The Redesign Progress

Concello de Boimorto

Just a few years ago was maintained by a small team of insiders. Now, we are making major changes to the site using the community's many developers and themers.

This update provides the Drupal community our implementation redesign progress, where we've run into challenges, and provide information about our future plans.

The following update provides insight into:

  1. Our progress so far
  2. The present focus of the implementation and management team
  3. Where help is needed from the community

1. A Redesign Progress Report

The redesign is an effort started in 2007 to make meet the needs of the growing Drupal community and showcase the power of the Drupal software. In 2008, an exciting and visionary new design for was completed by Mark Boulton Design and the community.

In 2008 and 2009, members of the Drupal community participated in six redesign sprints in North America and Europe. As major features of the redesign began to take shape, we needed to work on more granular details of the implementation. Recreating staging environments locally for development teams is a serious challenge, so we created a hosted infrastructure for developers and themers. In late 2009, we began to seek companies from the Drupal community to sponsor individual sections of the redesign. We've now recruited over twenty volunteer organizations to help implement sections of the redesign built on top of the features developed by the infrastructure team.

There is a lot of visible progress on the redesign:

  • Site is fully upgraded to Drupal 6, making customizations easier.
  • Single sign-on for all sites has been implemented.
  • Significant improvements to project module, with statistics, are complete.
  • New features like module recommendations and related discussions are now available.
  • The site now utilizes faceted search with the Solr search engine.

Additionally, much of the work associated with the base theme and the dashboard system has been completed.

Much of the back-end infrastructure that supports development is in place. This includes:

  • Ten staging sites for development are set-up.
  • Central authentication for SVN access for designers and developers to contribute their code has been built.
  • Automated deployment of themes and modules to staging sites for development and debugging is live.

The project management team is shaping up:

  • Kieran Lal (Amazon) continues to be Lead Manager, assisted by project managers Lisa Rex (lisarex), and Chris Strahl (chrisstrahl), who has recently joined the redesign team.
  • Dries Buytaert (dries), Drupal creator and project lead, is involved to review our progress and provide additional direction.
  • Damien Tournoud (DamZ) is providing technical assistance for the project, specifically with regards to search results and the Download and Extend pages that rely on Solr search results.
  • Todd Ross Nienkerk (toddross) and Aaron Stanush (astanush) are the base theme implementation leads. They are assisting in theme development and maintaining consistency in the overall style.
  • Bill O'Connor (csevb10) is now leading the Search results sections. He has already implemented the theme search results section.
  • Randy Fay (rfay) is the Lead Redesign System Admin and Jonathan Wagener (theamoeba) is the newest Redesign System Admin

Finally, the Project Management team has been busy:

  • We've identified a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which consists of 22 major sections, to be implemented as the first phase of the redesign. The redesign project is a big undertaking, and we need to focus on we can realistically accomplish within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Redesign has it's own project and issue queue
  • Blue Cheese (the new base theme) has it's own project and issue queue
  • The redesign project managers and some community volunteers have spent the last week evaluating the implementation progress by assessing each section.
  • A communication plan has been introduced to complement the existing documentation.
  • There are a lot of new contributors on the implementation team. To address this, we are providing development infrastructure, granting access to new contributors, documenting tools and training materials, providing project management, and recruiting more technical leadership to help train these new contributors.

2. The Present Focus

The current plan is to implement the redesign with community volunteers and sponsoring companies. Implementers are hard-working volunteers that are dedicating time and energy to this process; taking time out of their already busy work schedules. The redesign project managers will continue to monitor progress on this approach and assist the implementers as we're able.

Participation and section status in the redesign is being tracked at Assignments and Contact Info. Progress on the implementation can be viewed by clicking on the section status links:

Weekly IRC sprints will start on Friday, Feb 12th from 11AM-11PM GMT in the #drupal-redesign channel until the MVP is ready. Everyone who is actively engaged in the redesign implementation should join in. The agenda is to focus on implementing the search results and Download and Extend sections.

Several sections only require modifications to their themes or content to be considered complete. In order to better facilitate reviewing and finalizing sections that near completion, the redesign infrastructure administrators will merge all of the code and theme work from the sponsored sections to a single site. This will allow progress to be assessed by the community and a dedicated quality assurance team. The merging will begin this week.

The project managers are engaged in the following:

  • Consolidating information from g.d.o., issue queues, domain experts, redesign documents, and email as the implementation teams provide feedback. This will be used to improve the documentation (how to implement the redesign and what the redesign will accomplish).
  • Chris and Damien will introduce an architecture document to explain how is built from Drupal core, project modules, Solr and custom modules, and a custom site specific drupal_org module.
  • Focusing our technical resources on two key areas: Search results, and Download and Extend sections. We believe that when the first Download and Extend section is implemented the other six sections which rely on the same search infrastructure can be completed quickly.
  • Duplicate issues will be consolidated and non-MVP issues will be postponed in the Redesign or base theme issue queues.

While not everything we want will be delivered by the first phase, we will have a solid framework in place and can incorporate additional community contributions and refinements after MVP completion.

3. Where Help is Needed

The redesign is a great opportunity for organizations and individuals to gain experience working on a large Drupal project, work with Drupal experts, and give back to the Drupal community. The redesign project needs volunteers with a willingness to dedicate themselves to the redesign, familiarity of the site and an understanding of how to work within the community.

Some tasks are more difficult than others. General difficulty of each area:

+++ = difficult
++ = medium
+ = easy

We need volunteers in specific areas. Contact us via the Drupal association contact form. Use the Volunteer to help with the redesign category. The project managers will match your skills, and availability to the project:

Develop Drupal search filters with Solr +++

  • We are looking for experienced developers who have written search filters for Drupal using Solr. Damien has implemented the core filters, but we need other experienced developers to assist the implementation teams.
  • Time commitment: 5+ hours per week.

Section Technical Leaders +++

  • Leaders for Download & Extend and Documentation sections needed.
  • Ideally, this person is already a redesign implementer. Skills needed are good written/spoken English, a willingness to work with a diverse group of people, excellent technical skills, experience leading a development team, and the ability to maintain organization of multiple teams working on multiple projects.
  • As a lead, you would become the point person for your section and monitor the section's issue queue. You need to understand all of the technical areas of your section to coordinate your implementation teams and see the section to completion.
  • Time commitment: 10+ hours per week.

General Project Managers ++

  • We need cat herders to help the general management of the project.
  • Skills needed are good written/spoken English, a willingness to work with a diverse group of people, excellent organizational and analytical skills, availability to meet with various project teams and experience creating project documentation.
  • Time commitment: 10+ hours per week.

Coders, themers and reviewers ++

  • Individuals can work on issues in the Redesign or Blue Cheese issue queues. Many of these issues require knowledge of the redesign, but there are also a lot where work can begin immediately.
  • Skills needed are good written/spoken English, a willingness to work with a diverse group of people, and an understanding of how to contribute within the Drupal community.
  • To contribute CSS or code patches, you'll need to read about how to obtain SVN access. Once you have worked on a Blue Cheese issue you can request access to the theme repository.
  • Time commitment: Varies (it's up to you!)

SEO ++

  • Skills needed include good written English, a good knowledge of HTML, and a keen eye for detail.
  • Please review the SEO Best Practices wiki before signing up. The tasks for this position are outlined there.
  • Time commitment: 5+ hours per week.

QA ++

  • Skills needed are good written English, a keen eye for detail, experience QAing front-end and back-end functionality of sites, taking screenshots and a willingness to work in the issue queues.
  • Please review the Redesign QA Volunteers wiki before signing up. The responsibilities of this position are outlined there.
  • Time commitment: 5+ hours per week.

Content Migration +

  • Skills needed are good written English and a keen eye for detail. Experience with managing and maintaining content on a Drupal site is also important.
  • Read the Content Migration Guidelines for an outline of what this position entails.
  • Time commitment: Varies

The Next Step

The new is an exciting new design, but also an exciting new way that the community can collaborate together to show the beauty and power of Drupal. We invite members of the Drupal community to learn more about their home, and get involved in improving it.

Sign up to volunteer via the Drupal association contact form.

Thank you,

On behalf of the redesign Project Team

Kieran, Lisa, Chris