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Improving Drupal.org download process with web analytics

In the month of June we enabled Google Analytics on Drupal.org as part of an effort to build a user experience toolkit. The toolkit was designed to provide insight on: what users were searching for, what traffic patterns and workflows vistors were following, and what usability feedback we can get from field studies. If you are interested in Drupal.org analytics you should attend the web conference on key performance indicators tomorrow.
To start we decided to focus on an important destination in any website, the landing page. One of the... Plus

Jeff Whatcott on Acquia

John Eckman of Optaros sat down with Jeff Whatcott, Acquia's Chief Communicator, to talk about Drupal and Acquia. Rock on, Jeff.

If you can't see the video above, you can view it directly at blip.tv.
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The DX Files: Defined constants as API arguments

This is part two of my series, The DX Files: Improving Drupal Developer Experience.
Many Drupal APIs accept a boolean argument (TRUE or FALSE) to determine some behavior. I believe that practice should be banned in all but exceptional cases, instead using a defined constant with a descriptive name.
Here is a perfect example from Drupal core:
<span style="color: #000000"><span style="color: #0000BB">&lt;?php<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; $output </span><span... Plus

Acquia Podcast 2: Open Calais for Drupal

In this podcast, Robert Douglass and Bryan House talk to Tom Tague from Thomson Reuters along with Frank Febbraro and Tiffany Shackelford from Phase2 Technology about Open Calais.
Calais is Thomson Reuters’ Semantic Web service that enables publishers to automatically metatag the people, places, facts and events in their content to increase its search accessibility on the Web. It is a rapidly growing toolkit of capabilities that allow web site and... Plus

Typical work day



This is what a typical work day at Acquia looks like for me -- a lot of video conferencing that is. ;-)

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Mollom in Jobat

I was recently interviewed by Barbara Vandenbussche for Jobat, a Belgian employment website with a weekly print magazine written in Dutch. The interview (PDF, Dutch) talks about Drupal, but also mentions Acquia and Mollom. It is the first time that Mollom was prominently featured in the printed press, and that needs to be celebrated with a blog post. Yay!

Photo taken by... Plus

Wired interview

Last week in San Francisco, Jay and I spent some time at the Wired office with Wired's Michael Calore and Scott Loganbill. Of course, we took this as an opportunity to evangelize Drupal so we sat down in Wired's Webmonkey zoo to talk about Drupal and Acquia. Check out the transcript of our conversation that was published on... Plus

CNET interview

When I was in San Francisco last week for Gilbane, I was interviewed by Rafe Needleman of CNET's WebWare. We talked about Drupal and how amazing the project is, as well as about Acquia, my Drupal startup.
You can read the interview online, or you can watch the accompanying video they shot for CNET TV:

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Forrester Research: Enterprises Should Keep an Eye on Drupal

Forrester Research says enterprises interested in open source web content management should keep a close eye on Drupal and Alfresco. We agree. So does the Alfresco team. It's great to see the cream rising to the top.
In their report published yesterday entitled "Web Content Management And Open Source: Answers To Frequently Asked Questions", Forrester analysts Stephen Powers, Kyle McNabb, and Shelby Catino highlight Drupal (... Plus

Introducing the Acquia Podcast Series

Today is an exciting day, as we launched the Acquia Podcast series this afternoon. You can listen to podcasts in a flash player on our site, subscribe via RSS feed, or find in iTunes.
Our first episode is an interview Robert Douglass and I did with David Mercer, author of the new book Building powerful and robust websites with Drupal 6.
Robert and I have recorded a few other podcasts with... Plus

Gilbane

I'm in San Francisco this week to sing the Drupal gospel at the Gilbane conference. I take part in a panel discussion called Social Technologies for Ad Hoc Information Sharing. Also on the panel will be John Newton, co-founder and CTO of Alfresco, and Michael Wechner, president of Wyona.
Tomorrow evening, Chris Messina is organizing a Drupal and DiSo dinner to talk more about... Plus

Drupal at Pfizer

Last week at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference they had a general session that included presentations by several large organizations applying Web 2.0 approaches to internal team social publishing. One of these was given by Simon Revell of Pfizer.
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Dries Buytaert Speaking at Gilbane San Francisco

Acquia's global conference tour continues on next week. Yesterday, Jeff participated yesterday in what was described by Kathleen Reidy at The 451 Group as a star-studded open source panel at Enterprise 2.0.
Next week, its Dries' turn in the spotlight, as he will be participating in an open source panel on "Social Technologies for Ad Hoc Information Sharing... Plus

Acquia Podcast 1: Interview with David Mercer

Welcome to the inaugural episode of the Acquia Podcast series. In this podcast, Acquians Robert Douglass and Bryan House interview David Mercer, author of the new Packt Publishing book - Building powerful and robust websites with Drupal 6.

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Enterprise 2.0 Conference: A Drupal Perspective

This week we sponsored and attended the Enterprise 2.0 Conference here in Boston. It was a useful week that produced several interesting insights about how Web 2.0 patterns are being applied inside large organizations.
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Who am I? Why am I here?

I'm finishing up my fourth day at Acquia, and in thinking about how to introduce myself, one phrase immediately jumped to mind: "Who am I? Why am I here?"
Those somewhat-awkward-yet-charming words were famously uttered by Admiral James Stockdale, a surprise candidate for Vice President of the United States in 1992, in his first introduction to a national audience. I have to admit I feel a little bit like Admiral Stockdale, plucked from obscurity and suddenly thrust into the spotlight. Although I've been actively involved in developing for Drupal the past several months, I'm still pretty... Plus

Now for something completely different...

This is my first week at Acquia, and I have to admit that I'm surprised to be here. Despite my commitments of time and code to Drupal over the last couple years, I was also working full time as a scientist at a start-up that is a spin-off from the lab where I did my post-doc.
A number of my friends and family have done a bit of a double-take when I told them my plans - usually something along the lines of "but that's nothing like your current job!?". So, that's true, but I'm excited to be here. I've enjoyed programming since elementary school, and I seriously considered majoring in CS as... Plus

Growing Drupal through local groups

##Acquia and growing Drupal
Part of my responsibilities at Acquia are to help grow the number of Drupal users. The Drupal community is growing quickly and the credit for that growth belongs to thousands of contributors and hundreds of Drupal evangelists. I've been personally working on growing Drupal for years, but recently I've begun working closely with my fellow Drupal association members Jacob Redding and Moshe Weitzman to explore how we can work with local groups to grow Drupal. In the rest of this blog post I cover information that I've gathered working with various members of the... Plus

UX improvements in Drupal 6: Administration

This is the seventh blog post in a series about user experience improvements in Drupal 6. In my research, several core developers suggested that improvements to Drupal's administration were significant enough to warrant its own category. Improvements to administration come from the application of UX heuristics and
from focused efforts on a particular administration work flow like installation.
Four important changes to administration usability were related to that of security administration. The addition of a password checker helps administrators who are constantly reminding their users to... Plus

Thankful Friday

This morning I went into the kitchen at work and found a case of imported beer on the table. It's not an uncommon sight at Acquia on a Friday - as we normally have a little relaxation time as a team before the weekend begins.

Now I'm an exotic ginger ale guy myself (every open source company should have at least one). But for some reason this box of beer caught my eye. Upon investigation, I discovered a nice note from our friends at ... Plus

UX improvements in Drupal 6: Interaction Design

According to Wikipedia, "Interaction design defines the behavior (the "interaction") of an artifact or system in response to its users." In previous versions, Drupal has mostly used static interfaces that update when the user submits a form, or navigates to a new page. Beginning with Drupal 5, Jquery was added to the core and Drupal core developers began using this javascript library to improve the user experience of Drupal through improved user interactions. With Drupal 6, significant improvements were added to the core with the... Plus

UX improvements in Drupal 6: Theme system

This is the fifth blog post in a series about user experience improvements in Drupal 6. Drupal is very popular with developers who want to leverage the contributed modules to meet their feature requirements. Previous versions of the theme system have favored powerful theming through programming rather than simplicity for designers. Three significant changes to the theme system have reduced the need for designers to learn how to program to use some of the theme engines most powerful features. The addition of sub-themes and CSS and Javascript improvements also help themers with re-use and... Plus

UX improvements in Drupal 6: Installation

This is the fourth blog post in a series looking at user experience improvements in Drupal 6. One of the principles of the Drupal project is that Drupal should have low resource demands, and "have minimal, widely-available server-side software requirements. Specifically, Drupal should be fully operational on a server with Apache web server, PHP, and either MySQL or Postgresql." In order to support such a broad platform, Drupal has to balance keeping its resource requirements low, while at the same time performing lots of checks to ensure the... Plus

UX improvements in Drupal 6: Error prevention

This is the third blog post in a series which examines the user experience improvements in Drupal 6. There are no widely accepted measures of usability, but I like to measure four attributes when testing the usability of an application. These measurements include: time on task, number of errors in task completion, goal completion, and a users qualitative assessment of the experience. In this post, I review the user experience improvements that reduce the errors it is possible to make with Drupal. This is how usability... Plus

UX improvements in Drupal 6: terminology, grammar, information presentation, walls of text

This is the second blog post in a series examining Drupal 6 core contributor user experience improvements. Improving the user experience in Drupal is one of the biggest challenges the Drupal community faces, mostly due to a competitive pressure best described as The Ockham's Razor Principle of Content Management Systems. From a contribution standpoint, the most user experience improvements come in the form of information based improvements. I further categorize information improvements as terminology,... Plus

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