This article is the next part in our series about recent changes at the Drupal Association. I'll be focusing on what these changes mean for the Engineering team and the impact that will have on the work we're doing for the Drupal Community.
Our mission is to "unite a global open source community to build and promote Drupal." There are two audiences implicit in that mission - the community of contributors that build Drupal, and the customers and end-users for whom Drupal is the solution they need.
In the run-up to the release of Drupal 8, our strongest imperative was to support the contribution journey on Drupal.org -- that is, to maintain, refine, and enhance the developer tools that allowed our community to ship Drupal 8.
Following the release of Drupal 8, our imperative now is to support the adoption journey on Drupal.org -- and specifically to support those evaluators with ambitious digital needs, who will benefit from the kind of solution that Drupal can provide.
This change in our imperative also comes in a time when our engineering team is shrinking from a team of nine to a team of five. These positions handle all the technical needs of Drupal.org and the subsites: from answering support tickets from the community; to infrastructure maintenance; to managing services like updates, composer, and DrupalCI; to architecture and engineering to create solutions for the evolving needs of the project.
For the next 12 months the engineering team's focus will be:
1. Supporting the sustainability and fiscal health of the Association.
This means focusing on work that promotes both the mission and the revenue model of The Association. This might be anything from finding ways to promote DrupalCon attendance on Drupal.org, to creating placements for partners who may be interested in sponsoring specific parts of the tooling or infrastructure that we maintain.
2. Transforming the adoption journey for Drupal evaluators.
Shifting our focus to the Drupal evaluators means transforming the home page of Drupal.org. We need to reach end-users and customers who are looking for solutions that Drupal is uniquely suited to solve. Building this adoption journey means highlighting Drupal success stories. These stories might be about higher education, government, non-profit, or other markets - but in every case these will be real stories of concrete needs solved with concrete solutions built in Drupal.
3. Sustaining the tools the community needs to continue porting modules and making point releases of Drupal 8.
We will continue to sustain the tooling and infrastructure that the community uses every day to build Drupal. From taking Drupal.org's Composer repositories from from beta to stable, to fixing bugs in DrupalCI, to maintaining the issue queues—keeping the basic machinery of contribution of Drupal.org running smoothly is still our mandate. However, we won't be introducing new features or transformative changes [quite yet].
4. Studying our developer tools and planning the work we want to do to continue to improve the contribution journey, when we have the resources to do so again.
While we're not going to be transforming the developer tools on Drupal.org in the near term, we are going to be studying those tools. Under the direction of the Drupal Association Board, we have formed a Technical Advisory Committee consisting of a few staff and community members to plan a tooling study, with 2 goals: 1) To improve the developer experience on Drupal.org. 2) Explore options for monetization, perhaps by offering private repositories, testbots, or similar.
And beyond these 4 cornerstones of our roadmap, we will continue to support Drupal.org community initiatives. Great work has been done and is still being done with the help of the community to advance DrupalCI, Composer, Documentation, the Project Applications process, and more. We want to continue to support the community in helping us to make Drupal.org a better home.
By the wayside… for now
There is some work that we no longer have the capacity to do. While we will look for opportunities for incremental improvements in these areas if and when our other work coincides, we will not make this work our priority:
New developer tools
While we are conducting the study alluded to above, we do not have short-term plans to create new developer tools.
Ongoing implementation of the content strategy
News & Events section
Feature improvements for subsites like events.drupal.org and jobs.drupal.org
Staff contributions to the community-lead D8 initiatives (such as Blocks and Layouts and Workbench and Deploy)
That said, no part of Drupal.org exists in a vaccuum, so as we make the changes that are prioritized you will see some ripple effects throughout the rest of the site. Two recent changes come to mind as examples. Firstly, the change in follow button styles. This small change in iconography was part of deploying the last of our work on the new documentation tools for Drupal.org - but it was important for us to apply that change globally, providing a consistent metaphor for following content throughout the site. Secondly, the recent change to move user links to a user menu in the header of Drupal.org. This change was done to support upcoming editorial changes to the front page of Drupal.org, but with very little extra effort we've applied that improvement throughout the rest of the sub-sites.
How you can help
As an individual or small group of volunteers:
You can help us make incremental improvements. If you see small changes on Drupal.org that would make a big impact, you can request a Drupal.org development site, and submit a patch. If you're looking for a way to make a contribution, take a look at issues that have been tagged for Drupal.org. You can also reach out to me through my Drupal.org contact form, on IRC as hestenet, or on the Drupal Slack as hestenet.
If you would like to propose a larger initiative to make a change on Drupal.org, you can submit a Community Initiative proposal. Past and present community initiatives have included collaboration with DA staff on work such as: developing DrupalCI, adding two-factor authentication, supporting Composer on Drupal.org, creating a security advisory content type on Drupal.org, and revamping the Project Applications process.
As an organization that uses Drupal:
You can join the Drupal Association as an organization member or a supporting partner. Your partnership directly supports the tooling and infrastructure that helps the community build Drupal, and supports our effort to reach out to customers and end-users who have yet to discover Drupal.
If you would like to make an even greater impact, you can directly sponsor the Drupal.org roadmap. In fact, our work on Drupal.org's Composer support was sponsored by Appnovation in partnership with a world-leading life sciences company. By choosing to fund a particular item on our roadmap you'll be credited as a sponsoring organization, and we'll post a case study explaining how your sponsorship enabled us to better support the community. If your organization is interested in roadmap sponsorship, please don't hesitate to reach out.