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Giant Lego Druplicon

I'm proud to announce Acquia's newest member of the team, the LEGO Druplicon, courtesy of DataFlow (now ONE Agency). It all started on a hot August day at DrupalCon Munich. On that day, I stopped by DataFlow's booth to look at this amazing piece of art. Obviously I am a bit partial to the Druplicon and the innovative and creative ways people around the world are creating branding for Drupal.

Little did I know some lucky DrupalCon attendee was going to win the Druplicon by guessing how many bricks DataFlow used to build it. After asking a couple of questions, such as “Is it a solid structure or hollow?”, I entered my guess (along with 94 other Drupalists). My mathematical equation brought me to the answer of 12,222 blocks, which was 9 blocks over the correct number of 12,213. I won!

DataFlow went to great lengths to ship the delicate, yet massive structure from Belgium to the United States. After contacting numerous courier companies and hearing the Druplicon needed a special Visa, VAT and insurance documents, as well as it needed to be fumigated (sigh, it's just LEGOs), they found one company that was willing to take on the task. About a month and half later, a pallet jack wheeled into our office and dropped off a 4 foot crate.

Unfortunately due to my travel schedule I wasn't able to open the crate for about a week, which created quite the buzz around the office. We had to schedule the unveiling and make sure we had a crowbar and hammer on hand to open it. Coincidentally this was on my birthday, so it was quite the gift!

I'm happy to report that the 12,213 LEGO Drupalicon made it intact (just a few pieces came loose) due to the wonderful packing material of Belgian toilet paper! I probably don't have to buy toilet paper for a year now. :-)

Lego druplicon
Lego druplicon
Lego druplicon
Lego druplicon
Lego druplicon

A huge thanks goes out to DataFlow who spent the time replicating the Druplicon in LEGOs, as well as shipping it over the Atlantic. We are in the process of finding a permanent spot for it in the Acquia office, so it's on display for everyone to see.

Using the Akiban database with Drupal

For four years now I've been an advisor for Akiban, a Boston start-up building a new class of NewSQL/NoSQL database. I'm excited that after 4 years of hard work, Akiban launched their first Drupal customer solution in the Acquia Cloud. A great opportunity to talk a bit more about what Akiban is doing, and why I'm excited to help their team.

The early phase strategy for Akiban is to augment existing deployments (for example MySQL) to enhance query performance among other capabilities. Our mutual customer was facing performance, concurrency and availability challenges with some custom Drupal report code. The report was built in Drupal as a module, and involved a series of complex joins making performance unpredictable, frequently resulting in slow query performance and periodically crashing the whole site. Using Akiban's database, the customer is realizing 66x performance improvement over their existing implementation, without any significant change to the Drupal application.

One of the core benefits of Akiban is query acceleration. The Akiban database can run along side of MySQL server in "augmentation mode" comparable to master-slave configuration. Akiban implemented a simple Drupal patch which allows the reporting queries to be redirected to the Akiban server. While Akiban’s solution requires data duplication, it also means that there is virtually no intrusion on the day-to-day running of the site.

The report module remains as originally designed but now the problem queries are redirected to the Akiban server. Akiban’s core technology is called Table Grouping. Table Grouping enables for the physical grouping of tables while preserving a logical layer allowing developers to continue to use SQL. This grouping eliminates complex traditional joins while preserving the use of ANSI SQL. In addition, Akiban can create cross-table indexes thus accelerating formerly slow queries. As a result, with the reporting queries now directed to Akiban server, the report performs 66x faster.

The Akiban team refers to Akiban server as a new class of database that accelerates SQL and NoSQL data by 10-100x, while allowing developers to access data in both traditional SQL and RESTful environments (SOAs). Compared to other database technologies, Table Grouping provides an innovative way to store and query structured and semi-structured data.

Akiban's Padraig O'Sullivan is working on a module for Drupal 7, and while there is still some work to be done to test and optimize it, he has already enabled Akiban to run as the source database for Drupal 8 in development. Something to keep an eye on. If you want to test out Akiban yourself, head over to akiban.com and download it.

Holly Ross to join Drupal Association as Executive Director

I'm pleased to announce that the Drupal Association's Board of Directors has appointed Holly Ross as its new Executive Director. Holly is a well-known visionary leader in the nonprofit technology community with a proven track record of developing and implementing organizational strategies that provide direct community benefit.

Most recently, Holly was responsible for NTEN, the Nonprofit Technology Network, which works to help nonprofits use technology to create the change that they want to see in the world. During Holly’s ten years at NTEN, she helped grow the community from just a handful of individuals to over 60,000 people. NTEN has also been using Drupal for the last six years, so she is no stranger to our community.

Holly shared her excitement with the Drupal Association Board of Directors about her new role, saying, “I am thrilled to be making this move, which allows me to capitalize on my experience building community and embrace the added challenge of helping this international community collaborate on the Drupal project. I can’t wait to get started and be a part of a group of colleagues who share the values and passion for technology that I do.”

We are fortunate to have someone like Holly step up to lead the Drupal Association. Holly will start on February 1st, 2013. Like the rest of the Board of Directors, I look forward to working with Holly to grow the Drupal Association and to support the Drupal project.

Holly succeeds outgoing Co-Managing Director Jacob Redding and interim Managing Director Megan Sanicki, who both led the Drupal Association during the search process and have prepared it for new leadership over the last few months. The Board and the entire Drupal Association thanks Jacob for his hard work and dedication over the last several years. He has architected a strong foundation for the Drupal Association that allows Holly to take the organization to the next level. We wish Jacob best of luck with his new ventures. We are excited to have Megan continue with the Drupal Association as Chief Operating Officer, focused on Operations and Business Development.

Holly is looking forward to connecting with our community, and you should feel free to reach out to her with your feedback and ideas at holly@association.drupal.org.

Acquia raises $30 million series E

Today, we announced that Acquia raised $30 million, our single largest financing we have done to date. The investors include Investor Growth Capital, Goldman Sachs, Accolade Partners and our existing investors; North Bridge Venture Partners, Sigma Partners and Tenaya Capital. The new funding will bring Acquia’s total fund-raising to $68.5 million.

It's a lot of money but we're on a big mission. We believe that Drupal is uniquely positioned to provide a single, unified platform for content, community and commerce applications. We believe an Open Source platform like Drupal is the best way to keep up with the evolving web. We believe we can take on a large variety of proprietary competitors across different industries. We know it is true because we've seen Drupal invade enterprises and overturn their established web technologies. We believe Acquia is breaking new ground with our combination of cloud products and business models.

We've made good strides towards this mission. Drupal continues to grow faster than proprietary competitors. And as Acquia, we have grown to 250 employees and are well on our way to posting around $44 million in annual revenue this year on $60 million in bookings. Specifically, Acquia's revenue has grown at 250% CAGR over the past 3 years, making us the fastest growing software company in the US according to Inc. We added more than 100 employees in the past 12 months. We've seen some incredible growth across the board.

But we also believe we are just getting started. We are in the middle of a big technological and economic shift in how large organizations build and maintain web sites. We believe that Drupal and Acquia are poised to come out as the dominant player.

We'll use the additional funding to continue to go after our mission. We're set out to build a successful, high-margin, highly defensible software company. Expect to see us use the money to accelerate our sales and marketing efforts, to continue our international expansion across Europe and Asia Pacific, to grow each of our product teams, and even to build more products. Part of our funding is also to make Drupal more relevant and easier to use by digital marketers and site builders - and things like Project Spark are a critical element of this. As Acquia builds products, we're committed to contributing to the Drupal project - to drive adoption of Drupal and make it more competitive with proprietary CMS players.

Press coverage:

Drupal 8 feature freeze extended

Note: some of the information on this page is out of date.  For the latest information about how Drupal releases are managed, see http://drupal.org/core/release-cycle.

Since Drupal 8 opened for development in March of 2011, the Drupal core team has been hard at work, marching towards a feature freeze of December 1, 2012, just a few short days away!

In that time, we've managed to commit a number of compelling features to Drupal 8: revamped core internals based on the Symfony framework, a new configuration management system, HTML5 form elements and responsive markup, a mobile-friendly administrative toolbar, built-in support for translation, a Twig-based templating system, the Views module, and countless under-the-hood improvements.

The momentum within the Drupal core queue right now is truly staggering, as embodied by this graph:

Drupal core monthly patch volume

Momentum around Drupal core has increased from around 400 patch contributions per month in March of 2011 to over 4,000 in October of 2012.

There are still incredible features for Drupal 8 that are heavily in progress, but not quite there yet, including blocks and layouts, WYSIWYG and inline editing, several more "contributed module to core" projects such as Date, Pathauto, Profile2, and Entity Reference, native web services support, improvements to the entity and field systems, and much. I'm truly impressed by all of the great efforts I see happening in the queue right now.

Given these factors, I have decided -- along with my Drupal 8 co-maintainers Nathaniel Catchpole and Angela Byron -- to introduce a new phase into the Drupal core development cycle: "Feature Completion Phase", from December 1, 2012 until February 18, 2013 (to hit DrupalCon Sydney).

The purpose of this phase will be to provide dedicated time to tie up loose ends on any features that have either been committed already, or features still in the queue that have demonstrated substantial progress before December 1, but are not quite "there" yet. While hard-and-fast rules around "substantial progress" are difficult to define, generally it means patches should be well underway, with a recent patch posted in the past two weeks, ideally with several community reviews, tests passing or nearly passing, and a clear path to getting the feature completed within the timeframe of Feature Completion Phase. Almost-working patches posted for the first time at 11:59pm on November 30 unfortunately won't cut it. :-) Neither will brand new initiatives starting on December 2 or later. Though ultimately, it will be up to the core committers to decide on any "borderline" issues. We also understand that there is some ambiguity around what constitutes a "feature" or not, and will work on a separate blog post to discuss that.

The hope is that this new release phase will both give the folks working so hard on various major strategic initiatives a bit more time in which to complete their work, and also help narrow the scope of overall development efforts in order to help us focus more as a team as we begin preparing for Drupal 8's release.

Here is a diagram showing an overview of the overall Drupal core release cycle, and where Feature Completion Phase fits in. Initiative owners and others who have already achieved their Drupal 8 feature goals are encouraged to use Feature Completion Phase to get started on their Clean-Up Phase tasks early.

Release funnel

Phases of development, represented as a funnel gradually getting smaller as fewer and fewer patches are accepted. In Development Phase, anything goes: major new APIs, new features, etc. Feature Completion Phase allows for tying up loose ends on features that are already committed, or significantly in progress. Clean-Up Phase is for stabilization, better consistency, and completing conversions to new APIs. Polish Phase moves to focus on the upgrade path, performance optimization, and improving docs. Finally, during Release Phase, we crank on critical bugs until we release!

Of course, it's not possible to provide more time to complete Drupal 8 features without also impacting the remainder of the release timeline. Therefore, Code Freeze will be moved out 3 months as well to July 1, 2013. Drupal 8 will be released when there are no release-critical issues remaining.

I want to thank each and every one of Drupal 8's 960+ contributors for all of your astounding efforts so far. Keep up the great work!

Draft for Drupal Community Working Group charter

(This blog post is cross-posted in the governance issue queue; see http://drupal.org/node/1822314. I disabled the comments on this blog post so that we can centralize all feedback in one place.)

In the summer, we organized the very first Drupal Governance Sprint. We sat down and discussed how to evolve Drupal's governance structure to support the Drupal community's continued growth. The result of that meeting was a proposal on how to evolve our governance.

As a first step towards implementing this proposed governance structure, we set out to charter the "Community Working Group" (CWG), one of different groups we'd like to set up. Inspired by the Fedora Community Working Group, the mission of Drupal Community Working Group would be to maintain a friendly and welcoming community for the Drupal project on the different drupal.org websites, official IRC channels, and mailing lists. Specifically, the Community Working Group's purpose is to defuse tense situations, to keep discussions productive, and to act as a point of escalation and final arbitration for intractable conflicts within the Drupal community.

With the help of Randy Fay, Greg Dunlap, David Strauss, George DeMet, Donna Benjamin, Jeremy Thorson, Jennifer Hodgdon, Angela Byron and others, we drafted a charter for the Community Working Group. Before we officially launch this group, I would like to get your feedback. We'll iterate on the draft charter based on all your feedback. Thanks!


Community Working Group Charter (DRAFT)

Mission

The mission of the Community Working Group (CWG) is to maintain a friendly and welcoming community for the Drupal project on the different drupal.org websites, official IRC channels, and mailing lists.

The CWG acts as a group to defuse tense situations, to keep discussions productive, and to act as a point of escalation and final arbitration for intractable conflicts within the Drupal community.

Scope / duties / responsibilities

The goal of of the CWG is to facilitate discussion, provide conflict mediation assistance, and (if all else fails) punitive action against individuals/groups who are not able to resolve conflicts by themselves. Its scope extends to Drupal community members, regardless of medium (e.g. Drupal.org, IRC, Twitter) or location (e.g. local meetup, DrupalCon).

Specific duties of the CWG include:

  1. Facilitation: Enable community members to resolve their own conflicts in most cases, by maintaining conflict resolution process, the Drupal Code of Conduct, and other documentation.
  2. Mediation: When presented with a conflict that cannot be resolved using the conflict resolution process, the CWG may provide mediation resources either for individuals to resolve conflicts directly or with a mediator provided by the group.
  3. Arbitration: In the event that conflict mediation breaks down, the CWG is empowered to perform binding arbitration. For example, the group may enforce a temporary ban or “time out” on drupal.org websites, official IRC channels, and mailing lists if conflict resolution between community members fails.
  4. Escalation: Alerting law enforcement and/or other appropriate bodies in the case of extreme conflict that is beyond the CWG's ability to handle (e.g., harassment, stalking).

The following items are not within the scope of the CWG’s charter:

  • The CWG does not get involved with conflicts until members have tried and failed to resolve the conflicts themselves using the Community Conflict Resolution Process.
  • Barring extreme cases, the CWG does not respond to requests to ban someone. All conflicts must go through the conflict mediation process first.
  • Individual members of the CWG cannot arbitrate conflicts on their own unless empowered to do so by the group as a whole.
  • The CWG cannot make technical policy decisions (this is the responsibility of the Technical Working Group) or community-wide governance decisions (this is the responsibility of the Governance Working Group)
  • The CWG cannot change or extend its own charter; at present that authority lies solely with Dries Buytaert.

Process

To bring a matter before the CWG, send an e-mail to community@drupal.org. The CWG will respond with its decision within two weeks. The CWG may also evaluate requests and choose to redirect the involved parties to a more appropriate resolution method if a request has not gone through the conflict resolution process, or is deemed by the group to be frivolous.

The CWG aims to be as transparent as possible by documenting its decisions publicly when possible. In sensitive situations, however, the group may omit details out of respect for the privacy of involved individuals.

If any of the involved parties feels a decision of the CWG is unreasonable, they can escalate it to Dries Buytaert, who will review the decision and can choose to either uphold or change it. In the meantime, the decision of the CWG stands.

Only Dries Buytaert can make changes to the CWG's charter, and he can make changes at any time. At least once a year, the charter for the CWG meets with Dries Buytaert to review the charter.

Membership

For now, Dries Buytaert will appoint and remove members to this group as needed. In the future, the charter may be revised to adopt a more formal process.

Update on Drupal Association Executive Director search

In June, Jacob Redding, our Executive Director at the Drupal Association, decided that it was time for him to transition out of the Executive Director role to pursue new challenges. Hence, the Drupal Association Board of Directors started a search for a new Executive Director. We have had some very promising conversations, which we feel will lead to a strong placement that will strengthen and grow the Drupal Association and the community.

The Board understands the importance of the Executive Director search and is conducting it with diligence and thoroughness. Since that means there is a chance that the next Executive Director will not be secured by Jacob's departure, the Board has worked with the Association staff to implement a continuity and transition plan for the organization. For the next four months, Megan Sanicki, former Director of Sales & Business Development at the Drupal Association, and Jacob Redding will both serve as Managing Directors of the Association. Megan has already worked closely with Jacob over the last two years to build the Drupal Association and set direction. In the event that there is a gap of time between Executive Directors, Megan will be well prepared to bridge that gap and ensure operations continue without missing a beat. And, in this new role, she will focus on optimizing Drupal Association operations, so we will be positioned for the new Executive Director to start strong on his or her first day.

Please welcome Megan to her new position at the Drupal Association.

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