dww's 5 year Drupal anniversary

Greetings Drupalers,

In the spirit of the 0th birthday of Drupal 7 and Drupal's 10th birthday I wanted to point out that today, 2011-01-18, is the 5 year anniversary of when I joined the Drupal community:

Kind of hard to believe I've been around for half of Drupal's life. In many ways, those 5 years have flown by. There have certainly been many accomplishments for me personally and for the community at large in that time. It's truly amazing to see how far we've come since the days when I started a website for my Brazilian percussion band using Drupal 4.6 and a heavily hacked copy of the signup module (I only hacked my copy since the previous maintainer didn't want my patches -- that is, before he handed me ownership of the project). ;)

Back then, the CVS contributions repository had no access control at all. Fixing that was one of my first major contributions to the community. Soon thereafter, I took over as the maintainer of the Project module. After that, I had enough community karma to implement major changes to our whole release infrastructure and introduce official releases and multiple branches for contributed projects. Believe it or not, when I started, the only way to know what contrib code you were running was to remember the date you downloaded it from drupal.org. Basically, contrib only had what we now call -dev snapshots, and there was only one branch allowed for each version of core. I like to think that these changes were pivotal in allowing Drupal to rise from a platform mostly for hobbyists to something that Real Sites(tm) could be built upon.

Not long afterwards, I worked with Nedjo Rogers and Earl Miles to write the Update status contrib module for Drupal 5, and then moved it into Drupal 6 core. Update status and the release system are what gives us the usage statistics on drupal.org, which are now a critical metric for finding useful modules. Of course, as the maintainer of Update status, I threw myself into the effort to turn it into the D7 Update manager that allows site administrators to update the contributed modules and themes on their site (and install new ones) via the web UI instead of manually FTPing.

Maintaining the Project and CVS infrastructure on drupal.org landed me a "job" on the Infrastructure team. Being the Computer Scientist and systems programmer that I was, I also joined the Security team. I've also been a heavy contributor to Drupal core since I helped get 4.7.0 released. Between my general approach of trying to fix things that I run into, and maintaining the Update manager, I was the 14th most frequently mentioned author of patches for Drupal 7.

More recently, I've been busy launching the drupal.org redesign and implementing the Git migration (just a few days ago, I put the finishing touches on our shiny new Git-based packaging scripts). I hope these two efforts prove to be as pivotal for our community as the "new" release system was back in 2006.

Okay, enough reminiscing and patting myself on the back. Time to get back to work... ;)

Thanks, Drupal!
-Derek (dww)

p.s. Re-reading this post, I realize I didn't do nearly enough to explicitly credit and thank all the incredible people i've worked with over the last 5 years. That's such an integral part of the Drupal experience for me and so completely second nature, that I just assumed anyone reading this will see it the same way. However, that's not necessarily a fair assumption, and I certainly don't want to give anyone the wrong impression. Although the CVS ACLs thing was basically all me, I had some great help on the release system from Earl, webchick, and many others. The Update manager in wouldn't exist in D7 core without the work of JacobSingh, JoshuaRogers, and many others. Certainly in major efforts like the d.o redesign and Git migration I've been just one of dozens of amazing contributors. A huge part of the fun of being on the Infrastructure and Security teams is that everyone is at such a high level that we all learn from each other all the time -- it almost makes up for all the stress and long unpaid hours. ;) In fact, I've had so much fun and learned so much from this community, both technically and in terms of community itself, that I ended up leaving my cushy job as an Associate Researcher at the UW-Madison Computer Science Department to be a freelance Drupal consultant so I could spend more of my time to collaborate with all of you wonderful and smart people. I'm really honored to be a part of this community, and very grateful for all that it's given me...


Congratulations and thank you

Congratulations and thank you for all the hard work!

Cheers, dww!

We joined the community about the same time and it has been a pretty amazing 5 years.

I'm glad we've gotten to work together here and there and look forward to more of that in the future.

An hard work but great

An hard work but great results! Complimentis!


That's quite a history you

That's quite a history you have there, dww! It's been great working with you on all the d.o. stuff. See you in Chicago?

Heading to Chicago

Thanks everyone!

Yeah, I'll definitely be in Chicago. Among other things, I'll be speaking with webchick and sdboyer about Git Phase Next: The Promised Land. Maybe I'll even bring an oud or a saz for some live music again before the talk like I did at DCSF. ;)


Happy anniversary!

Wow, there was some stuff there that I didn't know... Or maybe I did and just forgot. It's been a long time. LOL! At any rate, thanks for making things so much better now that the old way can slip into hazy memory. :)



Definitely a list of accomplishments to be proud of!

Thanks for doing all that you do, and the git migration stuff is really exciting.

I remember interviewing you at DrupalCon DC in 2009 and asking you about the possibility of migrating to another revision control system other than CVS, and your outlook at the time was very grim. Basically it was "too much trouble to change" from CVS in terms of retraining people. And it didn't make sense to step sideways to SVN. But you said IF the community was to go through all those hurdles of change, then we'd probably want to go with a different revision control model that's distributed like git or bazaar. And at the time, it would come at a huge cost at a barrier to entry to how to use it.

http://www.lullabot.com/podcasts/drupal-voices-23-derek-wright-project-m... starting at about 9:15 for your take on that.
You were about to go to a Version Control API BoF to hash out the mechanism to even make that possible.

Obviously LOTS has changed since then with git exploding and people already using it, and it sounds like a lot of people have stepped up along the way.

Also a blast from the past, an interview with you from December 14, 2006 on the new release system:

And while we're at it, here's the interview from DrupalCon SF from last year: http://www.lullabot.com/podcasts/drupal-voices-94-derek-wright-how-help-...

Looking forward to seeing you again in Chicago!