Drupal 8 is now available as a release candidate (RC). An RC is like a sneak preview you can use. It's not a final release—that’s coming soon, and there may be another release candidate before then. But its code and interface should feel stable now. You can install it, start designing for it, create and build with it, and extend and improve it. That means you can start putting Drupal 8's more than 200 new features and improvements to work today.
With Drupal 8, the world's best content management framework just got better. Every built-in theme is responsive. Every single component is translatable out of the box. More elements have configurable fields and there are new field types for better content modeling.
It’s built people-first. The authoring experience is better, with features like in-context editing and enhanced previews. It's easier to add people-friendly meaning via native schema.org markup. There's extensive support for accessibility standards.
Drupal 8 also has all the geekery you can Git. All-new configuration management (full exports, easier transitions between environments) means safer, faster site development and maintenance. REST-first native web services enable 3rd-party integrations. And adding Twig is the most complete transformation of Drupal theming in a decade. It allows friendlier syntax, better security, and a separate presentation layer.Organizations are using Drupal 8 now
There are thousands of Drupal 8 installations already up and running. Goal Gorilla, Amazee Labs, Gravity R&D, and DrupalNorth joined drupal.com as some of the earliest Drupal 8 adopters. France Télévisions, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and CH2M have chosen Drupal 8 too. The list of sites built with Drupal 8 is growing and growing.
Companies and organizations around the world rely on Drupal 8 right now. Your organization could be next. Have questions before getting started? Check out answers to some frequently asked ones, and read the RC’s release notes.Feedback welcome
Sharing feedback is important. It's part of the open source spirit. It's what pushes the Drupal community forward. And it's what will get Drupal 8 from RC to a full version release. If you find bugs while using this RC, let the community know.
To join the social conversations about this RC, use #drupal8rc. To mention and find conversations about work already made with Drupal 8, use #madewithd8.A great big thank you
This RC wouldn't have been possible without our community. Its contributions, its diligence, and its patience created something special. To everyone who’s helped and will help, even if you're not in the Drupal 8 hall of fame, thank you.
Drupal 8: make something amazing, for anyone.Taxonomy upgrade extras: drupal8rcPersonal blog tags: drupal8rc
Look for links to our Strategic Roadmap highlighting how this work falls into our priorities set by the Drupal Association Board and Drupal.org Working Groups.DrupalCon Barcelona Recap
DrupalCon Barcelona was an opportunity for Drupal Association staff to meet with members of the community, attend some critical sessions about upcoming development in Core and Contrib, and to present some sessions of our own.
The big one: Dries announced a new development workflow for Drupal. Rather than organizing development around commits to a single dev branch, Drupal core will be developed in feature branches following the release of 8.0.0.
- Core's switch to feature branch based development further increases the value of our planned work for Issue Workspaces on Drupal.org, which will allow a true git based workflow on Drupal.org, complete with pull requests, while preserving the ability to submit patches as well.
- Community members webflo and tstoeckler gave a presentation on Composer and Drupal 8. As part of the Q&A portion of the session we discussed ways that Drupal.org can support the composer workflow for core and contrib, while preserving the site builder experience.
- We presented an overview of the content strategy work that has been done for Drupal.org, and what is left to do.
- We gave a session on the future of groups on Drupal.org.
Being able to speak with the community face to face is a tremendously valuable opportunity for us, and helps us to validate our priorities, and keep on top of the changing needs of the community. Barcelona was a great con on both fronts!The Drupal.org Roadmap
Improved Search on Drupal.org
In August, we upgraded our search infrastructure, identified criteria for evaluating our search improvements, and created a pre-production search environment to allow us to test our changes to search. By September we were ready to begin deploying changes.
We used a script which evaluates the change in position of results for the key search phrases we are using as exemplars. Then we deployed several changes, primarily to our biases for searches matching path aliases and project machine names. These changes have greatly elevated the desired results for our exemplar phrases in search.
We're pleased with these improvements, and may continue to tune search further, especially as community members provide additional search phrases with unexpected results that we can test against.
One of the larger initiatives for September was to work on improvements to Documentation on Drupal.org. This is a clear priority from the community, and also an important part of the work we identified as part of our content strategy.
To implement the requirements of the content strategy we introduced a few new modules to Drupal.org, in particular: organic groups, and panels. These and a few supporting modules have allowed us to create the new Section content type one Drupal.org. Sections are groups, which can have their own maintainers and governance structure. Content (including child Sections) will be associated to this new higher level Section content. Panels and some preconfigured layouts will allow us to improve the layout of content on Drupal.org and create a more consistent look and feel.
In September we made the initial deployment of these underlying modules and configuration and we are now beginning to configure our first Section - Documentation. At the same time, we reached out to key members of the documentation community during September, both remotely and at DrupalCon Barcelona, to identify more specific user stories that we will build out as features on this framework.
Our focus for DrupalCI in September was identifying any work that needed to be done to allow us to shut off the old PIFT/PIFR testbots on qa.drupal.org, and any feature improvements and bug fixes as they were identified. We also wanted to ensure that D8 Core and Contrib developers were comfortable relying on the new system.
During September we made progress on a few fronts. Firstly, users who create tests or project maintainers can subscribe to email notifications about their tests. Secondly, we continued fixing issues on the critical path to allowing us to disable the old testbots. Finally, about a week prior to DrupalCon Barcelona we allowed DrupalCI test results to set issues to needs work, letting Core maintainers accelerate their testing in the ramp up to the Con.
In October we anticipate disabling PIFT/PIFR for Drupal 8 testing entirely, and then phasing it out for Drupal 6 and Drupal 7 testing as well, once testing in those environments has been vetted. At that point the old qa.drupal.org test results will be archived statically. Moving forward DrupalCI development will move more into stable maintenance of the system as a production service, and evaluation of feature requests and contributed community work.
Localize.Drupal.org needed had only a few key issues to tackle in September - primarily: a server side version fall back system for translations. A related issue allowing us to symlink translations to the ‘latest’ release was completed as well.
The final task for Localize, and one of the Drupal.org infrastructure blockers to an 8.0.0 release, is support for translatables with external dependencies(for contrib). The community has been iterating on patches for this feature, and it should be fixed soon.Incremental Improvements to Drupal.org
Updating the Marketplace
In order to celebrate the organizations that are supporting the development of Drupal 8, we launched some changes to the Drupal.org marketplace. First, we changed the organization listings themselves, highlighting the people at the organization, the projects supported, the case studies, and the issue credits awarded in the last 90 days.
Finally, instead of sorting the listings alphabetically, we now sort by the listings by issue credits. This highlights the organizations who have been working hard to move the project forward and get Drupal 8 released!
We've received a lot of positive feedback about the Marketplace changes, as well as a large amount of community feedback about additional improvements that could be made, particularly to the sorting algorithm. We'll continue to collect that feedback and iterate on this further.Revenue Related Projects (Funding our Work)
As is tradition, at DrupalCon Barcelona we also launched our next European DrupalCon - DrupalCon Dublin! For this initial announcement we launched the con splash page, but as the event gets closer the full site will go live. The Drupal Association and the local Drupal community in Dublin are very excited to welcome you to this con! Céad Míle Fáilte!
Sustaining support and maintenance
In addition to the infrastructure team's strong focus on DrupalCI and ensuring that the testing infrastructure was stable through DrupalCon Barcelona, the infrastructure team also made a few other changes. First, we evaluated a PHP version upgrade in our pre-production environments, and will deploy to prod in October. Secondly, we took the Solr infrastructure that had been upgraded in August, and set it up for high availability.
The Drupal Association infrastructure team also gave a presentation on the history of Drupal.org's infrastructure. This session provided a retrospective of the architectural decisions for Drupal.org in the past, as well as an opportunity to showcase where the infrastructure is headed and solicit feedback from the community.
As always, we'd like to say thanks to all volunteers who are working with us and to the Drupal Association Supporters, who made it possible for us to work on these projects.whats new on Drupal.org
Everyone’s excited for Drupal 8 to come out. Now that we’re flirting with 0 critical bugs, we wanted to give a shout out to everyone who has put their hard work and love into building Drupal 8. We’re almost to the finish line, and everyone deserves hugs and high-fives for all their amazing work.
We’re looking forward to the announcement of a Drupal 8 release candidate as soon as October 7, and we’re working hard to put together materials that everyone can use to shout from the rooftops that Drupal 8 is in its final stage of development. We’ve still got a lot of work ahead of us, but the Drupal Association feels that now is a good time for our community to pause, take a deep breath, give each other pats on the back, and look at what the future holds.Our communications plan
We’ve fielded a lot of interest in spreading the word about the Drupal 8 release candidate and the eventual release of Drupal 8. We’ve got a plan that we’re excited about, and we’re hoping for help from the community. The more we can all create content about the specific features in Drupal 8, the better! We’d also love to share content made by our community that speaks to different audiences — for example, why Drupal 8 is the best platform for government or university websites. Over the next few weeks, we hope to add our community’s amazing content to the Drupal 8 landing page.
Here are a few other ways you can help:
- Planning on hosting a release party? Share the details and we'll help spread the word about your event.
- Are you already building sites with Drupal 8? Share a link in social media and tag it #madewithdrupal8. You can also add it to the list on groups.drupal.org.
- If you have demos, white papers, blog posts, or some other materials that talk about the virtues of D8, share it on social media and tag it #drupal8rc.
We couldn’t be more excited for Drupal 8. We’re in the last leg now of huge effort and we should all be tremendously proud of ourselves. Big thanks especially to our amazing Core Maintainers and all of our wonderful contributors who have worked hard on the project.
This month, we got to hold our public board meeting, well, in public. Mostly all together in Barcelona, we met in the middle of DrupalCon to share some updates with the board and community. As always, if you want to catch up on all the details, you can find everything you need to know about the meeting online, including minutes, materials, and a video recording. If you're just here for a summary view, read on!Drupal 8 Accelerate is fully funded
Early in 2015 we set out to do something that we have never done before: raise $250,000 to get the next release of Drupal out the door. I am thrilled to share that we met that goal at DrupalCon Barcelona, with the last donation coming in from Exove just before Dries took the stage for his keynote. Drupal 8 Accelerate allowed the Drupal core maintainers to identify issues that needed immediate attention and pay contributors to make their time available. Additionally, community members were able to propose sprints and other initiatives to help crush D8 release blockers. We've made over 50 grants around the globe through the program, resolving hundreds of issues. We want to thank everyone in the community who donated and helped spread the word about the campaign, including our anchor donors, Acquia, Appnovation, Palantir.net, Phase2, Wunderkraut, PreviousNext, and Drupalize.me.D8 release candidate communications plan
We all heard some very exciting news during the Barcelona #Driesnote. Unless we come across any major unexpected hiccups, we'll have a Drupal 8 release candidate ("RC") on October 7. At the Association, we're gearing up to work with the community to shout the RC news, and then the full release news, from the rooftops. We shared the plan at the public board meeting, and are asking the community for help in two specific areas. First, we need your help educating people about Drupal 8 features and how they can be used. We also need your help sharing how Drupal 8 will meet the needs of specific audiences. We'll be updating the Drupal 8 landing page over the next few weeks and want to fill it with all of your great work. Here's the kind of content we're looking for:
Here's how you can share in the D8 release fun:
- Planning on hosting a release party? Share the details and we'll help spread the word about your event.
- Are you already building sites with Drupal 8? Share a link in social media and tag it #madewithdrupal8. You can also add it to the list on groups.drupal.org.
- If you have demos, white papers, blog posts, or some other materials that talk about the virtues of D8, share it on social media and tag it #drupal8rc.
Every year the Drupal commmunity nominates and elects one individual to serve a 2-year term on the Association board of directors. If you're interested in what the board does and why you might want to consider running, you can check out this blog post and presentation from last year. We'll be holding the next elections in the first three months of 2016, so we took some time in Barcelona to talk about the process. You can review the presentation from the meeting, and here are the key dates for the next election:
- Nominations (February 1-19, 2016)
Meet the candidates (February 22 - March 4, 2016)
- February 23 session at 7am Pacific
- February 24 session at noon Pacific
- February 25 session at 4pm Pacific
- Voting (March 7-18)
- Ratification and communication (March 25)
We also took a moment to thank long-time board member Angie Byron (webchick) for her service on the board. Angie's term ends in November, and she is stepping down from her board role to focus on making the Drupal 8 release as big as possible. One a personal note, I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with Angie so closely for so long. Her ability to be honest and kind at the same time is something that I have tried to learn from every time I interact with her. Thank you Angie for everything I have been able to learn from you.
Look for links to our Strategic Roadmap highlighting how this work falls into our priorities set by the Drupal Association Board and Drupal.org Working Groups.
Preparing for a Release Candidate
After a month of planning and organizational introspection in July, the Association spent August getting down to brass tacks. Since May, progress on Drupal 8 criticals has been rapid and we focused on doing our part to clear blockers for the upcoming Drupal 8 release candidate.
On August 13th, the Drupal Association engineering team met with core maintainers to discuss Drupal.org infrastructure blockers to a Drupal 8 release candidate. Since May, core developers have been rapidly clearing critical issues, and several Drupal.org services are blockers to the release. Fortunately, our meeting with core maintainers confirmed what we knew: DrupalCI and Localize.drupal.org are the two pieces of infrastructure that need work to support Drupal 8 release candidates. We also briefly discussed infrastructural issues to support a full 8.0.0 release as well as the path forward for supporting Composer.
We’re very excited for the upcoming release candidate and hope to celebrate with the community soon!The Roadmap
Drupal 8 blocker: Localize.drupal.org
In August we completed the migration of Localize.drupal.org to Drupal 7. This was the culmination of a tremendous amount of work by the community over the last year, and quite a bit of work by the Association over the last several months. As always with a major site migration we had to work closely with the active users to ensure there were no functional regressions and do quite a bit of permissions and security review as well as some of the fundamental modules which power the site, such as organic groups, work quite differently in their Drupal 7 implementations.
Completing this upgrade also allowed us to focus on Drupal 8 release blockers in the localization system. First, we need a server side version fall back system for translations. Secondly, we need to support contrib by supporting configuration translatables with external dependencies. We’ve made solid progress on the first issue, but there is still work remaining.
Our initial work on these issues was reviewed towards the end of August, and we hope to have the remaining work completed in the first couple weeks of September.
Many thanks to Gábor Hojtsy for helping us review this final work.
Drupal 8 blocker: Drupal CI
In our last update we laid out two milestones that the Association was pushing hard to reach for DrupalCI: DrupalCI must meet the testing requirements for Drupal 8 Core and contrib specified by core developers. DrupalCI must also meet or exceed the existing functionality of the PIFT/PIFR testbots for testing Drupal 7 and Drupal 6 so that the old testbot system can be retired.
We’re very pleased to report that as of the end of August the DrupalCI meets the testing requirements set out by Drupal core developers. There are no blockers to a Drupal 8 release in the DrupalCI infrastructure!
We’ve also made major progress in several other areas:
- We made significant strides towards testing for Drupal 7 and Drupal 6. Simpletest jobs for these versions have a very different structure so this required some careful work.
- We now display test results directly on Drupal.org. This new display makes it much easier to see these results, and will also make it easier for us to provide email notifications for test failures.
However, there is still work to do. There is a flaw in test discovery for contrib modules that must be resolved for Drupal 8 contrib testing to be complete (in the first week of September a core patch for run_tests.sh was commited thanks to jthorson).
Once contrib testing is stable and functional, our next goal is to begin phasing out the old testing infrastructure. We’ve identified several key issues that will allow us to disable the old testbots in a phased way. Once Drupal 8 core and contrib testing are burned in and core and contrib developers have had time to affirm that the PIFT/PIFR bots are no longer needed for D8 testing, we will phase out PIFT/PIFR’s Drupal 8 testbots. Because Drupal 8 testing represents the majority of testing volume on our infrastructure at this time, being able to disable the redundant bots will provide a significant cost savings for the Association.
We’ll then focus on making sure that Drupal 7 and Drupal 6 testing are equally functional before phasing those bots out as well. Finally we’ll need to transition Qa.drupal.org to a static archive of the past test results.
In the meantime we are still asking project maintainers to enable DrupalCI for their projects and provide us with their feedback in this issue.
The next item on our roadmap is improving the search experience. To make significant improvements in this area there was some pre-work we needed to do, both in planning and infrastructure. Earlier in the year the Association sat down with a consultant to provide recommendations on ways to improve our Solr configuration. At the same time, there were a number of new features of Solr itself in version 5 that we would not be able to take advantage of with our existing Solr 3 installation.
So we began our pre-work by creating a pre-production environment that would allow us to test our changes to search - evaluating what it would take to reindex Drupal.org with Solr 5 - and ultimately upgrading our production search servers to support Solr 5 and performing that index.
In parallel, we expanded the criteria that we would use to evaluate the success of our search improvements - drafting user stories that concretely define what a better search means for the variety of types of content that a user might be searching for.
Going into September we’ll then be implementing small iterative changes to our Solr configuration to tune our search results to meet these user stories.Incremental Improvements to Drupal.org
We’ve also made several incremental improvements to the issue queues during the month of August. We started by making an automatic first comment on issues when the reporter first creates an issue. This will allow the reporter of an issue to be credited by the maintainer when the issue is closed, even if that reporter does not make additional comments on the issue.
As we were making this change we took the opportunity to change a subtle detail about the issue summary. Previously the issue summary was attributed to the initial reporter. However, because Drupal.org issue summaries can be edited by anyone, this attribution was misleading. We have removed this attribution from the summary, and instead added the original reporter attribution to the issue meta data in the sidebar.
There is some follow up work to do to allow the initial reporter to adjust their organization/customer attribution in that automatically generated first comment. We will likely also look into allowing credit attributions for users who did not comment in the issue.
Many thanks to the community members who provided their feedback on these changes as we were making them. Making your voices heard allowed us to improve on these changes even as we were making them.
Performance Profiling for the new Content Model
Another key deployment that is very close for Drupal.org is the first iteration of the new content model. Content Strategy for Drupal.org has been a major initiative for most of the past year, and we have built out the first iteration of that featureset. It should enable a new content organization model on Drupal.org with sections that have individual governance and maintainership, and lay the groundwork for a new navigational paradigm for the site. These changes won’t be immediately apparent in terms of visual changes to Drupal.org, but instead provide structural tools to make it easier to govern and maintain content on the site. This work will be the basis for our improvements to Documentation on Drupal.org.
Before making this deployment we wanted to ensure that the new features would be performant. Drupal.org has a tremendous amount of content, is exceptionally highly trafficked, and provides services that are essential for the community to develop Drupal itself. We need to be sure that the new modules and features we deploy will be performant before rolling these new features out. We set up a new integration environment on which we could run some performance profiling tests, and in light of that testing we feel confident we’ll be able to deploy this first iteration very soon.Revenue-related projects (funding our work)
August also saw the full site launch of DrupalCon Asia. It’s a beautiful site and we hope you’ll check it out and join us in highlighting the strength of the community in India. This is our third site launch on the unified Events.drupal.org subsite and the new multi-event system is paying dividends in allowing us to launch these Con sites more quickly, consistently, and on schedule than ever before.
The call for papers is open now - so if you’re going to join us for the first DrupalCon in Asia, please submit your session proposals now! We’re also accepting applications for grants and scholarships, and looking for volunteers to mentor the sprints.
Improvements to Jobs.drupal.org
We’d like to give a special thanks to community member Matt Holford, CTO of DoSomething.org who volunteered his time in August to help us making improvements to the Drupal Jobs board. He helped to improve the way job postings are listed, helped us adjust how renewed postings would be sorted, and helped improve the data we gather so we can provide a better home for Drupal careers.
Thanks, Matt!Sustaining Support and Maintenance
Every month there is infrastructure to be maintained and improved, and August was no exception. We performed a number of tasks including updating the Drupal.org SSL cert, rebulding one of our Solr servers to support the upgrade to Solr version 5, improving stability and redundancy of our load balancers.
We also made adjustments to how we maintain our dynamically scaling infrastructure for DrupalCI test bots on Amazon. In August we upsized and rebuilt the dispatcher instance to take advantage of on the fly compression and provide us more capacity for the high volume of testing we’ve already been doing on the new system. Providing testing to the community represents a significant infrastructural cost for the Drupal Association, so we have also been focusing on ways to improve the efficiency of testing and reduce our expenses.
As always, we’d like to say thanks to all volunteers who are working with us and to the Drupal Association Supporters, who made it possible for us to work on these projects.
Here we shine the spotlight on one Global Training Day event that came about from a partnership between a Drupal development company and a local cosmetics company. See more wrap up posts from GTD at https://www.drupal.org/global-training-days/2015.
You can read the original post from Taller in Portuguese.
Drupal Training Day at Natura from sebas5384Personal blog tags: Drupal Global Training Day
Drupal Global Training Days is an excellent initiative from the Drupal Association to introduce newcomers to Drupal. Companies from all around the world hold Drupal Global Training Days events to inspire and empower new members of the Drupal community to do amazing work. The event also provides companies with a good opportunity to showcase their own Drupal work.
On August 21st and 22nd, the Brazilian Drupal community held a Global Training Day at the Natura headquarters, situated in Cajamar, São Paulo. The event was published as a meetup and had 30 participants, including developers, IT managers, and business users. All were interested in learning more about Drupal. Natura invited me to join as the speaker and mentor of the event, so off to “Sampa” I went to administer the Drupal Training Day.
The morning of the event was dedicated to a introductory mini class called "What is Drupal?" where I talked about the basic concepts of the CMS, its large adoption world-wide, its major features, and various companies who already enjoy the benefits of Drupal.
During the afternoon, participants got some hands-on training with Drupal. We started with a workshop to install and configure a GNU/Linux server and Drupal, then moved on to exploring Drupal’s architecture with the use of content types, field APIs, the hook system, module creation, the use of views, and we even got to dive into developer tools such as the devel module and the Drush command-line tool.
In general, participants had plenty of questions about the history of Drupal and, specifically, how to perform migrations with the CMS on their sites. By the end, I could see that everybody got had a good grasp of Drupal's potential. They marvelled at the autonomy and power Drupal provides for building sites with absolutely no need to know how to program. This was beneficial to the various attendees who were professionals specializing in IT security and marketing, who were curious about the fast time-to-market Drupal is able to deliver.
For those looking to know how the Drupal Global Training Days were around the world, search for #drupalgtd on Twitter and stay tuned to the official page to know when new events will take place. We at Taller are always engaging in community events, keeping true to our motto that 'We are what we do and what we share'.
Global Training Days last weekend was a great success. There were 33 hosts from 21 countries who stepped up to introduce new people to Drupal in both half and full day sessions.
Thank you to the training companies, local groups, and site hosts who made the event possible. We were particularly excited to host a training at the Drupal Association office and we have to thank Gregory Boggs of ThinkShout for leading the full day training. Thanks to Gregory's good work, I started my week with a note from an attendee that said "I learned a lot, all while having a wonderful time!" It doesn't get much better than that.
We have one more GTD weekend this year: November 14th-15th. Join the 17 hosts who have already committed to train new Drupalers at https://assoc.drupal.org/sign-participate-drupal-global-training-days. Give a training in your community to get everyone started off in the right direction with Drupal.Personal blog tags: Drupal Global Training Day
One of our key values at the Drupal Association is communication:
We value communication. We seek community participation. We are open and transparent.
One of the ways that we try to live this value is by making our numbers -- both operating targets and financial -- available to the public. The monthly board reports share basic financial numbers and all our operational metrics. Once a quarter, we release full financial reports for the previous quarter. You can access all this information at any time on the Association web site.
At the close of each year, we take the opportunity to have our financials reviewed (and sometimes audited). The review process ensures that we've represented our financials properly. This work takes some time. Though our fiscal year closes on 31 December, it takes six to eight weeks to get the final bits and pieces handled in our financial systems. The independent review or audit adds another 8+ weeks to the process of closing out our year. Then we have to review the findings with the Finance Committee and the full Board before we share them publicly. That's why it's August and we're just now sharing the 2014 reviewed financial statements with you.
In 2014 we also began tracking our progress towards several operational goals for the first time. Though we share those numbers every month in the board report, we pulled some of our favorite stats and stories together into an Annual Report to share the work that our financials represent.
What happened in 2014?
2014 was an investment year. Per our Leadership Plan and Budget for the year, our key focus was building an engineering team to first address technical debt on Drupal.org and then take on actual improvements to the site. We purposely built a budget that anticipated a deficit spend in order to fully fund the team. The intent was to also build some new revenue programs (like Drupal Jobs) that would ramp up and eventually allow us to fund the new staff without deficit spending. And that's what we did. We went from two full time staff focused on Drupal.org to ten.
The investment has been paying off. We spent a lot of 2014 playing catch up with technical debt, but also managed to improve site performance markedly while also increasing the portability of our infrastructure. On top of that, staff worked with community volunteers to release new features related to commit messages, profiles, and Drupal 8 release blockers. Most importantly, staff and the working groups prioritized upcoming work and published a strategic roadmap for improvements to Drupal.org.
We held two huge DrupalCons, one in Austin and one in Amsterdam, and planned for a third. Our very small team of events staff and a crew of remarkable volunteers hosted over 5,500 people across our two events, all while planning our first Con in Latin America. We had some stumbling blocks and learning opportunities, and have been applying what we learned to the three 2015 DrupalCons.
We launched Drupal Jobs. This was something the community asked for very clearly when we conducted a 2013 study. We’ve seen steady growth in usage since our quiet launch and will continue to refine the site, including our pricing models, so that it is accessible to Drupalers around the world.
We diversified our revenue streams. DrupalCons used to be 100% of our funding. Not only is this a risky business strategy, it puts undue pressure on the Cons to perform financially, leaving us little room to experiment or make decisions that may be right for attendees, but could negatively impact the bottom line. As we increase the funding sources for the Association, we can make more and different choices for these flagship programs and also grow new programs with the community.
We introduced branded content including white papers, infographics, and videos. These materials have been widely used by the community and have helped us understand the Drupal.org audience in a better way. You can see a lot of this work on the Drupal 8 landing pages, where the key content pieces were downloaded thousands of times in 2014.
We released new vision, mission, and values statements for the Association. These tools are really useful in defining the focus of the organization and helping to guide how we get our work done. Working in a community of this size and diversity is extremely challenging. There is no choice we can make that will include everyone’s ideals, but our values help us make those decisions in a way that allows for transparency and open dialogue with the community. It’s something that we try to honor every day.
What about money in 2014?
As anticipated, we ran a deficit in 2014. However, we did manage to grow our overall revenue by about 6% from 2013 to 2014. This trend has continued into 2015, though not at the rate we had hoped. Still, we are now on track to support the investment we made in 2014 into the future. Another key win in 2014 is that we grew non-DrupalCon revenue to 21% of our total revenue. Diversifying our revenue streams reduces our financial risk and takes the pressure off of Cons, allowing us to experiment more.
I want all the details
Excellent! You can check out:
Look for links to our Strategic Roadmap highlighting how this work falls into our priorities set by the Drupal Association Board and Drupal.org Working Groups.
July was an action packed month at the Drupal Association - we had our quarterly prioritization with the Working Groups, our annual all-hands summer staff meeting, and mentored two tremendously dedicated interns throughout.
Our primary engineering focus was on DrupalCI and Localize.drupal.org - though we also found time to make some iterative changes to Drupal.org in a few areas, namely: issue credit refinements, performance, groundwork for the new content model.Strategic Planning
Prioritization for Q3 2015
The Drupal.org Working Groups help to provide governance for Drupal.org and to set priorities for the work of Association staff. Each quarter we evaluate our priorities with the Working Groups and update our Roadmap.
On July 15th we updated our roadmap based on the Working Groups input. Our main priorities for Q3 are Drupal.org services that are required to support the Drupal 8 release, and functional improvements to Drupal.org:
- The port of localize.drupal.org to Drupal 7, as well as a few issues that support Drupal 8 localization.
- Making sure DrupalCI meets the MVP spec set out by the core developers for providing test coverage for Drupal 8, and that it meets the functionality required to replace the old testbot system.
- Improving Drupal.org search.
- A new documentation section based on our content strategy work that will provide better organization and governance of documentation.
Additional priorities were identified for Association Staff to tackle as time permits.
Drupal Association Summer Staff Week
July was also the time for the annual all-hands staff meeting for Drupal.org. For one week, we gathered all our local and remote staff in our Portland office to discuss:
- The mission, vision, and values of the Association.
- Our ever-evolving relationship with the Drupal project itself.
- Setting engineering and design principles for the team.
- Finding sustainable revenue that will fund our work.
Internships at the Association
For 8 weeks beginning in mid-June the Association staff hosted and mentored two interns who had just completed Epicodus’ inaugural Drupal curriculum.
Bojana Skarich(BabaYaga64) and Daniel Toader(CountPacMan) worked with us on bug fixes, features, and theme work for the Conference Organizing Distribution and several related modules that allow the Association to run our DrupalCon websites.
We’d also like to thank our Supporting Partner ThinkShout for funding Daniel and Bojana’s work with us. This is just one small example of how the supporting partner program fosters our mission by promoting Drupal as part of a software development training curriculum and giving these new members of our community a great head start.Drupal.org
Issue Credit Updates
We deployed two small updates to continue to refine and iterate on the Issue credit system that we implemented in the beginning of this year.
Firstly, to support an earlier change to allow explicit attribution as a volunteer, we’ve updated the attribution :hover state display. Previously unattributed comments and volunteer attributed comments would both simply display the username in attribution, though the distinction was being made in the comments themselves. Now that distinction exists not just in the data but in the display on comments.
Since releasing the issue credit system in March, there have been over 9,500 issue credits awarded on over 5,200 issues. Over 2,400 unique users and 250 unique organizations have been awarded issue credits. Over 1,000 projects (modules, themes, distributions) have credits that have been awarded. The last 90 days of issue credits can be viewed on each user and organization profile.
Secondly, we deployed a small change that will automatically generate the first comment on a newly created issue.
This automatically generated initial comment serves two purposes: It allows the original author of an issue to be credited when the issue is resolved, even if they did not leave any subsequent comments on an issue. It provides a link to the original issue summary providing a better at-a-glance view of what the original reporter wrote, even if the summary has since been edited a large number of times by other participants in the issue.
There are still additional refinements to be made as we find time - in particular providing a ui to edit the attribution that will be made for the automatically generated first comment.
The new content model for Drupal.org requires a number of new modules on Drupal.org. To ensure that the site remains performant we are serializing these changes as much as we can. The first new module to be deployed on Drupal.org was entityreference_prepopulate.
As we work to build out the Documentation section we’ll be installing additional modules, creating some new content types, and providing a number of new resources for maintaining documentation on the site.
Improving performance of Drupal.org is an ongoing concern, particularly as we look to adding new modules that while powerful may also be somewhat heavy on a site of our scale. Utilizing advanced css/js aggregation is something we began to gradually implement towards the end of June, and in July we completed the majority of the changes laid out in this issue.
With these changes we’ve largely completed the work that will be done here for the foreseeable future, though there may be a few more performance gains to be found here and there. Thanks again to mikeytown2 for his assistance.Drupal 8 Blockers
July was a huge month for DrupalCI. There are two major milestones for the Association’s work on DrupalCI.
- DrupalCI must meet the testing requirements for Drupal 8 Core and Contrib specified by core developers.
- DrupalCI must also meet or exceed the existing functionality of the PIFT/PIFR testbots for testing Drupal 7 and Drupal 6 so that the old testbot system can be retired.
The first milestone was our primary goal in July - while the second will be our hard focus in August.
We made tremendous strides towards the first goal, starting with a reformat of the test result output to better display in Jenkins. This new format more logically organizes the test output by:
Test Group -> Test Class -> Test Method -> Output/Result
This should make understanding the results of testing easier in the long run, and is also a precursor to displaying test result information directly on Drupal.org - which we hope to complete in August.
We also made improvements to the test history pages - so that project maintainers can make better comparisons of any given test result to the status of a branch when an issue was created, for example, or against the most recent branch test. These test history pages also allow maintainers to see which user triggered the test, and are the portal to the test results.
July also saw the deployment of patch level testing with DrupalCI - which can be enabled on a per environment basis for projects on Drupal.org.
Towards the end of July we also enabled testing for Contrib projects - allowing any project maintainer on Drupal.org to begin using DrupalCI. We are asking project maintainers to enable DrupalCI for their projects and provide us with their feedback in this issue. This will be critical for us to retire the old testing infrastructure.
We also focused on improving the performance and efficiency of the tests. Minimizing the time it takes to initiate a test and complete a full test run both improves efficiency for developers and maximizes the reach of the Association budget for automated testing.
The new DrupalCI architecture automatically scales up and down the number of bots dependent on need, which will hopefully present a cost savings once we disable the redundant old testing infrastructure.
In addition to the architectural work above - we also upgraded our base environments to php 5.5 to support the change in Drupal 8 minimum requirements.
Finally, we improved the documentation for project maintainers for enabling DrupalCI testing on their projects.
Endless thanks to jthorson for his help.
After our community testing of the localize.Drupal.org Drupal 7 port in June we identified a critical path of remaining issues that needed to be resolved to allow us to complete the upgrade. Many of the issues were related to user roles and permissions do to the differences between Drupal 6 organic groups and the Drupal 7 version.
We put a hard focus on resolving as many of these issues in July as we could, so that we would be ready to perform the final upgrade in August (which was completed successfully on August 12th).
We also added the ability for event attendees to purchase or renew their Drupal Association memberships while purchasing their tickets for DrupalCon.
Finally we are in the planning phase for some additional work to support our payment processing needs in India, and to support having the registration process live for multiple events simultaneously.Sustaining Support and Maintenance
New Git Infrastructure Deployment
As mentioned in our June update - we put the bow on a long-standing project to migrate our git infrastructure to new servers in July. Much of the work to provision the new servers was completed in June - but the cutover itself was scheduled in the early weeks of July.
The new git infrastructure is now both redundant and highly available, greatly increasing the stability of a critical part of our infrastructure.
Serving Files from a Separate Domain
In July we also acquired a new domain and wildcard cert for *.drupalcontent.org. This new domain will be used to serve static files across the Drupal ecosystem of websites, providing benefits for security and reducing the size of http requests by serving these resources from a domain without cookies.
Work to serve files from the new domain name is ongoing, and many thanks to mlhess for helping us implement this change.
Load balancer stability
After continuing the debug the decreasing stability of our load balancers, we decided to swap hardware and rebuild the load balancers using different hardware. The new hardware is also using an updated configuration and operating system, which has proven to be more stable. The second load balancer is in the process of being built out using the new configuration and different hardware. The project should be completed by the end of August, bringing stability back to one of our key infrastructure components.
Many thanks to nnewton for helping us diagnose and make this change.
Updates to Updates
One of the core services that Drupal.org provides is updates.drupal.org. In essence this is a feature of Drupal itself. Because Drupal.org is the home of updates information for the entire project, we analyze our updates traffic as part of our project usage statistics.
Unfortunately the project usage stats have been somewhat unreliable - so in July (and continuing into August) we’ve given this system some attention.
Changes we’ve made or are in the process of making include:
- We moved the updates system to a CDN (and then migrating to a different CDN provider).
- We updated our processing to work with centralized logs on our loghost.
- We are improving the performance of the process from a 3-4 hour run per day’s worth of data to a 1 hour run per month of data.
- We are simplifying the process by removing an intermediate MongoDB deduplication/key-value store.
Work to improve the performance and stability of the updates stats system will be ongoing.
As always, we’d like to say thanks to all volunteers who are working with us and to the Drupal Association Supporters, who made it possible for us to work on these projects.whats new on Drupal.org
Drupal is a lot of things. It’s a platform, a CMS, software, and code. But here’s what Drupal is most of all: community.
That’s why DrupalCon has had community content baked in, first as a stand alone track across the entire event, then as a summit on the Monday of the Con. Now, we’re ready to double down on community starting at DrupalCon Barcelona. Together with Drupal’s Community Working Group, we’ve taken your feedback and devised a brand-new approach to community at the Cons.
What We Heard from You
We started with a survey to find out who’s participating in the Community content at DrupalCons and what you were hoping to achieve. You can review the full survey results, but here are a few key findings that we identified.
Meeting each other to build your network of support is the most important thing we can help facilitate. That’s followed by skills building, and then by actually getting specific work accomplished.
There is strong demand for a wide variety of skills training. We haven’t really provided this kind of content in a structured way for the community before, so we are excited to address it head on.
There was strong support for community content to be integrated into the main conference. We know that one reason community content moved to the summit format was poor attendance at community sessions at previous Cons, but we think this result means that we can integrate content back into the conference, but perhaps in a slightly different way.
What We’re Planning
Donna Benjamin, Adam Hill, and I met to discuss the survey results and get a plan together for Barcelona. Our goal was to build a comprehensive community program that provides a variety of ways to interact on community issues while also addressing the community concerns raised in the survey. In short, we’re proposing that community is integrated into every part of the Con. Here’s how it will work in Barcelona:
- Community Keynote: We did it in Amsterdam, and it was such a success, we’re bringing it back in Barcelona. Thursday’s keynote is presented by the community, for the community. Mike Bell (mikebell_) will talk about mental health in the open source world and David Rozas (drozas) will talk about the phenomenon of contributing to a community.
- Community Kickoff: On Monday, we will hold a community kickoff event for the week. We’ll begin with an introduction to all the community content at the Con, followed by exercises designed to help you meet the people that can help support you in your community work, whether you need help maintaining a long-standing camp or User Group, or if you’re new to the community and want to know where you can get involved. Then we’ll conduct breakouts to share knowledge around specific issues, and identify good topics for further discussion in the community Birds of a Feather sessions later in the week. We’ll end the day by joining the First Time Attendee social so that we can show the new folks what our community is all about.
- Community BoFs:Tuesday through Thursday we will hold Birds of a Feather sessions to focus on community issues. Some (maybe all?) will be determined at the Monday kickoff. These sessions should bring people together around a common theme, like User Group leaders discussing best practices for organizing a DUG. All BoFs will be asked to identify a note taker who records key takeaways from the conversation that can be shared back out with the community.
- Community Training: You asked for help building specific skills, so these sessions will be designed to help you learn specific takeaways and give you real tools you can use back in your community. Tentative topics include Camp Budgets and Financial Management, Conflict Resolution, Sponsor Recruitment and Management, Mentoring, and Public Speaking.
- Community Sprints: After four days sharing what you know and learning new things, you’ll be itching to put your ideas to use. On Friday, sprint tables will be set aside to work on specific community issues that are raised throughout the week. Topics could include things like building a universal camp budget template or helping to find ways to integrate community contribution on Drupal.org profiles.
You can see that we’ve tried to bake community into the Con from start to finish and address all the different needs you identified. We hope this new format will make it easier for you to get the support you need to continue to do what you do best - make Drupal great!
Where Do I Sign Up?
To help organize our space and time, we’re asking you to RSVP for both the Community KickOff and the Community Trainings. All you need to do is head over to the Community Summit Page, find the content you're interested in, and add your name to the list.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or suggestions,
Flickr photo: Boris Baldinger
Here we go again! It's your monthly summary of all things board meeting at the Drupal Association. This month we covered board governenance (there's a seat opening up), the D8 Accelerate Campaign, and the Association strategic frame. Plus, as a bonus, the board approved the Q2 financials for publication. As always, if you want to catch up on all the details, you can find everything you need to know about the meeting online, including minutes, materials, and a recording. If you're just here for a summary view, read on!
Angie Byron's term on the board is going to be up this fall, and she has expressed her desire not to renew that term. We're going to be very sad to see Angie go, but thrilled that she will have one less hat to talk about when explaining which hat she is wearing at any given point during your next meeting with her. Seriously - she's brought so much thoughfulness and passion to the board. She's not leaving us yet (her term expires 10/31), but our Governance Committee will be working with the Nominations Committee to recruit candidates and help the board make the next selection.
As I write these words there are just 10(!) release blockers standing between us and a release candidate for Drupal 8. Part of the momentum this year has come from Drupal 8 Accelerate. We've made over 40 grants, worth more than $120,000 so far. That's helped us close nearly 100 issues, addressing some really important features, like a beta to beta upgrade, security bugs, and performance. If you're curious about what's getting funded, you can always see the full list. And, we're getting close to reaching our goal - we've raised $223,000. You can help us reach our $250,000 goal by making a donation today!
Drupal Association Strategic Frame
Why are we doing the work we do? Because everyone at the Association wants to have a positive impact for Drupal. The best way for us to have an impact is to pick a few goals that we are going to focus on achieving. The Association board used their January retreat to set some 3-5 year goals for the Association:
- To develop sufficient professionals to meet global demand for Drupal
- To lead the community in focused, efficient, effective development of Drupal
- To ensure the sustainability of the Drupal project and community
- To increase Drupal adoption in target markets
- To increase the strength and resilience of the Drupal Association
We've been working since then to select the right strategies and objectives (1 year to 18 month time frame) for our work. You can see the directions we're headed in the presentation we shared. It's important to note that we expect to revisit our strategies and objectives on a quarterly basis to adjust as we go. The world of Drupal moves fast, and we need to as well. So, although we are setting 12 to 18 month objectives, we will be adjusting the frame much more frequently, and won't be sticking with objectives that we find don't really support the work.
2015 Q2 Financials
And in the most exciting news of all, the second quarter financials were approved by the board. You can always find whatever financials have been released in the public financials folder. If you have never taken a look at the financials before, I recommend it. Although I tease about them being boring, I love financial statements! A while back, I wrote up a post about how to read our financial statements. I also like pointing out that each Con has it's own tab in our financial statements, so you can see exactly how that money coems in, and where it is spent.
See you next time!
And that's it for this summary. But, if you have questions or ideas, you can always reach out to me!
Flickr photo: Joeri Poesen
Last year we conducted a Drupal Job Market survey to better understand the opportunities for those who know Drupal. The survey showed strong demand for Drupal skills and demonstrated why Drupal is a rewarding and potentially lucrative career path. We are conducting another survey this year.
This year we are adding questions about compensation to help Drupal talent and hiring organizations benchmark themselves.
You can expect to see the results from the survey published in late August. Thank you for taking the survey!
Iterative Changes to the Front Page of Drupal.org
The home page of Drupal.org has been changing in several small but important ways. The main focus of our design work in June was to provide new community metrics to replace the less meaningful and somewhat misleading metrics that were removed in the previous home page update.
We also updated the text of the Try Drupal button on Drupal.org, to better clarify the purpose of the feature. Try Drupal allows potential users to evaluate Drupal by using a highly polished demo hosted by our Supporting Partners. This gives Drupal newcomers and learners the chance to see examples of Drupal configured at its best, to encourage evaluators to choose Drupal for their needs. The program supports a core part of the mission of the Drupal Association: helping to promote Drupal and grow Drupal adoption.
Improving Drupal.org Performance with Advanced Aggregator
These configuration changes have been made carefully to ensure they don’t degrade the user experience for any user of the site - and are continuing into July.
The Plan Category for Drupal.org Issues
Another small deployment made in June was the addition of a Plan category to the Drupal.org issue queues.
The Plan category codifies the informal [meta] issues into a category selectable within the Issues UI.
This only scratches the surface of a long-buried issue in the Drupal.org issue queues - a lack of project management and prioritization tools. The larger Content Strategy work that the Drupal Association is beginning to implement will help to address this need further with a new Initiative content type to provide better hierarchy and prioritization tools.Organization and User Profile Improvements
Recent Issue Credits (3 months) now appear on individual and organization profiles.
Expanding upon the work the Association staff has done to create a system for credit and attributions in the Issue queues, the Association has begun displaying information about issue credits on user’s Drupal.org profiles.
Whenever a project maintainer has credited the user in an issue when marking the issue closed - the project will appear on the profile, along with a link to a list of the credited issues.
Additional improvements are planned for the crediting UI to allow credit attribution to users who did not comment directly on the issue. The Association will also begin to backfill historical credit data.
Organizations benefit from this change as well. When a maintainer closes an issue and assigns credit, if any of the users being credited have attributed the work to an organization - that issue credit will be displayed on the organization page. This change rewards those organizations that give their employees time to give back to Drupal.Content Strategy and Visual Design System for Drupal.org
In May, the long-running Content Strategy work culminated the presentation of the Drupal Association’s proposal for a new content model on Drupal.org. In June, after monitoring feedback from the Drupal community and the Working Groups following DrupalCon Los Angeles - we transitioned from planning the new Information Architecture to planning the implementation details to make the new content model a reality on Drupal.org.
Implementation of the new content model and governance plan is going to involve quite a few changes to the modules on Drupal.org, so we want to approach the implementation iteratively and carefully.
Our plan developed in June calls for us to create the new ‘Why Drupal’ section of the site first. In June, we prototyped an implementation of this first section using Organic Groups and Panelizer and prepared a plan for performance profiling.Issue Workflow and Git Improvements
The Association Team is excited to implement our vision for new issue workspaces on Drupal.org - including a new spin on the implementation of pull requests.
Work on the Issue Workspaces is slated to begin once major work on DrupalCI is complete, and we are able to retire the PIFT/PIFR testing system without regressions.
However, we were able to remove a blocker to this work by updating our servers for our Git architecture (more below in sustaining support and maintenance.)Community Initiatives
DrupalCI was a major focus of the Drupal Association staff in June. In June the integration between DrupalCI and Drupal.org was enabled for the first time. DrupalCI is now running in parallel with the PIFT/PIFR testbots to provide us a reference frame to prove out the implementation.
A remaining MVP hit list was codified in June - representing the few remaining issues needed to meet the guidelines set out by the Drupal core developers. (Spoilers: Most of these issues are resolved at the time of this posting in July!).
Going into July the focus will be on providing testing for Contrib through DrupalCI, and then ensuring that there are no regressions in functionality or test result detail as compared to PIFT/PIFR so that the old test bots can be retired.
Once that is achieved, the Assocation’s work on DrupalCI will scale back to maintaining the system’s stability- and more development focus will be provided to our next initiatives.
At the end of June we initiated a final round of community testing for the port of localize.drupal.org from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7.
That testing period has ended as of the first week of June, and we are now working together with the community to resolve the issues uncovered by this final testing before deployment.Revenue-related projects (funding our work)
Registration for DrupalCon Barcelona opened in June, with some small refinements to the registration process from lessons learned in DrupalCon Los Angeles.
Events.Drupal.org did receive one new front-facing feature, an opportunity in the registration process for ticket purchasers to purchase or renew their Individual or Organization memberships with the Drupal Association.
The Drupal Association is also working very closely with the DrupalCon Asia designer in preparation for the full site launch in the coming months.
Better Cart Management on Jobs.drupal.org
On Drupal Jobs we deployed a small update to the checkout workflow to make cart management easier - addressing the top support request that we receive from our users.
Future development for Drupal Jobs continues to be limited to the most high-impact bugs or features identified in the support requests we receive for job postings.
Signature Supporting Partners Page Launched
June also saw the launch of the Signature Supporting Partner program. This required a small update to our supporting partners page to support the new partner category.Sustaining Support and Maintenance
Final work preparing for deployment of our new git servers was completed in June - but for scheduling reasons the maintenance window for replacing our existing Git infrastructure was scheduled to take place on 7/9/2015. (This deployment was successful!)
Our Fastly CDN deployment for updates traffic (updates.drupal.org) was also successful. Updates now use dynamic purging to reduce the number of requests served by our origin servers and decreases the latency between packaging a release and serving the update data from a number of minutes to a few seconds.
As part of the updates deployment with Fastly, we now have a *.drupal.org wildcard TLS/SSL certificate for https://updates.drupal.org and https://ftp.drupal.org. This enables HTTPS support on all of Drupal.org and its’ sub-sites for the first time.
As always, we’d like to say thanks to all volunteers who are working with us and to the Drupal Association Supporters, who made it possible for us to work on these projects.
OSCON, the annual open source conference, brings over 4,000 people together in Portland this July. We are a proud participant again this year and we are excited to talk about Drupal to a wider audience. If you are looking for a reason to attend, you can use the code USRG which will get you 20% off your registration. Or you can use the PCEXPOPLUS code to gain admission to the exhibition hall for free.
Taking Drupal to the larger open source world is a big job, and we need our amazing community's help. Help us spread the word that Drupal is at OSCON! If you're attending, please come by and say hi, let your new friends know they can find us in the nonprofit pavilion at table #6 from Tuesday evening through Thursday afternoon. Or, if you know someone who's in open source who will be at OSCON, please encourage them to come by and say hello! Here's a tweet you can share with your networks to help us spread the word:
Thanks to the Portland Drupal community for helping out and to everyone for volunteering time at OSCON. If you want to help out by volunteering at the table, we'd love your assistance! You can sign up here.
See you at OSCON!Personal blog tags: OSCON
If you are interested in Drupal community and you are coming to Drupalcon, we are looking for your opinions!
For a very long time, community conversations at DrupalCon took place at sessions in the community track, which ran alongside all the other content at DrupalCons. The community track allowed for presentations on topics related to our community. While it was good to be able to raise the topics, there were real concerns that the session format meant that nothing productive came from the conversation. Further, the community track was just much less attended than other sessions, with 25 or so folks in a room that holds 200.
At DrupalCon Prague in 2013, we launched the first Community Summit. Held on the Monday of DrupalCon week, it is a day-long event designed in an un-conference style to bring community members together to tackle the issues that help our community achieve more together. Morten DK, Addison Berry, and others (bless you all - you have been great collaboratrs) ran the program and led a number of very useful conversations.
For the last few DrupalCons we have run these community summits, and have heard a whole new round of feedback, including:
- Work at the Summit does not tend to continue after the Summit, so we lose momentum.
- We don’t always have the right people in the room to really solve some of these problems.
We also did some surveying of our community leaders at the beginning of last year and heard that they are very hungry for skills training that can help them take their camps, meetups, trainings, etc. to the next level. They want to learn about how to manage the finances of a camp, how to recruit sponsors, and how to be better public speakers. The current community summit format does not really allow for this kind of skills training either.
So - we are looking for your feedback about how we might restructure the community content at DrupalCons.
Just so you know, I hit the woods with my family and no internet and no phones for one week a year, and that week is next week. I won’t be able to respond to comments or the survey while I’m gone, but I will do so when I return. If you have feelings, ideas, or feelings about ideas - stick them in the survey! I’ll share the results back out. If you have book recommendations for my trip, hit me up on Twitter.
First things first - an apology. I realize it's been a couple of month since I put up a post about our Board meetings. I definitely apologize, and will try not to let that happen again. However, know that you can always see the meeting minutes, materials, and recordings on our site. And, if you ever have any questions, you can find me on Twitter, D.O, in IRC (drupalhross), or you can send me an email (you know, if you are old school).
The June board meeting covered the month of May at the Association, which was a rather big month. As usual, we had a number of items to cover in our operational upate, and then we dove into updates from the Drupal.org Working Groups.
- Drupal 8 Accelerate had a great month in May, adding $55,000 to the total of over $213,000 now raised to help close D8 release blockers. Huge thanks to Catalyst IT, Open Source Developers Conference Australia, Siteground, Figleaf Software and Duo Consulting for the $1,000+ donations in May. You can see how every dollar is directly impacting Drupal 8.
- We had a DrupalCon! We'll give you a full wrap up in August when all the details, including financials are available.
- Content Strategy is coming to Drupal.org. In an nutshell, we are excited to have completed a content strategy process with Forum One. With the strategy document complete, we can begin implementation. In the next few months we'll be introducing changes to the site to support the new information architecture and content governenace. When everything is in place, you will see a site that is easier to navigate and gives topic owners more flexibility in the types of content and permissioning they can use. You can see all the details in the DrupalCon LA session we hosted.
- As we shared in last week's post, our revenue continues to come in slower than planned. In Executive Session we shared a mid-year adjustment to the plan that we have now begun executing. Although we are not meeting our original goals, we remain excited about the possibilities for the Association - we are still growing. Especially reassuring is that all the Drupal 8 content we release is snapped up quickly.
Working Group Updates
Last quarter the Working Groups met in-person at DrupalCon Los Angeles. During the meeting, the groups discussed their role in producing the Drupal.org roadmap and began the process of re-prioritizing the work. We have definitely discovered a broader need for the Association engineering team across the Drupal ecosystem, and need a better process to allow for unplanned work to be prioritized. A good example is DrupalCI, which morphed from an entirely volunteer-run initiative to work supported heavily by Association staff.
The Working Groups have also proposed charter changes in to the Executive Committee for review. We are looking to expand the number of community members on each group and further clarify the roles.
Thanks and see you next month!
That's all we had for this board meeting, but more is planned for July and beyond. Check out all our upcoming board meetings and register to attend.
Flickr photo: pdjohnson
In the next couple of weeks we'll be launching a new sponsorship opportunity for Drupal Supporters on the homepage of Drupal.org. The following is background information and a proposal for the program. We would like a period of public community feedback. Feedback is open until the 6th of July. At that time, we will incorporate the feedback into the sponsorship program plan.Background
The Drupal Association has been creating advertising programs on Drupal.org in an effort to do more to serve our mission, and to take the pressure off of DrupalCons to perform financially. We’ve been working to develop advertising products that are meaningful for advertisers, deliver value to the community, and are respectful of users contributing to the project.About the Program
The Homepage Sponsorship will highlight partners who support the community through Drupal Supporter Programs. This includes Supporting Partners, Hosting Supporters and Tech Supporters. The sponsorship will display in the 300 x 250 ad block that already exists on the Drupal.org homepage. The creative template is designed and maintained by the Association. The featured supporter will provide a logo, body copy, button copy, and a link to that will direct to their website. We will display the partner’s supporter badge, and eventually, pass in any applicable organization credits.
The idea for the Homepage Sponsorship originates from the rewards mechanism that Dries discussed in his DrupalCon Amsterdam 2014 Keynote. His vision involves building a system that creates an incentive for Drupal companies to contribute to the project by rewarding them with benefits and giving recognition.
There is a larger project in motion which includes the Drupal Association building commit credits for organizations, and developing the algorithm to apply a value to the credits. The Homepage Sponsorship is one potential reward that will eventually feed into the system. Until that larger project is complete, the Homepage Sponsorship will be available for purchase by Drupal Supporters. It will be sold in one week increments, giving the partner 100% of the page views during the campaign. The program will expand recognition for those organizations who already give back, and will encourage more organizations to participate in Supporter Programs.Homepage Sponsorship Mock
Advertising Guidelines for Drupal.org
The Drupal Association interviewed representatives of the Drupal Community to help guide our advertising strategy and ensure a positive advertising experience on Drupal.org. We developed informal guidelines; for example, advertising is not appropriate in issue queues, and when possible, products should monetize users who are logged out and not contributing to the Project. After we received feedback on our most recent program - Try Drupal, we started work on formalizing these guidelines for advertising on Drupal.org.
We created an issue to share a draft advertising policy developed by the Association and Drupal.org Content Working Group. The policy will set guidelines for how we advertise - addressing issues like the labeling of ads, content guidelines, etc. with the aim of providing an advertising experience that complements Drupal.org and supports our community values. Whatever decisions are made in that policy will be applied to existing programs, including the Homepage Sponsorship and Try Drupal program.Talk To Us
We want your input about the Homepage Sponsorship. Please comment on this post, or in the issue, with your questions and insights.
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I want to share today that the Association is implementing a new financial plan to address lower than anticipated revenues in 2015. To align our spending more closely with our revenue, we are implementing expense cuts that I’m very sorry to say include staffing. Regrettably, we are losing three staff people today from operations, engineering and our community teams. This was not a decision we came to lightly, and we’re committed to helping those staff through their transition as best we can. In this post I want to share some information about how we got here, and our revised plan.
A Brief history
This is a really hard post to write because we delivered a plan to the community at the beginning of 2015, and it’s clear that we are not going to be able to fully execute to that plan. I take responsibility for that.
I started at the Association two and half years ago, at a very different time for the organization. At that point in early 2013, the Association was a handful of staff, mostly focused on the DrupalCons. The D7 upgrade of Drupal.org had been halted. Not without some good reason, community trust in the Association was low, and that’s among the people who even knew the Association existed.
When I joined, the message I heard from the board and from the many community members I talked to was that the Association had to learn to implement consistently and communicate more. In other words, we needed to build our credibility in the community by executing our work well and making sure the community knew what we were up to and how to get involved.
One thing that was clear from the outset was that Drupal.org was key to our success. If we could not begin to make visible improvements to Drupal.org with the community, we would fail. With support from the board, we decided to invest our healthy reserve in ourselves and build a team that could improve Drupal.org. As our CTO Josh Mitchel pointed out in his anniversary blog post, we’ve done a LOT on Drupal.org. We’ve also made great strides in DrupalCons, introducing more first-time attendee support, providing more resources to all the sprints, and adding the third Con in global communities that are so eager to have us there. Our marketing team has helped create some key content for Drupal 8 and we’ve even raised over $210,000 to help fund the completion of D8 release blockers, The revenue we generate to do this work has also increased, and diversified. We've grown the Drupal Jobs, and rolled out Try Drupal. You can see, even with our revised expectations for 2015, that things are still growing. One of our key programs, Supporting Partners, is up 26% over this same time period last year, for example. Growth of this program was only 4% in 2014.
So lots of amazing things are happening, but we have to address that we overestimated what was possible for revenue. We have to adjust our plan to meet reality.
Changing the Plan
Addressing our situation is not work we took lightly. We set several goals for the process that guided our thinking throughout:
- Solve for short-term revenue shortfalls while retaining resources we need to succeed long-term
- Minimize staff impact
- Do this once - find the scenario we can truly sustain, and then grow out of
- Retaining credibility with staff and ensuring we communicate how valuable they are for our future
- Maintain community confidence
The strategy we used was two-fold. First, we strove to preserve our core services to the community and our ability to fund our own work. Second, we decided to take action as quickly as possible because the sooner we made changes to the plan, the greater the long-term benefit to the organization. We know that this second strategy makes some of this seem like it's out of the blue, but it means that we impact as few people as possible.
Our leadership team looked at three approaches to addressing our cash flow issues:
- Incremental revenue: Our new forecast extends actuals from the beginning of 2015 out through the end of the year. We believe that it is possible for us to improve upon this forecast slightly because, although our primary mistake was overestimating revenue, we also had some staffing change-ups (a retirement, hiring new reps) on the team at the beginning of the year that adversely affected the numbers. There is some room to modestly improve our revenue from the forecast.
- Non-labor expense: We looked at travel, consulting fees, hardware and software, among other places in the budget where we had built in buffers or non-essential expenses. Eliminating these now, and not carrying them into 2016 was a key part of our process.
- Labor expense: This was the last option we looked at because at the end of the day, not only do all our staff give the community everything they’ve got, we really like each other here. I care deeply for the well-being of everyone at the Association. There is also lot of discussion in the business community about the long-term negative impacts of layoffs on organizations. We looked at lots of ways to reduce labor expense, but were not able to find a solution that did not include some layoffs.
Using this process, we were able to identify $450,000 in non-labor expense savings, and increase revenue projections $250,000 from July 1 2015 through December 31 2016. That was enough to solve our 2015 revenue shortfalls, but it did not address the issues long-term. We needed to reach deeper to ensure our long-term success. We had to consider labor reductions.
Prior to looking at any other staff, the leadership team at the Association decided that the first staff cut had to come from us. As a team, Megan, Joe, Josh, and Matt volunteered a 10% reduction, and I volunteered a 15% reduction. But we still weren’t there. Looking at the remaining labor cuts, we wanted to use our values as our guide. We know that our team believes in our teamwork value above all else, and would want to minimize layoffs as much as possible. With that in mind, we experimented with the model and determined that we could limit layoffs to three if we asked remaining staff to take a 5% pay cut across the board.
All told, here’s what measures look like:
We believe this approach meets our goals and puts us in the best position possible to continue the great work we’ve been doing.
What Happens Next?
On the financial front, we’ll be managing to our cash flow for the next 18 months, as well as modernizing our budgeting and forecasting tools to reflect an Agile methodology. This will let us see further into the future more often, and give us more opportunities to update our plans based on what’s actually happening. And, if we find we are performing favorably to our plan, our first action will be to restore salaries for our staff.
Most importantly, we’re going to be focused on our team. They all got the news earlier today, and we’re taking this time to talk things through all together, in our teams, and one on one. I am here to answer questions and hear concerns for every one of them. We’ll also implement monthly internal review of our progress to the new plan with staff so that they have transparency on a monthly basis about what’s happening. These people are the best thing we have going for us, and I won’t ever be able to make this up to any of them, but I am committed to helping them find the best path forward they can.
Sharing this is not easy. The only thing that makes it better is knowing that the Association, like Drupal itself, has so much potential. I want to thank our Supporters, partners, sponsors, members, and the general community for everything you’ve given us so far. The only way we will realize our potential and move forward is together, and we are so happy that we get to do that with you.