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Introducing the Mediacurrent Contrib Committee

After Mediacurrent's excellent retreat in October 2014 it was decided to set up some internal committees to help organize various company initiatives. Several of these committees were fairly straight forward - marketing, training, porting our corporate site to D8, etc, but I felt that one had been overlooked - a committee for organizing our contrib efforts.

The lifeblood of open source software is the time spent improving it. Contributing back to the projects that we use daily is extremely important to me, and many of my co-workers. While many of our clients share this mantra, promoting it from within and living by it is the best way of helping all clients to see the benefits of contributing budget and time to improving the systems they profit from.

With a concern that not having a designated committee might lead to people ultimately not getting time to contribute to Drupal and other projects, I sent a proposal to Mediacurrent's founders, Dave Terry and Paul Chason, our SVP of Professional Services, Jeff Diecks, and our Director of Development, Andrew Riley. Within a few short hours I received a positive response and the next day we had a call to discuss it.

The outcome of the call I had with Dave and Andrew is that Mediacurrent now has an official internal committee focused on our contributions. Additionally, I offered to lead the group - I figured it was only right as I was the one pushing for it.

General goals

The primarily goals of the contrib committee are:

  • Promote, both internally and with clients, the benefits of contributing to the Drupal project.
  • Promote the contrib-first policy introduced by Andrew in 2014.
  • Get involved in the Drupal security team in an official capacity, with at least two developers and one PM involved.
  • Provide additional support to client project teams where they may run into bugs that the client doesn't have the budget to fully deal with.
  • Provide mentoring and training for people unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the d.o issue queue system and its patch-based workflow.
  • Regularly blog about contrib best practices, how to work with the drupal.org workflows, success stories, etc.

Additionally we will be working to improve our internal workflows around contributing:

  • Provide focus for the company's contributions, especially the 4-6 hours each member of staff (usually) has each week for tasks outside of client work.
  • Aim for regular module updates, keeping release cycles short as it’s better to get fixes out sooner than have them significantly delayed by feature improvements.
  • Identify and keep track of d.o issues of interest, with the goal of getting all issues to RTBC status.
  • Track the contrib work being done on client projects so we can have a true understanding of how much is being contributed by the team.
  • Track monthly goals and progress, and provide reporting on achievements.

A tentative start

We had a tentative start in late December, but due to the holidays and everyone's vacation plans the progress was limited. That said, I'm still proud of what was accomplished:

Other staff contributed on their own during the month, including:

January 2015 goals

With Drupal 8 still in beta, and with almost all of our clients on Drupal 7 (or 6), our January goals are focused on stabilizing many of the D7 contrib modules we use regularly:

The majority of these modules are close to being release-ready as-is, they just need a little work to finish them off, while a few of them do need some concrete work done. It's also possible some of them may be pushed out a little, but it should be possible to at least get out a release candidate.

Going forwards

Once we get past our current D7 goals we'll be jumping head first into porting modules to D8. I maintain and co-maintain a number of modules, from small little things like Remy Sharp’s HTML5 Shim and Set Front Page right up to fairly large and intricate systems like Metatag and Panelizer. It's my goal to port all of these to D8 in 2015 and we'll be collaborating on these and more, starting with the smaller ones and working our way upwards.

Lastly, because all of this work is being managed via drupal.org issue queues (with some help by Trello.com) the good news is that everyone can help, so I look forward to seeing many of you there!

2015 promises to be a busy and exciting year!

Additional Resources

The Power of Giving | Mediacurrent Blog Post
Culture, Code and Karaoke | Mediacurrent Blog Post

Headshot

Meet team member, Damien McKenna

In his role as Community Lead, Damien directs internal initiatives that strengthen Mediacurrent’s commitment to open-source principles, collaboration, and sharing knowledge to strengthen the Drupal community. Regularly ranked as one of the ten most active contributors on drupal.org, Damien has been a significant member of the Drupal community since 2007. In addition to writing documentation, writing & reviewing patches and mentoring others, Damien maintains Metatag, Views, Twitter, Panelizer and several other SEO-focused modules.

Prior to Mediacurrent, Damien spent five years building content management systems and frameworks using multiple languages (PHP, ColdFusion, Ruby), before he was first introduced to Drupal in 2007. A year later, he delved deeper into Drupal 5's architecture while migrating two popular skiing sites off a proprietary system. While becoming increasingly involved in his local Drupal community, Damien led the development of several successful content-rich platforms including a US radio station network spanning ten individual sites. Damien joined Mediacurrent in 2012 as a Lead Drupal Architect, where he was involved with planning the architecture of new sites, project estimates, and lots of hands-on development work.

When not working with Drupal, Damien enjoys playing ukulele and spending time with family in their home in Central Florida.

Learn more about Damien >

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