him feel welcome.

Managing and measuring Drupal core complexity

While we made Drupal 7 easier to use and more feature-rich for site builders, we also added complexity for the core developers. We shouldn't be surprised though. As a software application evolves, its complexity increases unless work is done to maintain or reduce it.

When that happens, it is can be frustrating as software complexity is an obstacle to introducing change, can be a source of bugs and makes it harder for new contributors to get involved. The general sentiment among the core developers is that steps must be taken to reduce Drupal's complexity. I wholeheartedly agree.

Many people in the community put forward a lot of good suggestions to reduce the complexity of Drupal core; from removing unnecessary functionality, to decoupling systems, to improving our APIs and abstractions. All things we should consider doing. In fact, we have already removed some unnecessary modules and features from the Drupal 8 development branch. Last but not least, I'm looking to appoint a Drupal 8 co-maintainer that has the technical skillset to help manage Drupal core's complexity.

I also had a thought I wanted to run by you. It would be good if we could measure the evolution of Drupal's complexity over time. That would allow us to say things like: "Drupal 7 is 30% more complex compared to Drupal 6", "This Drupal site build has a complexity score of 420", or "This patch reduces the complexity by 12 points".

I'd like to see if we can come up with a "Drupal complexity score". It would obviously be important to combine different metrics such as (1) number of calls per function, (2) number of inter-module calls per function, (3) mean function size, (4) number of input arguments for API functions, (5) number of comments per function, (6) number of references to global variables, (7) number of different code paths, etc.

A "Drupal complexity score" is not the panacea, and neither will we ever have a perfect scoring system. However, I still believe that even a basic "Drupal complexity score" integrated in the patch review workflow (including our testbots and DrEditor) would be a big win. It is hard to manage what you can't measure. At a minimum, it would put reducing complexity at the front and center of every reviewer and maintainer.



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