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Drupal fireside chat #1: core development process

It's no secret that I travel around the world, evangelizing Drupal to new audiences and connecting with local communities, as well as contributors, from all over the world. In 2011 alone, I traveled more than 400,000 km (250,000 miles) and talked to thousands of Drupal people. Every day, I answer questions that many in the larger community would benefit from knowing as well.

To help facilitate holding these discussions on more of an international scale, I’d like to experiment with doing monthly, informal chats. In terms of format, I’d like to choose a general topic of discussion, then hold an hour-long phone call that all could dial into (with IRC for back-channel discussions and questions) where I can give an update on major Drupal happenings and allow plenty of time for Q&A from the community on the topic for the month. A moderator will help with voicing/unvoicing people during the Q&A section, and the chats would be recorded and put up for download for those who couldn’t make it.

If this idea sounds interesting to you, please join me for the first Drupal Fireside Chat on Friday, December 16 at 10 am Eastern US time (registration recommended so click 'register'). The topic I’d like to focus on for the first session is the Drupal Core Development Process, including sub-topics like a general status update on what is happening with Drupal 8, what role Drupal 8 initiatives and initiative owners have in the development of Drupal 8, and what process changes have been put in place to help improve Drupal 8's development process over Drupal 7's.

Feel free to post additional questions/topic ideas here, and hope to see you on Friday!

Louvre using Drupal

Big news! The world's most visited art museum in the world is now using Drupal for its website: http://louvre.fr. Très cool!

Louvre

Zynga using Drupal

Drupal isn't only for work: it's also for play, as "FarmVille" creator Zynga proves. While their games usually appear as apps on social networks such as Facebook, its main site is on Drupal. It's a terrific example of how Drupal is used in the entertainment industry. After all, Zynga's annual revenue in 2010 was almost a billion US dollars, and is aiming for an initial public offering that values the company at $15-20 billion.

Zynga

Drupal + India = opportunity

Given that there live one billion people in India, many of which great engineers, one can only imagine what would happen if Drupal gained serious traction there. To that extend, I decided to make a trip to India, and spent last week there with Jacob Singh and Ron Pruett from Acquia. The purpose of the trip was to increase awareness of Drupal in India in 3 ways:

  1. by organizing DrupalCamps to help create a grassroots community of volunteer developers, freelancers and small to medium-sized Drupal shops (bottom-up strategy),
  2. by talking to the large system integrators that will employ hundreds of Drupal developers (top-down strategy),
  3. by doing traditional PR with the media and press.

Together with Acquia's partners, we organized 3 DrupalCamps: nearly 300 people showed up in Delhi, 200 people showed up in Mumbai and 350 people showed up in Hyderabad. In addition, I gave a fourth keynote at ISB, India's premier business school, where about 150 people attended. At each of these events, more people showed up than originally expected. More importantly, this implies that there must be thousands of Drupal developers in India alone, especially since we didn't visit many other big cities like Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, etc.

DrupalCamp Deccan registration

Furthermore, we met various large system integrators in India: Accenture, Capgemini, Wipro, Virtusa, Cognizant, and more. Each of these are multi-billion IT sevices companies that employ thousands of engineers in India. Most of them have 1,000+ employees in their content management practices alone. Many are using Vignette, Liferay, Adobe CQ5, OpenText and Alfresco. Joomla! and WordPress seemed non-existent with the large system integrators, but all of them were eagerly starting to build a Drupal practice. The size of their Drupal teams ranged from 30 to 120 Drupal people, with all of them trying to hire 5 to 15 new people a month. All of them were rather bullish about Drupal and were hearing about it directly from their clients across the globe.

In general, I'd say that the Drupal community is about 3 or 4 years behind with the Drupal community in North America and Europe. However, they are catching up fast and it won't take long before many of the world's biggest Drupal projects are delivered from India.

Our ears perked when we learned time after time that well-known Drupal sites that we assumed were developed in the US or Europe were primarily delivered from India. And it didn't stop there; we learned that the Indian teams are also instrumental in the sales and pre-sales process. They are often responsible for making the CMS platform decisions for all of their clients regardless of country or industry. In other words, a lot of decisions are made in India and it is of strategic importance that the large system integrators have a good understanding of Drupal. They recognize this is important to their success, and all want to invest in training to build more capacity and to increase the expertise of their existing teams.

DrupalCamp Deccan attendees

Interestingly, the Indian culture is big on software training and professional certification, more so than anywhere else in the world. All Drupal companies -- small or large -- asked about training and professional certification.

Another highlight is that at DrupalCamp New Delhi, about 15 Drupal companies from Delhi met for the first time. Later the same day, we helped organize the first CXO event for Drupal executives. In many ways, these were formative meetings that reminded me of early DrupalCon meetings. For the first time, they got to know each other, explored how to work together, started sharing best practices and toyed with the idea of specialization. I've seen this movie before, and I know what happens when a community of passionate developers start working together. Exciting times are ahead.

Last but not least, I gave about 15 press interviews, many of which resulted in an article in an Indian newspaper or IT magazine.

Press coverage

After 5 days of intensive travel and back to back meetings in three cities, I left India feeling excited about the size of the opportunity for Drupal. It is impossible to grasp the magnitude of the technology community and the influence India is gaining ... without having been to India. There are a lot of reasons to pay close attention about how the local Drupal community will evolve. I like to believe my trip helped accelerate Drupal's growth in India.

This trip wouldn't be possible without the help of Acquia's partners. Special thanks to Azri Solutions, Blisstering and Srijan who helped make the journey more than successful.

Schedule

Greg Knaddison and Drupal security

The Drupal Security Team was originally created in 2005. Though we handled security issues before that, we didn't have a team with proper infrastructure until then. At that time, Károly Négyesi (chx) was the team leader. In July 2006 chx changed his role in the team and I promoted Heine Deelstra to be the security team lead. Heine recently stepped down as the security team lead, and I'm pleased to announce that Greg Knaddison (greggles) will be filling this role.

Greg has been a consistent member of the security team and both Heine Deelstra, the security team members, and myself unanimously agreed that Greg is the logical person to head the Drupal Security Team.

For those who don't know Greg, Greg helped write our free handbooks on security and wrote a book about Drupal Security. He has also talked about security and Drupal at many DrupalCons. Greg believes in my idea to automate where possible and empower project maintainers. In the coming weeks he will write blog posts to detail some changes made in the last year toward that vision and some tasks that still remain.

As the Drupal Security Team lead, Greg will be the point person for the team. He'll be responsible for coordinating the security team's activities and for making decisions when consensus doesn't arise.

Greg and I agreed on a target of 2 years for him to be in this role. If appropriate, he may continue in this role longer or be replaced before then, but this target helps to set an expectation about the time period. Setting this expectation should help Greg maintain enthusiasm for this role and increase the likelihood that our community will have continuity when that time is up. Greg works at Acquia and will be given 20% of his time to dedicate to the security team (in addition to using his own spare time).

Please join me in thanking Heine for all the great work he did, and in welcoming Greg.

Acquia U

Due to Drupal's remarkable growth, the demand for Drupal talent continues to exceed the supply. Every Drupal company I talk to -- and I talk to many of them all around the world -- has a difficult time attracting enough qualified Drupal talent. The same is true for Acquia.

To help address that problem we are launching Acquia U, a program to employ and train recent and upcoming college graduates in Drupal. We will enroll these candidates in an intensive 6 month paid training program.

Selected candidates will start the training with six weeks of hands-on, classroom-style training in Drupal. After this initial training, they will rotate through Acquia's support, engineering and professional services teams, through select Acquia partner projects, and continue to receive on-the-job instruction and training. Candidates will spend 6 weeks in each team. Combined, this program will give candidates 6 months of real-world experience, and give participants insight into available work in Drupal.

At the end of the program, candidates will become part of one of the teams at Acquia. We believe that this effort, and similar ones undertaken by our partners and customers, will create some of the key Drupal contributors of the future.

We're very excited about this program so let us know if you are interested!

Movember 2011

It is that time of the year again: Movember!

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces around the world. With their Mo’s, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men. One in two men will be diagnosed with cancer in his lifetime, and one out of six with prostate cancer.

Like last year, Acquia's "Mo Drupal" team wants your support as we put our faces to work for this great cause. The Acquia team mo'ed its facial hair on November 1st and for about a week now we have practiced the virtues of fine moustachery, immaculate grooming and growing a moustache for Movember.

For the entire duration of Movember, no hair shall be allowed to grow in the goatee zone - being any facial area below the bottom lip. The complete moustache region, including the entire upper lip and the handlebar zones, will also remain completely shaved. Rest assured, photos will follow!

By growing a moustache, we become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. We raise awareness by prompting private and public conversations about cancer. In addition, we raise funds by seeking out sponsorship.

If you'd like, you can join Acquia's "Mo Drupal" team or you can support me in this cause.

It’s hard to get men to talk about prostate and testicular cancer, yet many of us will be diagnosed with it in our lifetime. The brilliance of Movember lies in its appeal to some basic masculine qualities, such as playing on a team, and competing with others. As a man, it’s easier to show your support for such an important cause if you’re doing so with a group of other men, all wearing a silly moustache. Give these guys a break and make their efforts worthwhile by supporting us! Thanks!

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