Monday, January 31, 2011

Predictions for 2011

We have a tradition since 2003 that at the beginning of each year we look back on what has happened and make some predictions for the year ahead. Lets start with looking at the past to see what people thought about 2010 in this posting .

One of the best things that happened to Drupal in 2010 was the fact that the redesign went live, as predicted. Thanks to the Drupal Association and the hard work of many volunteers. On the other hand, one of the things nobody thought would happen... didn't happen. Drupal 7 was not released in 2010, yet 1,000 people (and more) worked hard to make D7 the best release ever shipping with a stable release in the first days of 2011. WordPress won the Packt Publishing CMS award with—after a tie—one vote more than Drupal. This shows that WP has become a complete CMS, as was also predicted, despite their own words that We don't want WordPress to develop a reputation.

The last comment, Now I just hope that 2011 is better than 2010, is one that I totally agree with. Not because 2010 was bad, but because 2011 will be even better!
My own highlight for 2011 was DrupalCon Copenhagen, with a Kitten Killers classic and lots of freedom (as in speech and beer) spreading around.

The year ahead: growth in three directions

This year, let us look ahead and start focusing and predicting on how Drupal can grow. Let me explain in what directions Drupal can grow:
  • Traditionally growth means more and bigger sites. This is indeed an important aspect of growth. More installations will attract more eyeballs and this might result in better code. Bigger sites moving towards Drupal will create an even better ecosystem around Drupal. And that by itself can lead to more code being contributed and more the sharing of more experiences and best practices. However, more eyeballs also means a bigger community, more misunderstanding and more discussions. And more commercial influence in the project can—when not managed in a right way—be bad for an open source project as well. This kind of horizontal growth will not be enough if we want to make a real mark though is the first step needed. What are your thoughts on growing horizontally? How will the community handle this?
  • The second form of growth is what I would like to call vertical growth. This form is something we excel in and in combination with horizontal growth will lead to a stable pyramid base for the community. Vertical growth can be described as standing on the shoulders of giants to build better code, faster sites and embed more new technologies. What most people forget is that they are giants themselves and hence will not just be standing on others will carry some weight themselves. It is not just about getting better as a person, it is also self-sacrificing for the good of the community and help others grow. What are your predictions on how we can grow in 2011 and what are you willing to do to grow vertically? Share your predictions in the comments.
  • Most (proprietary) systems only think in horizontal growth. Many open source projects work horizontally and vertically. But for true growth, we need to grow in all directions, including diagonal. By diagonal growth, I mean reaching out to other open source projects. By helping and learning from how the people, processes and technologies work in other systems we can get better ourselves. So we stop thinking of WordPress, Joomla!, TYPO3 and others as competitors but as systems and communities we can learn from and help. But open source is -according to me- the combination of code, community and license. So even from open source projects outside the Web content management systems realm we can learn. Can we grow diagonally? Post your prediction in this thread.
So we need to grow horizontally (number of installs), and vertically (quality) but most of all, diagonal (learning from other projects). And you can help this year by doing more than predicting and helping in the issue queue, joining the Drupal Association, documenting and spreading the Drupal love.
Dries already posted his thoughts on his blog.

My prediction for 2011? Drupal 7 will make the term Web 2.0 redundant! Let's make that happen or share your better predictions. Try to think out of the box as much as you can.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Drupal 7 Updates Open Source CMS

Open Source content management system users are getting a New Year's present this week with the release of Drupal 7. Drupal has become increasing popular in recent years with enterprise, consumer and government websites. The new Obama-era uses Drupal and the FCC is set to adopt the open source technology as well.

The latest release of Drupal comes after three years of development. With Drupal 7, developers have added multiple improvements to the user, developer and enterprise experience. Drupal is a modular system and with the 7.0 release, a number of popular modules that had been outside of the core system are now integrated into the main release. The Content Construction Kit (CCK), which enables users to rapidly build content structures for Drupal, also is now part of Drupal 7.

A new administrative interface also debuts in Drupal 7 with the goal of improving usability and efficiency. Content, user and configuration screens have been reorganized also to improve usability. Theming also gets a boost, as does image handling and embedding. According to Drupal, the ability to add images to content is now built in to Drupal 7, as is the ability to generate previews and image thumbnails.

New Semantic Web capabilities appear in Drupal 7 with a new RDF module. RDF support provides structured Semantic Web markup to content, which then can be read by search engines and other websites.

"Adding semantic technology to Drupal core will make a notable contribution to the future of the Web," Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal, said in a statement.

Drupal Now Enterprise-ready?

The Drupal 7 release is also expected to be a big leap forward for the open source project's enterprise aspirations. Buytaert also leads a commercial venture called Acquia, which provides support and services for Drupal. As far back as 2009, Acquia has been heralding Drupal 7 as the big enterprise release. While Drupal 7 was built in the open source community, it benefitted from Acquia's participation (Acquia has been fueled by over $15 million in venture capital).

At Drupalcon in April, Buytaert noted that the Drupal 7 release to that point had benefitted from 6,611 open source patches that came from 732 different contributors.

In addition to users being able to download and install Drupal 7 from the open source website, Acquia also supports a hosted version of Drupal 7. Drupal Gardens provides a cloud-based version of Drupal 7, which is free for up to 4,000 page views per day.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Drupal Commons 1.3 Beta

The first few months of Drupal Commons business for Acquia has been great. We've seen tens of thousands of downloads of the distribution, live sites starting to appear all over the world, and enterprise deployments get underway. With all this activity, we've seen a few trends start to emerge. We've also heard from our customers about the most critical enhancements they wanted. Our new release of Drupal Commons version 1.3 - now in beta - responds to this activity.

One of the key things we're seeing is that Drupal Commons has strong advantages for externally-facing communities. Organizations are selecting Drupal Commons because they can combine its community functions with other communications or functional needs. So Commons release 1.3 has several new items designed specifically for them:
  • Participation rewards to grow community participation. Users love to become community experts, so we've added new "user badges" that can be earned through active participation. Organizations can create named ranks and assign graphic icons to each rank to reward community members and drive growth in their communities.
  • Increased usability to speed community growth. Our first user interface was intentionally somewhat busy and packed; we wanted to expose as much capability as we could as quickly as possible. However, that left many users a bit overwhelmed. So we've decluttered some of the pages and increased the customizability of others so they can start out with a more simple view. We've also taken the opportunity to pretty up some of the graphics to make the defaults more visually appealing.
  • Expanded flexibility for customization. We also helped out those who want to do deeper customizations by breaking apart the Commons "Feature" into more granular individual features. This will enable site customizers to have more refined control over what Commons features they want enabled or disabled. It will also facilitate easier release updates.
  • Improved multilingual support for global organizations. We've definitely got a highly global community, with sites being deployed from Russia to Brazil. Our non-english-speaking community members helped identify some areas we needed to address in order to assure Commons fully leveraged Drupal's excellent internationalization and localization abilities.
Last but not least, we've also taken a step to open the Commons project to community participation. We've switched to using GitHub as the official project repository for Commons code. This means that other developers will both be able to have access to our current release HEAD as well as directly submit improvements to the repository for inclusion in Drupal Commons. This is consistent with our believe that Drupal Commons both is, and provides Community Powered Innovation.

I'm excited by the terrific early successes we've had with Drupal Commons, by the Drupal Community's growth and ability to participate in adding new capabilities, and by the prospects for Drupal Commons in the marketplace.

Release 1.3 is currently in Beta. It is looking very stable, so I expect we'll release it to GA in a couple of weeks.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

So long, Drupal 5.x (End of Life Announcement)

On January 15, 2007 (Drupal's 6th Birthday), Drupal 5.0 was released. Neil Drumm acted as the Branch Maintainer for the past four years up until one final commit on January 6, 2011 to clarify the PHP compatibility.
When Drupal 7 was released that meant that Drupal 5 was no longer supported. This announcement is merely a reminder of that fact. It is the policy (and, to large extent a matter of pragmatics) of the Drupal community to support only the current major release of Drupal (currently Drupal 7.x), and the previous release (currently Drupal 6.x). See Drupal's version info for more details on this policy.

Drupal 5 is no longer officially supported

What does it mean that Drupal 5 is no longer officially supported?
  1. You should not expect any of these issues to be fixed in Drupal core.
  2. The Drupal Security team will no longer solicit nor work to address issues that are reported in the 5.x branch of Drupal core or contributed projects.
  3. The Update Status module, introduced with Drupal 5, relies on XML from That XML is still used for newer versions of the module but may be changed in ways that break the Drupal 5 version of the Update Status module.
What does this mean for you?
  • If you are responsible for sites that are running Drupal 5.x, it's time to upgrade to 6.x or 7.x. See instructions on how to upgrade and a video on Drupal 5 to Drupal 6 upgrade. Note that 7.x is still relatively young so you may not be able to make that transition just yet.
  • Module, theme and project maintainers are encouraged to mark their 5.x versions as unsupported so it is clear to end users that these are no longer supported. You can do that by going to your project, clicking the Edit tab, clicking the Releases sub-tab, and unchecking the boxes for "Supported" in the rows for 5.x releases (screenshots below).
You may be thinking "Hey, let's keep Drupal number 5 alive!" You are not alone in this thought process. There is a Drupal Long Term Support group devoted to the concept but it has met with limited success so far.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Drupal 7.0 Book : Foundation Drupal 7

Friends of Ed, a division of Apress, has published "Foundation Drupal 7: Learn how to use the Drupal framework to quickly build feature-rich web sites" by R.J. Townsend, with a chapter on the Fusion theme by Stephanie Pakrul (aka StephTheGeek).

Drupal is a content management framework that powers web sites from simple online brochures to more advanced sites including social networking sites, blogs, e-commerce sites, business portals, and more. It is free, open source software that allows anyone to quickly and easily build web sites. Its full range of modules—including user permissions, security mechanisms, JavaScript menus, image uploaders, WYSIWYG editors, and more— helps you easily create the foundation for a powerful web site. With its templating system (and a few tips and tricks), any graphic design file can be used to create a Drupal web site.

Foundation Drupal 7 covers all the topics necessary to quickly build Drupal-powered web sites, explaining in simple terms how Drupal works and providing you with concepts, tips, and code snippets for every step of the development process. From setting up a Drupal-ready web host and installing Drupal to using the administrative interface and configuring a site from start to finish, there is something here for everyone. In addition to thoroughly discussing all of Drupal’s core modules, this book reviews more than 50 contributed modules, including WYSIWYG HTML editors, JavaScript drop-down menus, web forms, and even the powerful Views module. Stephanie Pakrul (aka StephTheGeek), creator and maintainer of the Fusion theme, coauthors a chapter on how to lay out and add graphics to a site through Drupal’s administrative section. After reading this book, you will walk away with everything you need to know to quickly and successfully build a Drupal-powered web site.

Whether you’re an experienced Drupal site builder looking to expand your skills, a web developer or designer interested in learning Drupal, or a weekend hobbyist looking to build your first site, Foundation Drupal 7 will give you the knowledge and inspiration you need to bring your ideas to life.
What you’ll learn
  • Significantly decrease the amount of time it takes you to code a feature-rich website.
  • Understand how Drupal works and learn best practices to quickly integrate Drupal into every website you design.
  • Learn how to configure a server and manage multiple websites and staging environments using popular server administration software (cPanel).
  • Learn practical techniques to place Photoshop or Illustrator design files on a Drupal Content Management System.
  • Have a reference manual and cookbook at your fingertips for help with CSS, popular Drupal modules, website recipes, code snippets and more.
The primary audience for this book is web site designers interested in using Drupal to build web sites. The audience may have previous experience using Drupal but do not consider themselves proficient. They are familiar with coding a basic HTML/CSS web site, although these skills are not required to benefit from the book.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Drupal 7 status update and release plan

Drupal 7 is moving along nicely, and is becoming increasingly stable. We just released a second alpha release, fixing a number of critical bugs, following our initial alpha release in January. Alpha releases are to give Drupalistas something to download and test, so they can report and help fix bugs.

When will we switch to betas? We will switch to betas when the upgrade path from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 is working. Once we hit beta, we will become increasingly strict about accepting any more changes and we'll also commit to making HEAD to HEAD upgrades work.

Finally, we'll start rolling release candidates once the number of critical bugs is zero (or close to zero). To help us focus on critical bugs, we're working on adding a 'major' severity level to our ticketing system, making the options 'critical', 'major', 'normal' and 'minor'. 'Major' bugs would be really bad, but not necessarily block a release. For example, bugs that don't prevent Drupal from working, or that only affect a fraction of the Drupal population would be prioritized for fixing in follow-up releases. Critical bugs are those that badly break Drupal, or that are a major regression compared to Drupal 6.

Where are we right now? There are currently about 150 remaining bugs that need to be fixed. These bugs are real, and not always trivial to fix because a lot of background and domain expertise can be required. As a result, some bug reports seemingly depend on one or two people to fix them. Therefore, it is very important that we encourage and mentor new people to help fix some of these difficult bugs. I'd like to ask all sub-system maintainers to watch their sub-system's issue queues closely (like Moshe did recently), and to provide the leadership to help us make progress. If we do and we work hard, I think we can still release Drupal 7 in Q2. If not, I'm worried that Drupal 7 might not be released until Q3.

In other words, let's all try to put some extra time and effort into fixing the remaining bugs, and let's start to be laser-focused on the critical ones. It would make for quite a party if we could roll a first release candidate in time for DrupalCon San Francisco on April 19th. I would have to sing on stage from happiness, or something.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Drupal 7.0 is released

After nearly three years of intense community collaboration by nearly a thousand contributors, Drupal 7.0 is today officially released and ready for download!
Built for community, by community

 Drupal 7 is a truly revolutionary release that saw both the size and diversity of our contributor community grow exponentially. Through the formation of and strong coordination among the Usability, Accessibility, and Design teams, Drupal 7 addresses a number of our project’s longest-standing limitations and opens up access for more people to enjoy the strong web publishing framework we have all come to love.

Huge congratulations to the community, and everyone who worked so hard to make Drupal 7 the most amazing version of Drupal yet!

What makes Drupal 7 so cool?

  • Vastly improved administrative user interface thanks to the D7UX movement
  • Flexible content and custom fields
  • Better visual presentation and theming with Render API
  • Accessibility is greatly improved
  • Image support is now included
  • Automated code testing
  • Improved database support
  • Better distribution support
  • Support for the Semantic Web through RDFa markup
  • Over 850 Drupal 7 contributed modules have met their #d7cx pledges.
See the full Drupal 7 release announcement for all the details. Both it and the official Drupal 7 press releases have been translated to over 11 languages.

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Monday, January 10, 2011 uses Drupal, like many non-trivial sites, has a site-specific module and theme. The module, drupalorg is maintained like any other module. The theme, Bluecheese, is in our private Bazaar repository, so users will know when they are on the official Implementation notes for each are on the project pages. is made up of a few independent Drupal installations, like and This breaks up a complex site into smaller sets of functionality that can be upgraded, changed, and maintained by independent teams at their own pace. We do single sign-on with Bakery and strive to have the sites feel like one site for users.

Key functionality on is project management for modules, themes, and install profiles. project provides projects, issue tracking, and release management. cvslog integrates with version control, but will be replaced.

Search is done with Solr. UI customizations go in the drupalorg_search module, part of drupalorg.
A variety of other modules are used. The most current list is always what is checked into sites/all/modules in the Bazaar repository. More can be added, after careful functionality and security review.
Improvements to all of these are done with the usual patch-and-review workflow.

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