A great kickoff of design.acquia.com as a design-focused Drupal resource

It is so amazing to have a great, global community of passionate Drupalists. It usually means that you can quickly find people who are of like mind that want to help the Drupal world grow in ways that are new, unique, and useful. Today is no exception: I'm happy to say that Jeff Burns and Acquia have partnered to merge his 3rd World Themes project into Acquia's design-oriented microsite design.acquia.com.

I think this is an important milestone for several reasons:

  • Jeff's 3rd World Themes project is really terrific, and I'm excited about supporting it.
  • This is a great illustration of the kind of resource design.acquia.com can be in the area of Drupal design resources.

Jeff's vision for 3rd World Themes is to grow the number of Drupal themes by porting them from other open source projects (WordPress, et. al.). He's done 10 themes already, and is hard at work on more. And this isn't intended to be a Jeff-only project; anybody who wants to contribute ported themes can do so. Already one other themer has contributed a ported theme, and Jeff says 3-4 more are in the pipeline.

So, what about you? Do you have a port of a theme from another project you're either working on, or have been thinking about, but didn't have enough motivation to do? Here's your opportunity.

What is exciting for me is the alignment between what Jeff needed and what Acquia could do to help him. Jeff had motivation to do the work, and also knew other Themers who felt the same. But he didn't really have any plan for how to cover the infrastructure costs for this site, and was also going to have to build visibility with users, and the Drupal community, from scratch. Of course, we were in the opposite place: we could easily take care of the infrastructure, and we can use our marketing resources to create visibility for the project - but we needed somebody with the vision to go work on the Drupal themes shortage. So we met each other's needs perfectly.

But it's also exciting because this establishes a good example use case for what I hope design.acquia.com can do going forward from here:

  • Reach multiple, but related audiences. The available Drupal themes help site builders. At the same time, it provides themers with a place to put work that wouldn't have otherwise been able to go on drupal.org (see next).
  • Fill a gap left by drupal.org. One of the reasons Jeff couldn't put (some of) his themes on drupal.org is that the original (un-ported) themes are subject to a non-GPL (but still open source) license, such as Creative Commons. Since drupal.org only allows GPL themes, his ported themes couldn't have gone there. But that's not a problem at design.acquia.com. This is only one of the gaps we can fill. There are others (see below).
  • Enable collaborative development. In order to get this done, Jeff needed to be able to get some functional enhancements onto design.acquia.com. We were able to establish a process where he could work on and extend the site - which is good, since we want to be open to more collaboration with Drupal developers / designers to enhance the site.
  • Ready. Fire. Aim. Speed of execution is good. Jeff and I were able to pull this together in a couple of weeks; and could have gone even faster if both of our summer holiday's hadn't made things go a little slower.
  • Confirm a good, flexible policy. We designed the Terms of Use of design.acquia.com to permit flexibility in the ownership and licensing of content that ends up there. Jeff's project fit nicely under the terms the way we designed them - which helps make me think we may have gotten it right (or at least pretty close.)

This is a good first step - but only a first step. There are so many more ways to make this microsite useful to the design community. First off, the site needs a good design.... ;-) (More on that in another blog post.) But the site can and should do even more - such as live theme previewing, potentially providing the .zip-to-CVS checkin gateway that was proposed at Design4Drupal, and others.

Again, we don't intend to make this exclusively Acquia controlled content or effort. So, like Jeff, if you think you have something that would be appropriate to add to the design microsite, go join (or propose) one of the groups there and speak up. We'll provide assistance to as many projects as seem right to put there.

Comments

Posted on by Stephanie Pakrul.

Woohoo! I thought this might be coming :) Congrats to everyone and the initial ports are looking great!

Does this include the commercial portion of the crowdsourced theming project? Or is this only going to be free themes?

Posted on by Jay Batson.

Stephanie --

This is totally open for discussion. We have no specific plans about this - other than what I've stated above (previewing, .zip upload, ....) We've even talked (internally, and with Jeff) about having this be a site for designers to upload / sell commercial themes (when they don't want to take the time to build a site to sell them on their own.) (This idea has it's own considerations - e.g. will the designer keep up with support requests, etc.)

What would you like to do? Let's take this specific conversation over to some group at design.acquia.com. Ok?