Dries has already posted his Drupal 2010 retrospective and 2011 predictions. You can contribute your own thoughts in the comments on the related "Predictions for 2011" thread on Drupal.org. I agree with most of what's been written in both places. Here is my compilation of developments that I hope or expect to see this year.
One of the features I'm most excited about in Drupal 7 is the greatly improved flexibility of installation profiles. However, documentation on writing an installation profile for Drupal 7 currently doesn't exist, so I thought I'd change that. Here's what I've discovered by reading through the code.
Installation profiles are like modules
There's a revolution going on, and it's more than what people think. The new, social, virtual world in which we're increasingly finding ourselves has opened the door to a wide variety of physical extensions to that online reality. In particular, a slew of price and product comparison tools have arisen, facilitated by the rise in ultra-mobile computing (namely smartphones). Additionally, new sharing tools are allowing us to focus on the experience or result we want from a product rather than the physical object itself. When we share an item or buy collaboratively, we extend the life of the product and also get utility from it at a lower price than the physical object required to deliver that experience. In other words, we are increasingly buying the hole rather than the power drill, the movie rather than the actual DVD, the transportation to work rather than the car… perhaps one day the sleep rather than the bed, the home rather than the house. The possibilities for entrepreneurs are endless right now.
This blog post was originally posted to my blog at Mediacurrent. It appeared on Drupal Planet.
This summer I was a mentor for the Google Summer of Code program for Drupal. I maintain the Facebook-style Statuses module, which allows users to have a stream of “status updates” on their user profiles and to write messages on other users’ profiles, like Facebook. So when I had the chance to mentor the Facebook-style Micropublisher proposal, which built on Facebook-style Statuses to allow attaching images, links, and video to status updates, I jumped on it.
The result was a resounding success, and I learned a lot during the process. Nitin Gupta, the student driving the project (and better known to some as publicmind) was an extraordinary developer in the true Drupal spirit. He gracefully put up with my pickiness about coding style, thoroughly researched the best code architecture for our purposes, and even identified places where Facebook-style Statuses itself could become more flexible. I truly believe that Nitin will remain committed to the module he created, and that both of us are better Drupal developers as a result of this process.
Finding the Balance between “Contribute Now” and “Register First”
People don’t like to sign up for things. Signing up is mentally equated with receiving
spam marketing emails. For example, at a blood drive event near me last year, only a handful of people signed up ahead of time, but almost six times more people showed up.
Web designers face a similar dilemma. It’s important that users sign up for websites where users contribute content, both to reduce spam and to track and identify users’ contributions. But often users don’t want to sign up, even though they want to contribute – and the barrier of signing up will keep some people from contributing. I’ve experienced this personally; especially when dealing with something contentious, people often don’t feel comfortable giving an unknown website their identity in this age of limited privacy.
Sometimes, there are things in my blog posts that just don't fit nicely into the width of the content area. This is a problem with code snippets and images in particular; I only have a certain amount of horizontal space, but often that's not enough.
Inspired by a solution I witnessed in action at Lullabot.com (and the place Lullabot discovered it, Viget.com) I finally decided to solve this problem using some fancy jQuery. Now, all code blocks on this site fit correctly into the content area, with any excess text hidden until your mouse hovers over the code block. All images are automatically shrunk, until your mouse hovers over them, at which point they will enlarge to their original size. Pretty sweet! And it's all cross-browser-compatible.
When I first discovered Drupal, I wasn't looking for a Content Management System. I didn't even know what that was. I was looking for a way to build a website where anyone could register and create posts. I knew what HTML was and I had done a little programming in Visual Basic but that was about the extent of my knowledge.
Today I published a blog post on my Mediacurrent blog analyzing the new social business Drupal distribution from Acquia called Drupal Commons. The post appeared on Drupal Planet. Head over there to get the full scoop.