#dsi2009 day 2

This post would share some more things from Drupal Sprint 2009 day 2

Came slightly late to the venue but things had not started till 11 a.m. There is/was not much crowd apart from professionals and FOSS users like myself. Say something like 20-30 odd people so not bad.

Today was asked to review the upgrade guide for the sprint. Worked/browsed on it for about an hour and added my comments on the issue/bug page. While browsing around came to the mailing list where the documentation co-ordinates . Unfortunately the link of the mailing list is not on the main page but hidden deep under. There is a roadmap (of sorts) as of now.

Most of the issues are process and till some things don’t fall in place other things won’t happen. Here are few of the things I saw .

a. Use clean urls or some similar technologies and hide complexity (i.e. numbers from people) . Its much easier for people to remember http://groups.drupal.org/documentation-team/ rather than say http://drupal.org/node/488070

b. They have a plan in works to move to bzr and a new doc landing page and information architecture site . As and when things happen it should make changes to documentation faster and easier. When that will happen though is anybody’s guess. Addison is in the process of making a post so it makes sense to people as to the state of the project.

c. The other thing I saw is there may be good info. or document on an issue/ticket but as it is in comments there is possibility to overlook it. For e.g. let’s look at a random page or this one. Now the attached or working doc. has gone through many revisions but it would been lot nicer if one could have seen revisions using some source control. Something which launchpad.net gives.

d. Instead of editing whole pages, it would be nice to be able to edit sections, give some karma or reward system, be able to comment/discuss on changes (something similar to what is driven on wikipedia) and also have some kind of notification system for a user if his/her modifications were reverted.

If I was an active contributor I would like to know if my modifications are being rejected or reverted then who is doing it, why are they being done and what can I do about to make it better.

Having said all of the above, I don’t think the documentation is just bad in drupal, this I have seen also on ubuntu-doc as well 😦

One of the other things I did come to know that lullabot has a grand total of 12 people who are working on the documentation team.

After doing the doc. review for couple of hours or so went to attend Sidharth’s presentation on http://www.openthemagazine.com . Lot of people came to the presentation, a significant part of it were students who were looking for opportunities with FOSS and Srijan were hiring aspiring FOSS developers. So it was a nice platform for both to interact.

While the talk seemed average to me, he did try to answer the queries and questions posed to best of his abilities.

I have seen the site and for me one of the things which doesn’t gel with me. As a potential user of the site I see some obvious shortfalls in the site .

If you look at the site its similar to content like outlook etc. and the site is laid out similarly to business world.

a. The biggest grouse with the site is cannot see a way to have a weekly newsletter.

b. Even if there was a newsletter then would have liked to be notified on certain topics close to my heart/mind. It would have been nicer to have push technology (from their side to my inbox ) rather me going to them.

c. Also the articles don’t take advantage of the fact that its an interactive medium. At a quick glance if you go into the heavy commented articles you don’t know if the author is seeing people’s comments and adding their bit to the process or not. In some of the better sites you have the author commenting using a different background or something to shine from the rest of the people/crowd.

d. If corrections are there, they should be updated immediately. That doesn’t seem to be happening.

Anyways, I am sure I could go on but these are few things I saw in the brief time I was there. I would give it 1/5 right now 😦

The next talk/presentation on the dias was “Building Indian Language based Social Networking Site with Drupal!” by Prasad.

Again was floored by his choice of presentation materials. He chose to go absolute basics while touching points such as IE6 support issues,localized/internalized keyboards, translation and transliteration and things like that. If one ever had to use google translate to translate a document or a mail from one to the other you could have similar experiences.

He also shared some FOSS fonts as some modules which he either knew or has worked upon.

One of the more interesting sites which he shared was a regional site on mutual funds.

It would be reccommended to read/look at his presentation which marries local language and social networks. While he gave few ideas there are plenty more ways to do the same.

While I was listening to his talk a part of me was being reminded again and again of the opencloudinitiative.org .

Simply put, today’s cloud offerings are pathetic. If you look at facebook,hi5 and many others they are in a constant race of eyeballs and that really doesn’t serve anybody.

So if I’m looking for say people/organizations who are FOSS frnedly in the City of Pune and use some social network to find out. Let’s say its Facebook . So if you want to find the above you would find only those who are part of Facebook only.

This makes two problems for consumers of these kind of services :-

a. Stuck within a social network
b. Register in multiple networks and time spent duplicating efforts.

Advertisers have same issues as well.

What I would like is cross-networks social networking.

As and e.g. if I am either on facebook or hi5 I should be able to do a single search on either of the sites and be able to have a wider response/reach . This is just not possible today.

One of the other presentations which I liked very much was Ankur Saxena’s “Google Apps Intergration with Drupal” . While people were talking wave and other things I think a crucial point was being not seen. It would have been better to also integrate google gears as that would reach to a wider and richer set of experiences to potential users.

Apart from these talks, the sprints were also taken off. While I’m not on top of the things I did know that many people were doing porting of modules which had been made for drupal 5 or 6 for 7 as well.

The only downer I thought there was is there was no blackboard which mentions who was working on what ? Documentation,porting a module etc. This would have made interactions within that defined community more responsive and possibility of growing the contribution list.

Overall had a great second day . Hopefully people can develop or improve some of the ideas I mentioned above.

Good luck and till we meet again 😛

One thought on “#dsi2009 day 2

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