I've been building Drupal sites, involved in the community, and sometimes working on the code since Drupal 6. I've been building websites since a bit earlier and chose Drupal because I knew I wanted to write more content and less (redundant) code. To keep things a bit confusing, I got this sweet little username on Drupal.org, but of course I couldn't get it on Twitter, etc. So, I'm @lowellmo on Twitter. And I'm LowellMontgomery on GitHub... and I've just started a new photo website, lowemo.photo (more about that, later), and on it goes.
Before the "Web era", I was moonlighting in photographic services and DTP. I dissolved the fledgling photo/graphic business in 2001 to move with my new partner to Germany. I've lived in Germany (and for a while in Italy) since then; it wasn't the right time for her to move to the U.S. And I was born in the UK, so I had a British passport. Living in the EU would be possible. And I was a hopeless romantic. (The things we do for love!)
Anyway, after somehow not having enough German skills to easily find a job in the world of Germany's digital imaging market, which was highly specialized, I specialized in teaching English (EFL/ESL) for a time, while also studying with the Open University (UK) and finishing a series of courses in Web application development, which culminated in a certification, but meant I had to write all the code. It was then I knew I wanted to use Drupal (and couldn't for my coursework), but I knew I would use it for a practical project after that. So I did a few projects, and internship with Cocomore AG, then worked for them doing specialized tasks on Drupal projects and blogging about Drupal-related things (Drupal tutorials, events, etc). I loved it and the community. And then I got into some very specialized tasks on a very specialized project that only "involved Drupal" and that, unfortunately took me away from the most Drupal-relevant stuff that I'd been blogging about). Don't get me wrong, my work was interesting. I got to report lots of cool bugs, learn and practice Scrum (or at least a bastardization of it, then a form of Kanban) in a development team, use Git and get exposed to Erlang and other very cool technologies, discuss, plan, and estimate requirements for new features, write automated tests to ensure that the bugs I'd found and reported were fixed and didn't come back…. And I got to plan, design, and write complex tests that all the convoluted features of this big project were working together the way they were supposed to. Some of the new features required so many complex steps to implement that the feature branch would be open for months while I worked with a small team of developers, supporting the process not only with QA (in many ways as project manager or scrum-master) for these new sets of functionality.
It was all very interesting and I learned a lot of useful stuff... but it took me too far from what I really love, which I realized was CONTENT. It was work which became less and less Drupal-related and then less and less CONTENT-related. (Except for the odd times I would be called on to translate documents or web content from German to English or proofread/correct a letter, sales pitch, job offer, or contract; being the only native English speaker in a company that was doing business internationally did put me at a bit of demand for those skills, so luckily I wasn't specialized to death). I was finally starting to feel like I had some level of "expertise", not just in our proprietary algorithms and business logic, but also in the area of "automated testing", with Selenium/Webdriver, new object-oriented PHP, Jenkins, (and "manual testing", for that matter—often more important, IMHO).
Anyway, after realizing I was missing the opportunity to exercise my "content-creation skills" as much as I'd wanted to when I joined the company, I decided to quit my full-time contract in favor of a 50% freelance contract. In my newly found "spare time", I might have started blogging about the topic of "quality" and continuous integration (instead of Drupal), but I then learned that the development team had started planning a complete rework of their architecture... and Drupal wasn't part of it. Doh! And the approach to the rewrite also wouldn't really require any of my specializations for some time as each part would be modular and each would be better separated in terms of duties and unit testing (written by the developers). So we dissolved our contract and I'm now sometimes available for freelance work, if you need my “mad skillz” part-time, (or until I've fully monetized my side-ventures and have started hiring you, instead). ;-)
When I've got things further along, I hope I'll remember to update my bio here and let you share in the fun... And I do think it will be fun!
- Member for
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When I can, I try to pitch in; this is how the community works. My first contribution was organizing the Cocomore-sponsored Code Sprints for Drupal 7 and the Drupal 7 release party in late 2010 and early 2011, respectively. I've helped organize and pitched in at DrupalCamps and Drupalcons, wrote a small module that's had some use, helped in various issues queues and was the driving force behind building the "new" Drupal books system on drupal.org (for published books about Drupal, which used to be basically static HTML pages and is now Views-based, with a new content type. I created that content type and the Views displays and staged content and migrated it via a Selenium process. Lately, I've been too busy to take on such tasks, but these things change; look for me at the cons! :-D
LoMo helps support and grow the Drupal community with the Drupal Association.