Drupal modules: release early, release often (please)

Tags: 

Something I see quite a good amount of with Drupal modules is a tendency to hold onto fixes committed to CVS for some time. I believe this is counter productive. While yes, it is good to hold onto new, big features until they have simmered for a while and proven to be stable, smaller updates and especially bug fixes, should be rolled out regularly.

A case in point is my recent discovery that certain letters can break customized Views if you use the APIs to change the query from an equality statement to an approximation / SQL "LIKE" statement. The wizard that he is, Earl Miles, who is the lead developer on some of Drupal's most powerful modules including Views itself, took time out of his busy day and replied to my post with a link to a discussion on drupal.org which even included a patch to fix the issue. This was totally wonderful, expected, and I truly appreciate Earl's efforts for doing this.

The frustrating part for me, though, is that Earl himself provided the first patch for this issue back on September 5th, 2007. A whole fourteen months ago! And it still hasn't been rolled into an official release. A known bug, with a patch available from the main author itself, sits unreleased for a year? That's just a little bit crazy.

I believe that the Drupal development community needs to get real and become more agile with their code releases. An active project should not sit for over a year with no releases, there should have been several releases, if only bug fix point releases (Views 5.x-1.6.1 anyone?). And if the project teams can't handle the added workload, perhaps they could ask for some help? I honestly believe this would greatly help the community.