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Overview of the Learn Drupal Ladder

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[Drupalize.Me: Learn Drupal] [Overview of the Learn Drupal Project] [Learn Drupal Ladder with Addison Berry] In this video series, we're going to be looking at a Drupal community initiative called Learn Drupal. It's designed to get people involved in the community. So we'll be looking at some background on this project, how it got started, what the goals are, and then we'll be looking at how you can actually get involved and progress to becoming a contributor yourself. This first video is going to be looking at the background into the presentation just to get a little bit of sense of what's going on and where things are going, and then all of the subsequent videos in this series will cover each individual lesson in what they call The Drupal Ladder, which is a series of lessons to teach you, step by step, how to become a contributor and apply what you learn in the Drupal community. The Drupal Ladder Project was a community initiative that started in 2011. It was originally called the Boston Initiative and changed its name to Learn Drupal and is now currently known as The Drupal Ladder. The purpose of this project was to get more people contributing to Drupal Core, and it does this by teaching people the skills that they need, exposing them to the tools that they need to use within the Drupal Community and also, teaching people not just Drupal best practices in terms of code, but also how to actually interact with the community and work with the community. The problem, which is actually being address by this project, is that there simply aren't enough people who are working on Core. Now if you look at this, in this chart here, you can see that the number of contributors has risen over time, and we actually almost have one-thousand contributors for Drupal Seven, which is a good number of people, but if you flip this around and look at it from the other side in terms of the percentage of people who are actually using Drupal in the community, it has gone down dramatically over time. So community has been expanding at a really rapid pace, and the number of people who are actually helping with Core is not keeping pace with that. So we're currently down to one-tenth of one percent, which is one out of every thousand people who are contributing to Drupal Core, which is, of course, the base of what we're all using. Another way that you can look at this is by looking at the amount of work that actually needs to be done. As of May of 2012, there were seven thousand open issues for Drupal Core, Drupal 7, and Drupal 8, Drupal 7 being in current stable release, and then Drupal 8 being the new version that's in development currently. You can see from looking at this chart that only one percent of the open issues are reviewed and tested by the community. Basically ready to go. There's a large chunk that still needs to be reviewed, and an even larger chunk that actually still needs work, but work has at least begun, and then there's fifty percent currently that are not getting anything done at all. These are just open active issues that don't have any patches to correct the problem or to add the feature yet. At the same time, Drupal's getting a lot more complicated, and it's really hard to help with a project when you don't fully understand it or feel like you have good enough grasp of what's happening in order to be able to help improve that. So the solution we're aiming for here is to make it easy for people to learn Drupal and to contribute. In 2011, Bryan Hirsch had a conversation with several Core developers, talking about the problem and a solution to that, and the Boston Drupal User Group decided that they would dedicate some of their time and their meet-ups to help solve this problem and actually work out a plan of attack. So they worked on this for six months, and then at Drupal Con Denver in 2012, they presented the work they had done so far and asked the rest of the community to come join them in trying to built the solution and make it actually work for the community. So the core of what they came up with was something called the Drupal Ladder, and basically, the idea was to take all the stuff that people can do to contribute, organize those contributions and the skills needed to do those contributions, and organize them in a progression that makes sense, and then make it so that each step in that progression is easy if you've completed the one before, and then the final, really important piece is to make the very first step on that ladder easy for anyone, regardless of their level of experience so that they can start out with the most basic understanding of what's happening, and then work their way through the system and learn more and more of it and be able to contribute more and more. So when you look at the ladder, if you find where you are, which rung you are sitting on on the ladder, you can see how you can apply the skills you already have to Drupal Core, and you can also look at the rung above you and take a step up and learn the next lesson to improve your skills, and then again, see how you can apply that to contributing to Core. The way that the group implemented this concept of a ladder in their meet-ups was by having a variety of sprints, and there are two kind of sprints and the first starting point for a group are Learn Sprints, and that is where, as a group during a meet-up, people work on the lessons in the ladder together. Related to the Learn Sprints, you have Issue Sprints to actually work on Drupal Core issues, and the way that these tend to be set up is you'll have a spreadsheet where you actually decide which Core issues you're going to work on, and then people sign up to work on those particular issues in pairs so that you have people working together to learn things so that if you're not completely comfortable with it, you sort of have a buddy that's going to help you walk through the entire process of not just working on the issue itself in terms of the code or the documentation that needs to be changed, but also the whole process of actually submitting a patch or reviewing patches or working on those kinds of things. From all of the work that they did, doing these sprints, determining how to break the sprints out, coming up with a ladder, writing a lot of lessons, there are a number of resources that are now available. The first resource would be the Web site, which has the ladder itself with all of the lessons and instructions, as well as directions for how to run your own meet ups. We also have an installation profile called Drupal Ladder Profile; it's at the Drupper Ladder Project Learn, though, and that basically will set up a local version of the Web site, so that you'll have the ladder and the lessons and everything on your local machine; you don't need to have access to the Internet. We also have a group on and that is people who are helping organize and work on the Drupal Ladder itself, to be able to communicate and talk issues out and that kind of thing. And related to that, there's also the IRC channel #drupal-ladder which is again where people who are helping organize and work on the ladder itself, both the Web site and the installation profile and the lessons to work together. We have the problem and we have this idea of a solution and in terms of measuring, we have achieved our goals. The goal is a relatively high goal, and if we go back and look at this chart we had before of the percentage of contributors for Drupal Core, it's at one-tenth of one percent, which is one out of every one-thousand Drupal users is currently contributing, and the goal is to get that to one percent by 2014, so that's saying we want to get one out of every one-hundred Drupal users contributing back to Core in some way. It's a pretty big goal, but everybody can help us get there. It's time to get involved, because this is something that effects everybody who uses Drupal. You can start off by simply letting people know about and what we're trying to do here. Of course you can dive into the lessons and start to work your way through and become a contributor, but also helping improve those lessons is a huge help. You can also bring the Drupal Ladder Learn and Issue Sprints to your local meet-up. It's a great way to get your local community involved, and we are definitely here to help you with that.

Video Details

Duration: 8 minutes and 55 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Genre: None
Views: 53
Posted by: drupalizeme on Aug 29, 2012

In this presentation we get an overview of what the Drupal Ladder project is, along with some background on where it came from and why. We also look at the main pieces of the project, with the ladder and sprints. This is meant to be a "lightning talk" length introduction to the project and can be used at local meetups to kick things off.

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