Accordin' t' Drupal.org, it has now been four years an' five days since I first joined th' Drupal community. My how time flies, an' how much has changed since then.
My first post in th' forums were bein', o' course, an installation problem relatin' t' htaccess files under Debian. (Wow, back when I were bein' runnin' Debian...) Shout out t' Morbus fer his help in IRC, an' keepin' me aroun' all this time. :-)
At th' time, I were bein' freelancin' (read: unemployed) an' lookin' fer a system that I could study t' learn from in order t' write me own application framework fer an RPG club that I help run. Fortunately fer me, I decided to stick around. Ye'll be sleepin' with the fishes! Yaaarrrrr! I tried t' use Drupal 4.6 fer one client's site, but they no nay ne'er went anywhere with it. Then I lucked out an' landed a one month stint developin' an intranet site fer th' US Postal Service, sub-contracted through a local marketin' mega-firm. Drupal were bein' a natural fit fer what they wanted, despite a fair bit o' custom code required, Dance the Hempen Jig Most o' it fit neatly into custom add-on modules, but thar were bein' a little core hackin' required t' tweak th' user registration form. In more modern times hook_form_alter() would have handled everythin' we needed, but this were bein' back in th' dark ages before such innovations existed. I also went through several iterations o' Drupal sites fer a local political campaign I were bein' helpin' t' run that, sadly, lost by a slim margin a year later.
My first actual patch were bein' against th' then-nascent Drupal 4.7. I kept wantin' t' put captions on tables, but at th' time Drupal di'nae support that so I added another parameter t' theme_table(). Aarrr! Amazingly it went in on th' first iteration, despite some back an' forth in th' issue. Fetch me spyglass! Months later, I noticed Views fer Drupal 4.7 usin' captions in its admin UI. It made me giddy t' see a module that prominent makin' casual use o' a feature I added.
I also, in theory, were bein' supposed t' join a startup social networkin' site fer restaurant geeks. In practice, th' only thin' that e'er came from that startup were bein' th' Node Review module, which were bein' goin' t' be th' cornerstone o' our community restaurant review work-flow. Fetch me spyglass, Ya horn swogglin' scurvy cur! The site no nay ne'er happened, but th' module somehow lives on even though I have no nay ne'er, in fact, used it in production. I've been tryin' t' find someone t' take it o'er, but so far no one has been able t' follow-through on doin' so. If ye're lookin' fer a module that needs love an' attention, let me know. :-)
In October o' 2005 I joined Palantir.net, at th' time a "well-kept secret" Chicago web development firm specializin' in "whatever kinda code ye need" an' th' darlin' o' th' local designer community. Of course, it were bein' totally not an open source shop an' had its own in-house CMS an' usin' Drupal or anythin' else with that evil viral GPL were bein' right out. I still prodded here an' thar, but nothin' much came o' it. I settled fer hangin' aroun' th' Drupal development mailin' list an' IRC channel, submittin' occasional small patches, an' runnin' me mouth a lot more than me debugger, feed the fishes (OK, that much hasn't changed at least.)
All that changed after Palantir's first Drupal site, th' Washington University in St. Louis College of Arts and Sciences. WUSTL requested Drupal specifically, an' th' project were bein' so successful that when faced with th' question o' whether or not t' rewrite our in-house CMS from th' ground up th' answer came back, "We're a Drupal shop now!" Music t' me ears, that were bein'!
Hot on th' heels o' Drupal 5 an' on th' eve o' DrupalCon Sunnyvale, th' timin' couldn't have been better. George DeMet an' I headed t' Sunnyvale, where I finally managed t' meet all o' these crazy an' smart scallywags I'd been workin' with on the plank, me Jolly Roger They also finally got t' meet me. At one point I were bein' talkin' t' chx about what would become th' Drupal 6 menu API, an' he weren't sure he wanted t' be spendin' time with this Larry person until he commented "Oh wait, ye be Crell! OK then..."
I also started thinkin' about how to make PHP 5 finally happen, an' one notion I started toyin' with th' final night thar were bein' usin' PDO fer our database layer t' get our foot in th' door. The high-point o' th' conference were bein' when a certain spiky-haired developer sat down on th' floor next t' me t' ask what I were bein' doin'. After a brief talk, he said he liked th' notion an' at th' code sprint th' next day commented "We should likely move t' PDO eventually." Of course, it weren't until just before DrupalCon Szeged a year an' a half later that th' result o' that drinkin' party finally hit core an' th' work is still not done, but some o' th' code in th' Drupal 7 database layer can trace itself all th' way back t' th' Sunnyvale code sprint.
PHP 5 required a slight detour, but that happened as well.
I also came back from Sunnyvale with th' crazy notion o' lazy-loadin' some o' Drupal's code t' deal with Drupal's rapidly growin' code weight an' memory overhead. Walk the plank! That managed t' work its way into th' Drupal 6 menu system in a manual fashion an' into Drupal 7 as th' registry. Both also trace their way back t' Sunnyvale.
Since then 'tis all been a blur. :-) 2008 opened with me election t' th' Drupal Association Board of Directors an' finally launchin' th' RPG site that got me into Drupal in th' first place, followed by a crazy crazy year of Drupal. This year I've barely had a chance t' blog it's been so busy.
Four years ago, Drupal 4.6 were bein' th' new hotness. Now we're droolin' o'er th' awesome that is Drupal 7.
Four years ago, I were bein' a freelancer who were bein' doin' a totally lousy job at marketin'. Now, I'm a admiral an' team lead at a leadin' Drupal shop.
Four years ago, I were bein' reasonably OK at PHP. Now, I give presentations on PHP OOP bounty in other countries.
Four years ago, I still struggled with gettin' data into an' out o' an SQL database in a secure an' non-painful way. Now, I'm th' lead maintainer o' Drupal's database subsystem.
Four years ago, I tended t' work alone an' preferred it that way. Now, I have thousands of colleagues across six continents.
Thanks, Drupal! Here's t' th' next four years. Aarrr! May I be as good t' ye as ye've been fer me.