For your Drupal site, the launch is just the beginning. It is essential for long-term success to constantly question what more can be done to exceed your organization’s goals. In this post, we will help you understand the value of Drupal support and back to the open source community.
Why Drupal Support?
Behind every great Drupal website, there's a support plan in place for ongoing maintenance.
The Drupal project has a formal security team with a history of professionally handling security advisories. However, all software — both open and closed source — has security vulnerabilities, so module security updates are critical to the future health of your site.
Other post-launch support needs to plan for include performance tuning for faster page loads, training for content editors, improving web accessibility and UX design for Drupal.
The Power of Giving Back to Drupal
With so much competition, why would web development agencies place so much value in sharing industry knowledge and even custom code for free with the Drupal community? Why is it worthwhile for a for-profit company to share knowledge to a community that includes competitors?
Rob McBryde, a Senior Project Manager at Mediacurrent, explains the power of giving back to Drupal.
Raise the Tide
Have you heard the phrase, "A rising tide lifts all boats?" This idiom, coined by John F. Kennedy, helps us visualize the idea that when an economy is doing well, all the people within that economy will benefit. The same is true for Drupal and its community. Consider how each competitor in a cluster of fast food restaurants does better than if each competitor were spread around town equidistantly. That cluster becomes the "go to" area for fast food, and overall traffic increases. As you make Drupal better, share Drupal knowledge, and increase the level of Drupal proficiency in the community, you’re improving the whole market for Drupal and open source software in general.
Building A Better Boat
Many organizations place a high value on developing and supporting “contrib” modules, and you should too! A way to do this is to regularly reserve blocks of non-billable time each week for your developers to work on contrib modules that will help your site as well as the whole Drupal community. As you continue to help the community make Drupal more secure, stable, and useful, you are making the platform more valuable to all shops building Drupal websites and to the end users with websites built in Drupal.
All Hands On Deck
There is also the socially derived benefit of a large group of people working towards the same goal. There are more reasons to use open source software than just the sticker price - as more people contribute to it everyone benefits as the same shared software becomes that much better through additional effort. For example, by releasing a module into the community, other people can use it, submit patches, identify possible security flaws, etc, whereas if the code was kept internally the improvements would only come from paid staff. More openness in this way equates to more helping hands to improve the product.
Recruiting A Better Crew
Being a company that gives to the same community from which it hires plays a large role in recruiting great talent. Giving back also takes the form of education and professional development benefits for your employees. Many companies provide employees an annual stipend for continuing education which demonstrates they are willing to invest in their people. This helps foster a culture that is ever striving to learn more about their craft and be the best company they can be.
Contributing takes on all shapes and sizes such as providing support to your fellow Drupal users, writing Drupal tutorials, testing the platform, or developing new modules or patches to Drupal core. To find out more about how you can contribute, check out Community Lead, Damien McKenna’s post on How Organizations Can Give Back to Open Source Projects, and Why They Should.