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I helped start the Drupal Association in 2006 because we needed a checking account for the $10,000 or so required to produce a Drupal conference and to support our infrastructure. In a short six years, we grew the Drupal Association from a volunteer-run organization to one of the largest Open Source non-profit foundations with an operating budget of $3 million USD and 8 full-time employees. Today, we support over 18,000 developers, 9,000 conference attendees, 2,300 individual donors, 800 organizations, and a web presence that reaches over two million people every month.
A lot of that credit goes to Jacob Redding, who took the position of Executive Director two years ago. Under Jacob's leadership we have broadened our activities, streamlined our operations, and significantly increased our revenues. We have supported the Drupal community in its exponential growth from 70,000 members to over 800,000 and from 700 committers to over 18,000. And we are just getting started.
Today, we are announcing an important leadership transition at the Drupal Association. We're sad to say that Jacob, who has worked tirelessly and effectively to grow the organization to where it is today, has told us he intends to step down later this year. Needless to say, it was a difficult decision for Jacob to leave, but he has agreed to stay on until the right replacement has been found, and plans to stay involved as a member and volunteer after his responsibilities have been transitioned.
This transition doesn't come as a surprise for the Drupal Association's Board of Directors. With Jacob's help, we have been preparing and planning for this transition for a while. The Drupal Association is in a good place; we are better organized than ever before and have more momentum than ever before.
This leaves us with a tremendous opportunity ahead. We are now seeking someone to help lay the foundation for our next stage of growth. Someone to help drive us to become the largest Open Source non-profit organization. This will need to be an experienced executive to take over Jacob's responsibilities and to grow the Drupal Association from a $3M organization to a $10M organization over the next few years so we can better support our massive growth as a community and project.
If you are interested, or if you know someone that is interested in this job, please take a look at the job description. I think this truly represents one of the most exciting opportunities out there for someone with a strong leadership background, and that is interested in fostering enormous growth within a non-profit and collaborating with an extensive and active volunteer network. Together with the Drupal community this person could change the way the world builds websites.
The Drupal Code of Conduct, heavily borrowed from our friends at Ubuntu, does an excellent job enshrining the characteristics we aim to foster, in order to ensure people "Come for the software, stay for the community". However, there are still some gaps. For example, how to deal with conflict resolution, and how an individual best goes about proposing new governance policies.
Key Drupal contributor Randy Fay has done a tremendous amount of research into governance models of other open source projects, which you can read more about on his blog. For those who have not been following Randy's posts, he and I are holding a sprint about Drupal Governance on July 16 and 17 in Portland, Oregon just after the Community Leadership Summit. Randy, Angela Byron, Greg Dunlap, David Strauss, and myself will be in attendance.
This sprint is a first for Drupal. The goal of this sprint is to come up with a proposal for subsequent community discussion with recommendations around some of the following topics:
- Processes to create and maintain policies, as a general concept
- A process for resolving technical conflicts
- A process for resolving community/interpersonal conflicts
- A process and team for resolving "nuclear" issues that need extremely delicate handling.
If you have other topics you'd like to propose, or would like to provide feedback on these items in advance of the sprint, please chime in in the Governance project issue queue. It is important work to streamline and evolve the governance of our project, so thanks in advance for your contributions.
Today, I'd like to share designs we've created for a "responsive layout builder" for Drupal that we hope to include as part of the Spark distribution. I'm very excited about this because it brings mobile and responsive web design to the masses.
We've worked on this "responsive layout builder" concept for many weeks, and I believe the result is groundbreaking. While other layout building approaches hand-wave responsive design and produce messy markup, our approach promises to be simple to use, produce clean and semantic markup. At the same time educating the user on the logic of responsive design. Once implemented I think that this is something that could really push Drupal to the forefront of the competition.
What better than to show you what we have come up with? The following 8-minute video walks through the designs, and also provides a bit of background on the Spark project:
Special credit goes to Kevin O'Leary from Acquia for being the driving force behind this work.
Technically, this is intended to layer on top of the Panels module, for better forwards-compatibility with Drupal 8. We hope to integrate this work with the research and prototyping actively being done for the Drupal 8 Blocks and Layouts initiative.
Acquia is actively seeking implementation partners for this and other important work. If interested, please contact Angela Byron. We'd love to work with others on this.
You may remember that two weeks ago, I shared a video of an in-line editing prototype that we'd like to add to the Spark distribuion in addition to this responsive layout building tool. Its implementation is well underway in the Edit module.
As you can see, things are starting to move along quite nicely. Please join the discussion in the Spark issue queue if any of the above functionality sounds exciting to you and you'd like to help!
In the interest of further increasing the velocity of Drupal 8, I am giving Angela "webchick" Byron commit rights to the Drupal 6.x and Drupal 8.x branch. Angela was already a Drupal 7 core co-maintainer, but with this new appointment she is also a Drupal 6 and Drupal 8 co-maintainer. This appointment is primarily to help with Drupal 8's development, and does not automatically extend itself to Drupal 9.
In her new role, Angie will do what she does best: supporting the other core maintainers and core developers with general core patch reviews and commits in order to ensure better throughput of the patch queue.
The following chart explains the relationship between all of the people with core commit rights in graphical form:
Please join me in welcoming Angela to her new role!
The goal of the Spark distribution is to incubate authoring experience improvements in a Drupal 7 and Drupal 8. It was announced earlier this month, and since then we've been hard at work on initial research and design.
The Spark team's primary focus is on improving Drupal's content authoring and editing experience, and the first feature we're prioritizing is in-place editing: the ability to edit content, menus, etc. directly on the page, without the need to navigate to a separate edit form. Think of it as "true" WYSIWYG.
Members of Acquia's design team spent time analyzing how some of the most widely adopted Open Source as well as proprietary CMSs do in-place editing. We then prototyped some initial ideas, and performed usability testing on those prototypes to see what works and what doesn't. After a number of iterations, we're happy to report that the usability testing has validated Spark's general design direction. People loved the prototype. Now is a good time for us to share our initial prototype and to solicit further feedback from the community so we can shift gears into implementation.
The following 5-minute video walks through the HTML/JS prototype, and also provides a bit of background on the Spark project:
Our goal is to deliver this functionality in a contributed module for Drupal 7 first and foremost, which will live at the In-Place Editing project on drupal.org. This module will be bundled into the Spark distribution. Depending on how it is received, I hope we can also target this functionality for Drupal 8 core.
From a technical architecture standpoint, we are currently in the process of selecting the WYSIWYG editor to use in Spark for in-place editing of HTML content. For now, we plan to focus on supporting only the Filtered/Full HTML text formats in order to get us to something testable faster.
Later, we are hoping to branch out into other areas of authoring experience too, including helping with the content creation form improvements that the Drupal usability team has been spear-heading, as are well as the layouts UI work being actively discussed in the usability group. The Drupal usability team is doing an incredible job with these issues, and once fully staffed, I would like to see the Spark team help implement these improvements for Drupal 8 and backport them to Drupal 7 so we can ship it with the Spark distribution. (Did I mention that the Spark team is hiring? ;-))
As you can see, things are starting to move along quite nicely. Please join the discussion in the Spark issue queue if this functionality sounds exciting to you and you'd like to help!
I selected Angela "webchick" Byron as my co-maintainer for Drupal 7 back in DrupalCon Szeged in August 2008. Since then, together we shepherded efforts of 1,000 core contributors to create Drupal 7, got the release out the door in January of last year, and worked hard thereafter to stabilize Drupal 7, to the point that the number of Drupal 7 sites eclipsed the number of Drupal 6 sites earlier this year.
However, Angela's level of responsibility in the community has grown significantly in the past 3.5 years, and she wears many hats, from Drupal Association board member to code sprint planner to Drupal.org coordinator to evangelist to general community cat herder. We both felt that it was time to transition the role of Drupal 7 core co-maintainer off of her plate, in order to give her more time to focus on her other community roles.
When thinking about replacements for Angela, David Rothstein was at the top of my list. David was a key contributor to Drupal 7 and heavily involved in a wide range of issues throughout the code base. He was also on the Drupal Gardens team, developing against Drupal 7 while it was still in active development, and so has a very thorough and deep understanding of Drupal 7's internals. David is extremely conscientious and thorough in his reviews, and is incredibly calm and respectful in his communication style.
I'm thrilled to say that David accepted the invitation to join the core co-maintainer team, and will have time to work on managing Drupal 7 releases through community time provided by his current employer, Advomatic. David will not be committing to the Drupal 8 branch, but will be focused on guaranteeing the quality of Drupal 7.
Please join me in welcoming David to the core maintainer team!
At DrupalCon Denver, I announced the need for a strong focus on Drupal's authoring experience in my State of Drupal presentation. During my core conversation later in the week, I announced the creation of a Drupal 7 distribution named "Spark" (formerly code-named "Phoenix"). The goal of Spark is to act as an incubator for Drupal 8 authoring experience improvements that can be tested in the field.
I hope for Spark to provide a "safe space" to prototype cutting-edge interface design and to build excellent content tools that are comparable with the experience of proprietary alternatives. While not a final list, some initial thinking around the features we want to experiment with is:
- Inline editing and drag-and-drop content layout tools ("true" WYSIWYG)
- Enhanced content creation: auto-save, save as draft and more
- Useful dashboards for content creators
- Mobile content authoring and administration support
The vision behind the Spark distribution is to be "the Pressflow of Drupal authoring experience". Pressflow provided a "spoon" of Drupal 6 with various performance enhancements that made their way into Drupal 7 core while it was in development. The same improvements were made available to Drupal 6 users so they could easily be tested in the field. With Spark, we want to test authoring experience improvements in Drupal 7 on real sites with real users and real content. We also want to target the best improvements for inclusion into Drupal 8 core.
I'm excited to announce that Acquia will fund the Spark distribution. Core developers Gábor Hojtsy and Wim Leers will work on Spark full-time starting in late May. They will work along side Angie Byron (webhchick), Alex Bronstein (effulgentsia), myself and other members at Acquia. While we have some promising candidates so far, Acquia is still seeking applicants to join the Spark team (with a strong preference to candidates located in or willing to move to the Boston area):
- Drupal UX Interaction Designer, who can conceptualize and prototype cutting-edge interface design.
The Spark team will collaborate with the Drupal usability and the core development teams.