Part 1: Drop everything and Help module maintainers fulfill their d7cx pledge

Drupal 7 RC 1 needs testers. And now more than ever, your favorite modules need testing too. As Moshe wrote yesterday, they're here to collect on the D7CX pledge. This is a great way that a new Drupal user can make a significant contribution, and make some friends in the process :)

I was amazed at the most recent DrupalCamp in Ireland that some people I spoke to weren't trying out Drupal 7 yet. I've been using Gardens so much, I adore D7 and get all itchy when I use D6. Come in, the water's fine!

Well, except that many of your favorite modules aren't quite ready yet. Many module maintainers took the D7CX pledge to be ready for the release of Drupal 7. That looks to be in about 7-10 days! There's a mad rush on and even as a non-coder, or a new user to Drupal you can help.

Download Drupal 7, and test your favorite modules. Report bugs and submit patches! It's easy, right? I'll be making a few posts this week to take "the scary" out of testing patches, and show you exactly how I do it. In this post, we'll get D7 up and running, and determine the best way to locate modules which need help, and the specific issues which need testing.

First: Getting set up

Acquia's DAMP environment makes it easy to iterate new test sites. But you're not limited to using Acquia Drupal 6, the default installation with the DAMP stack. You can import any Drupal distro, such as Drupal Commons or Drupal 7 itself.

Here's a quick video showing how to set up Drupal 7 in your Acquia DAMP stack. Super easy!

Next: Locating and testing the modules

David Stoline, module maintainer for Taxonomy menu plead for help:

screenshot of twitter post asking for help with taxonomy menu

Many of your favorite modules will have the pledge like this one:

#D7CX: I pledge that Organic Groups will have a full Drupal 7 release on the day that Drupal 7 is released. 

That link to #D7CX will bring you to a list of modules working hard to be ready for the release of Drupal 7.

Probably the nicest thing you can do for a module maintainer right now is to simply download and test their modules. Download your favorite modules and bring them through the rigors. Try things out, see how they work, look for any errors.

Finally: Test against the issues. Try to reproduce bugs.

You can start by looking at the project's issue queue itself for specific problems. With thousands of issues in the queues, where's the best place to start? To make the best of your time, test against existing issues, and specifically bug reports. Go to your chosen project's page. And Click on all issues and then filter like this below. Even Organic Groups only has 9 open bug reports.

open bug reports for Organic Groups

Good issue reports have steps described so you can attempt to reproduce the same error. Can you reproduce it? Can you not reproduce it? Even something as simple as a confirmation either way is an immense help to resolving that issue.

Keep careful track of what you were doing, and any errors that arise. Copy the text of errors, and that will make them searchable. Use screenshots for any visible problems or UI errors. Refer to Drupal.org for full details on how to use the issue queue.

What's next?

In the next post, I'll go into more detail about sussing out the issue queue, downloading patches, testing them and submitting patches. We'll be tackling the "needs review" issues next. As they say, "patches welcome!"