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Assembling Extraordinary External Community Sites

I was recently asked to speak to a group of CTOs in Europe and the USA about social business tools. Designed as an information session, the organizers asked Acquia to present how an open source platform like Drupal could be used to build effective community sites as well as delivering other types of web applications, from e-commerce sites to marketing microsites. The other company asked to present focuses exclusively on a social business solution, requiring the use of other products for different applications.

Impossible to Catch

Rasmus Lerdorf, the creator of PHP, commented in an interview with France's leading newspaper Le Monde, that "it will be practically impossible to create today a proprietary alternative to Drupal". The remarks were in the context of the evolution of open source in the market.

203 people tell What I wish I knew when I started Drupal

We had 226 respondents to a survey about roles in the Drupal community. Though we pilot tested the survey and honed down the questions, the findings were inconclusive, though we could draw one result. Apparently we use terms like "themer" or "module developer" yet these platonic ideals seem to only exist in our heads. In reality, a person on a team will find themselves handling many roles. In the context of a larger organization, Drupal is one tool in a larger set to be integrated with. In a smaller dev shop, Drupal is again, one tool of many which are used. Slicing up Drupal developers into roles turned into a muddy exercise.

However, there was one interesting outcome. Of the respondents, 203 individuals replied to the open-ended question: "What do you wish you had known when you started Drupal"? It's taken me this long to code and analyze this information so we can make some use of it. I think it can give people within Drupal some insight on how we can improve our welcome mat. And for those who are new, I hope this gives you some good tips and advice!

Where is the Media module at or why I spent DrupalCon in a corner w/ my laptop

Like many Drupalcons, I spent nearly the entire conference preparing my presentations. This is no fun, but we’ve been so busy trying to get the new gallery feature in Drupal Gardens released that it was the only way.  Anyone else have this experience?

Acquia Podcast 15: Continuous Integration with Hudson and Simpletest

Have you ever wanted to automate the process of staging code updates to your server? Steven Merrill from Treehouse Agency talks about using Hudson to automate your build process from source control to server and then automatically run Simpletest. We also touch on how to monitor the process and create build artifacts with GraphViz and XDebug for each build.

DrupalCon SF Impressions

Recapping my thoughts after a wonderful week at DrupalCon San Francisco 2010.

Drupal Gardens 6 week update

In these early days of the Drupal Gardens beta, we are adding new features, beta testers, and cloud servers around the clock. Since our last update 3 weeks ago, thousands more beta testers have been added, and they have clicked to create thousands of new Drupal Gardens web sites. And of course, being a social platform, those sites in turn are attracting their own communities. It's a lot of fun watching the garden grow.

The Path to Drupal - equating extensibility with success

Some time ago I wrote an article that looks deeply at the Drupal path system and shows how easy it is for new developers to hook into a running Drupal system. I explore the idea that this openness and extensibility is a key factor in winning large numbers of developers to work on Drupal, and that this is one of the reasons the project is succeeding. The paper is now available at Acquia, beautifully formatted as a technical whitepaper.

Crowd-sourcing usability testing with free Adobe Connect Pro licenses

Leisa and Mark recently blogged about crowd-sourcing usability testing. I'm really interested in this topic, in fact i spoke about it in DC. For those of you not familiar with the concept, the idea is to generate vast amounts of usage data. Consider the fact that Drupal has been tested 3 times, roughly once per year, generating approximately 24 videos of users attempting to fulfill a fraction of the tasks in Drupal core.

Mark Boulton & Leisa Reichelt need our help...

For the past month or so, Mark Boulton and Leisa Reichelt have been getting up to speed on Drupal and brainstorming ideas for improvement. They're now at a point where they need help from the community. They can not succeed without our participation, and thus far they're not getting the level of participation they need. At present, they immediate feedback on the following:

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