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Drupal's collective purpose

Dries Buytaert - 3 October 2016 - 7:46am

When I was on vacation in Italy this summer, I had no internet, which gave me a lot of time to think. Some of that time was spent reflecting on why I do what I do. I have been working on Drupal for over 15 years and on Acquia for almost 10 years. The question of what gives me meaning and purpose has changed drastically over that time.

Evolving purpose

I started Drupal because I wanted to build a website for myself and a few friends. In the early days of Drupal, I was obsessed with the code and architecture of Drupal.

As I wrote in 2006: "I focused completely and utterly on creating fewer and fewer lines of more elegant code.". I wanted Drupal to be pure. I wanted the code to be perfect. For Drupal to be architected in the right way, I had to rewrite it multiple times and strip away anything that wasn't necessary – I couldn't imagine preserving backwards compatibility as it meant we had to drag along a lot of historical baggage. My mission in the early days was to keep the platform fast, clean and on the leading edge of technology.

As time passed and Drupal started growing, my role evolved. More people became involved with Drupal, and I thought more about scaling the community, including our tools, processes and culture. I started to focus on building the Drupal Association, promoting Drupal, handling trademark issues, and last but not least, setting the overall direction of the project. In the process, I started to worry less about achieving that perfect vision and more about the health of the community and collaborating on a shared vision.

While I miss programming, I have come to accept that I can't do everything. Every day when I wake up, I decide where I want to focus my energy. My guiding principle at this time in my life is to optimize for impact. That means enabling others versus doing much programming myself.

Meaningful moments: part I

While in Italy, I decided to make a list of the moments in Drupal's history that stand out as particularly meaningful or purposeful. I started to discover some patterns in these moments, and ended up sorting them into two groups. Here is the first set:

  • When people find Drupal, and it gives them a better career path and ultimately changes their life. I got goosebumps when almost 3,000 people stood up at DrupalCon San Francisco when I asked "Please stand up if Drupal changed your life". I often talk to people that went on to make a full-time living with Drupal – or even start a Drupal business – to provide better lives for their families. Some of these stories, such as Vijaya Chandran Mani's, are deeply impactful.
  • Seeing how Drupal is used for aid relief, like in the aftermath of the 2013 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. Members of the Drupal community worked throughout the night to create a website for victims to help each other.
  • Seeing how Drupal has made a meaningful impact on the Open Web movement. Over the last 10 years, millions of people have created Drupal sites that express their creative freedom and individuality. In recent years, I've become concerned about the Open Web's future and have spoken out on how the Drupal community is uniquely positioned to help preserve the open web. I believe it's an important mission that we should all embrace, so the original integrity and freedom of the Open Web remains intact for our children and grandchildren.

All of these moments suggest that my purpose is self-transcendent – I get meaning when my work matters more to others than it does to me. Organized into radiating circles, the impact on each of these groups gives me purpose: individual Drupalists, the Drupal community, Drupal end users, and the open web. This is why I've become so passionate about things like usability, internationalization and accessibility over the years.

I know it's not just me; my team interviewed many other people that have the same feelings of finding meaning when their work results in life-changing outcomes. One great example is "Franck" Seferiba Salif Soulama, who hopes that training more young people in Drupal can lift people from Burkina Faso, Africa out of poverty. He wants to provide them job opportunities so they don't have to leave their country. Other examples are Drew Gorton or Ronan Dowling. There are many people like Franck, Drew or Ronan around the world that have a positive domino effect on others.

Meaningful moments: part II

The second group of moments I wrote down weren't necessarily self-transcendent, but still gave me purpose. Here are a few examples:

  • Fundraising after the great server meltdown. In 2005, we had to raise money to buy new infrastructure for Drupal.org. We nearly had to shut down Drupal.org and could have lost everything. While it was a difficult time, this moment was especially meaningful as it helped us come together as a community.
  • Having to ask individuals to leave the project or change their behavior because their values weren't aligned with the project. While providing critique or removing someone from the project has never been never easy, I'm proud of the times we stand up for our values.
  • Getting Drupal 8 over the finish line after 4.5 years of hard work. At times, many people doubted our progress, questioned whether we were making the right decisions, and even left our project. While the development process wasn't always fun in the moment, when we did release parties around the world, we all felt a real sense of accomplishment. In the long run, we built something that will keep Drupal relevant for many years to come.

Many of us find meaning when the hard and uncomfortable work results in life-changing outcomes for others. Not only does this type of work provide purpose, some people believe it is the recipe for success. For example, Angela Lee Duckworth's TED talk on grit applies directly to the work that is done by Drupal's maintainers.

How do we scale purpose?

Hearing all of these inspirational stories makes me think: How we can attract more people to the project, but do so in a way that ensures we share our core values (like giving back)? While there are no straightforward answers to this question, there are many organizations that are doing great things in this area.

One example is the Drupal Campus Ambassador Program which hopes to appoint ambassadors in every university in India to introduce more students to Drupal and help them with their job search. While at Drupalcon India earlier this year, I met Rakesh James, who has personally trained 600 people on Drupal!

Another example is the Drupal apprenticeship program in the UK, which focuses on recruiting new talent to the Drupal community. Participants get an extensive Drupal bootcamp to help them with their job search. Many of these apprentices are disadvantaged young people who have great talent and aptitude, but might be lacking the traditional route or access to a meaningful career path.

I'd love to take programs like these global – they instill our values, culture and a sense of purpose to many new people. If you know of similar initiatives, or have ideas to share, please do so in the comments section.

Based on my own introspection, and hearing from amazing Drupalists from around the world, I truly believe that Drupal is fueled by a collective sense of purpose that sets us apart from other open source software communities and organizations. We need to keep this purpose in mind when we make decisions, especially when the going gets tough. What is your sense of purpose? And how can we scale it around the world?

Categories: Drupal

Dries Buytaert: Drupal's collective purpose

Planet Drupal - 3 October 2016 - 7:46am

When I was on vacation in Italy this summer, I had no internet, which gave me a lot of time to think. Some of that time was spent reflecting on why I do what I do. I have been working on Drupal for over 15 years and on Acquia for almost 10 years. The question of what gives me meaning and purpose has changed drastically over that time.

Evolving purpose

I started Drupal because I wanted to build a website for myself and a few friends — an internet message board to exchange messages. In the early days of Drupal, I was obsessed with the code and architecture of Drupal.

As I wrote in 2006: "I focused completely and utterly on creating fewer and fewer lines of more elegant code.". I wanted Drupal to be pure. I wanted the code to be perfect. For Drupal to be architected in the right way, I had to rewrite it multiple times and strip away anything that wasn't necessary – I couldn't imagine preserving backwards compatibility as it meant we had to drag along a lot of historical baggage. My mission in the early days was to keep the platform fast, clean and on the leading edge of technology.

As time passed and Drupal started growing, my role evolved. More people became involved with Drupal, and I thought more about scaling the community, including our tools, processes and culture. I started to focus on building the Drupal Association, promoting Drupal, handling trademark issues, and last but not least, setting the overall direction of the project. In the process, I started to worry less about achieving that perfect vision and more about the health of the community and collaborating on a shared vision.

While I miss programming, I have come to accept that I can't do everything. Every day when I wake up, I decide where I want to focus my energy. My guiding principle at this time in my life is to optimize for impact. That means enabling others versus doing much programming myself.

Meaningful moments: part I

While in Italy I decided to make a list of the moments in Drupal's history that stand out as particularly meaningful or purposeful. I started to discover some patterns in these moments, and ended up sorting them into two groups. Here is the first set:

  • When people find Drupal, and it gives them a better career path and ultimately changes their life. I got goosebumps when almost 3,000 people stood up at DrupalCon San Francisco when I asked "Please stand up if Drupal changed your life". I often talk to people that went on to make a full-time living with Drupal – or even start a Drupal business – to provide better lives for their families. Some of these stories, such as Vijaya Chandran Mani's, are deeply impactful.
  • Seeing how Drupal is used for aid relief, like in the aftermath of the 2013 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. Members of the Drupal community worked throughout the night to create a website for victims to help each other.
  • Seeing how Drupal has made a meaningful impact on the Open Web movement. Over the last 10 years, millions of people have created Drupal sites that express their creative freedom and individuality. In recent years, I've become concerned about the Open Web's future and have spoken out on how the Drupal community is uniquely positioned to help preserve the open web. I believe it's an important mission that we should all embrace, so the original integrity and freedom of the Open Web remains intact for our children and grandchildren.

All of these moments suggest that my purpose is self-transcendent – I get meaning when my work matters more to others than it does to myself. Organized into radiating circles, the impact on each of these groups gives me purpose: individual Drupalists, the Drupal community, Drupal end users, and the open web. This is why I've become so passionate about things like usability, internationalization and accessibility over the years.

I know it's not just me; my team interviewed many other people that have the same feelings of finding meaning when their work results in life-changing outcomes. One great example is "Franck" Seferiba Salif Soulama, who hopes that training more young people in Drupal can lift people from Burkina Faso, Africa out of poverty. He wants to provide them job opportunities so they don't have to leave their country. Other examples are Drew Gorton or Ronan Dowling. There are many people like Franck, Drew or Ronan around the world that have a positive domino effect on others.

Meaningful moments: part II

The second group of moments I wrote down weren't necessarily self-transcendent, but still gave me purpose. Here are a few examples:

  • Fundraising after the great server meltdown. In 2005, we had to raise money to buy new infrastructure for Drupal.org. We nearly had to shut down Drupal.org and could have lost everything. While it was a difficult time, this moment was especially meaningful as it helped us come together as a community.
  • Having to ask individuals to leave the project or change their behavior because their values weren't aligned with the project. While providing critique or removing someone from the project has never been never easy, I'm proud of the times we stand up for our values.
  • Getting Drupal 8 over the finish line after 4.5 years of hard work. At times, many people doubted our progress, questioned whether we were making the right decisions, and even left our project. While the development process wasn't always fun in the moment, when we did release parties around the world, we all felt a real sense of accomplishment. In the long run, we built something that will keep Drupal relevant for many years to come.

Many of us find meaning when the hard and uncomfortable work results in life-changing outcomes for others. Not only does this type of work provide purpose, some people believe it is the recipe for success. For example, Angela Lee Duckworth's TED talk on grit applies directly to the work that is done by Drupal's maintainers.

How do we scale purpose?

Hearing all of these inspirational stories makes me think: How we can attract more people to the project, but do so in a way that ensures we share our core values (like giving back)? While there are no straightforward answers to this question, there are many organizations that are doing great things in this area.

One example is the Drupal Campus Ambassador Program which hopes to appoint ambassadors in every university in India to introduce more students to Drupal and help them with their job search. While at Drupalcon India earlier this year, I met Rakesh James, who has personally trained 600 people on Drupal!

Another example is the Drupal apprenticeship program in the UK, which focuses on recruiting new talent to the Drupal community. Participants get an extensive Drupal bootcamp to help them with their job search. Many of these apprentices are disadvantaged young people who have great talent and aptitude, but might be lacking the traditional route or access to a meaningful career path.

I'd love to take programs like these global – they instill our values, culture and a sense of purpose to many new people. If you know of similar initiatives, or have ideas to share, please do so in the comments section.

Based on my own introspection, and hearing from amazing Drupalists from around the world, I truly believe that Drupal is fueled by a collective sense of purpose that sets us apart from other open source software communities and organizations. We need to keep this purpose in mind when we make decisions, especially when the going gets tough. What is your sense of purpose? And how can we scale it around the world?

Categories: Drupal

Sponsored: Bandai Namco has a brand new U.S. office - and they're hiring!

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 3 October 2016 - 7:34am

BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. is hiring! Be a part of the company behind video game franchises ranging from Pac-Man to Tekken. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

WeChat WeApp

New Drupal Modules - 3 October 2016 - 7:32am

Aiming at some WeChat WeApp (微信小程序, https://mp.weixin.qq.com/debug/wxadoc/dev/index.html) integration.

Categories: Drupal

Commerce Admitad

New Drupal Modules - 3 October 2016 - 6:53am

Admitad integration for Shop owners.

This module currently supports:

  • Synch or asynch order checkout postback requests.
  • ReTag scripts for all required pages.

To be developed:

Categories: Drupal

Gábor Hojtsy: Checking on Drupal 8's rapid innovation promises

Planet Drupal - 3 October 2016 - 6:44am

Starting with Drupal 8, we decided to make more rapid innovation possible by releasing minor versions every 6 months that may come with new features and backwards compatible changes. Now that we released Drupal 8.1.0 and almost 8.2.0 as well, how did we do? Also what else is possible and what is blocking us to make those moves? What do all the changes mean for how might Drupal 9 unfold?

Dries Buytaert posted last Wednesday The transformation of Drupal 8 for continuous innovation and on the same day I presented Checking on Drupal 8's rapid innovation promises at DrupalCon Dublin. Here is a video recording of my session, which should be good for those looking to get to know Drupal's release process and schedule, as well as how we made it possible to experiment within Drupal core directly with Drupal 8. While I did hope for more discussion on the possibilities within Drupal 8 with the participants, somehow the discussion pretty much ended up focusing on Drupal 9, when it should be released and how much change should it come with.

Categories: Drupal

Video Game Deep Cuts: Furry Mario Maker Genies - by Simon Carless

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 3 October 2016 - 6:21am
The latest Video Game Deep Cuts selection, picking some of the smartest longform video game articles and videos of the week, looks at the history of a fascinating furry MMO, a fiendish Mario maker level & the making of the Game Genie's codes.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

DrupalEasy: Book review: Drupal 8 Development Cookbook

Planet Drupal - 3 October 2016 - 5:51am
Really good content in the wrong format.

Drupal 8 Development Cookbook, written by Matt Glaman is full of useful information about Drupal 8 site building and development - and a worthy addition to anyone's Drupal library. Unfortunately, the "cookbook" format of the book seems to subtract, rather than add, to the usually well-explained concepts throughout.

The book covers an impressive array of topics: Everything from setting up a local environment to many of the technical details of the Entity API. No matter what your skill level with Drupal, there is likely to be something in this book of interest. Having been a Drupal professional for over ten years, I found the chapters on plugins, configuration management, the Entity API and web services especially interesting and educational.

Each chapter (there are 13) includes an often-too-brief introduction, followed by several "recipes." Each recipe includes several sections, including "Getting ready," "How to do it…," "How it works…," "There's more…," and "See also." While the How to do it… sections usually contained the bulk of the narrative, I often found myself wanting more details in the How it works… section. Additionally, I felt that each recipe often didn't have an adequate introduction. The crazy part is that the information I was looking for was often in the How it works… section - presented after the How to do it… section. I think this will lead to some initial confusion by readers asking themselves "why am I doing this?" until they read the How it works… portion. Usually, all of the information was there, just not in the right order (for me at least.) This is especially apparent in the "Plug and Play with Plugins" chapter where I found the How it works… sections more valuable than the How to do it… sections. They really would have been better leading off each recipe.

The author clearly has a firm grasp of the material. This usually shines through in most of the recipes, but there are times in the book where I think the author assumes the reader has a similar level of knowledge - which leads to some disconnects in the narrative. One example of this is the "Creating a custom content type" recipe. There is very little introduction, and I feel that it assumes the reader has a firm grasp of the power of content types (and fieldable entities, for that matter.) This, and several other recipes would benefit greatly from beefed-up introductions (including Features, text formats, some of the Front-end recipes and plugins [especially explaining why we use annotations.])

The recipes also vary widely in their complexity. I'm not sure this if this is a good or bad thing, but perhaps some sort of "complexity level" rating should have been applied to each one to give the reader a heads-up. This is illustrated well with the fact that the plugins chapter assumes the reader has a firm understanding of object-oriented PHP. Granted, I don't expect the author to write a primer on the topic, but a warning in the introduction, or aforementioned complexity level, would have helped smooth the transition into this chapter.

As one example of the format forcing things to be out-of-order, the book begins with the assumption that the reader has a local development stack installed, which is not an unreasonable assumption. But for readers who are new to local development environments, after the recipe to install Drupal 8, in the There's more… section, the author presents valuable information about how to create a database and a database user. There is no mention of this material prior to the How to do it… section. I can easily imagine a scenario where a reader is attempting the recipes in the order they are presented without reading ahead, and being extremely frustrated until they find the There's more… section. A mention of it earlier in the chapter would go a long way here.

The book does a really nice job covering topics I didn't expect to see - including DrupalVM, Entity Reference Views displays, a thorough explanation of a module's .info.yml file and routing files (who knew you could validate a route name with RegEx right in the .routing.yml file!) There is a really nice chapter on configuration management (although more of an introduction on content vs. configuration would have been extremely useful) and Entity API.

For Drupal 7 developers moving to Drupal 8, "The Entity API" chapter is worth the cost of the book. This chapter solidified and extended the knowledge I already had. Its introduction is solid and the chapter includes examples for both content and configuration entities. While it suffers from some of issues I've already mentioned (great content, wrong format,) for the most part it overcomes these challenges and goes much deeper into the topic than I had hoped. Well done!

At the same time, the book also covers a few topics in places where I thought it was a little too aggressive - having a "Running simpletest and PHPUnit" recipe in chapter 1 is a good example. In addition, I believe I spotted a few bugs in the book - both in the narrative and in the code samples - I've forwarded them to the author. Also, in some chapters, the author is writing about a moving target. There are more than a few places where he is forced to reference active Drupal.org issues. As these issues are resolved, recipes may spoil (food pun!)

There were more than a few recipes that involved custom module development; all of which are well-written, technically on-point, and will be extremely useful for Drupal 7 developers moving to Drupal 8. Since this is a book review, I have to pick on one point - all of the recipes were presented as if the developer is writing them from scratch. In reality, I've found the vast majority of Drupal 8 developers building custom modules for clients take full advantage of Drupal Console's "generate" command. While the author does formally introduce this in the last chapter of the book, it feels like it's not in the right place. By introducing it earlier many of the recipes could be written to take advantage of it.

Who would I recommend this book to? If you're a Drupal 7 developer looking to learn Drupal 8 development, this book is a great resource. While there are several introductory and site-building chapters that won't be very useful to you, the more advanced chapters provide (usually) adequate background information along with practical examples (ahem, recipes) to get you going. Would I recommend this book for beginners? If you have a solid PHP background, then yes. In my opinion, the author is more than capable of writing an intermediate-to-advanced Drupal 8 development book - leave the introductory stuff to someone else.

Categories: Drupal

Remote Drush

New Drupal Modules - 3 October 2016 - 5:24am
What?

Remote drush (rdrush) offers drush functionality for drupal websites without SSH access.

Not server-side

Because rdrush doesn't use any actual drush functionality and doesn't need access to the database or code, it can be executed on the client side.

cURL

All commands and actions are executed via cURL requests. To make this work, rdrush needs the login credentials of an admin user in the remote drupal environment. It creates a user session and performs all drush-like commands via form requests and submits.

Categories: Drupal

Drupal core announcements: Drupal 8 and 7 core release window on Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Planet Drupal - 3 October 2016 - 4:16am
Start:  2016-10-04 12:00 - 2016-10-06 12:00 UTC Organizers:  xjm stefan.r catch David_Rothstein Event type:  User group meeting

The monthly core patch (bug fix) release window is this Wednesday, October 05. Drupal 7.51 will be released with fixes for Drupal 7. This is also the release window for Drupal 8.2.0, the next scheduled minor release of Drupal 8. (Read the release candidate announcement for more information on the minor release.)

To ensure a reliable release window for the patch and minor releases, there will be a Drupal 8.2.x commit freeze from 12:00 UTC Tuesday to 12:00 UTC Thursday. The final patches for 7.51 have been committed and the 7.x code is currently frozen (excluding documentation fixes and fixes for any regressions that may be found prior to the 7.51 release). So, now is a good time to update your development/staging servers to the latest 8.2.x-dev or 7.x-dev code and help us catch any regressions in advance.

If you do find any regressions, please report them in the issue queue. Thanks!

To see all of the latest changes that will be included in the releases, see the 8.2.x commit log and 7.x commit log.

Other upcoming core release windows after this week include:

  • Wednesday, October 19 (security release window)
  • Wednesday, November 02 (patch release window)

Drupal 6 is end-of-life and will not receive further releases.

For more information on Drupal core release windows, see the documentation on release timing and security releases, as well as the Drupal core release cycle overview.

Categories: Drupal

SimpleMDE Markdown Editor

New Drupal Modules - 3 October 2016 - 2:50am

Drupal integration for SimpleMDE Markdown Editor:

Categories: Drupal

Nexon's "Oz: Broken Kingdom" Appropriately Named - by Ramin Shokrizade

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 3 October 2016 - 2:25am
Western monetisation expert Ramin Shokrizade shows in detail how an extremely high quality Western-localized F2P game can be broken by aggressive Eastern monetisation techniques.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Disclosure Regulations Actually Hurt the Gaming Community - by Matthew McCaffrey

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 3 October 2016 - 2:23am
If businesses choose to disclose sponsorships and possible conflicts of interest, it should be because they’re striving to give consumers a better deal, not because they’re abiding by arbitrary government regulations.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Which virtual reality headset will win the holidays? - by Drew Giovannoli

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 3 October 2016 - 2:23am
Research to determine which virtual reality headset will win the holidays for the US and UK markets from Red Fox Insights.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Are Sponsored Content "Bribes" Unethical? - by Matthew McCaffrey

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 3 October 2016 - 2:22am
The bottom line is that there isn’t an economic or ethical case for regulating disclosure between influencers and their sponsors. In fact, economics and ethics each offer powerful arguments against regulation.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Challenges of Developing for PC and Mobile. Part 1: Controls - by Mattieu Begin

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 3 October 2016 - 2:21am
Developing for multiple platforms can be a real challenge, especially when input type differs as much as between PC and Mobile. This in-depth article describes our process for designing good controls on mouse & keyboard, gamepad and touch screen.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Let’s Talk About Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim - by Lena LeRay

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 3 October 2016 - 2:21am
Finally back with another LTA video, this time on Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim. I like this game, but the devs had an overly ambitious plan for the budget they crowdfunded, and that makes this a great example of why we need both AAA and indie games.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Defining Ludoaffect: Gamifying Emotion & Strategizing Introspection in Video Games - by Olivia Maderer

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 3 October 2016 - 2:20am
In this article, I will define "ludoaffect," a design strategy about gamifying emotion which is driving current games. By recognizing its base definition, I hope to expand possibilities for studying its history and future.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

An AI scripting framework for Powargrid - by Michiel Konstapel

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 3 October 2016 - 2:20am
Because we had a lot of fun designing the AI for our turn-based strategy game, Powargrid, as well as building AIs for other games like OpenTTD, we added a Lua scripting interface to the game to let players program their own AI.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture studio co-founder calls for immediate action to improve diversity in games - by Tom Quillfeldt

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 3 October 2016 - 2:20am
Jessica Curry, BAFTA-winning composer and co-founder of games studio The Chinese Room, gave a rousing speech to close the 2016 European Women In Games conference, calling for greater diversity in games and female developers to stand up to discrimination.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

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