Newsfeeds

How to Tell a Lie: Interaction, Information and Conversation in The Hit - by Dan Stubbs

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 13 September 2017 - 5:45am
Some side-effects of the interaction interface I'm working on: you'll be able to lie, tell if someone's lying (if you're observant enough) and get better at lying, both in single-player and multiplayer. Here's a few notes about that.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

100 Days of VR: Day 6 Survival Shooter Tutorial II - by Josh Chang

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 13 September 2017 - 5:45am
Today in day 6, we’re going to finish the rest of the Survival Shooter tutorial creating the UI, attacking and moving the player and the enemies, and raycasting!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Who sponsors Drupal development? (2016-2017 edition)

Dries Buytaert - 13 September 2017 - 4:46am

Last year, Matthew Tift and I examined Drupal.org's commit data to understand who develops Drupal, how much of that work is sponsored, and where that sponsorship comes from. We published our analysis in a blog post called "Who Sponsors Drupal Development?". A year later, I wanted to present an update. This year's report will also cover additional data, including gender and geographical diversity, and project sponsorship.

Understanding how an open-source project works is important because it establishes a benchmark for project health and scalability. Scaling an open-source project is a difficult task. As an open-source project's rate of adoption grows, the number of people that benefit from the project also increases. Often the open-source project also becomes more complex as it expands, which means that the economic reward of helping to improve the project decreases.

A recent article on the Bitcoin and Ethereum contributor communities illustrates this disparity perfectly. Ethereum and Bitcoin have market capitalizations valued at $30 billion and $70 billion, respectively. However, both projects have fewer than 40 meaningful contributors, and contribution isn't growing despite the rising popularity of cryptocurrency.

According to Bitcoin's GitHub data, Bitcoin has less than 40 active contributors.According to Ethereum's GitHub data, Ethereum has less than 20 active contributors.

Drupal, by comparison, has a diverse community of contributors. In the 12-month period between July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 we saw code contributions on Drupal.org from 7,240 different individuals and 889 different companies. This does not mean that Drupal is exempt from the challenges of scaling an open-source project. We hope that this report provides transparency about Drupal project development and encourages more individuals and organizations incentive to contribute. We also will highlight areas where our community can and should do better.

What is the Drupal.org credit system?

In the spring of 2015, after proposing ideas for giving credit and discussing various approaches at length, Drupal.org added the ability for people to attribute their work to an organization or customer in the Drupal.org issue queues. Maintainers of Drupal modules, themes and distributions can award issues credits to people who help resolve issues with code, translations, documentation, design and more.

A screenshot of an issue comment on Drupal.org. You can see that jamadar worked on this patch as a volunteer, but also as part of his day job working for TATA Consultancy Services on behalf of their customer, Pfizer.

Credits are a powerful motivator for both individuals and organizations. Accumulating credits provides individuals with a way to showcase their expertise. Organizations can utilize credits to help recruit developers or to increase their visibility in the Drupal.org marketplace.

While the benefits are evident, it is important to note a few of the limitations in Drupal.org's current credit system:

  • Contributing to issues on Drupal.org is not the only way to contribute. Other activities, such as sponsoring events, promoting Drupal, and providing help and mentorship, are important to the long-term health of the Drupal project. Many of these activities are not currently captured by the credit system. For this post, we chose to only look at code contributions.
  • We acknowledge that parts of Drupal are developed on GitHub and therefore aren't fully credited on Drupal.org. The actual number of contributions and contributors could be significantly higher than what we report.
  • Even when development is done on Drupal.org, the credit system is not used consistently; because using the credit system is optional, a lot of code committed on Drupal.org has no or incomplete contribution credits.
  • Not all code credits are the same. We currently don't have a way to account for the complexity and quality of contributions; one person might have worked several weeks for just one credit, while another person might receive a credit for ten minutes of work. In the future, we should consider issuing credit data in conjunction with issue priority, patch size, etc. We can also reduce the need for trivial credits by automating patch rerolls and automating coding style fixes.
Who is working on Drupal?

For our analysis we looked at all the issues that were marked "closed" or "fixed" in the 12-month period from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. What we learned is that there were 23,238 issues marked "closed" or "fixed", a 22% increase from the 19,095 issues in the 2015-2016 period. Those 23,238 issues had 42,449 issue credits, a 30% increase from the 32,711 issue credits recorded in the previous year. Issue credits against Drupal core remained roughly the same year over year, meaning almost all of this growth came from increased activity in contributed projects. This is no surprise. Drupal development is cyclical, and during this period of the Drupal 8 development cycle, most of the Drupal community has been focused on porting modules from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. Of the 42,449 issue credits reported this year, 20% (8,619 credits) were for Drupal core, while 80% (33,830 credits) went to contributed themes, modules and distributions.

Compared to the previous year, we also saw an increase in both the number of people contributing and the number of organizations contributing. Drupal.org received code contributions from 7,240 different individuals and 889 different organizations.

The number of individual contributors is up 28% year over year and the number of organizations contributing is up 26% year over year.

While the number of individual contributors rose, a relatively small number of individuals still do the majority of the work. Approximately 47% of individual contributors received just one credit. Meanwhile, the top 30 contributors (the top 0.4%) account for over 17% of the total credits, indicating that these individuals put an incredible amount of time and effort in developing Drupal and its contributed projects:

RankUsernameIssues1jrockowitz5372dawehner4213RenatoG4084bojanz3515Berdir3356mglaman3347Wim Leers3328alexpott3299DamienMcKenna24510jhodgdon24211drunken monkey23812naveenvalecha19613Munavijayalakshmi19214borisson_19115yongt941218916klausi18517Sam15218418miro_dietiker18219Pavan B S18020ajay_reddy17621phenaproxima17222sanchiz16223slashrsm16124jhedstrom15525xjm15126catch14727larowlan14528rakesh.gectcr14129benjy13930dhruveshdtripathi138

Out of the top 30 contributors featured, 19 were also recognized as top contributors in our 2015-2016 report. These Drupalists' dedication and continued contribution to the project has been crucial to Drupal's development. It's also exciting to see 11 new names on the list. This mobility is a testament to the community's evolution and growth.

Next, we looked at both the gender and geographic diversity of Drupal.org code contributors. While these are only two examples of diversity, this is the only available data that contributors can choose to share on their Drupal.org profiles. The reported data shows that only 6% of the recorded contributions were made by contributors that identify as female, which indicates a steep gender gap. Like in most open-source projects, the gender imbalance in Drupal is profound and underscores the need to continue fostering diversity and inclusion in our community.

The gender representation behind the issue credits. Only 6% of the recorded contributions are by women. When measuring geographic diversity, we saw individual contributors from 6 different continents and 116 different countries: The top 20 countries from which contributions originate. The data is compiled by aggregating the countries of all individual contributors behind each commit. Note that the geographical location of contributors doesn't always correspond with the origin of their sponsorship. Wim Leers, for example, works from Belgium, but his funding comes from Acquia, which has the majority of its customers in North America.How much of the work is sponsored?

Drupal is used by more than one million websites. The vast majority of the individuals and organizations behind these Drupal websites never participate in the development of the project. They might use the software as it is or might not feel the need to help drive its development. We have to provide more incentive for these individuals and organizations to contribute back to the project.

Issue credits can be marked as "volunteer" and "sponsored" simultaneously (shown in jamadar's screenshot near the top of this post). This could be the case when a contributor does the minimum required work to satisfy the customer's need, in addition to using their spare time to add extra functionality.

While Drupal started out as a 100% volunteer-driven project, today the majority of the code on Drupal.org is sponsored by organizations. Only 11% of the commit credits that we examined in 2016-2017 were "purely volunteer" credits (4,498 credits), in stark contrast to the 46% that were "purely sponsored". In other words, there were four times as many "purely sponsored" credits as "purely volunteer" credits.

A few comparisons with the 2015-2016 data:

  • The credit system is used more. Between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, 37% of all credits had no attribution while in the more recent period between July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, only 28% of credits lacked attribution. More people have become aware of the credit system, the attribution options, and their benefits.
  • Sponsored credits are growing faster than volunteer credits. Both "purely volunteer" and "purely sponsored" credits grew, but "purely sponsored" credits grew faster. There are two reasons why this could be the case: (1) more contributions are sponsored and (2) organizations are more likely to use the credit system compared to volunteers.

No data is perfect, but it feels safe to conclude that most of the work on Drupal is sponsored. At the same time, the data shows that volunteer contribution remains very important to Drupal. Maybe most importantly, while the number of volunteers and sponsors has grown year over year in absolute terms, sponsored contributions appear to be growing faster than volunteer contributions. This is consistent with how open source projects grow and scale.

Who is sponsoring the work?

Now that we have established that most of the work on Drupal is sponsored, we want to study which organizations contribute to Drupal. While 889 different organizations contributed to Drupal, approximately 50% of them received four credits or fewer. The top 30 organizations (roughly the top 3%) account for about 48% of the total credits, which implies that the top 30 companies play a crucial role in the health of the Drupal project. The graph below shows the top 30 organizations and the number of credits they received between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017:

The top 30 contributing organizations based on the number of Drupal.org commit credits.

While not immediately obvious from the graph above, different types of companies are active in Drupal's ecosystem:

Category Description Traditional Drupal businesses Small-to-medium-sized professional services companies that make money primarily using Drupal. They typically employ fewer than 100 employees, and because they specialize in Drupal, many of these professional services companies contribute frequently and are a huge part of our community. Examples are Chapter Three (shown on graph) and Lullabot (shown on graph). Digital marketing agencies Larger full-service agencies that have marketing-led practices using a variety of tools, typically including Drupal, Adobe Experience Manager, Sitecore, WordPress, etc. They tend to be larger, with the larger agencies employing thousands of people. Examples are Wunderman and Mirum. System integrators Larger companies that specialize in bringing together different technologies into one solution. Example system agencies are Accenture, TATA Consultancy Services, Capgemini and CI&T. Technology and infrastructure companies Examples are Acquia (shown on graph), Lingotek, BlackMesh, Rackspace, Pantheon and Platform.sh. End-users Examples are Pfizer (shown on graph) or NBCUniversal.

A few observations:

  • Almost all of the sponsors in the top 30 are traditional Drupal businesses. Companies like MD Systems (12 employees), Valuebound (34 employees), Chapter Three (27 employees), Commerce Guys (7 employees) and PreviousNext (20 employees) are, despite their size, critical to Drupal's success.

    It's worth highlighting MD Systems, which ranks second in the list of the top 30 contributing organizations, and is the number-one contributor among traditional Drupal businesses. What distinguishes MD Systems from most others is that it has embedded contribution into its corporate philosophy. For every commercial project, MD Systems invests 20% of that project's value back into Drupal. They believe that using commercial projects as the foundation for community contribution leads to more meaningful and healthier contributions for Drupal and a lower total cost of ownership for their customers. This is different from other organizations, where employees are allotted a number of hours per month to contribute outside of customer-facing projects. There is no denying that MD Systems has had a tremendous impact on the Drupal community with contributions that are both frequent and impactful.

  • Compared to these traditional Drupal businesses, Acquia has nearly 800 employees and several full-time Drupal contributors. Acquia's Office of the CTO (OCTO) works to resolve some of the most complex issues on Drupal.org, many of which are not recognized by the credit system (e.g. release management, communication, sprint organizing, and project coordination). However, I believe that Acquia should contribute even more due to our comparative size.
  • No digital marketing agencies show up in the top 30, though some of them are starting to contribute. It is exciting that an increasing number of digital marketing agencies are delivering beautiful experiences using Drupal. As a community, we need to work to ensure that each of these firms are contributing back to the project with the same commitment that we see from firms like Chapter Three, MD Systems or CI&T.
  • The only system integrator in the top 30 is CI&T, which ranked 6th with 664 credits. As far as system integrators are concerned, CI&T is a smaller player with approximately 2,500 employees. However, we do see various system integrators outside of the top 30, including Globant, Capgemini, Sapient and TATA Consultancy Services. Each of these system integrators reported 30 to 70 credits in the past year. Finally, Wipro began contributing this year with 2 credits. We expect, or hope, to see system integrators contribute more and more, especially given the number of Drupal developers they employ. Many have sizable Drupal practices with hundreds of Drupal developers, yet contributing to open source is relatively new and often not well-understood.
  • Infrastructure and software companies play an important role in our community, yet only Acquia appears in the top 30. While Acquia has a professional services division, 75% of the contributions come from the product organization (including the Office of the CTO and the Acquia Lightning team). Other contributing infrastructure companies include Pantheon and Platform.sh, which are both venture-backed platform-as-a-service companies that originated from the Drupal community. Pantheon has 17 credits and Platform.sh has 47 credits. Amazee Labs, who is building an infrastructure business, reported 51 credits. Rackspace is a public company hosting thousands of Drupal sites; they have 48 credits. Lingotek offers cloud-based translation management software and has 94 credits.
  • We saw two end-users in the top 30 corporate sponsors: Pfizer (251 credits, up from 158 credits the year before) and the German company bio.logis (212 credits). Other notable customers outside of the top 30 were Workday, Wolters Kluwer, Burda Media, University of Colorado Boulder, YMCA and OpenY, CARD.com and NBCUniversal.
Sponsored code contributions to Drupal.org from technology and infrastructure companies. The chart does not reflect sponsored code contributions on GitHub, Drupal event sponsorship, and the many forms of value that these companies add to Drupal and other open-source communities.

We can conclude that technology and infrastructure companies, digital marketing agencies, system integrators and end-users are not meaningfully contributing code to Drupal.org today. How can we explain this disparity in comparison to traditional Drupal businesses who contribute the most? We believe the biggest reasons are:

  1. Drupal's strategic importance. A variety of the traditional Drupal agencies have been involved with Drupal for 10 years and almost entirely depend on Drupal to support their business. Given both their expertise and dependence on Drupal, they are most likely to look after Drupal's development and well-being. These organizations are typically recognized as Drupal experts and are sought out by organizations that want to build a Drupal website. Contrast this with most of the digital marketing agencies and system integrators who are sized to work with a diversified portfolio of content management platforms and who are historically only getting started with Drupal and open source. They deliver digital marketing solutions and aren't necessarily sought out for their Drupal expertise. As their Drupal practices grow in size and importance, this could change. In fact, contributing to Drupal can help grow their Drupal business because it helps their name stand out as Drupal experts and gives them a competitive edge with their customers.
  2. The level of experience with Drupal and open source. Drupal aside, many organizations have little or no experience with open source, so it is important that we motivate and teach them to contribute.
  3. Legal reservations. We recognize that some organizations are not legally permitted to contribute, let alone attribute their customers. We hope that will change as open source continues to get adopted.
  4. Tools and process barriers. Drupal contribution still involves a patch-based workflow on Drupal.org's unique issue queue system. This presents a fairly steep learning curve to most developers, who primarily work with more modern and common tools such as GitHub. Getting the code change proposal uploaded is just the first step; getting code changes accepted into an upstream Drupal project — especially Drupal core — is hard work. Peer reviews, gates such as automated testing and documentation, required sign-offs from maintainers and committers, knowledge of best practices and other community norms are a few of the challenges a contributor must face to get code accepted into Drupal.

Consequently, this data shows that the Drupal community can do more to entice companies to contribute code to Drupal.org. The Drupal community has a long tradition of encouraging organizations to share code rather than keep it behind firewalls. While the spirit of the Drupal project cannot be reduced to any single ideology — not every organization can or will share their code — we would like to see organizations continue to prioritize collaboration over individual ownership. Our aim is not to criticize those who do not contribute, but rather to help foster an environment worthy of contribution. Given the vast amount of Drupal users, we believe continuing to encourage organizations and end-users to contribute could be a big opportunity.

There are substantial benefits and business drivers for organizations that contribute: (1) it improves their ability to sell and win deals and (2) it improves their ability to hire. Companies that contribute to Drupal tend to promote their contributions in RFPs and sales pitches. Contributing to Drupal also results in being recognized as a great place to work for Drupal experts.

The uneasy alliance with corporate contributions

As mentioned above, when community-driven open-source projects grow, there is a bigger need for organizations to help drive their development. It almost always creates an uneasy alliance between volunteers and corporations.

This theory played out in the Linux community well before it played out in the Drupal community. The Linux project is 25 years old and has seen a steady increase in the number of corporate contributors for roughly 20 years. While Linux companies like Red Hat and SUSE rank high on the contribution list, so do non-Linux-centric companies such as Samsung, Intel, Oracle and Google. All of these corporate contributors are (or were) using Linux as an integral part of their business.

The 889 organizations that contribute to Drupal (which includes corporations) is more than four times the number of organizations that sponsor development of the Linux kernel. This is significant because Linux is considered "one of the largest cooperative software projects ever attempted". In fairness, Linux has a different ecosystem than Drupal. The Linux business ecosystem has various large organizations (Red Hat, Google, Intel, IBM and SUSE) for whom Linux is very strategic. As a result, many of them employ dozens of full-time Linux contributors and invest millions of dollars in Linux each year.

What projects have sponsors?

In total, the Drupal community worked on 3,183 different projects (modules, themes and distributions) in the 12-month period between July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. To understand where the organizations sponsoring Drupal put their money, I've listed the top 20 most sponsored projects:

RankProject nameIssues1Drupal core47452Drupal Commerce (distribution)5263Webform3614Open Y (distribution)3245Paragraphs2316Inmail2237User guide2188JSON API2049Paragraphs collection20010Entity browser19611Diff19012Group17013Metatag15714Facets15515Commerce Point of Sale (PoS)14716Search API14317Open Social (distribution)13318Drupal voor Gemeenten (distribution)13119Solr Search12220Geolocation field118
Who is sponsoring the top 30 contributors? Rank Username Issues Volunteer Sponsored Not specified Sponsors 1 jrockowitz 537 88% 45% 9% The Big Blue House (239), Kennesaw State University (6), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (4) 2 dawehner 421 67% 83% 5% Chapter Three (328), Tag1 Consulting (19), Drupal Association (12), Acquia (5), Comm-press (1) 3 RenatoG 408 0% 100% 0% CI&T (408) 4 bojanz 351 0% 95% 5% Commerce Guys (335), Adapt A/S (38), Bluespark (2) 5 Berdir 335 0% 93% 7% MD Systems (310), Acquia (7) 6 mglaman 334 3% 97% 1% Commerce Guys (319), Thinkbean, LLC (48), LivePerson, Inc (46), Bluespark (22), Universal Music Group (16), Gaggle.net, Inc. (3), Bluehorn Digital (1) 7 Wim Leers 332 14% 87% 2% Acquia (290) 8 alexpott 329 7% 99% 1% Chapter Three (326), TES Global (1) 9 DamienMcKenna 245 2% 95% 4% Mediacurrent (232) 10 jhodgdon 242 0% 1% 99% Drupal Association (2), Poplar ProductivityWare (2) 11 drunken monkey 238 95% 11% 1% Acquia (17), Vizala (8), Wunder Group (1), Sunlime IT Services GmbH (1) 12 naveenvalecha 196 74% 55% 1% Acquia (152), Google Summer of Code (7), QED42 (1) 13 Munavijayalakshmi 192 0% 100% 0% Valuebound (192) 14 borisson_ 191 66% 39% 22% Dazzle (70), Acquia (6) 15 yongt9412 189 0% 97% 3% MD Systems (183), Acquia (6) 16 klausi 185 9% 61% 32% epiqo (112) 17 Sam152 184 59% 92% 7% PreviousNext (168), amaysim Australia Ltd. (5), Code Drop (2) 18 miro_dietiker 182 0% 99% 1% MD Systems (181) 19 Pavan B S 180 0% 98% 2% Valuebound (177) 20 ajay_reddy 176 100% 99% 0% Valuebound (180), Drupal Bangalore Community (154) 21 phenaproxima 172 0% 99% 1% Acquia (170) 22 sanchiz 162 0% 99% 1% Drupal Ukraine Community (107), Vinzon (101), FFW (60), Open Y (52) 23 slashrsm 161 6% 95% 3% MD Systems (153), Acquia (47) 24 jhedstrom 155 4% 92% 4% Phase2 (143), Workday, Inc. (134), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (1) 25 xjm 151 0% 91% 9% Acquia (137) 26 catch 147 3% 83% 16% Third and Grove (116), Tag1 Consulting (6) 27 larowlan 145 12% 92% 7% PreviousNext (133), University of Technology, Sydney (30), amaysim Australia Ltd. (6), Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) (1), Department of Justice & Regulation, Victoria (1) 28 rakesh.gectcr 141 100% 91% 0% Valuebound (128) 29 benjy 139 0% 94% 6% PreviousNext (129), Brisbane City Council (8), Code Drop (1) 30 dhruveshdtripathi 138 15% 100% 0% DevsAdda (138), OpenSense Labs (44)

We observe that the top 30 contributors are sponsored by 46 organizations. This kind of diversity is aligned with our desire not to see Drupal controlled by a single organization. These top contributors and organizations are from many different parts of the world and work with customers large and small. Nonetheless, we will continue to benefit from more diversity.

Evolving the credit system

Like Drupal itself, the credit system on Drupal.org is an evolving tool. Ultimately, the credit system will only be useful when the community uses it, understands its shortcomings, and suggests constructive improvements. In highlighting the organizations that sponsor the development of code on Drupal.org, we hope to elicit responses that help evolve the credit system into something that incentivizes business to sponsor more work and enables more people to participate in our community, learn from others, teach newcomers and make positive contributions. Drupal is a positive force for change and we wish to use the credit system to highlight (at least some of) the work of our diverse community, which includes volunteers, companies, nonprofits, governments, schools, universities, individuals, and other groups.

One of the challenges with the existing credit system is it has no way of "weighting" contributions. A typo fix counts just as much as giving multiple detailed technical reviews on a critical core issue. This appears to have the effect of incentivizing organizations' employees to work on "lower-hanging fruit issues", because this bumps their companies' names in the rankings. One way to help address this might be to adjust the credit ranking algorithm to consider things such as issue priority, patch size, and so on. This could help incentivize companies to work on larger and more important problems and save coding standards improvements for new contributor sprints. Implementing a scoring system that ranks the complexity of an issue would also allow us to develop more accurate reports of contributed work.

Conclusion

Our data confirms Drupal is a vibrant community full of contributors who are constantly evolving and improving the software. While we have amazing geographic diversity, we need greater gender diversity. Our analysis of the Drupal.org credit data concludes that most contributions to Drupal are sponsored. At the same time, the data shows that volunteer contribution remains very important to Drupal.

As a community, we need to understand that a healthy open-source ecosystem includes more than traditional Drupal businesses that contribute the most. For example, we don't see a lot of contribution from the larger digital marketing agencies, system integrators, technology companies, or end-users of Drupal — we believe that might come as these organizations build out their Drupal practices and Drupal becomes more strategic for them.

To grow and sustain Drupal, we should support those that contribute to Drupal and find ways to get those that are not contributing involved in our community. We invite you to help us continue to strengthen our ecosystem.

Special thanks to Tim Lehnen and Neil Drumm from the Drupal Association for providing us with the Drupal.org credit system data and for supporting us during our research. I would also like to extend a special thanks to Matthew Tift for helping to lay the foundation for this research, collaborating on last year's blog post, and for reviewing this year's edition. Finally, thanks to Angie Byron, Gábor Hojtsy, Jess (xjm), Preston So, Ted Bowman, Wim Leers and Gigi Anderson for providing feedback during the writing process.

Categories: Drupal

Dries Buytaert: Who sponsors Drupal development? (2016-2017 edition)

Planet Drupal - 13 September 2017 - 4:46am

Last year, Matthew Tift and I examined Drupal.org's commit data to understand who develops Drupal, how much of that work is sponsored, and where that sponsorship comes from. We published our analysis in a blog post called "Who Sponsors Drupal Development?". A year later, I wanted to present an update. This year’s report will also cover additional data, including gender and geographical diversity, and project sponsorship.

Understanding how an open-source project works is important because it establishes a benchmark for project health and scalability. Scaling an open-source project is a difficult task. As an open-source project’s rate of adoption grows, the number of people that benefit from the project also increases. Often the open-source project also becomes more complex as it expands, which means that the economic reward of helping to improve the project decreases.

A recent article on the Bitcoin and Ethereum contributor communities illustrates this disparity perfectly. Ethereum and Bitcoin have market capitalizations valued at $30 billion and $70 billion, respectively. However, both projects have fewer than 40 meaningful contributors, and contribution isn’t growing despite the rising popularity of cryptocurrency.

According to Bitcoin's GitHub data, Bitcoin has less than 40 active contributors.According to Ethereum's GitHub data, Ethereum has less than 20 active contributors.

Drupal, by comparison, has a diverse community of contributors. In the 12-month period between July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 we saw code contributions on Drupal.org from 7,240 different individuals and 889 different companies. This does not mean that Drupal is exempt from the challenges of scaling an open-source project. We hope that this report provides transparency about Drupal project development and encourages more individuals and organizations incentive to contribute. We also will highlight areas where our community can and should do better.

What is the Drupal.org credit system?

In the spring of 2015, after proposing ideas for giving credit and discussing various approaches at length, Drupal.org added the ability for people to attribute their work to an organization or customer in the Drupal.org issue queues. Maintainers of Drupal modules, themes and distributions can award issues credits to people who help resolve issues with code, translations, documentation, design and more.

A screenshot of an issue comment on Drupal.org. You can see that jamadar worked on this patch as a volunteer, but also as part of his day job working for TATA Consultancy Services on behalf of their customer, Pfizer.

Credits are a powerful motivator for both individuals and organizations. Accumulating credits provides individuals with a way to showcase their expertise. Organizations can utilize credits to help recruit developers or to increase their visibility in the Drupal.org marketplace.

While the benefits are evident, it is important to note a few of the limitations in Drupal.org’s current credit system:

  • Contributing to issues on Drupal.org is not the only way to contribute. Other activities, such as sponsoring events, promoting Drupal, and providing help and mentorship, are important to the long-term health of the Drupal project. Many of these activities are not currently captured by the credit system. For this post, we chose to only look at code contributions.
  • We acknowledge that parts of Drupal are developed on GitHub and therefore aren't fully credited on Drupal.org. The actual number of contributions and contributors could be significantly higher than what we report.
  • Even when development is done on Drupal.org, the credit system is not used consistently; because using the credit system is optional, a lot of code committed on Drupal.org has no or incomplete contribution credits.
  • Not all code credits are the same. We currently don't have a way to account for the complexity and quality of contributions; one person might have worked several weeks for just one credit, while another person might receive a credit for ten minutes of work. In the future, we should consider issuing credit data in conjunction with issue priority, patch size, etc. We can also reduce the need for trivial credits by automating patch rerolls and automating coding style fixes.
Who is working on Drupal?

For our analysis we looked at all the issues that were marked "closed" or "fixed" in the 12-month period from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. What we learned is that there were 23,238 issues marked "closed" or "fixed", a 22% increase from the 19,095 issues in the 2015-2016 period. Those 23,238 issues had 42,449 issue credits, a 30% increase from the 32,711 issue credits recorded in the previous year. Issue credits against Drupal core remained roughly the same year over year, meaning almost all of this growth came from increased activity in contributed projects. This is no surprise. Drupal development is cyclical, and during this period of the Drupal 8 development cycle, most of the Drupal community has been focused on porting modules from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. Of the 42,449 issue credits reported this year, 20% (8,619 credits) were for Drupal core, while 80% (33,830 credits) went to contributed themes, modules and distributions.

Compared to the previous year, we also saw an increase in both the number of people contributing and the number of organizations contributing. Drupal.org received code contributions from 7,240 different individuals and 889 different organizations.

The number of individual contributors is up 28% year over year and the number of organizations contributing is up 26% year over year.

While the number of individual contributors rose, a relatively small number of individuals still do the majority of the work. Approximately 47% of individual contributors received just one credit. Meanwhile, the top 30 contributors (the top 0.4%) account for over 17% of the total credits, indicating that these individuals put an incredible amount of time and effort in developing Drupal and its contributed projects:

RankUsernameIssues1jrockowitz5372dawehner4213RenatoG4084bojanz3515Berdir3356mglaman3347Wim Leers3328alexpott3299DamienMcKenna24510jhodgdon24211drunken monkey23812naveenvalecha19613Munavijayalakshmi19214borisson_19115yongt941218916klausi18517Sam15218418miro_dietiker18219Pavan B S18020ajay_reddy17621phenaproxima17222sanchiz16223slashrsm16124jhedstrom15525xjm15126catch14727larowlan14528rakesh.gectcr14129benjy13930dhruveshdtripathi138

Out of the top 30 contributors featured, 19 were also recognized as top contributors in our 2015-2016 report. These Drupalists’ dedication and continued contribution to the project has been crucial to Drupal’s development. It’s also exciting to see 11 new names on the list. This mobility is a testament to the community’s evolution and growth.

Next, we looked at both the gender and geographic diversity of Drupal.org code contributors. While these are only two examples of diversity, this is the only available data that contributors can choose to share on their Drupal.org profiles. The reported data shows that only 6% of the recorded contributions were made by contributors that identify as female, which indicates a steep gender gap. Like in most open-source projects, the gender imbalance in Drupal is profound and underscores the need to continue fostering diversity and inclusion in our community.

The gender representation behind the issue credits. When measuring geographic diversity, we saw individual contributors from 6 different continents and 116 different countries: The top 20 countries from which contributions originate. The data is compiled by aggregating the countries of all individual contributors behind each commit. Note that the geographical location of contributors doesn't always correspond with the origin of their sponsorship. Wim Leers, for example, works from Belgium, but his funding comes from Acquia, which has the majority of its customers in North America.How much of the work is sponsored?

Drupal is used by more than one million websites. The vast majority of the individuals and organizations behind these Drupal websites never participate in the development of the project. They might use the software as it is or might not feel the need to help drive its development. We have to provide more incentive for these individuals and organizations to contribute back to the project.

Issue credits can be marked as "volunteer" and "sponsored" simultaneously (shown in jamadar's screenshot near the top of this post). This could be the case when a contributor does the minimum required work to satisfy the customer's need, in addition to using their spare time to add extra functionality.

While Drupal started out as a 100% volunteer-driven project, today the majority of the code on Drupal.org is sponsored by organizations. Only 11% of the commit credits that we examined in 2016-2017 were "purely volunteer" credits (4,498 credits), in stark contrast to the 46% that were "purely sponsored". In other words, there were four times as many "purely sponsored" credits as "purely volunteer" credits.

A few comparisons with the 2015-2016 data:

  • The credit system is used more. Between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, 37% of all credits had no attribution while in the more recent period between July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, only 28% of credits lacked attribution. More people have become aware of the credit system, the attribution options, and their benefits.
  • Sponsored credits are growing faster than volunteer credits. Both "purely volunteer" and "purely sponsored" credits grew, but "purely sponsored" credits grew faster. There are two reasons why this could be the case: (1) more contributions are sponsored and (2) organizations are more likely to use the credit system compared to volunteers.

No data is perfect, but it feels safe to conclude that most of the work on Drupal is sponsored. At the same time, the data shows that volunteer contribution remains very important to Drupal. Maybe most importantly, while the number of volunteers and sponsors has grown year over year in absolute terms, sponsored contributions appear to be growing faster than volunteer contributions. This is consistent with how open source projects grow and scale.

Who is sponsoring the work?

Now that we have established that most of the work on Drupal is sponsored, we want to study which organizations contribute to Drupal. While 889 different organizations contributed to Drupal, approximately 50% of them received four credits or fewer. The top 30 organizations (roughly the top 3%) account for about 48% of the total credits, which implies that the top 30 companies play a crucial role in the health of the Drupal project. The graph below shows the top 30 organizations and the number of credits they received between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017:

While not immediately obvious from the graph above, different types of companies are active in Drupal's ecosystem:

Category Description Traditional Drupal businesses Small-to-medium-sized professional services companies that make money primarily using Drupal. They typically employ fewer than 100 employees, and because they specialize in Drupal, many of these professional services companies contribute frequently and are a huge part of our community. Examples are Chapter Three (shown on graph) and Lullabot (shown on graph). Digital marketing agencies Larger full-service agencies that have marketing-led practices using a variety of tools, typically including Drupal, Adobe Experience Manager, Sitecore, WordPress, etc. They tend to be larger, with the larger agencies employing thousands of people. Examples are Wunderman and Mirum. System integrators Larger companies that specialize in bringing together different technologies into one solution. Example system agencies are Accenture, TATA Consultancy Services, Capgemini and CI&T. Technology and infrastructure companies Examples are Acquia (shown on graph), Lingotek, BlackMesh, Rackspace, Pantheon and Platform.sh. End-users Examples are Pfizer (shown on graph) or NBCUniversal.

A few observations:

  • Almost all of the sponsors in the top 30 are traditional Drupal businesses. Companies like MD Systems (12 employees), Valuebound (34 employees), Chapter Three (27 employees), Commerce Guys (7 employees) and PreviousNext (20 employees) are, despite their size, critical to Drupal's success.

    It's worth highlighting MD Systems, which ranks second in the list of the top 30 contributing organizations, and is the number-one contributor among traditional Drupal businesses. What distinguishes MD Systems from most others is that it has embedded contribution into its corporate philosophy. For every commercial project, MD Systems invests 20% of that project’s value back into Drupal. They believe that using commercial projects as the foundation for community contribution leads to more meaningful and healthier contributions for Drupal and a lower total cost of ownership for their customers. This is different from other organizations, where employees are allotted a number of hours per month to contribute outside of customer-facing projects. There is no denying that MD Systems has had a tremendous impact on the Drupal community with contributions that are both frequent and impactful.

  • Compared to these traditional Drupal businesses, Acquia has nearly 800 employees and several full-time Drupal contributors. Acquia’s Office of the CTO (OCTO) works to resolve some of the most complex issues on Drupal.org, many of which are not recognized by the credit system (e.g. release management, communication, sprint organizing, and project coordination). However, I believe that Acquia should contribute even more due to our comparative size.
  • No digital marketing agencies show up in the top 30, though some of them are starting to contribute. It is exciting that an increasing number of digital marketing agencies are delivering beautiful experiences using Drupal. As a community, we need to work to ensure that each of these firms are contributing back to the project with the same commitment that we see from firms like Chapter Three, MD Systems or CI&T.
  • The only system integrator in the top 30 is CI&T, which ranked 6th with 664 credits. As far as system integrators are concerned, CI&T is a smaller player with approximately 2,500 employees. However, we do see various system integrators outside of the top 30, including Globant, Capgemini, Sapient and TATA Consultancy Services. Each of these system integrators reported 30 to 70 credits in the past year. Finally, Wipro began contributing this year with 2 credits. We expect, or hope, to see system integrators contribute more and more, especially given the number of Drupal developers they employ. Many have sizable Drupal practices with hundreds of Drupal developers, yet contributing to open source is relatively new and often not well-understood.
  • Infrastructure and software companies play an important role in our community, yet only Acquia appears in the top 30. While Acquia has a professional services division, 75% of the contributions come from the product organization (including the Office of the CTO and the Acquia Lightning team). Other contributing infrastructure companies include Pantheon and Platform.sh, which are both venture-backed platform-as-a-service companies that originated from the Drupal community. Pantheon has 17 credits and Platform.sh has 47 credits. Amazee Labs, who is building an infrastructure business, reported 51 credits. Rackspace is a public company hosting thousands of Drupal sites; they have 48 credits. Lingotek offers cloud-based translation management software and has 94 credits.
  • We saw two end-users in the top 30 corporate sponsors: Pfizer (251 credits, up from 158 credits the year before) and the German company bio.logis (212 credits). Other notable customers outside of the top 30 were Workday, Wolters Kluwer, Burda Media, University of Colorado Boulder, YMCA and OpenY, CARD.com and NBCUniversal.
Sponsored code contributions to Drupal.org from technology and infrastructure companies. The chart does not reflect sponsored code contributions on GitHub, Drupal event sponsorship, and the many forms of value that these companies add to Drupal and other open-source communities.

We can conclude that technology and infrastructure companies, digital marketing agencies, system integrators and end-users are not meaningfully contributing code to Drupal.org today. How can we explain this disparity in comparison to traditional Drupal businesses who contribute the most? We believe the biggest reasons are:

  1. Drupal's strategic importance. A variety of the traditional Drupal agencies have been involved with Drupal for 10 years and almost entirely depend on Drupal to support their business. Given both their expertise and dependence on Drupal, they are most likely to look after Drupal's development and well-being. These organizations are typically recognized as Drupal experts and are sought out by organizations that want to build a Drupal website. Contrast this with most of the digital marketing agencies and system integrators who are sized to work with a diversified portfolio of content management platforms and who are historically only getting started with Drupal and open source. They deliver digital marketing solutions and aren't necessarily sought out for their Drupal expertise. As their Drupal practices grow in size and importance, this could change. In fact, contributing to Drupal can help grow their Drupal business because it helps their name stand out as Drupal experts and gives them a competitive edge with their customers.
  2. The level of experience with Drupal and open source. Drupal aside, many organizations have little or no experience with open source, so it is important that we motivate and teach them to contribute.
  3. Legal reservations. We recognize that some organizations are not legally permitted to contribute, let alone attribute their customers. We hope that will change as open source continues to get adopted.
  4. Tools and process barriers. Drupal contribution still involves a patch-based workflow on Drupal.org's unique issue queue system. This presents a fairly steep learning curve to most developers, who primarily work with more modern and common tools such as GitHub. Getting the code change proposal uploaded is just the first step; getting code changes accepted into an upstream Drupal project — especially Drupal core — is hard work. Peer reviews, gates such as automated testing and documentation, required sign-offs from maintainers and committers, knowledge of best practices and other community norms are a few of the challenges a contributor must face to get code accepted into Drupal.

Consequently, this data shows that the Drupal community can do more to entice companies to contribute code to Drupal.org. The Drupal community has a long tradition of encouraging organizations to share code rather than keep it behind firewalls. While the spirit of the Drupal project cannot be reduced to any single ideology — not every organization can or will share their code — we would like to see organizations continue to prioritize collaboration over individual ownership. Our aim is not to criticize those who do not contribute, but rather to help foster an environment worthy of contribution. Given the vast amount of Drupal users, we believe continuing to encourage organizations and end-users to contribute could be a big opportunity.

There are substantial benefits and business drivers for organizations that contribute: (1) it improves their ability to sell and win deals and (2) it improves their ability to hire. Companies that contribute to Drupal tend to promote their contributions in RFPs and sales pitches. Contributing to Drupal also results in being recognized as a great place to work for Drupal experts.

The uneasy alliance with corporate contributions

As mentioned above, when community-driven open-source projects grow, there is a bigger need for organizations to help drive their development. It almost always creates an uneasy alliance between volunteers and corporations.

This theory played out in the Linux community well before it played out in the Drupal community. The Linux project is 25 years old and has seen a steady increase in the number of corporate contributors for roughly 20 years. While Linux companies like Red Hat and SUSE rank high on the contribution list, so do non-Linux-centric companies such as Samsung, Intel, Oracle and Google. All of these corporate contributors are (or were) using Linux as an integral part of their business.

The 889 organizations that contribute to Drupal (which includes corporations) is more than four times the number of organizations that sponsor development of the Linux kernel. This is significant because Linux is considered "one of the largest cooperative software projects ever attempted". In fairness, Linux has a different ecosystem than Drupal. The Linux business ecosystem has various large organizations (Red Hat, Google, Intel, IBM and SUSE) for whom Linux is very strategic. As a result, many of them employ dozens of full-time Linux contributors and invest millions of dollars in Linux each year.

What projects have sponsors?

In total, the Drupal community worked on 3,183 different projects (modules, themes and distributions) in the 12-month period between July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. To understand where the organizations sponsoring Drupal put their money, I’ve listed the top 20 most sponsored projects:

RankUsernameIssues1Drupal core47452Drupal Commerce (distribution)5263Webform3614Open Y (distribution)3245Paragraphs2316Inmail2237User guide2188JSON API2049Paragraphs collection20010Entity browser19611Diff19012Group17013Metatag15714Facets15515Commerce Point of Sale (PoS)14716Search API14317Open Social (distribution)13318Drupal voor Gemeenten (distribution)13119Solr Search12220Geolocation field118
Who is sponsoring the top 30 contributors? Rank Username Issues Volunteer Sponsored Not specified Sponsors 1 jrockowitz 537 88% 45% 9% The Big Blue House (239), Kennesaw State University (6), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (4) 2 dawehner 421 67% 83% 5% Chapter Three (328), Tag1 Consulting (19), Drupal Association (12), Acquia (5), Comm-press (1) 3 RenatoG 408 0% 100% 0% CI&T (408) 4 bojanz 351 0% 95% 5% Commerce Guys (335), Adapt A/S (38), Bluespark (2) 5 Berdir 335 0% 93% 7% MD Systems (310), Acquia (7) 6 mglaman 334 3% 97% 1% Commerce Guys (319), Thinkbean, LLC (48), LivePerson, Inc (46), Bluespark (22), Universal Music Group (16), Gaggle.net, Inc. (3), Bluehorn Digital (1) 7 Wim Leers 332 14% 87% 2% Acquia (290) 8 alexpott 329 7% 99% 1% Chapter Three (326), TES Global (1) 9 DamienMcKenna 245 2% 95% 4% Mediacurrent (232) 10 jhodgdon 242 0% 1% 99% Drupal Association (2), Poplar ProductivityWare (2) 11 drunken monkey 238 95% 11% 1% Acquia (17), Vizala (8), Wunder Group (1), Sunlime IT Services GmbH (1) 12 naveenvalecha 196 74% 55% 1% Acquia (152), Google Summer of Code (7), QED42 (1) 13 Munavijayalakshmi 192 0% 100% 0% Valuebound (192) 14 borisson_ 191 66% 39% 22% Dazzle (70), Acquia (6) 15 yongt9412 189 0% 97% 3% MD Systems (183), Acquia (6) 16 klausi 185 9% 61% 32% epiqo (112) 17 Sam152 184 59% 92% 7% PreviousNext (168), amaysim Australia Ltd. (5), Code Drop (2) 18 miro_dietiker 182 0% 99% 1% MD Systems (181) 19 Pavan B S 180 0% 98% 2% Valuebound (177) 20 ajay_reddy 176 100% 99% 0% Valuebound (180), Drupal Bangalore Community (154) 21 phenaproxima 172 0% 99% 1% Acquia (170) 22 sanchiz 162 0% 99% 1% Drupal Ukraine Community (107), Vinzon (101), FFW (60), Open Y (52) 23 slashrsm 161 6% 95% 3% MD Systems (153), Acquia (47) 24 jhedstrom 155 4% 92% 4% Phase2 (143), Workday, Inc. (134), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (1) 25 xjm 151 0% 91% 9% Acquia (137) 26 catch 147 3% 83% 16% Third and Grove (116), Tag1 Consulting (6) 27 larowlan 145 12% 92% 7% PreviousNext (133), University of Technology, Sydney (30), amaysim Australia Ltd. (6), Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) (1), Department of Justice & Regulation, Victoria (1) 28 rakesh.gectcr 141 100% 91% 0% Valuebound (128) 29 benjy 139 0% 94% 6% PreviousNext (129), Brisbane City Council (8), Code Drop (1) 30 dhruveshdtripathi 138 15% 100% 0% DevsAdda (138), OpenSense Labs (44)

We observe that the top 30 contributors are sponsored by 46 organizations. This kind of diversity is aligned with our desire not to see Drupal controlled by a single organization. These top contributors and organizations are from many different parts of the world and work with customers large and small. Nonetheless, we will continue to benefit from more diversity.

Evolving the credit system

Like Drupal itself, the credit system on Drupal.org is an evolving tool. Ultimately, the credit system will only be useful when the community uses it, understands its shortcomings, and suggests constructive improvements. In highlighting the organizations that sponsor the development of code on Drupal.org, we hope to elicit responses that help evolve the credit system into something that incentivizes business to sponsor more work and enables more people to participate in our community, learn from others, teach newcomers and make positive contributions. Drupal is a positive force for change and we wish to use the credit system to highlight (at least some of) the work of our diverse community, which includes volunteers, companies, nonprofits, governments, schools, universities, individuals, and other groups.

One of the challenges with the existing credit system is it has no way of "weighting" contributions. A typo fix counts just as much as giving multiple detailed technical reviews on a critical core issue. This appears to have the effect of incentivizing organizations' employees to work on "lower-hanging fruit issues", because this bumps their companies' names in the rankings. One way to help address this might be to adjust the credit ranking algorithm to consider things such as issue priority, patch size, and so on. This could help incentivize companies to work on larger and more important problems and save coding standards improvements for new contributor sprints. Implementing a scoring system that ranks the complexity of an issue would also allow us to develop more accurate reports of contributed work.

Conclusion

Our data confirms Drupal is a vibrant community full of contributors who are constantly evolving and improving the software. While we have amazing geographic diversity, we need greater gender diversity. Our analysis of the Drupal.org credit data concludes that most contributions to Drupal are sponsored. At the same time, the data shows that volunteer contribution remains very important to Drupal.

As a community, we need to understand that a healthy open-source ecosystem includes more than traditional Drupal businesses that contribute the most. For example, we don't see a lot of contribution from the larger digital marketing agencies, system integrators, technology companies, or end-users of Drupal — we believe that might come as these organizations build out their Drupal practices and Drupal becomes more strategic for them.

To grow and sustain Drupal, we should support those that contribute to Drupal and find ways to get those that are not contributing involved in our community. We invite you to help us continue to strengthen our ecosystem.

Special thanks to Tim Lehnen and Neil Drumm from the Drupal Association for providing us with the Drupal.org credit system data and for supporting us during our research. I would also like to extend a special thanks to Matthew Tift for helping to lay the foundation for this research, collaborating on last year’s blog post, and for reviewing this year’s edition. Finally, thanks to Angie Byron, Gábor Hojtsy, Jess (xjm), Preston So, Ted Bowman, Wim Leers and Gigi Anderson for providing feedback during the writing process.

Categories: Drupal

Who sponsors Drupal development? (2016-2017 edition)

Dries Buytaert - 13 September 2017 - 4:46am

Last year, Matthew Tift and I examined Drupal.org's commit data to understand who develops Drupal, how much of that work is sponsored, and where that sponsorship comes from. We published our analysis in a blog post called "Who Sponsors Drupal Development?". A year later, I wanted to present an update. This year's report will also cover additional data, including gender and geographical diversity, and project sponsorship.

Understanding how an open-source project works is important because it establishes a benchmark for project health and scalability. Scaling an open-source project is a difficult task. As an open-source project's rate of adoption grows, the number of people that benefit from the project also increases. Often the open-source project also becomes more complex as it expands, which means that the economic reward of helping to improve the project decreases.

A recent article on the Bitcoin and Ethereum contributor communities illustrates this disparity perfectly. Ethereum and Bitcoin have market capitalizations valued at $30 billion and $70 billion, respectively. However, both projects have fewer than 40 meaningful contributors, and contribution isn't growing despite the rising popularity of cryptocurrency.

According to Bitcoin's GitHub data, Bitcoin has less than 40 active contributors.According to Ethereum's GitHub data, Ethereum has less than 20 active contributors.

Drupal, by comparison, has a diverse community of contributors. In the 12-month period between July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 we saw code contributions on Drupal.org from 7,240 different individuals and 889 different companies. This does not mean that Drupal is exempt from the challenges of scaling an open-source project. We hope that this report provides transparency about Drupal project development and encourages more individuals and organizations incentive to contribute. We also will highlight areas where our community can and should do better.

What is the Drupal.org credit system?

In the spring of 2015, after proposing ideas for giving credit and discussing various approaches at length, Drupal.org added the ability for people to attribute their work to an organization or customer in the Drupal.org issue queues. Maintainers of Drupal modules, themes and distributions can award issues credits to people who help resolve issues with code, translations, documentation, design and more.

A screenshot of an issue comment on Drupal.org. You can see that jamadar worked on this patch as a volunteer, but also as part of his day job working for TATA Consultancy Services on behalf of their customer, Pfizer.

Credits are a powerful motivator for both individuals and organizations. Accumulating credits provides individuals with a way to showcase their expertise. Organizations can utilize credits to help recruit developers or to increase their visibility in the Drupal.org marketplace.

While the benefits are evident, it is important to note a few of the limitations in Drupal.org's current credit system:

  • Contributing to issues on Drupal.org is not the only way to contribute. Other activities, such as sponsoring events, promoting Drupal, and providing help and mentorship, are important to the long-term health of the Drupal project. Many of these activities are not currently captured by the credit system. For this post, we chose to only look at code contributions.
  • We acknowledge that parts of Drupal are developed on GitHub and therefore aren't fully credited on Drupal.org. The actual number of contributions and contributors could be significantly higher than what we report.
  • Even when development is done on Drupal.org, the credit system is not used consistently; because using the credit system is optional, a lot of code committed on Drupal.org has no or incomplete contribution credits.
  • Not all code credits are the same. We currently don't have a way to account for the complexity and quality of contributions; one person might have worked several weeks for just one credit, while another person might receive a credit for ten minutes of work. In the future, we should consider issuing credit data in conjunction with issue priority, patch size, etc. We can also reduce the need for trivial credits by automating patch rerolls and automating coding style fixes.
Who is working on Drupal?

For our analysis we looked at all the issues that were marked "closed" or "fixed" in the 12-month period from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. What we learned is that there were 23,238 issues marked "closed" or "fixed", a 22% increase from the 19,095 issues in the 2015-2016 period. Those 23,238 issues had 42,449 issue credits, a 30% increase from the 32,711 issue credits recorded in the previous year. Issue credits against Drupal core remained roughly the same year over year, meaning almost all of this growth came from increased activity in contributed projects. This is no surprise. Drupal development is cyclical, and during this period of the Drupal 8 development cycle, most of the Drupal community has been focused on porting modules from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. Of the 42,449 issue credits reported this year, 20% (8,619 credits) were for Drupal core, while 80% (33,830 credits) went to contributed themes, modules and distributions.

Compared to the previous year, we also saw an increase in both the number of people contributing and the number of organizations contributing. Drupal.org received code contributions from 7,240 different individuals and 889 different organizations.

The number of individual contributors is up 28% year over year and the number of organizations contributing is up 26% year over year.

While the number of individual contributors rose, a relatively small number of individuals still do the majority of the work. Approximately 47% of individual contributors received just one credit. Meanwhile, the top 30 contributors (the top 0.4%) account for over 17% of the total credits, indicating that these individuals put an incredible amount of time and effort in developing Drupal and its contributed projects:

RankUsernameIssues1jrockowitz5372dawehner4213RenatoG4084bojanz3515Berdir3356mglaman3347Wim Leers3328alexpott3299DamienMcKenna24510jhodgdon24211drunken monkey23812naveenvalecha19613Munavijayalakshmi19214borisson_19115yongt941218916klausi18517Sam15218418miro_dietiker18219Pavan B S18020ajay_reddy17621phenaproxima17222sanchiz16223slashrsm16124jhedstrom15525xjm15126catch14727larowlan14528rakesh.gectcr14129benjy13930dhruveshdtripathi138

Out of the top 30 contributors featured, 19 were also recognized as top contributors in our 2015-2016 report. These Drupalists' dedication and continued contribution to the project has been crucial to Drupal's development. It's also exciting to see 11 new names on the list. This mobility is a testament to the community's evolution and growth.

Next, we looked at both the gender and geographic diversity of Drupal.org code contributors. While these are only two examples of diversity, this is the only available data that contributors can choose to share on their Drupal.org profiles. The reported data shows that only 6% of the recorded contributions were made by contributors that identify as female, which indicates a steep gender gap. Like in most open-source projects, the gender imbalance in Drupal is profound and underscores the need to continue fostering diversity and inclusion in our community.

The gender representation behind the issue credits. When measuring geographic diversity, we saw individual contributors from 6 different continents and 116 different countries: The top 20 countries from which contributions originate. The data is compiled by aggregating the countries of all individual contributors behind each commit. Note that the geographical location of contributors doesn't always correspond with the origin of their sponsorship. Wim Leers, for example, works from Belgium, but his funding comes from Acquia, which has the majority of its customers in North America.How much of the work is sponsored?

Drupal is used by more than one million websites. The vast majority of the individuals and organizations behind these Drupal websites never participate in the development of the project. They might use the software as it is or might not feel the need to help drive its development. We have to provide more incentive for these individuals and organizations to contribute back to the project.

Issue credits can be marked as "volunteer" and "sponsored" simultaneously (shown in jamadar's screenshot near the top of this post). This could be the case when a contributor does the minimum required work to satisfy the customer's need, in addition to using their spare time to add extra functionality.

While Drupal started out as a 100% volunteer-driven project, today the majority of the code on Drupal.org is sponsored by organizations. Only 11% of the commit credits that we examined in 2016-2017 were "purely volunteer" credits (4,498 credits), in stark contrast to the 46% that were "purely sponsored". In other words, there were four times as many "purely sponsored" credits as "purely volunteer" credits.

A few comparisons with the 2015-2016 data:

  • The credit system is used more. Between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, 37% of all credits had no attribution while in the more recent period between July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, only 28% of credits lacked attribution. More people have become aware of the credit system, the attribution options, and their benefits.
  • Sponsored credits are growing faster than volunteer credits. Both "purely volunteer" and "purely sponsored" credits grew, but "purely sponsored" credits grew faster. There are two reasons why this could be the case: (1) more contributions are sponsored and (2) organizations are more likely to use the credit system compared to volunteers.

No data is perfect, but it feels safe to conclude that most of the work on Drupal is sponsored. At the same time, the data shows that volunteer contribution remains very important to Drupal. Maybe most importantly, while the number of volunteers and sponsors has grown year over year in absolute terms, sponsored contributions appear to be growing faster than volunteer contributions. This is consistent with how open source projects grow and scale.

Who is sponsoring the work?

Now that we have established that most of the work on Drupal is sponsored, we want to study which organizations contribute to Drupal. While 889 different organizations contributed to Drupal, approximately 50% of them received four credits or fewer. The top 30 organizations (roughly the top 3%) account for about 48% of the total credits, which implies that the top 30 companies play a crucial role in the health of the Drupal project. The graph below shows the top 30 organizations and the number of credits they received between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017:

While not immediately obvious from the graph above, different types of companies are active in Drupal's ecosystem:

Category Description Traditional Drupal businesses Small-to-medium-sized professional services companies that make money primarily using Drupal. They typically employ fewer than 100 employees, and because they specialize in Drupal, many of these professional services companies contribute frequently and are a huge part of our community. Examples are Chapter Three (shown on graph) and Lullabot (shown on graph). Digital marketing agencies Larger full-service agencies that have marketing-led practices using a variety of tools, typically including Drupal, Adobe Experience Manager, Sitecore, WordPress, etc. They tend to be larger, with the larger agencies employing thousands of people. Examples are Wunderman and Mirum. System integrators Larger companies that specialize in bringing together different technologies into one solution. Example system agencies are Accenture, TATA Consultancy Services, Capgemini and CI&T. Technology and infrastructure companies Examples are Acquia (shown on graph), Lingotek, BlackMesh, Rackspace, Pantheon and Platform.sh. End-users Examples are Pfizer (shown on graph) or NBCUniversal.

A few observations:

  • Almost all of the sponsors in the top 30 are traditional Drupal businesses. Companies like MD Systems (12 employees), Valuebound (34 employees), Chapter Three (27 employees), Commerce Guys (7 employees) and PreviousNext (20 employees) are, despite their size, critical to Drupal's success.

    It's worth highlighting MD Systems, which ranks second in the list of the top 30 contributing organizations, and is the number-one contributor among traditional Drupal businesses. What distinguishes MD Systems from most others is that it has embedded contribution into its corporate philosophy. For every commercial project, MD Systems invests 20% of that project's value back into Drupal. They believe that using commercial projects as the foundation for community contribution leads to more meaningful and healthier contributions for Drupal and a lower total cost of ownership for their customers. This is different from other organizations, where employees are allotted a number of hours per month to contribute outside of customer-facing projects. There is no denying that MD Systems has had a tremendous impact on the Drupal community with contributions that are both frequent and impactful.

  • Compared to these traditional Drupal businesses, Acquia has nearly 800 employees and several full-time Drupal contributors. Acquia's Office of the CTO (OCTO) works to resolve some of the most complex issues on Drupal.org, many of which are not recognized by the credit system (e.g. release management, communication, sprint organizing, and project coordination). However, I believe that Acquia should contribute even more due to our comparative size.
  • No digital marketing agencies show up in the top 30, though some of them are starting to contribute. It is exciting that an increasing number of digital marketing agencies are delivering beautiful experiences using Drupal. As a community, we need to work to ensure that each of these firms are contributing back to the project with the same commitment that we see from firms like Chapter Three, MD Systems or CI&T.
  • The only system integrator in the top 30 is CI&T, which ranked 6th with 664 credits. As far as system integrators are concerned, CI&T is a smaller player with approximately 2,500 employees. However, we do see various system integrators outside of the top 30, including Globant, Capgemini, Sapient and TATA Consultancy Services. Each of these system integrators reported 30 to 70 credits in the past year. Finally, Wipro began contributing this year with 2 credits. We expect, or hope, to see system integrators contribute more and more, especially given the number of Drupal developers they employ. Many have sizable Drupal practices with hundreds of Drupal developers, yet contributing to open source is relatively new and often not well-understood.
  • Infrastructure and software companies play an important role in our community, yet only Acquia appears in the top 30. While Acquia has a professional services division, 75% of the contributions come from the product organization (including the Office of the CTO and the Acquia Lightning team). Other contributing infrastructure companies include Pantheon and Platform.sh, which are both venture-backed platform-as-a-service companies that originated from the Drupal community. Pantheon has 17 credits and Platform.sh has 47 credits. Amazee Labs, who is building an infrastructure business, reported 51 credits. Rackspace is a public company hosting thousands of Drupal sites; they have 48 credits. Lingotek offers cloud-based translation management software and has 94 credits.
  • We saw two end-users in the top 30 corporate sponsors: Pfizer (251 credits, up from 158 credits the year before) and the German company bio.logis (212 credits). Other notable customers outside of the top 30 were Workday, Wolters Kluwer, Burda Media, University of Colorado Boulder, YMCA and OpenY, CARD.com and NBCUniversal.
Sponsored code contributions to Drupal.org from technology and infrastructure companies. The chart does not reflect sponsored code contributions on GitHub, Drupal event sponsorship, and the many forms of value that these companies add to Drupal and other open-source communities.

We can conclude that technology and infrastructure companies, digital marketing agencies, system integrators and end-users are not meaningfully contributing code to Drupal.org today. How can we explain this disparity in comparison to traditional Drupal businesses who contribute the most? We believe the biggest reasons are:

  1. Drupal's strategic importance. A variety of the traditional Drupal agencies have been involved with Drupal for 10 years and almost entirely depend on Drupal to support their business. Given both their expertise and dependence on Drupal, they are most likely to look after Drupal's development and well-being. These organizations are typically recognized as Drupal experts and are sought out by organizations that want to build a Drupal website. Contrast this with most of the digital marketing agencies and system integrators who are sized to work with a diversified portfolio of content management platforms and who are historically only getting started with Drupal and open source. They deliver digital marketing solutions and aren't necessarily sought out for their Drupal expertise. As their Drupal practices grow in size and importance, this could change. In fact, contributing to Drupal can help grow their Drupal business because it helps their name stand out as Drupal experts and gives them a competitive edge with their customers.
  2. The level of experience with Drupal and open source. Drupal aside, many organizations have little or no experience with open source, so it is important that we motivate and teach them to contribute.
  3. Legal reservations. We recognize that some organizations are not legally permitted to contribute, let alone attribute their customers. We hope that will change as open source continues to get adopted.
  4. Tools and process barriers. Drupal contribution still involves a patch-based workflow on Drupal.org's unique issue queue system. This presents a fairly steep learning curve to most developers, who primarily work with more modern and common tools such as GitHub. Getting the code change proposal uploaded is just the first step; getting code changes accepted into an upstream Drupal project — especially Drupal core — is hard work. Peer reviews, gates such as automated testing and documentation, required sign-offs from maintainers and committers, knowledge of best practices and other community norms are a few of the challenges a contributor must face to get code accepted into Drupal.

Consequently, this data shows that the Drupal community can do more to entice companies to contribute code to Drupal.org. The Drupal community has a long tradition of encouraging organizations to share code rather than keep it behind firewalls. While the spirit of the Drupal project cannot be reduced to any single ideology — not every organization can or will share their code — we would like to see organizations continue to prioritize collaboration over individual ownership. Our aim is not to criticize those who do not contribute, but rather to help foster an environment worthy of contribution. Given the vast amount of Drupal users, we believe continuing to encourage organizations and end-users to contribute could be a big opportunity.

There are substantial benefits and business drivers for organizations that contribute: (1) it improves their ability to sell and win deals and (2) it improves their ability to hire. Companies that contribute to Drupal tend to promote their contributions in RFPs and sales pitches. Contributing to Drupal also results in being recognized as a great place to work for Drupal experts.

The uneasy alliance with corporate contributions

As mentioned above, when community-driven open-source projects grow, there is a bigger need for organizations to help drive their development. It almost always creates an uneasy alliance between volunteers and corporations.

This theory played out in the Linux community well before it played out in the Drupal community. The Linux project is 25 years old and has seen a steady increase in the number of corporate contributors for roughly 20 years. While Linux companies like Red Hat and SUSE rank high on the contribution list, so do non-Linux-centric companies such as Samsung, Intel, Oracle and Google. All of these corporate contributors are (or were) using Linux as an integral part of their business.

The 889 organizations that contribute to Drupal (which includes corporations) is more than four times the number of organizations that sponsor development of the Linux kernel. This is significant because Linux is considered "one of the largest cooperative software projects ever attempted". In fairness, Linux has a different ecosystem than Drupal. The Linux business ecosystem has various large organizations (Red Hat, Google, Intel, IBM and SUSE) for whom Linux is very strategic. As a result, many of them employ dozens of full-time Linux contributors and invest millions of dollars in Linux each year.

What projects have sponsors?

In total, the Drupal community worked on 3,183 different projects (modules, themes and distributions) in the 12-month period between July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. To understand where the organizations sponsoring Drupal put their money, I've listed the top 20 most sponsored projects:

RankUsernameIssues1Drupal core47452Drupal Commerce (distribution)5263Webform3614Open Y (distribution)3245Paragraphs2316Inmail2237User guide2188JSON API2049Paragraphs collection20010Entity browser19611Diff19012Group17013Metatag15714Facets15515Commerce Point of Sale (PoS)14716Search API14317Open Social (distribution)13318Drupal voor Gemeenten (distribution)13119Solr Search12220Geolocation field118
Who is sponsoring the top 30 contributors? Rank Username Issues Volunteer Sponsored Not specified Sponsors 1 jrockowitz 537 88% 45% 9% The Big Blue House (239), Kennesaw State University (6), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (4) 2 dawehner 421 67% 83% 5% Chapter Three (328), Tag1 Consulting (19), Drupal Association (12), Acquia (5), Comm-press (1) 3 RenatoG 408 0% 100% 0% CI&T (408) 4 bojanz 351 0% 95% 5% Commerce Guys (335), Adapt A/S (38), Bluespark (2) 5 Berdir 335 0% 93% 7% MD Systems (310), Acquia (7) 6 mglaman 334 3% 97% 1% Commerce Guys (319), Thinkbean, LLC (48), LivePerson, Inc (46), Bluespark (22), Universal Music Group (16), Gaggle.net, Inc. (3), Bluehorn Digital (1) 7 Wim Leers 332 14% 87% 2% Acquia (290) 8 alexpott 329 7% 99% 1% Chapter Three (326), TES Global (1) 9 DamienMcKenna 245 2% 95% 4% Mediacurrent (232) 10 jhodgdon 242 0% 1% 99% Drupal Association (2), Poplar ProductivityWare (2) 11 drunken monkey 238 95% 11% 1% Acquia (17), Vizala (8), Wunder Group (1), Sunlime IT Services GmbH (1) 12 naveenvalecha 196 74% 55% 1% Acquia (152), Google Summer of Code (7), QED42 (1) 13 Munavijayalakshmi 192 0% 100% 0% Valuebound (192) 14 borisson_ 191 66% 39% 22% Dazzle (70), Acquia (6) 15 yongt9412 189 0% 97% 3% MD Systems (183), Acquia (6) 16 klausi 185 9% 61% 32% epiqo (112) 17 Sam152 184 59% 92% 7% PreviousNext (168), amaysim Australia Ltd. (5), Code Drop (2) 18 miro_dietiker 182 0% 99% 1% MD Systems (181) 19 Pavan B S 180 0% 98% 2% Valuebound (177) 20 ajay_reddy 176 100% 99% 0% Valuebound (180), Drupal Bangalore Community (154) 21 phenaproxima 172 0% 99% 1% Acquia (170) 22 sanchiz 162 0% 99% 1% Drupal Ukraine Community (107), Vinzon (101), FFW (60), Open Y (52) 23 slashrsm 161 6% 95% 3% MD Systems (153), Acquia (47) 24 jhedstrom 155 4% 92% 4% Phase2 (143), Workday, Inc. (134), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (1) 25 xjm 151 0% 91% 9% Acquia (137) 26 catch 147 3% 83% 16% Third and Grove (116), Tag1 Consulting (6) 27 larowlan 145 12% 92% 7% PreviousNext (133), University of Technology, Sydney (30), amaysim Australia Ltd. (6), Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) (1), Department of Justice & Regulation, Victoria (1) 28 rakesh.gectcr 141 100% 91% 0% Valuebound (128) 29 benjy 139 0% 94% 6% PreviousNext (129), Brisbane City Council (8), Code Drop (1) 30 dhruveshdtripathi 138 15% 100% 0% DevsAdda (138), OpenSense Labs (44)

We observe that the top 30 contributors are sponsored by 46 organizations. This kind of diversity is aligned with our desire not to see Drupal controlled by a single organization. These top contributors and organizations are from many different parts of the world and work with customers large and small. Nonetheless, we will continue to benefit from more diversity.

Evolving the credit system

Like Drupal itself, the credit system on Drupal.org is an evolving tool. Ultimately, the credit system will only be useful when the community uses it, understands its shortcomings, and suggests constructive improvements. In highlighting the organizations that sponsor the development of code on Drupal.org, we hope to elicit responses that help evolve the credit system into something that incentivizes business to sponsor more work and enables more people to participate in our community, learn from others, teach newcomers and make positive contributions. Drupal is a positive force for change and we wish to use the credit system to highlight (at least some of) the work of our diverse community, which includes volunteers, companies, nonprofits, governments, schools, universities, individuals, and other groups.

One of the challenges with the existing credit system is it has no way of "weighting" contributions. A typo fix counts just as much as giving multiple detailed technical reviews on a critical core issue. This appears to have the effect of incentivizing organizations' employees to work on "lower-hanging fruit issues", because this bumps their companies' names in the rankings. One way to help address this might be to adjust the credit ranking algorithm to consider things such as issue priority, patch size, and so on. This could help incentivize companies to work on larger and more important problems and save coding standards improvements for new contributor sprints. Implementing a scoring system that ranks the complexity of an issue would also allow us to develop more accurate reports of contributed work.

Conclusion

Our data confirms Drupal is a vibrant community full of contributors who are constantly evolving and improving the software. While we have amazing geographic diversity, we need greater gender diversity. Our analysis of the Drupal.org credit data concludes that most contributions to Drupal are sponsored. At the same time, the data shows that volunteer contribution remains very important to Drupal.

As a community, we need to understand that a healthy open-source ecosystem includes more than traditional Drupal businesses that contribute the most. For example, we don't see a lot of contribution from the larger digital marketing agencies, system integrators, technology companies, or end-users of Drupal — we believe that might come as these organizations build out their Drupal practices and Drupal becomes more strategic for them.

To grow and sustain Drupal, we should support those that contribute to Drupal and find ways to get those that are not contributing involved in our community. We invite you to help us continue to strengthen our ecosystem.

Special thanks to Tim Lehnen and Neil Drumm from the Drupal Association for providing us with the Drupal.org credit system data and for supporting us during our research. I would also like to extend a special thanks to Matthew Tift for helping to lay the foundation for this research, collaborating on last year's blog post, and for reviewing this year's edition. Finally, thanks to Angie Byron, Gábor Hojtsy, Jess (xjm), Preston So, Ted Bowman, Wim Leers and Gigi Anderson for providing feedback during the writing process.

Categories: Drupal

Fragments

New Drupal Modules - 13 September 2017 - 3:00am

Fragments are re-usable bits of content. Fragments are similar to Paragraphs, but where Paragraphs are bound to their host entity, Fragments are meant to be re-used. Fragments are fieldable and revisionable.

This module does not require Entity Reference but its use is extremely limited without it.

Categories: Drupal

ADCI Solutions: DrupalCon's BoFs

Planet Drupal - 13 September 2017 - 2:45am

 

Hello, Drupal Community! Our team has prepared two BoFs for DrupalCon Vienna.

 

Drupal and a higher education: we invite Drupal experts and higher education representatives to see what problems a higher education wants to solve with the help of Drupal and how it can be done in practice. 

The BoF details

 

Marketing challenges: promoting and selling Drupal services, building the company image and communicating with a target audience are the hard processes. Specialists of all the categories are welcome to share the typical challenges and propose the solutions.

The BoF details

Categories: Drupal

No JS

New Drupal Modules - 13 September 2017 - 2:02am
Categories: Drupal

Players as Characters

Gnome Stew - 13 September 2017 - 1:00am

Composited from stock art and art by Juan Ochoa

If someone plays RPGs long enough, the thought of “What if I were a character in a game?” will inevitably pop into the brain. Most people shy away from this idea for fear of the introspection or the fact that they must be themselves 99% of the time and want to use role playing as an escape. I completely understand these inclinations, but I’ve been a player in a few games where my character was, well, me. One of them was a Werewolf: The Apocalypse game, and the other was a GURPS game. The Werewolf game was incredibly enjoyable because “me” was actually “me with werewolf abilities,” so there was the sense of escapism involved. The GURPS game, however, fell flat because there weren’t any fantastic or sci-fi or horror elements to the game. It was quite boring being a real person in the real world tackling real world problems. There was no true sense of escape or enjoyment.

I always get player buy-in on a campaign concept, and if one or two players are lukewarm about the game, I adjust things a small bit to bring them into the fold. If I were to ever run a “players as characters” game, I’d go for 100% buy-in. If even one person is uncomfortable with the concept of being themselves in a game, I’ll back off. Because of this very strict rule I have, I’ve never managed to actually fire up a game like this. I have gone through a few session zeroes for these concepts where characters are made, but at the end of the day, someone backed out.

Game Concept

In addition to getting the players to accept playing themselves, the GM must be extra careful with the game content. Most horror games trigger something in the players. When the players are themselves, this can be especially true. I highly suggest avoiding horror-themed games, but they can work if everyone knows what they are in for up front. I’d also avoid the “you’re real people in the real world” idea. We get enough of that as it is. Almost any twist on reality or change in location or time period can work for the group, so long as everyone is on board with it. This has to be a group consensus.

Sense of Wonder

There needs to be a sense of wonder or fantastic things happening to really immerse the players into the game. Dropping them into a fantasy world can be a nice touch. Also, using a historic period would be a great idea (take a look at Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court for ideas). Basically, displacing the players, as they are now, into a different and fantastic location, strange time (future or past), or changing the modern reality to be wondrous is key.

Another approach is to leave the real world as it is (maybe with a few twists), and change the players. These changes can be drastic or subtle, but need to come with benefits and hindrances that flow naturally together. As I’ve already mentioned, I got to play myself as a werewolf. That was great fun! I also wouldn’t mind seeing what I would be able to do with cybernetic enhancements or minor magical talents. These ideas really intrigue me.

Character Creation

Character creation is probably one of the hardest things to do in this situation. You’re not creating someone imaginary. You and your players are trying to emulate the players themselves in the game statistics and numbers. This requires an open mind, a dump truck full of honesty, and a cargo ship packed with acceptance of others’ opinions of you and your abilities. Some physical stats (such as strength) can be measured with relative ease. However, things like intelligence, wisdom, charisma, chutzpah, charm, or other mental/social abilities are harder to judge.

There are two approaches I’ve seen that work. The first is to have each player anonymously “vote” on one player’s stats. The GM then collects these votes and produces an average of the votes that the player has to accept. This prevents hurt feelings over a low score. Another approach is to trust the players to do what is right and let them self-evaluate. Some players have a hard time with this depth of introspection, so some nudging and guidance by the GM might be needed.

Lastly, I like the idea of allowing the players to add a point or three to abilities and/or skills. This will allow them to be themselves, but a slightly better version. This will help increase the fun of the gaming.

Character Balance

We’re not all created equal. We didn’t all have the same opportunities to improve or learn or practice. It’s just a fact. This means if you go with the “dead honest” approach, there will be some players that are more potent than others. This needs to be avoided. I suggest that once the characters are created, find the most powerful ones and either adjust them down closer to an average or allow the weaker players to boost up to be a match for the more powerful ones. This is very easy to do in a point-buy character creation system. With a race+class+level type system, this can be done via special items, more money (Congrats! You won the lottery.), more contacts/connections, a sidekick, a potent pet, and so on.

Character Death

This is touchy. What happens when a character dies? Normally, this is a great storytelling moment to make the death dramatic and impact the plotlines. However, this is a player playing themselves. I advise not to allow the players to have “plot armor” as protection just because they are playing themselves, but acknowledge up front that character death is a possibility and collaborate on what to do if this happens. Does the player then create a more traditional character? Does the player drop out of the game (it’s an option, but not one I like unless it’s a one-shot)? Do the rest of the players find a way to bring the dead character back to life? There are quite a few courses of action that can be taken, but I feel this needs to be addressed and planned for before it actually happens. I highly recommend going back a short bit in our archives and reading Avery’s article on how to make death matter.

Middle Ground

If you’re not interested in leveraging a normal RPG for representing the players as themselves, there is a series of games designed to be one-shots or short run campaigns from Fantasy Flight Games. They are called “The End of the World.” In the series, the players get to be themselves with whatever they have at hand in the real world to do battle against either zombies, elder gods, aliens, or the robot uprising. I’ve had the books for a while and have read most of the zombie version. It really looks like a fun game to immerse into for an evening, but I’ve not had the right chance to pop the game into a group due to adulting too much.

You can find more about these books at Fantasy Flight’s web site.

Conclusion

Have you ever been in or run a game where the players play themselves? What pitfalls did you run into? What were the high points? Let us know how things went!

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Elevated Third: A Developer’s Impact on Implementing an Accessible Web

Planet Drupal - 12 September 2017 - 8:30pm
A Developer’s Impact on Implementing an Accessible Web A Developer’s Impact on Implementing an Accessible Web Anthony Simone Tue, 09/12/2017 - 21:30

Creating accessible web applications can initially be quite a daunting task. Whether you’re working on a project that needs to be compliant with law or not, it can be hard to figure out what is most important to focus on. There’s ADA Compliance, WCAG 2.0 Compliance, and 508 Compliance, and navigating the technical differences between them all can end up taking more time than simply focusing on building accessible applications in the first place.

All three of the above types of compliance have different histories and different rules about the types of websites, web applications, or organizations they affect, however, at their core, they all are trying to accomplish the same thing: Make an accessible web.

Accessibility

So then what is accessibility? From a developer’s point of view, this can be a difficult question to answer when initially delving into the subject matter. Digging through documents related to the compliance patterns can be complicated, especially if your main concern is ensuring you pass compliance by any of the above definitions.

It can be easy to lose sight of the purpose of implementing an accessible web when trying to sift through the regulations. The goal is to make your application usable by everyone! Despite the somewhat complicated language around some of these compliance patterns, the WCAG 2 At a Glance page gives a good general baseline of what to consider. It breaks accessibility down into 4 general requirements: perceivable, operable, understandable, robust.

Perceivable

  • Provide text alternatives for non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.
  • Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia.
  • Create content that can be presented in different ways,
  • including by assistive technologies, without losing meaning.
  • Make it easier for users to see and hear content.

Operable

  • Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
  • Give users enough time to read and use content.
  • Do not use content that causes seizures.
  • Help users navigate and find content.

Understandable

  • Make text readable and understandable.
  • Make content appear and operate in predictable ways.
  • Help users avoid and correct mistakes.

Robust  

  • Maximize compatibility with current and future user tools.

 

Maintaining the highest grade of AAA compliance will grow your audience, protect you from any future litigation, and provide equal access for Americans with disabilities.  

Ultimately, the intention is quite simple. Everyone should be able to use, access, and consume the content of your website. If this is the governing principle you use when planning a new web project, you’ll definitely be successful building an accessible web application.

Know Your Audiences

Accessibility considerations affect a wide variety of audiences. Understanding how these different audiences use the internet can give a great amount of insight into what a developer can accomplish.

There are two general groups of users we want to consider: users with some amount of vision impairment and users with some range of mobility issues. (Note: this is not to discount other groups that are specifically covered under some of the compliance documents. In this article, we are going to cover some best practices that a developer can implement while building a site, as opposed to considerations that may come up during UX or design like contrast issues, UI implementations, and more.)

Both of these groups of users are unique. If we look deeper at each of these cases, we’ll learn more about how they are interacting with the websites we build.

Motor Impairment

Internet users that experience some amount of motor impairment are generally using different means of navigating the internet than the traditional keyboard and mouse/trackpad. Users may not be able to manipulate a mouse and instead, only use a keyboard. Inversely, they may not be able to use a traditional keyboard but use an alternate interface to interact with a website. Some people’s motor ability may limit them to using a small number of keys.

The big takeaway from the motor impairment user group is that web navigation must be clear, straightforward and possible with just a keyboard. Try this, go about some everyday tasks on the internet only using your keyboard. You’ll immediately start to notice websites that have or have not taken accessibility into account.

Visual Impairment

Users with some degree of visual impairment will typically consume data on a web page differently. This can vary widely on a case by case scenario, but users may increase the font size, they may rely on descriptive copy to understand the contents of images, and they may rely on a screen reader to translate all visual content into auditory content on a webpage.

The big takeaway here is that content of a web page is consumed in many different ways. Appropriate markup and theming goes a long way for someone using a screenreader. If you are on a mac, you can go to System Preferences > Accessibility and turn voiceover on, then use command + F5 to enable it. Try it out!

It’s important to keep in mind that many users employ a combination of features from both user categories. Which means these accessibility features are important for all device types, not just a desktop sized experience.

Where to Start?

If at all possible, start at the beginning! Accessibility shouldn’t be treated like browser testing and ignored until QA at the end of a project. By then, you’ll likely have a lot of work ahead of you. If you’re considering all of this functionality as you are planning elements like menus, sliders, tabs, accordions, or other functional components that either help with navigation or display content, then you can start with an appropriate implementation from the beginning. This lets you plan your features and components appropriately within the context of accessibility instead of having to build around them later.

The following list of considerations is a great place to start when planning for accessibility on a new project or going through an old project to test functionality.

Focus Ring

All browsers have a default style associated with items that have focus, like links and buttons. As a general rule, you should not remove this. Or, if you are modifying it, make sure the replacement style is very obvious and easy to identify.

 

 

A user who is navigating your website with a keyboard relies on focus styles to know where their current context is within the webpage. Without that they would be totally lost, it would be like using a mouse with an invisible cursor.

Menus

Menus are one of the most important components on many websites. They allow you to navigate through the whole web application. Top priority with menu implementation is ensuring all links can be accessed with the keyboard, specifically the tab key.

Visibility / Display

It’s important to know what a screen reader recognizes as an item in the flow, and what it doesn’t. Though some screen readers may have specific behavior, the general rule is that elements with display: none; or visibility: hidden; are ignored by screen readers. Generally, content that is off screen, but not hidden in either of the above ways is considered an element in the flow by a screen reader. It’s important to know the difference because it can be used to make the experience better, and misuse can create a keyboard navigation nightmare.

A good rule of thumb is anything that shouldn’t be visible by a user using a keyboard and mouse should likely be hidden in one of the above ways. For example, if there is a menu that slides into place from off screen after you’ve scrolled down the page a certain amount. If this item isn’t explicitly hidden, someone navigating with tabs may have to go through all of the items they can’t see before they reach the real content.

Note: the visibility property can be transitioned, whereas, the display property cannot. This may come in handy when implementing transitions!

Skip Link

A useful convention for keyboard navigation users is the implement a “skip link.” The idea is that the very first time you click tab on a page, it focuses on a previously hidden link, that when clicked, will move your focus to the main content of the page. Drupal has a default implementation of this out of the box, but depending on your site structure, some extra customization might be appropriate. The following is an example of a snippet you can use for skip link functionality.

var $skipLinkHolder = $('#skip-to-content'),
  $skipLink = $skipLinkHolder.find('.skip-to-content-link');

$skipLink.on('click', function(e) {
    e.preventDefault();
    var $target = $($(this).attr('href'));
    $target.attr('tabindex', '-1');
    $target.focus();
    $target.on('blur focusout', function() {
        $(this).removeAttr('tabindex');
    });
});

You can also take advantage of the fact that offscreen items can be focused here by positioning it off screen but giving it different styles on focus.

Tab Order

It’s important to be aware of actual DOM markup source order and tab order. Too often, we position things absolutely or fixed and neglect the actual source order of the element. This can cause confusing scenarios when navigating a website by tabbing. It is important to ensure absolute and fixed position items are placed reasonably in the DOM with respect to a tab user's arrival upon them. The page can go a long way to make tab navigation more straightforward.

ARIA / Functional Components / Existing Tools

ARIA is a specification that handles adding more descriptive, contextual information to elements that can be used by screen readers to give the users extra context. ARIA can get a little bit confusing. Generally, there isn’t a huge amount of documentation around it, and it’s a spec describing purpose but not the implementation of these tags. So, different screen readers can potentially have some different behavior. Rolling your own functional component can be a pretty complicated endeavor when accessibility is taken into account. Fortunately, there are a lot of great existing tools backed by fairly large communities that can get you pretty far if you’re willing to leverage them.

Many tools and frameworks have accessibility baked in. It’s worth taking a look at what’s available before deciding to roll your own for some established types of functionality, like menus, tabs, accordions, etc. Foundation is a great tool that is very flexible regarding implementation. The majority of its components support accessibility very well, specifically the menus, accordions, and tabs components. They are a great option to use as a starter, and you can potentially use them for their markup, js, and ARIA support and do your own completely custom theme implementation over top.

Some popular solutions for problems like better multi selects already exist with ARIA and accessibility considerations (Select2 and Selectize). Though they might not all be perfect, leveraging existing tools and communities can be a great help. Because we don’t all have first-hand access to groups of users who use assistive technologies, this is an essential tool when implementing accessible web applications.

Conclusion

We learned about specific ways a developer can take responsibility for web accessibility. The responsibility of building an accessible web goes far beyond the developers during implementation, but there’s a lot that a developer can do on their own. The many layers of compliance and rules notwithstanding, taking some time to learn who your users are and how they’re using the web gives us the opportunity to build solutions that are accessible to as many people as possible.

Categories: Drupal

Double Eagle Games Launches Bulletproof Card Game Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 12 September 2017 - 3:00pm
Who wouldn’t want to run their own criminal empire? I’m sure some of you out there had a Scarface poster on your wall at some point in time. Well, in Bulletproof, you are placed at the head of a crime organization. It’s up to you, then, to build it into a real powerhouse empire. Collect […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Tickets Now Available For BonesCon ’18

Tabletop Gaming News - 12 September 2017 - 2:00pm
It’s never too early to start thinking about convention season. Nowadays, it practically runs all year. For example, BonesCon ’18 is only a mere 5 months away. If you’re going to be in Birmingham (in the UK, not in Alabama) from February 16th-18th, you might just want to stop by. Tickets are on sale now. […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Bungie pulls Destiny 2 item resembling white supremacist symbol

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 12 September 2017 - 1:22pm

Just shy of one week after launch, Bungie has removed an in-game armor piece from Destiny 2 after being alerted that the gauntlet's design strongly resembled that of a white supremacist flag. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Dragons Conquer America Introductory Adventure Out Now

Tabletop Gaming News - 12 September 2017 - 1:00pm
Burning Games will be bringing Dragons Conquer America, their new fantasy RPG to Kickstarter on November 1st. In the meantime, to get gamers informed about the world and excited to see more, they have posted up an introductory adventure, titled The Coatli Stone. You can think of it as Chapter 0 (they also call it […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Glassdimly tech Blog: D8: Variables in template_preprocess_views_view not passed to twig

Planet Drupal - 12 September 2017 - 12:41pm

I had a very strange problem wherein I was not able to affect variables being passed to views-view-grid--my_view.html.twig.

Categories: Drupal

Bailey Records Anniversary Sale Happening Now

Tabletop Gaming News - 12 September 2017 - 12:00pm
Bailey Records is turning 18. *snifflesniffle* They grow up so fast! But while it might be their birthday, it’s you who is getting the presents. They’re having a huge sale over in their webshop now. From the announcement: Bailey Records is celebrating our 18th anniversary with a 25% off sale at our boutique shop Licensed […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Worlds Adrift dev Bossa Studios secures $10M investment

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 12 September 2017 - 11:03am

Bossa Studios has raised an additional $10 million to further development of its ambitious MMO sandbox, Worlds Adrift. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Podcast Roundup

Tabletop Gaming News - 12 September 2017 - 11:00am
It’s Tuesday here in Atlanta. Thankfully, the city doesn’t seem to have been hit too hard by the storm. Hopefully all of you are safe and with power. I’m black in the office and looking to get back to a normal routine. That includes loading up some gaming podcasts to help make our way back […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Leander Lindahl: Drupal 8 Learning Series: 2. Disable Cache in a Devel Environment

Planet Drupal - 12 September 2017 - 10:04am
Drupal 8 Learning Series: 2. Disable Cache in a Devel Environment Leander Lindahl Tue, 09/12/2017 - 19:04
Categories: Drupal

Add-Ons Added to Wander: The Cult of Barnacle Bay Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 12 September 2017 - 10:00am
The Kickstarter campaign for Wander: The Cult of Barnacle Bay is doing well. They’ve made it over their funding goal and are working their way through stretch goals. To help with that, they’ve added on some add-ons, letting you get alternate heroes, extra dice, and (once they get there) a new expansion set. From the […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

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