One of the biggest content areas on Drupal.org—and one of the most important assets of any open source project—is documentation. Community-written Drupal documentation consists of about 10,000 pages. Preparations for the complete overhaul of the documentation tools were in the works for quite some time, and in the recent weeks we finally started to roll out the changes on the live site.Background
The overall goal for the new Documentation section is to increase the quality of the community documentation.
On a more tactical level, we want to:
- Introduce the concept of "maintainers" for distinct parts of documentation
- Flatten deep documentation hierarchy
- Split documentation per major Drupal version
- Notify people about edits or new documentation
- Make comments more useful
To achieve those goals, we went through the following process:
First, we wrote a bunch of user stories based on our user research and the story map exercise we went through with the Documentation Working Group members. Those stories cover all kinds of things different types of users do while using documentation tools.
We then wireframed our ideas for how the new documentation system should look and work. We ran a number of remote and in person usability testing sessions on those wireframes.
Our next step was to incorporate the feedback, update our wireframes, and create actual designs. And then we tested them again, in person, during DrupalCamp London.
Incorporated feedback again, and started building.
So, how does the new documentation system work exactly? It is based on two new content types:
- Documentation guide: a container content type. It will group documentation pages on a specific topic, and provide an ability to assign 'maintainers' for this group of pages (similar to maintainers for contributed projects). Additionally, users will be able to follow the guide and receive notifications about new pages added or existing pages edited.
- Documentation page: a content type for the actual documentation content. These live inside of documentation guides.
Example of a new documentation guide
All of the documentation is split per major Drupal version, which means every documentation guide or page lives inside of one of a few top level 'buckets', e.g. Drupal 7 documentation, Drupal 8 documentation.
It is also possible to connect guides and pages to each other via a 'Related content' field, which should make it easier to discover relevant information. One of our next to-do’s is to provide an easy way to connect documentation guides to projects, enabling 'official' project documentation functionality.
Right now, we have the new content types and related tools ready on Drupal.org.
We are currently migrating existing documentation (all 10,000 pages!) into the new system. The first step is generic documentation (e.g. 'Structure Guide'), with contributed projects documentation to follow later.
While working on the migration, we are recruiting maintainers for the new guides. If you are interested in helping out, sign up in the issue. Please only sign up if you actually have some time to work on documentation in the near future.
There is a lot of work to be done post-migration (both by guide maintainers and regular readers/editors). The content is being migrated as-is, and it needs to be adapted for the new system. This means almost every single page needs to be edited. New fields (such as Summary) filled out with meaningful text (to replace text automatically generated by the migration script). A lot of pages include information for both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8, but this content needs to be split, with Drupal 8 information moved to pages in the appropriate version of the guide. These are just some of the steps that need to happen once the documentation has been migrated into the new system.Next steps
As staff, we have a few follow-up tasks for minor improvements to the content types and tools. However, the bulk of the work is editing and improving the actual documentation, as I described above. This is in your hands now. Not only do we not have enough staff members to edit every single documentation page in a reasonable amount of time, we are also not subject matter experts for many of the topics, and so can't provide meaningful edits. The tools are ready, now it is up to the community to pick them up and write great documentation.
Example of a documentation page
Lastly we want to say thanks.
Thanks to all the community volunteers who wrote those 10,000 pages over the years. Thanks to the Documentation Working Group members for their expertise, insight, and patience.
And, of course, thanks to staff. Unfortunately due to recent changes for the Engineering team, this will be the last section we'll have resources to work on for a while. This was a fun and important project to work on, and we are glad that we got to finish it. It is a beautiful legacy of the work we did together with some of our former colleagues: DyanneNova, japerry, and joshuami. Thank you!
Sooper Drupal Themes: "It starts with something small" Next Gen Drupal Themes From 1.0 To 2.5 In a Single Year
Just over a year ago I started with something small. I combined some existing technologies to create a drag and drop builder/theme. A combination of jQuery UI, CKEditor, Bootstrap 3 and Drupal. The result was far from perfect but interesting enough to get a bunch of people excited and involved in helping me find out how to improve the product.Above: our Glazed main demo. Click to view full demo. Glazed Construction Design, Product Updates
Today's blog celebrates the new Construction design that is available today to all SooperThemes members. We've been working towards this release for nearly a year and the reason it took so long is that the core of the Glazed framework theme and drag and drop builder needed to be 100% up to the job. The reliability, sophistication and flexibility of our framework theme and drag and drop builder are lightyears ahead of the minimum viable product we released 14 months ago. To our customers who joined us in the beginning and are now renewing for the second year: Thank you so much!
Our construction theme (click to view demo) is not the prettiest design I've ever created but that's not really the point. The point is that it looks like a construction theme all the way. It doesn't look like a generic theme that was customized to look a little bit more "heavy industry". Our Glazed framework theme allows you to completely design every aspect of your Drupal site from typography, to colors, grid design and navigation. Combine this with our drag and drop builder and everything you need in a business website can be designed and developed in the browser. From a blank canvas all the way down to the pages, views and forms everything in this demo was created in the browser, without writing a single line of code.
No templates were edited, no CSS was written, not even a single hand coded HTML tag was needed to build this unique 40 page Glazed demo.
It's simple economics. You can buy a WordPress theme for $59,- USD and a few days of customization and content editing later and your client is impressed and your project is comfortably on schedule and on budget. WordPress themes have become a major source of innovation in recent years, offering drag and drop builders, and niche-specific features for magazine websites, directory websites and all sorts of small business websites.
Themes are becoming more sophisticated and crawling into Drupal territories like for example education, magazines and community websites.
10 years ago I moved away from WordPress and Mambo because I simply felt Drupal was better, and I still feel that way. While these WordPress themes are loaded with features, they lack Drupal's modularity, coding standards and interoperability. I sincerely believe Drupal can be a better platform for all these themes. After all, Drupal has built in support for content types, relations, versioning, configuration management, and superior user management and access control.
Starting from today I will focus on offering as many niche designs for small businesses, large businesses, NGOs, governments, educators and online magazines. I hope that you will join sooperthemes.com and help us with our mission to show the world that Drupal is capable of doing what WordPress does and more.
Our mission as SooperThemes is to promote Drupal as the #1 platform to author content on the web and at the same time to remain the #1 provider of designs and design tools for Drupal. See our roadmap for more details. The way to make Drupal the number one choice again is through the same economics that made WordPress so big, so our initial focus is to disrupt the market with a 90% decrease in costs of building and running a Drupal website.Enjoying The Ride
The past year has been a big adventure but also a lot of grinding, bug fixing, technical debt problems and all the things that new products face when they enter the market. However it has mostly been fun and exciting to develop these new technologies for the Drupal community and the reception of our updates is really motivating and powering our new developments.
Allthough pioneering in the area of next gen (drag and drop) Drupal themes meant facing a steep learning curve it can be said that Drupal is actually easier to build on in the long term. Our Drag and Drop builder is very similar to a frontend framewor that uses the CMS as an API. This is somthing that needs hooks and AJAX capabilities. Something that Drupal provides out of the box.
If you are reading this as a prospective customer: please join Sooperthemes and enjoy the ride with us. To our existing customers: keep your eyes open for exciting new features and designs.
Long Term Support for Drupal 6 might be my favorite new feature included in Drupal 8. (I know, that might be stretching things for the fundamentally awesome step forward that Drupal 8 is, but bear with me.)
Stop REACTING: 5 Reasons Why Video Game Publishers Must Embrace a Proactive Security Posture - by Matthew Cook
According to the best practices of responsive web design, a website neatly adapts to whatever screen it is viewed on. And according to the best practices of our blog, we make collections of free responsive Drupal themes for you to use.Read more
I was making my breakfast the other morning while listening to the boys at Gaming and BS . Specifically, I was listening to an episode (#101) where the question was posed, and I paraphrase, is the rush towards improv style GMing diluting the more traditional storyteller type of GMing? It got me thinking, not so much about a dilution occurring, but rather how do we adopt one of these styles and how can you change your style. So I gave it some thought, flipped my eggs and came up with this…Three Types of GM
For the sake of word count, your sanity, and to avoid Internet rage, I am going to abstract GMing styles into three broad buckets. In my 30+ years, I have run games in every one of these buckets, so I am confident they exist in the wild. So let’s name these buckets and give them a definition:
- Storyteller – The Storyteller was my first GM type. This is the GM who is crafting a story that they want the players to play through.They often construct this as a fairly linear plot that has an assumed finale.
- Narrator – The Narrator is a more relaxed Storyteller. They still have a story to tell and an ending in mind, but they have loosened on the linear plot and have adapted a more flexible, but finite set of scenes that can be executed in any order, but all lead to the assumed finale.
- Facilitator – This is the improvisational GM. They arrive at the game with only a slight idea of where the game will start and an intended direction, and they will then use the events and ideas at the table to drive a game to some conclusion, which is not often known before play starts.
So let me say that there is nothing wrong with any of these styles. Every one of these styles can be executed in a way that creates an enjoyable experience for everyone at the table.But What About Railroading?
Ahh…good that you mention that. Railroading is not linear prep. Let me say that again: Railroading is not linear prep. Railroading is the GM’s reaction to a player’s action, in an effort to drive the game in a specific direction. That reaction is to typically negate, reverse, or shut down a player’s action, in order to get the game moving in the GMs desired direction.
It is most commonly associated with linear plots because these plots are the most likely to deviate, and an inexperienced GM will react heavy-handedly and railroad them back into the linear plot. But a Facilitator who is improv-ing a game can easily shut down a player’s action that may drive the game into an undesired direction. It is less common because the improv style tries hard to incorporate Yes…And into play, which helps to prevent shutting down players.
Ok…back to work.Prep Informs GMing It can be long or short, it can be neat or messy, but as long as after we prepare it, we are comfortable enough to run the game, it has served its job.
This title seems obvious, but let me unpack it a bit. Our prep informs how we are going to GM a game. In a chicken and egg manner, how we GM drives how we will prep our games. There is a reason for this, which I mention in Never Unprepared. That is, our prep is what we (GMs) need to be comfortable enough to run the game at the table. It can be long or short, it can be neat or messy, but as long as after we prepare it, we are comfortable enough to run the game, it has served its job. So for our three buckets, what does their prep look like:
- Storyteller – This prep is going to have a linear structure, often based on an outline, and contain the expected scenes, one leading to the next until the conclusion is reached. The notes are going to be linear as well and easily work as a text file or other word doc.
- Narrator – This prep is going to have an overview of what is happening in the session. It will have the start and ending fixed, and then it will have a series of possible scenes which all drive to the conclusion. This prep suits something like OneNote, where your note taking can be less linear.
- Facilitator – Well, this prep is going to range from a post-it note to a full page. Often this prep contains a few high-level ideas and omits details, which are going to be made up by the GM or sourced from the table during play.
So notice how the prep and the play style line up (but Phil you just wrote that…yes…I did all of this..I have proof of past campaigns). The point being that when you prep your game for a specific style you create your zone of comfort around running it in that style. When you deviate from that prep you leave your comfort zone and need to rely more on improv skills (what you can do at the table) than your prep (what you did before you got to the table).
People who have strong improv skills can take the most linear of prep, or published adventures, and run it in an improvisational manner. If your improv skills are weak, then being handed an index card of notes and being asked to run a whole game will be daunting.Making The Change
So what’s the point, and what was I thinking about while making breakfast? The point is, if you want to change your GMing style, you need to change your prep.There are many reasons for wanting to change your style. You may want to move towards the Facilitator because you don’t have time to prep. You may want to be a Storyteller because you have an epic story to tell. You may want to be the Narrator because the mystery game you are running runs better in that style. Again, all styles are valid, and like tools, they work best when employed to solve the right problem.
So if you do want to change your style, how do you change your prep? Well, you are going to go in one of two directions…From More to Less
This is the most common type of change, moving from Storyteller to Facilitator. In many cases, this is because in our entry into the hobby we learn the storyteller technique from published adventures. In this case, we need to adopt a few things to make the change in our prep:
- Remove the little things you are good at doing on the fly (room descriptions, dialog, etc) (Check out some old articles I did under the topic of Prep-Lite, a few years ago).
- Break up the linear plot into chunks that can be shifted around. (Check out John Arcadian’s article on Island Theory in Unframed ).
- Prep some resources to facilitate improvisation: name lists, motivations, NPC characteristics, etc.
This one is more rare, but not impossible to find. While some will argue, I will state that mystery games work best in the Narrator style. When I run something like Gumshoe I change up from Facilitator to Narrator. When you move towards Storyteller here are some of the things you need:
- Create a scene map. You don’t need a totally linear plot, but mapping it out to show how the scenes connect will help you stay the course while you run.
- Make sure that each scene can lead to another, preferably more than one.
- Write yourself a What’s Really Going On (Thank you Fear The Boot) summary. In this summary, write for yourself what is going on in the session. It will help you keep to the story while you run.
There are numerous ways to run your game. Find the one that fits your style and the game you are running. Then learn to prep your game for that style. Figure out what things your prep needs for you to feel comfortable running your game, and hone your prep. In doing so, you will find your style will match.
What style are you most comfortable with? What style do you find hard to run? Does your prep match your style? Are you over-prepping or under-prepping?
Are you looking for a job in the tech world? Have you ever worked at a company that practiced Agile Methodology? Then this is the job for you!Who We Are:
We’re a small web development and marketing agency near Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. We like the occasional ice cream socials and NERF gun battles, but most of all, we enjoy making Drupal websites and helping client's businesses grow.The Position:
We added a new summit to the DrupalCon line-up this year: the DevOps Summit, on Monday, 26 September. It's a day filled with keynotes, an industry leaders panel, open discussions, and networking.
DevOps is a popular part of DrupalCon. There are 12 sessions dedicated to DevOps topics like continuous integration and serverless architecture. But we're excited to add more programming for DevOps fans far and wide. With the summit, we've dedicated time and space to offer networking and collaboration activities.