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State of Drupal 2011 survey

The last time I organized a State of Drupal survey was in 2008. The results of the 2008 survey were instrumental in shaping Drupal 7 as well as directing the work of the Drupal Association on drupal.org.

Now three years later, I created a new survey. The results of this survey will guide thousands of people in the Drupal community over the next two years.

Take the State of Drupal 2011 survey now.

It shouldn't take more than ten minutes to fill out. Don't worry if you're new to Drupal: every voice counts!

I'll present the results during my DrupalCon keynote in London; the video and the presentation slides will be downloadable after. Please do tell us what you think these days about Drupal: your views will shape Drupal 8 and beyond. Thanks!

New features for the Mollom module for Drupal

We have just released new versions of the Mollom module for Drupal 6 and Drupal 7. In addition to various bug fixes, as well as usability and API improvements, we have included two new end-user features. First, we've provided the ability to control the strictness of the text analysis. This allows you to control how aggressively Mollom should show CAPTCHAs and block spam. Second, we ported the profanity checking from the Drupal 7 version of the Mollom module to the Drupal 6 version. This means that you will be able to choose to use Mollom to block obscene language in addition to spam. Progress!

Mollom drupal text analysis strictness

Acquia raises $15 million series D

I'm thrilled to announce that Acquia has received $15 million in its fourth round of funding -- that is about twice as much as any of our earlier rounds (series A, series B, series C). Our previous investors affirmed their confidence by participating in this round; they were joined by Tenaya Capital, which has roots in both the San Francisco Bay Area and our home turf of Boston. Tenaya brings more than money: Tenaya's Brian Paul will join our Board of Directors as well.

This is an incredibly exciting time to be at Acquia. Since the series C last November, our staff size has almost doubled, from 70 to 130. We're bursting out of our office space and will be moving to a bigger, 35,000 square feet office soon. We needed all those people to service our thousand-plus enterprise customers, and to plan for the future with new initiatives, such as Dev Cloud and the newly revised Acquia Network. We broke revenue records in Q1 and Q2 this year, following an extremely successful 2010.

Fundraising rounds usually occur either when a company is doing very well, or when it's doing very badly. When it's doing well, investors want to get in on the action to score big. When it's doing badly, current investors hope to turn it around to avoid losing everything they'd already put into it. By all measures, Acquia is doing very well, and this round of funding only confirms that. This is what is called a "growth round", with the money directed toward two objectives:

  • Increase sales and marketing, particularly outside the U.S.. It's clear that there are tremendous opportunities for enterprise Drupal outside of the U.S., as our partners prove every day. We'll start by focusing on Western Europe, but are already planning expansion into Asia.
  • Acquire talent and products that complement Acquia's own. These "acquia-sitions" (as we jokingly call them) will continue to beef up our staff, expand our product offerings, and respond to requests we've gotten over our three and a half years in business.

Acquia's growth is a testament to the growth of Drupal; we'll continue to give back to the Drupal community in everything what we do. Acquia wouldn't have made it this far without our customers, our partners, our employees and our friends. Thank you!

Nominations for Directors of the Drupal Association

The Drupal Association is seeking nine candidates for its Board of Directors. The Board of Directors establishes policy, hires and manages an executive director, reviews and approves the budget and financial reports, and participates in fundraising. For more details on the organizational structure see earlier posts.

Strategic priorities for the Drupal Association include: implementing its new bylaws and organizational structure, starting leading and participating in standing committees, pursuing transparency through active communication, achieving operational efficiency, promotion, and expanding assistance to organizers of community events and activities.

The board usually meets at least twice per month. Directors must be prepared to commit at least 15 hours per month to the Board and related activities.

Four Board meetings per year are held in-person and directors are expected to travel to these. Board meetings will coincide with DrupalCons when possible. Director positions are not paid, and directors should expect to pay their own expenses in most instances.

We are looking for a diverse board and will consider the following factors when selecting candidates:

  • Geographic diversity
  • Industry diversity: the perspectives of various sectors are valuable (government, publishing, education, not-for-profit, corporate, etc.)
  • Skill sets
  • Drupal Ecosystem: the board should reflect the various perspectives of the members of our community (volunteers, small shops, large shops, large integrators, in-house teams, designers, end-users, etc.)
  • Outside perspectives: FOSS at large, legal, CPA

Experience in any of the following areas is desirable; non-profit boards, event management, business, marketing and communications, law, finance, accounting, fundraising and technology. Experience and involvement with the Drupal project and community are desirable, but not required.

If you are interested in being considered for a seat on the Drupal Association Board of Directors, please contact the Nominating Committee by Wednesday 27 July by submitting the application form. Potential candidates are individually interviewed, evaluated and selected by the Nominating Committee.

The Nominating Committee consists of the following members:

  • Khalid Baheyeldin
  • Dries Buytaert
  • Greg Knaddison
  • Bevan Rudge
  • David Strauss
  • Kristof Van Tomme
  • Moshe Weitzman

If you're interested, apply now!

Evolving the Drupal Association's organizational structure

At the Drupal Association, we have been working on a number of important changes. One of these change is a refresh of our organizational structure. The Board of Directors has been working on this for months. Now there is buy-in from the Drupal Association's General Assembly, it is a good time to start informing the community at large.

I helped start the Drupal Association in 2006 because we needed a checking account for the 10,000 dollar or so required to produce a Drupal Conference and to support our infrastructure. Today, millions of dollars flow through the Drupal Association each year, mostly because the Drupal Conferences have gotten so big. In a short five years, the Drupal Association grew from a small non-profit to a pretty sizable non-profit and we would like to do more, much more. We would like to organize more Drupal conferences in different continents in the world, promote Drupal more actively, continue to invest in Drupal.org to support our growth, and more.

To make that possible, we have to continue to evolve the Drupal Association from a volunteer-run organization where the Board of Directors is a working board, to an organization with paid staff where its Board of Directors is responsible for setting policies as well as the long-term strategy for the Drupal Association. These and other changes are necessary in order to lay the foundation for our next stage of growth.

Based on guidance from consultants and research into other non-profit organizations, we plan to change the governance structure such that the Board of Directors, instead of the larger General Assembly, has full accountability over the Drupal Association. The Board of Directors would be a policy board that enables different working groups or committees that consist of volunteers, staff and/or Board Members. In addition, the Board is advised by an Advisory Board.

This structure is very common in non-profits around the world and the logical next step for the Drupal Assocation. We believe that in adopting this structure, the Drupal Association can accelerate fulfilling its mission to help the Drupal project flourish.

For some additional details, I recommend reading the announcement on association.drupal.org. We have more figuring out and streamlining to do; I plan to share more updates in the next couple of days.

Twitter using Drupal

Starting today, Twitter's developer community lives and breathes on Drupal! Check it out at http://dev.twitter.com.

This is a big deal for Drupal -- it's not every day that one of the hottest technology start-ups switches one of its sites to Drupal. At Acquia, we have been working with Twitter on this site but couldn't talk about it for the longest time. I'm glad we finally can because it's a great use case for Drupal.

Twitter has 750,000 developers who have created nearly a million apps, making 13 billion API calls per day. Those are some astonishing figures! A population that big requires a lot, as we in the Drupal community know.

Fortunately, Drupal handles big communities well. Developer communities have been quick to recognize that and have adopted Drupal at a remarkable rate. Among them are the Brightcove developer community, Symantec Connect's developer community, DivX's developer community, and many more. Drupal's own website, Drupal.org, has more than a million registered users and is one of the largest developer communities in the world. Needless to say, drupal.org runs on Drupal.

Twitter is a curious case. On its face Twitter only has to do one thing -- deliver short messages in one-to-many mode. But its published APIs (and enormous popularity) have led developers to create a lot of interesting things. That's also why Drupal sites can publish to Twitter, and vice versa, via the Twitter module.

In the end, that is what good developer communities are all about. Developers are like molecules, vibrating with intensity and vigor. Their individual movements can seem random. But together in the right environment, they can form waves -- or snowflakes. Nurturing a community in which both are possible is the challenge every software project faces; I'd like to think that Twitter, through Drupal, is creating the right environment.

Dev twitter com

How I think about Drupal release date planning

Two recent blog posts explained what I think the Drupal development cycle is like; see the Gartner hype cycle and Drupal and the Drupal mood cycle. These thoughts came from living through many major Drupal releases and noticing patterns of developer and user mood as release dates approached and receded. Make sure to read these posts first, before reading this one.

Developers like to release code. "Release early, release often" wrote Eric S. Raymond in his famed essay on open source, The Cathedral and the Bazaar, and that philosophy has facilitated the rise of many open-source projects -- including Drupal. At the same time, many end users dislike change: they would prefer that software versions stay stable as long as possible, because change means work or cost.

Personally, based on listening to a lot of people, I believe that for Drupal 8, the release date should be 18 months after Drupal 7 reaches its Plateau of Productivity.

I think 18 months gives users plenty of time to enjoy Drupal 7's productivity at its peak before facing a possible update. At the same time, it's short enough that developers won't get bored. That said, I'm happy to brainstorm about this more but at least it puts a first stake in the ground.

I can't say how I'll determine that Drupal 7 has reached its Plateau of Productivity. It will be evident in several ways -- the decrease of new Drupal 6 sites, the stability of contributed modules, the number of websites on Drupal 7, the feedback I get when attending Drupal events and so forth. I'll make an announcement at that time to start the clock running.

Right now, I'd predict that the Plateau of Productivity is 6-9 months away, meaning Drupal 8 won't be released for at least another 2 years.

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