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Campaign for equality with Drupal-based Friendfactor

Did you know that in the United States, you can only get married in 5 states if you're gay? I think that's insane.

That's why I'm proud to say that Friendfactor is a Drupal site. Friendfactor is an organization that makes it easier for friends to help their LGBT friends achieve full legal freedoms and equality.

Anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, can create a profile that explains why the cause is important to them, and ask their friends to support them in their individual fights for equality. Friendfactor also gives details about the legal inequalities in each home state, and provides tools that friends can use to make change.

For example, in New York, Friendfactor realized that state senators will decide whether LGBT New Yorkers will have the freedom to marry. To connect constituents and friends who care about the issue with state senators, Friendfactor created Friend-setter pages.

Friend-setter pages are a new innovation in online advocacy. The pages act like marathon fundraising pages, except instead of asking friends for a donations you ask friends for a call to a New York state senator. In one click and in under 1 minute, your friends will be connected to their state senator's office.

There is only two weeks left to pass marriage in New York. Calling is one of the most powerful ways someone can exercise their voice as a constituent. Thousands of New Yorkers have already taken a stand in support of the freedom to marry and I have joined them by setting up my own Friend-setter page.

Friendfactor is what I believe the next generation of advocacy organizations will be: technology-focused in a smart and human way. It's rewarding to see how Drupal enables such a cause.

The Gartner hype cycle and Drupal

I'd like to discuss some observations the technology analysis company Gartner Group has made about product lifecycles -- and how their model affects Drupal release management.

The Gartner hype cycle is a model that posits five market stages for all emerging technologies. It looks like this:

Development cycle

Here is how I think the hype cycle's stages played out for Drupal 7's development cycle.

  1. Technology Trigger. As Gartner puts it, this is where “A potential technology breakthrough kicks things off". For Drupal 7 that occurred when we started development on 4 February, 2008.
  2. Peak of Inflated Expectations. This is a period when excitement about the forthcoming release makes people dream big. We entered this phase shortly before Drupal 7's release, as news of all the wonderful things we were doing entered the consciousness of early adopters.
  3. Trough of Disillusionment. This stage came after Drupal 7's release, as people examined it closely to decide whether it would work for their new projects. Some discovered that a necessary module wasn't available yet, or that they had to learn some new APIs. Many chose “the devil they know" in Drupal 6 while cursing Drupal 7's differences. That's understandable, and it will pass.
  4. Slope of Enlightenment. I believe this is where Drupal 7 is now. It is where modules are being upgraded, bugs are being fixed, and the whole ecosystem is becoming more stable overall. Some people adopt it, while others still wait.
  5. Plateau of Productivity. This is where we can breathe easy. It occurs when developing in Drupal 6 seems pointless, because the Drupal 7 ecosystem exhibits more promise.

That last stage is where a product really shines. I think we reached the Plateau of Productivity for Drupal 6 sometime in late 2009, about 18 months after its release. At that point there was no advantage to developing in Drupal 5, and Drupal 7 was still a long way off.

I have my own opinions about Drupal 7's path through the hype cycle, but would like to hear your thoughts. When do you think Drupal 7 will reach the Plateau of Productivity?

Drupal contributor statistics

I recently extracted some data from the Drupal project's CVS and Git logs to see how the number of code contributors and total contributions have changed over time. If there was any doubt of our continual growth, the resulting charts demolish it.

Commits

Aggregated results from core and contributed modules.

Committers

Aggregated results from core and contributed modules.

As can be seen from the graphs, there is a pretty big spike in commit activity post-Git migration.

Fast-tracking Drupal 7 bug fixes

The Drupal project has a policy of fixing bugs in the development release (currently, Drupal 8) and then backporting to stable releases (currently, Drupal 7 and Drupal 6). This policy is important, because it helps to prevent regressions from being introduced in future versions of Drupal.

However, the size of our project and our community has reached the point where a single maintainer of the development release (currently, me) doesn't scale at times. I've been very focused on setting the vision for Drupal and launching the Drupal 8 initiative. As a result, we have a growing backlog of bug reports that needs to be looked at and that is holding back the stabilization process of Drupal 7.

To fix this, I am going to be granting Angela "webchick" Byron, my Drupal 7 co-maintainer, commit rights for bug fixes in Drupal 8, in order to help ease maintenance of Drupal 7 and speed along the stabilization process.

This is something that a number of prominent core developers have been asking for, and will allow me to keep my focus on setting the strategic direction for Drupal 8, appointing and working with Drupal 8 core initiative owners, and prioritizing incorporation of new features. The goal is to help Drupal to scale, and to increase the momentum of core development for both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8.

IKEA using Drupal

IKEA is everywhere. With over 300 megastores in dozens of countries, it's one of the world's most recognizable brands. Chances are you have some IKEA furniture in your home -- I certainly do.

With the help of Swedish Drupal consultancy NodeOne and the ad agency Futurniture, one of the company's websites, http://livethemma.ikea.se/play, is now on Drupal. This video-rich site makes heavy use of Apache Solr and Panels Everywhere; the theme is based on Precision, while Varnish and Memcached speeds everything up.

Ikea

Chris Rock using Drupal

A lot of the recent “scores" I've listed on this site have been from serious institutions: ING, Investor.gov, The U.S. Small Business Administration, and The World Economic Forum.

But don't think for a moment that Drupal's losing any ground in other areas. I was in NYC recently, the mecca of the media and entertainment industry, and Drupal is about to get really big there -- that's food for another blog post that I'm planning to write.

In the entertainment industry, comedian Chris Rock recently moved his website to Drupal and Acquia Dev Cloud with the help of SuperStar Media. We have a post with more details on the Acquia.com blog at http://acquia.com/blog/acquia-dev-cloud-rocks.

Chris rock

HTML5 in Drupal 8

HTML5 is about to rock our world. There are books written about why that is the case, but simply put, it can provide a much better user experience on both desktop and mobile devices, and could lead to a convergence between native applications and the mobile web.

I believe in HTML5 enough that I wanted to make it one of the top 5 initiatives for Drupal 8; and switch Drupal's default doctype from XHTML to HTML5. This is the fifth official Drupal 8 initiative after the Configuration Management, Design, Web Services and Multilingual initiatives.

I have asked Jacine Luisi to be the Initiative Owner for the Drupal 8 HTML5 Initiative. Jacine is a prolific themer and contributor known to be a markup/CSS nut. I'd also like to recognize Jen Simmons for all her evangelism work on HTML5 in Drupal. I hope that work continues as it can feed into the HTML5 Core Initiative.

The way we'll approach this initiative is by starting off with some of the low-hanging fruit, and gradually work our way up to more advanced parts of the specification. In her announcement blog post, Jacine provides a plan for what that means.

To keep track of what is going on, tune into the core issue queue on issues tagged HTML5 or participate in the HTML5 group. Details will be posted shortly on the core initiative homepage.

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