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The DX Files: Improving Drupal Developer Experience

I am declaring a personal crusade to improve Drupal’s “Developer Experience,” which I hereby abbreviate as “DX.”
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Joining Acquia!

I have joined Acquia! I am excited to be joining Acquia for two reasons: 1. I have never joined a startup before, and I cannot think of a better opportunity to work with a group of smart and dedicated people; 2. the vast majority of my work so far has been spent developing proprietary software and I see this as a tremendous opportunity to spend more time with open source software.
I am coming from Openwave Systems, Inc. where I spent most of my time working on the JavaScript front end of a highly scalable email system. I hope to bring the expertise I developed at Openwave to the Drupal... More

On Measuring Open Source Partner Effectiveness

Last week Matt Asay posted a list of ways to muscle integration partners into pulling through licenses of Alfresco's Enterprise Edition ($$$) versus just delivering solutions on the Community Edition.
Kris Buytaert doesn't care much for Matt's approach. For Kris, Matt's rules don't accurately capture the full spectrum of the ways a partner contributes to an open source vendor's success. He thinks vendors should consider contributions... More

Drupal Search: How indexing works

This article explores the process of taking HTML content from Drupal nodes and indexing it for the purpose of search and text retrieval at a later time. The code examples apply to Drupal 6.
Finding what to index
Indexing happens when cron.php is run, and the search module starts the whole process by invoking hook_update_index. This gives each module the chance to keep its search index needs up to date. This article follows what happens in the node module's ... More

Acquia selected as Finalist for 2008 MITX Technology Awards

Acquia has been selected as a finalist in the Collaboration and Social Networking category for the 2008 MITX Technology Awards. This is the fifth year MITX has offered the awards to recognize innovative companies and technologies in the New England region across nine categories:
Analytics & Business Intelligence
Collaboration & Social Networking
Content Management & Search
Data Management
Data Protection
Enterprise Technologies
Marketing/Customer
Relationship Technologies
Mobile
Video
The selection process... More

Minnesota Search Sprint: Your top-five feature requests

In the same way that the Internet itself would not have achieved greatness without the ability to search it easily and efficiently, Drupal's greatness will always be tied directly to the effectiveness of its core search solution. Improving core search for Drupal 7 will be no small task, however. The current implementation is both elegant but complex, robust yet inflexible. The seven coders participating in the Minnesota Search Sprint this weekend have a great challenge as well as a great opportunity. Here are some of the... More

My Marketing Toolbox

Today I participated in the Sigma Partners VP of Marketing Summit for their portfolio companies. Roger Krakoff asked Gitti Crowley of HiWired and I to lead a discussion about online marketing best practices. In that discussion, I talked a little about a few marketing tools that we use and/or plan to use at Acquia and agreed to share links to the resources we discussed. Here's the rundown.
Drupal... More

50 Drupal Newspaper and magazine showcase video from Newstools 2008

Last week I helped organize Drupal day at Newstools 2008. At our peak, we had 65 journalist in the room and 35 watching online. We had several presentations:
* Introducing Drupal for Newspapers
* Showcase video (shown below)
* Jose Zamora on the Knight Drupal initiative
* Neil Drumm's presentation of mashing-up congressional voting records with campaign... More

Money versus time in Open Source

I think Sun/MySQL's Marten Mickos nailed it when he said "There's a difference between organizations that have more time than money and organizations that have more money than time". Read Savio Rodrigues' post on InfoWorld and Matt Asay's post on CNET for more background.
Companies or individuals that have more time than money, don't mind asking support questions on the drupal.... More

Vote for Acquia @ Enterprise 2.0 Launch Pad

<p>Acquia is participating in another <a href="/%3Ca%20href%3D"http://launchpad.enterprise2conf.com/">Launch">http://launchpad.enterprise2conf.com/">Launch Pad</a> event, this time for the <a href="/%3Ca%20href%3D"http://www.enterprise2conf.com/">Enterprise">http://www.enterprise2conf.com/">Enterprise 2.0 conference</a>. For this Launch Pad event, technology companies were asked to submit a one-minute video pitch to be voted on by the Enterprise 2.0 community. There will be multiple rounds, with four companies eventually on stage at... More

Acquia video channel at acquia.blip.tv

We've set up an Acquia channel on the Blip.tv site - acquia.blip.tv. We'll be posting new videos, screen casts and demos here for folks to check out and share.
So far, I've uploaded the first two in a series of conversations with Dries and Jay talking about Drupal and Acquia. In addition, I have uploaded the final video from the Web 2.0 Expo Launch Pad event - this one has been edited to include both our presentation slides and our demo (unlike the one in... More

Drupal and Acquia at Web 2.0 Expo

Acquia was one of six companies chosen to present at the Launch Pad event at the Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco last week. Selection for Launch Pad was a great honor - more than 150 companies submitted applications - and a tremendous opportunity to showcase Drupal to the 10,000 attendees at the Web 2.0 Expo.
Jeff, Barry and Bryan worked hard building a five minute presentation and demo that highlights all the goodness of Drupal and explains what Acquia does. A... More

Acquia Web 2.0 Expo Launch Pad video

On April 24, Jeff Whatcott and I gave a 5-minute Drupal demonstration and Acquia pitch at the Web 2.0 Expo Launch Pad event. Here's the video (larger version here).
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My first months at Acquia

Every week, several people ask me what I spend time on at Acquia? What does a co-founder and start-up CTO in a high-tech company do?
In starting a company, there are lots of things that have to be done but my main responsibility right now is to deliver Acquia's first product to the customer. This includes managing multiple threads ...
Roughly 50% of my time is spent building a rockstar team. So far I've been very lucky in finding folks smarter than myself. I've looked at over 100 resumes from engineers the past weeks and we... More

Testing Sprint in Paris

I started working with Rok and Charlie about code coverage using phpcoverage. Talked w/Andy Kirkham about using straight xdebug instead. Ultimately testing.drupal.org will probably go w/xdebug directly but Andy and Kevin Bridges probably know more about that.
Jimmy mentioned there wasn't a lot of work left on functional tests to do. I was waiting for code coverage analysis to see if there where holes in the test coverage. In the meanwhile, I investigated using runkit and mock-functions and started talked with Jimmy about it, but shortly after Károly showed up. Károly proposed a different... More

Building community

At the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco last week I attended the session "Community Building: Good, Bad, and Ugly." More than anything else, it reminded me of the "Building Community" session hosted by Laura Scott of pingVision that I attended a year ago at the OSCMS 2007 conference in Sunnyvale last April. I went to Laura's session with no expectations (there was nothing else in that time slot I wanted to attend) and was really pleased to find the discussion relevant with tangible, actionable ideas I understood and could use. I've been meaning... More

Drupal's search compared to Google and Yahoo!

When Drupal does a content search, it optionally weighs the results using up to four scoring factors. These scoring factors include keyword relevancy, recency of the content, number of comments, and (if statistics module is enabled), the number of page views. Site administrators can adjust the relative weighting of these scoring factors from the example.com/admin/settings/search administration page. Setting any scoring factor to zero disables it.
In this article, which applies primarily to Drupal 6 but is relevant for Drupal 5 as well, I explore how useful these scoring factors really are,... More

Drupal kung-fu ballet

At Web 2.0 I ran into Christine Herron. Christine is a ballet dancer and venture capitalist. We got to talking about ballet and an upcoming show at her favorite ballet company, Lines Ballet. She recommended that I attend what she termed "Ballet for Geeks," a combination of ballet and shaolin monks martial arts. The Shaolin ballet is sponsored project by the government of China.
The Drupal community has embraced a number of martial art themes to describe its activities. Job... More

Open source disrupting the Web 2.0 market size

On Thursday, Jeff, Bryan, Barry and I had a follow up meeting with Oliver Young, who recently released Forrester's Global Enterprise Web 2.0 market forecast. Oliver's been pretty busy explaining that his forecast methodology focused on just seven specific tools used in Web 2.0 deployments, and not the entire Web 2.0 market. It was an important clarification that addressed my questions about the costs related to generating user content or gardening collective intelligence. In particular, he noted that Web 2.0 tools... More

Drupal 6: Hot new themes

This video highlights the new theming features of Drupal 6. The themes, Pixture, Wabi, and Twilight, are the work of Hide Ito (Pixture), and utilize not only the Farbtastic color picker, but also the ability to adjust the width of the layout, and in the case of Twilight, a configurable header silhouette.
UPDATE: The process of configuring recolorable themes is described very well at... More

Drupal's Search Framework: The execution of a search

Drupal's ambitious search module provides a framework for building searches of all kinds. By isolating the tasks involved in searching, and allowing the actual search implementations to be handled by other modules, the search framework sets the stage for all sorts of creative search applications. This article, which applies to Drupal 6, explores the structure of the search framework by following the steps needed to execute a search.
## Stucture of a search
Here are the basic steps involved in searching:
1... More

Vote for Acquia @ Web 2.0 Launch Pad from your desk - in the next hour

The Launch Pad session at Web 2.0 Expo is getting started and you can join from your desktop. There's a good number of Drupal community folks here at the show, but you can participate from your desk.
The "winner" will be chosen by live audience voting via mozes. The SMS number will be announced at about 2:25 pm Pacific time. I'll tweet the SMS number on the Acquia twitter feed - here: http://twitter.com/acquia.
Stay tuned & vote!
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Clay Shirky on growing the Drupal community

I am at Web2Open and participating in the rapid fire question and answer session. Clay Shirky, Web 2.0 keynote speaker, and author of "Here comes everybody" is at my table. Clay's ideas are like poetry which leaves me struggling to even think of a topic to discuss with him.
Clay talked about emergence and best practices in community participation. He asserted that the most effective and enduring communities are those centered around intellectual property. In contrast, he noted that most communities are event driven. For example, facebook started as a Harvard college social networking site... More

Web 2.0 Expo Day 1 Notes

Here are my notes from the Web 2.0 Expo Day 1.

Community Building: Good, Bad, and Ugly
Dawn Foster (Jive Software), Jeremiah Owyang (Forrester Research), Bob Duffy (Intel), Kellie Parker (PC World & Macworld)

Community managers represent the company to the community and the community to the company
What if you build a community and no one comes? Find the most passionate people and make them informal evangelists. And start blogging and podcasting. Offer incentives, t-shirts, drawings, and contests.
No mention of Drupal. Unsurprising because Jive was on the panel.

Creating a Coherent... More

Acquia is a Red Herring finalist


Acquia (my company) is part of an exceptional group of companies vying for the 2008 Red Herring 100 North America award. The award recognizes the top 100 privately held companies in North America. This is big because previous winners included companies like Google, Yahoo!, Skype, Netscape, Salesforce.com, and YouTube. It is still early days for Acquia but it is good to get noticed early on. The winners will be announced in May so fingers crossed ...
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