How the Drupal community works together: Userpoints as a case study

I wanted to take a a few minutes to document how the Drupal community is amazing in how it self organizes to get stuff done ...

One of the projects that I have started a long time is Userpoints. Being mostly an API, it has flourished with a mini-ecosystem around it of userpoints modules for various and quite diverse things.

For Drupal 6.x, I was fortunate to have jredding (Jacob Redding) take the lead and add several new features that he needs for various projects.

A similar thing is now happening with Drupal 7.x:

We have Berdir (Sascha Grossenbacher), from Switzerland, leading the technical side of things. He started by working on a Drupal 7.x port, which he hosted on github. Realizing that it is best for the project to have it on Drupal.org, I offered him CVS commit access to the project and he accepted.

Giving someone commit access to a project that you maintain is something that can be a double edged sword. Projects can become buggy, suffer from scope creep, become overly complex, get over engineered, or simply abandoned. In this case, Sascha was a safe bet, since he has a history of contributing regularly and he was a responsible maintainer, e.g. for the privatemsg module.

In general, if you give access to someone with an established history, the project and the community will benefit eventually.

Then, there was BenK, from the USA. He provided the bulk of the testing for the Drupal 7.x port of Userpoints, working closely with Berdir.

And finally, Billy M, from Japan, showed up. He took it upon himself to clean the issue queue, closing stale issues, updating them with current information, and the like.

People help open source for various reasons, such as:

  • They need the module for their own use, e.g. for a site they personally run, or the non-profit they volunteer for.
  • They need the module for a site they are working on for a client, in their capacity as a contractor.
  • They need the module for a site that their place of employment needs, e.g. for internal corporate use, or a community site for the company.
  • They are volunteering to help because they have time on their hands, or want to polish their skills.
  • They are being paid by someone specifically to add a feature or port a module to a newer core version.

The culmination of this effort is that now we have a mostly functional development release for Drupal 7.x port of Userpoints.

This all happened spontaneously. People self organized and lend in a hand, and in the end Userpoints, Drupal the project, and Drupal the community wins ...

Thanks to Sascha, Ben, Bill, and others who will eventually help and will continue to do so ...

Say our code, not my code ... it feels, and works, better ...

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Comments

Thanks for the compliment

Thanks for the compliment ;)

To be exact, it start with BenK who pointed me to the Drupal 7 Port issue and asked if I'm interested to do the port :)

Sascha

A Fun Collaboration

Thanks for the cool blog post and kind words. It's been a fun and rewarding collaboration. Sascha does such great work... it has been a real pleasure to be a part of it!

Cheers,
Ben Kaplan
(BenK)

Drupal is definitely an

Drupal is definitely an awesome community! I look forward to following the work of the active members of the community to learn more about programming and website building with Drupal. I hope to eventually learn enough programming to be able to contribute more directly to the very flexible and powerful Drupal modules. And most important, I will let everyone know my website is built using Drupal once I launch my new business in Tokyo this summer.

Many thanks,
Billy