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Contrib plans for end of April & May 2014

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I thought it'd be worthwhile to keep people abreast of my current contrib plans, given I've got the keys to several important modules.

Right now I'm prepping for releases for the Field API Pane Editor (FAPE) module (v7.x-1.2) and its sibling the Field API Tab Editor module (v7.x-1.0). In the process I've gone through and have lined up most of the open issues for both. Concurrently, I've been making headway on fixing some outstanding issues for the Fieldable Panels Panes (FPP) module that will IMHO help make it one of the best multi-purpose entity modules available; I'll probably release v7.x-1.6-beta1 this week too. Additionally, I'll probably release Panelizer v7.x-3.2-beta1, just to give a reasonable testing point while 3.2 is finished off.

After that, thanks to some input from Digby Christmas, I'm going to do a little work to release 7.x-1.0 for Panels Everywhere (PE) - there isn't too much to do on it, so hopefully it'll be a quick turn-around.

Once all of those are out of the way, I'm going to flip back to Metatag and work towards a new release for it, hopefully v7.x-1.0-rc1.

If you'd like to see the releases of these sooner, reviewing patches in the module's respective issue queues is the single best way of helping, besides writing more patches ;)

So, in summary, this is my plan for the next few weeks:

Thank you for your patience.

Update: Thanks to Kristen Pol for pointing out I originally said "2013" rather than "2014". Doh!

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Convention plans for the year [updated x2]

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While I'm not going to Drupalcon, missing my second 'con in a row, I am hoping to attend some regional camps this year:

I'm not 100% positive of attending these, especially the one in Toronto (immigration, etc), but I really am hoping to.

In attending these camps I intend to give presentations on some of the tools on my Drupal utility belt (Panels/Panelizer, Metatag, etc), and learn from the many great & knowledgeable people in our extended community.

I hope to see some of you there, let me know if you're going so we can meet up!

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Trello board for planning Panelizer v7.x-3.2 [updated]

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Anyone interested in the forthcoming Panelizer v7.x-3.2 release might like to checkout the Trello board I've set up to help coordinate the effort.

FYI I've restructured the various lists around specific topics, which greatly helps get an understanding for the work to be done. Any and all help is appreciated :-)

Whither Metatag 1.0?

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In my recent appearance on the DrupalEasy podcast I mentioned that I was aiming to have Metatag 1.0 ready by the end of February. Next week is the end of February and, being honest, I haven't really touched it since releasing 1.0-beta9 on Drupal's birthday, January 19th last. I felt it best to explain where my contrib efforts have been lately and explain why I'm not making my goal.

As you might be aware of, I co-maintain a number of modules along with Metatag. One of the ones I like the best is Panelizer, a module originally written by Earl "merlinofchaos" Miles as a replacement for the lackluster Panel Nodes submodule of Panels. I originally helped with its port from D6 to D7 as I thought it had great potential, but it truly came into its own when Earl released v3 back in 2012 when it went from "Panel Nodes++" to a complete solution for displaying all view modes (!) of all entities (!!). The module has become critical to my site building tool chest and several projects I'm working on need several key bugs and feature improvements resolved. As a result, for the past month I've been focusing on fully understanding the detail of many of these issues so that I can lead the charge on the forthcoming v3.2 release.

Additionally, recently I've become the co-maintainer for many of helper modules for Panels - Panels Everywhere, Panels Content Cache and Panels Hash Cache, so I've also been trying to improve them bit by bit and learning how best to use them in my own sites.

Lastly, I've also been trying to finish off the next release of Code Per Node, and because of trying to help a friend I've ended up becoming co-maintainer of the AntiSpam module, which needs some fixes.. and there's Nodewords for the existing D6 sites.. and I need to do a new release of GoogleNews.. and...

So, as you can guess, I haven't gotten back to Metatag lately.

My current plan is to finish off the important fixes for Panelizer and then loop back to do another round of bug fixes & patch reviews for Metatag, which should lead to v7.x-1.0-rc1. After that I'll probably bounce around between Panelizer, Metatag, CPN and Panels Everywhere while I put together stable releases for each one, so hopefully by the end of March there'll be a bunch of new stable releases out.

Before I go I'd like to firstly thank my awesome employer Mediacurrent who sponsor much of my work on these modules, and Gregory Boggs for using Metatag as the guinea pig with a number of Drupal beginners he was helping

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On contributing to Drupal 8 [updated]

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Recently Drupal 8's development reached two milestones that have created lots of discussion – contrib project maintainers are now being asked to start porting their modules, and two well known core contributors (Dave Reid, Nate "quicksketch" Haug) have asked to be at least partially removed from the list of core maintainers. As a long time contributor, I'd like to share my opinion on these.

First off, on porting modules to Drupal 8

The Drupal 8 codebase hit "code freeze" on July 1st and I celebrated with my family by having a baby. That said, the APIs are not really frozen and there are a lot of agreed-upon major API changes expected shortly, never mind ones that will likely be identified over the next few months. This means that the Drupal 8 API continues to be a moving target and will continue to be so for several more months, which makes porting a module a bit problematic, particularly for people who don't have a lot of spare time on it.

Secondly, on people "leaving" Drupal

Remember that, other than a select few, the majority of core contributors are not paid for their contributions to core, they do so on their own personal time, and this is time that could instead be spent hanging out with (non-Drupalist) friends & family, with new babies, etc. Being listed in the Drupal MAINTAINERS.txt file indicates that you are committing to putting a good amount of time into working on improvements & bug fixes until that release of Drupal reaches its support end-of-life, which could be three to five years after launch.

Lets be clear about this - neither Dave nor Nate are leaving Drupal. Dave has come to the realization that he didn't have time to put the effort into maintaining certain core components (Contact, Path), and doesn't currently have the necessary time to fully learn how rewritten components (Path) work with the new D8 architecture. Because of these, Dave has decided to limit himself to just maintaining the core Token module, along with the large volume of contrib modules he's involved with, most notably the Media module, rather than making promises he can't keep by saying he'll co-maintain Path or Contact.

Nate, on the other hand, feels like the components he put a great deal of effort into for Drupal 7, specifically the image processing system and the image field, are so completely divorced in D8 from what he had written for D7 that he felt it was no longer appropriate to remain as the maintainer of those components. Furthermore, Nate states that he no longer feels comfortable working with Drupal 8, so do not expect to see his (awesome) modules to be ported to D8 any time soon. That said, he is committed to supporting D7 and his D7 modules for some time and will re-evaluate D8 at some point in the future when it's stable & usable.

Don't panic!

In neither case should a Drupal user be overly concerned about either contributor's intentions. I see their moves as a nothing more than the community realigning itself after a) the vast amount of internal changes that have gone into D8, b) the fact that people have lives outside of Drupal. Yes, both Nate and Dave are amazing members of the community, and both really great people too, but lots of others have only started to contribute during the D8 development cycle, so it will survive. And I'm still looking forward to seeing both Dave and Nate at next year's Drupalcon (presuming I go), and also meeting some of the many new contributors.

Pick your battles

Also keep in mind that we now have six codebases to contribute to:

  1. Drupal 6 core
  2. Drupal 6 contrib
  3. Drupal 7 core
  4. Drupal 7 contrib
  5. Drupal 8 core
  6. Drupal 8 contrib

There's only so much time in the day, so you have to pick what you're comfortable with otherwise you're setting yourself up for burnout, and nobody wants you to do that. Remember that nobody's expecting you to kill yourself in the name of the community, any contribution is worthwhile, no matter how small. There's no shame in stepping back, in looking for a new co-maintainer or maintainer for your existing project, the only wrong decision is to not realizing that you need to step back.

My intentions

As for myself, I was never that much of a contributor to core, mainly only interacting with the core issue queue when I came across a specific bug. I've also not had time to get into D8 due to both my contrib work and family life (e.g. aforementioned new baby), and I don't expect this to change any time soon - I'm still trying to get Metatag to a solid v1.0 after all! I'm not going to look into D8 until its APIs are stable (i.e. beta1 if not RC1), Metatag is stable and I get to do some new releases for some of my other modules (CPN, etc), so it'll be Spring 2014 at the earliest before I start porting my modules.

BTW, I'm also looking for a new co-maintainer for one of my modules as I haven't been able to give it the amount of time it deserves, if you're interested just reply in that issue and I'll get you set up.

Update: Nate Haug put his money where his mouth is and created a fork of Drupal called Backdrop which backtracked to before Symfony2 components were added, what might be considered Drupal 7++.

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