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Understanding community changes

From: Drupal 7 New Features

Video: Understanding community changes

I know. This course is about software, about bits and bytes and 1s and 0s, and technically that's all software is. But in reality the community that supports software is at least as important as the code itself. Community defines whether software will keep up with the times and whether you can get help when something goes wrong, and whether you'll be able to find a job with your software skills. Code without community is like a car without roads. It might hum beautifully but it can't go anywhere. But fortunately Drupal's community is one of the most active of any software project on earth.

Understanding community changes

I know. This course is about software, about bits and bytes and 1s and 0s, and technically that's all software is. But in reality the community that supports software is at least as important as the code itself. Community defines whether software will keep up with the times and whether you can get help when something goes wrong, and whether you'll be able to find a job with your software skills. Code without community is like a car without roads. It might hum beautifully but it can't go anywhere. But fortunately Drupal's community is one of the most active of any software project on earth.

Let's look at some of the ways that it's grown since Drupal 6 was released and where it's going. One thing hasn't changed since Drupal 6. The place to get all of your news about the Drupal community is on drupal. org, which I've loaded up right here. It looks, well, exactly the same as when Drupal 6 was released. At least on the day I'm making this video. You wouldn't know from looking at it but redesigning and re-architecting this site has been a focus of a huge effort over the last two-and-a-half years. It's been led in part by the same design firm that improved the interface of Drupal itself, Mark Boulton Design.

If you go to their website at markboltondesign.com, you can see some of their plans for Drupal. Now not all of these will make it into the final drupal.org, but over here, you get a sense of where exactly this site is going to be going, or at least the general direction. You can look at one part of drupal.org that got the new design early. Let's go to localize.drupal.org, and that's how it looks. Not bad. There have been some features that have made it into the drupal.org site itself.

One of them is called faceted searching. I'll show you that by searching for a word that will find a lot of hits for, let's just say, search. We get our hits and if you look in the right-hand column, you see this Sort by various different criteria and you also see Filter by. So let's say that I know that I'm looking for some kind of module that has something to do with search. If I click on Project, that narrows it way down, and then if I want to remove that I can remove it by clicking on the minus sign there. You can also narrow it down with several different criteria.

So let's say I know it's a Project and it had something to do with Chris Shattuck, who is a Drupal developer. And there we are, now we have a much better sense of what exactly we were looking for. Two other websites are worth mentioning. The first one is drupal.com, not .org, but .com. From a marketing point of you, Drupal is a really valuable brand. I mean hundreds of thousands of people know it, and people tend to remember .com instead of .org. So thousands and thousands of people would go to the drupal.com site every week, and what did they see when they got there? Well I'll show you something from the archives at archive.org.

This was all that they saw at drupal.com for many years. Fortunately there is a new drupal.com already, dedicated to promoting Drupal, while drupal.org is still more about supporting Drupal. I have to say drupal.com looks pretty good. Here it is. Along the same lines is the web site for the Drupal association. Now that's a Belgium-based nonprofit that among other things manages the semiannual drupal.com event. You can get to that by going to association.drupal.org, and as you can see it has the new design as well.

The demand for people with Drupal talent, in particular those who are PHP programmers, continues to grow in the business world, and I'll show you just as an example. If I go to monster.com, which is a large jobs board and I do a search for Drupal somewhere in the Skills and Keywords, you can see that 169 jobs were found right off the bat. Drupal-centered businesses are also thriving. The biggest business news by far since Drupal 6 is the launch of Acquia, a Drupal support company co-founded by Drupal's creator, Dries Buytaert, and it's supported with $15 million of venture capital to get it started.

You can find it at acquia.com. Unlike a lot of other Drupal companies, Acquia doesn't actually build sites. Instead they provide several products and services that support those of us who do. We'll look at three of them in this video series. First we'll use Acquia's installer to get Drupal on to our computers, because it's so much better than the programs I used to recommend. It used to only have a choice of MAMP for Mac and WAMP for Windows and just a few others and they all had problems, but the Acquia Drupal stack installer is just great.

The second thing from Acquia we'll look at is called Acquia Drupal, which is a version of Drupal that includes some helpful additional pieces. The third thing from Acquia that we'll take a look at is called Drupal Gardens, which is a way to use Drupal without ever having to install it on your own computer. It's what's called a hosted service for Drupal. That covers a lot of what's new in the Drupal community, but of course it's no way near everything. Your best way to stay informed in this very busy community is to subscribe to Planet Drupal. That's a collection of blogs about Drupal, and my own blog at tomgeller.com is on it as well.

You can go to it by drupal.org/planet. Posts as they come in and show up in this main area and you can see exactly which blogs are being covered in it in this left-hand column and there are dozens and dozens of them. But as always, the best way to learn about what's going on in the Drupal world is to become an active member of the community. To do that you can join conversations, join groups that interest you, and just take part and contribute code if you are able to a drupal.org.

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Drupal 7 New Features

29 video lessons · 7921 viewers

Tom Geller
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