For organisations making a technology selection is rarely a trivial decision. Gone are the days where one stakeholder has this level of authority. More often than not a rigorous evaluation process is undertaken.
One early factor which can sway an organisation towards evaluating Drupal as a candidate technology may be that respected organisations or industry peers have already achieved success with the platform. Whilst case studies are an excellent path to evidence this, they consume considerable time to author or may be impossible due to commercial sensitivity or privacy constraints.
Some time back I persuaded Greater London Authority (GLA) to create what is known as an Organisation Account on Drupal.org. In doing so GLA subtly signalled to peers that Drupal was of notable interest to government and public sector. In a small way they were contributing back, and that's how I persuaded them to do so. The more organisations we can convince to register on Drupal.org, the greater net benefit for us all.
In his recent blog post "My three mistakes in regards to the Contribute module and Drupal" Jacob Rockowitz expresses regret about not talking about supporting the Drupal community with his clients early enough. Indeed for him it was many years before it happened.
"We need to collectively start asking our clients to be contributing members of the community."
I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment and encourage you to compel your clients to do so. There are 2 simple steps ideally your customers must take.
- Create an organisation account: Add an organisation (you need to already have a confirmed user account to do so)
- Support the Drupal Association: Join here. Starting at just $200 or €160 it is hard to justify why any organisation benefitting from the huge value Drupal presents wouldn't want to subscribe. Imagine how well funded the DA would be if we all got half our clients to do so.
Boosting the number of organisations registered on Drupal.org that are end user brings many benefits. I do hope that, consistent with the spirit of open source and Drupal that you consider encouraging your customers to start on this contribution path. Perhaps creating an account will start them on a journey to greater engagement with the project too?
Recently I've been thinking a lot about what is missing that could help the Drupal project achieve greater success. This was partly in preparation for the Drupal Strategy Summit but also a continuation of research I was already working on.
Many Drupal friendships a created in issue queues, over IRC, Twitter or in Google Hangouts and often across continents. I can think of many personal examples. Maybe you can too?. So it seems incongruous to me that Drupal.org has no community search feature. We are one of the world's biggest communities but no way to find one another.
There is a helpful Where is the Drupal Community?page but it lacks the ability to search of people like me, people having shared interests, shared motivations to contribute, people I can collaborate with.I feel like this is a massive missed opportunity to connect like minds, if such a tool existed new comers are far more likely to have a positive experience and find an outlet for their passion.
I have written a proposal in the Issue Queue for Drupal.org content. If you have thoughts around this feature request, I'd appreciate you joining the conversation.
File Entity module co-maintainers Devin Carlson and Dave Reid meet for the first time atfter a Media BoF at DrupalCon Portland, 2013. They live in Sudbury, Canada and Omaha, Nebraska, respectively. Thousands of similar friendships are formed though Drupal contributions. Photo by Ezra Gildesgame