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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.

Views in Drupal 8

Views is the #1 most-used contributed module, installed on nearly 70% of all Drupal websites. The ability for non-developers to create listings for pages, blocks, calendars, photo galleries, and more through a web interface, complete with developer-friendly features such as caching, is one of the primary differentiating factors that makes Drupal shine.

While Views has excelled as a contributed module, bringing Views into Drupal core is now a clear strategic decision. Having Views in core will present many advantages:

  • Consistency: Many disparate, legacy solutions are currently used for data listings in core modules. Converting these listings to Views will both improve the Drupal developer experience and make it easier for site builders to customize their sites.
  • Learnability: First-time users of Drupal often don't realize what is possible with contributed modules. Having Views in core will mean that new site builders can more quickly understand Drupal's capabilities out-of-the-box.
  • Release cycle: The stability of Views has in the past been an indicator of when the community considers a release of Drupal "ready". Drupal 7 usage did not start to increase until a development version of Views was available for D7, and it did not pass Drupal 6 usage until Views was stable.
  • Contributor experience: Hundreds of contributed modules rely on the Views API, so these modules are blocked on Views for each release.
  • Stability: If Views is in core, changes that cause Views regressions will be core release blockers, and Views bugs will be treated as core bugs.

A grassroots Views in Drupal Core initiative (VDC) was announced back in May. In the meantime, the team has been very busy with getting the necessary pre-requisites into place. These include various dependencies from the CTools project, as well as a Drupal 8 port of the Views module in contrib.

In this post, I’d like to make Views in Core an official initiative for Drupal 8, alongside initiatives such as Configuration Management, Web Services, and Mobile.

Unlike previous initiatives, Views in Core has an initiative team, rather than a single initiative lead. That team consists of:

  • Earl Miles (merlinofchaos) -- Views creator, VDC chief architect
  • Daniel Wehner (dawehner) -- Views maintainer, VDC technical lead
  • Jess M. (xjm) -- top D8 core developer, VDC patch review & QA, contribution facilitator
  • Tim Plunkett (tim.plunkett) -- top D8 core developer and Views contributor, senior VDC developer
  • Damian Lee (damiankloip) -- top Views contributor, senior VDC developer

In addition to these people, over a dozen other developers have also contributed to the initiative with the team's coordination and guidance.

For more information about the Views in Core initiative, check out Earl's report on VDC. It provides a detailed roadmap on what needs to be done to get Views in Drupal 8, and information about how you can help.

How does it feel to sell your company?

I've acquired other companies, but the sale of Mollom to Acquia, was the first time I sold a company of my own. Being the seller felt quite different. It's a interesting mixture of satisfaction tinged with loss. During the negotiation phase you feel joy and excitement. Then you feel frustration as you go through the due diligence process. It's a lot of work. Eventually, the day you hand over the keys you feel like you sold your baby. At the same time, you feel a sense of achievement.

Selling Mollom was a life-changing moment. Not because it was a big financial transaction (it wasn't), but because it proves that I was able to bootstrap and grow a company, steer it to profitability, and successfully exit. It was a great experience, because I know that at some point, I'll have the desire to do that again.

Second Drupal Association community elections

Earlier this year, I posted about our first Drupal Association community elections. We introduced the community elections with the goal to make sure that the Drupal community is always well-represented on the Drupal Association's Board of Directors.

Well, the time has come to run our elections again. Nominations opened on 1 September and were open for two weeks. 18 people from the Drupal community put themselves forward as candidates. Please have a look at the election candidates. Voting will be open from September 24 to October 7 but now is the time to engage with the candidates.

Who can vote?

You are eligible to vote if you have an account on drupal.org, logged in during the past 12 months, and created your account before August 31 this year when the election was announced. Once voting opens, you can login at http://association.drupal.org and rank the candidates in order of preference.

How does voting work?

Voting uses the 'instant runoff' method powered by Drupal's own decisions module. For more information about this method of voting, watch this helpful YouTube video which explains it with post-it notes!

Symfony Live London

On Friday this week, I will be giving a keynote at Symfony Live London. The event is being hosted by our friends at Sensio Labs UK. For those not familiar with that name, Sensio Labs are the original creators of the Symfony framework. The event, which runs over the course of two days (13-14th September), promises to provide some fascinating insights in to the world of Symfony.

Symfony is a reusable set of standalone, decoupled and cohesive PHP components that solve common web development problems. As most of you know, we have incorporated Symfony components into Drupal 8. We are enhancing our strong architecture, with another strong architecture. It is a big initiative that we have been working on for many months.

Given the importance of Symfony for Drupal, it is great to see our two communities collaborate. Events like Symfony Live London are an ideal place for that to happen. I look forward to seeing you there!

Updated Drupal 8 release schedule

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.

In talking to Drupal developers at DrupalCon, it was clear that there are some questions about the Drupal 8 feature freeze and code freeze. Questions like: What can we still work on after feature freeze? When do I start porting my Drupal modules to Drupal 8? When can I start testing Drupal 8? Let's address these questions and more in this blog post.

In addition to that, I am aligning our use of alpha and beta releases more inline with industry standards and changing the date of the code freeze, to leave more room to work on improving coherence. Lastly, I also wanted to document my expectations for contributed module developers/authors -- when they are expected or encouraged to do what.

During development phase (now to December 1)

Here are things we do while we're still in development; we aim to prioritize new features and major API changes.

  • New features and major new APIs.
  • Initial conversions of major new APIs, to ensure additional features are not needed to support them.
  • Refactoring required to unblock additional functionality.

During feature freeze (December 1 to April 1)

The goal of the feature freeze is to improve the implementation of existing features and to improve consistency and coherence of core by removing special cases, and unifying duplicate ways of doing things by converting core to use new APIs, etc.

During this phase we stop adding new subsystems. Refactoring of existing subsystems, smaller API changes and API additions are allowed if they help improve consistency and coherence of the existing functionality or are necessary in order to resolve specific critical tasks and bugs.

For example, the following are still welcome and encouraged during feature freeze:

  • Completing conversions of variable_X() to CMI, and removing the variable system.
  • Optimizing and cleaning up bootstrap by refactoring page caching and session handling to use Symfony components.
  • Better integrating features added before feature freeze (e.g., integrating an existing Layout UI with existing context-aware Blocks, or Views with EntityFieldQuery).

We will start rolling alpha releases during the feature freeze. Contributed project authors who want to help improve the core APIs to better support their projects, can use these alpha releases to begin porting their modules, themes, and distributions. Core developers seek feedback and suggestions from contributed project authors on how to streamline the core APIs.

During code freeze (April 1 to RC1)

The goal of the code freeze is to fix remaining bugs, and prepare for release. Improving coherence of the code base is no longer the goal. Hence, we discourage refactoring, and shift attention from things that are nice to do to things that we must do.

From the code freeze on, we will roll beta releases. Contributed project authors should use the beta releases to port and improve their projects. We encourage contributed authors to start early in the code freeze, as we can still make API changes, if necessary, to work around problems.

Site builders are encouraged to test new installations of Drupal 8 on their development servers.

From code freeze until RC1, we want to do this:

  • Improve the Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 upgrade path
  • Performance optimization
  • Security hardening
  • Minor UI improvements
  • String and documentation improvements
  • Other tasks that didn't get done by code freeze, but that core committers consider necessary; these will likely be marked as ‘critical tasks'.

Release Candidate to Release

We release a first Release Candidate when nearly all critical bugs and tasks are fixed, and a Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 upgrade path is functional. We aim to do this at least two months (around July, 2013) before the scheduled release date (around September, 2013).

We encourage Drupal 7 site owners to test the upgrade path and test contributed modules on their staging sites. We also encourage all contributed project authors to finalize their ports, with the goal of stable releases by Drupal 8.0's release date.

Our guiding principles during this phase of development:

  • We try not to change Strings in order to preserve translator efforts.
  • We try not to change UI in order to preserve documentation efforts.
  • We try to support RC to RC upgrades, in order to help early adopters.
  • We try to avoid breaking APIs except in the case of a critical issue.

Special thanks to Nathaniel Catchpole (catch), Angie Byron (webchick), Alex Bronstein (effulgentsia) and Moshe Weitzman (moshe) for their input. I'll continue to evolve these guidelines so more feedback is always welcome.

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