A recent thread on the Drupal documentation list has brought up once again the "why don't we have a wiki on Drupal.org?" question. It comes up regularly; you can set your watch by it.
What I've never understood is why anyone would want to take a step backwards from Drupal's handbooks to a simple wiki. How would removing features and capabilities help Drupal's huge pool of documentation?
What exactly makes something "a wiki"? Let's examine:
One of the major changes in Drupal 6 (where "major" is defined as "worthy of a mention in Dries' keynote") was a new feature of the menu and theme hooks. The newly introduced "file" and "file path" keys in those hooks' respective retun arrays. allow them to define files that get included conditionally, only when needed. In theory, that should be a big performance boost; page handlers are virtually never called except for on the page they handle, so loading all of that code on every other page is a waste of CPU cycles. Of course, there is also the added cost of the extra disk hit to load that one extra file we need. Modern operating systems should do a pretty good job of caching the file load, but that may vary with the configuration.
So just how much benefit did we get from two dozen fragile patches that were a glorified cut and paste? And is it worth doing more of it? Let's benchmark it and find out.
So I am finally back from Boston, and have slept off the jetlag and DST change, so I can finally get caught up on writing about Drupal's latest foray into the world of conventions. Sadly I had trouble with the wireless at my hotel as well as at the convention center, so writing anything up before now wasn't really feasible. Drat.
I was actually a bit disapppointed at this DrupalCon; so many amazing talks, and I only managed to see a quarter of them! Hopefully the videos will be online soon, so I'll be able to see what I missed.
I also had an entourage this time. Three of us from Palantir were in Boston; myself, George DeMet, and Tiffany Farriss. We arrived Sunday, the day before the conference. What is a bunch of geeks to do right before a major conference? Eat, of course!
DrupalCon Boston is only one week away! Are you excited yet? I am, and so are 799 other people. We've filled the conference center and sold out the conference at 800 people. Yikes! I won't be able to shake hands with more than a third of you. :-)
I have a fairly light schedule this time around, at least on the presenter side.
The new database system for Drupal 7 that I've been talking about for the past few months is nearly ready for submission. With chx's visit to Chicago we were able to refactor it for far better modularity and cleanliness. As of yesterday, the system is able to navigate around Drupal, submit forms, create and edit nodes, and view the insanely heavy modules admin page. I still need to make it work with the installer, but it's looking very promising. A very recent copy of the new code base, pre-Drupal-integration, is available in my sandbox.
Here's a brief list of the features it offers:
For those who haven't really been following it, several hundred contributors, 13 months, and tens of thousands of lines of code have gone into making the only version of Drupal ever that is better than Drupal 5. So, naturally, we've released it and called it Drupal 6.
Drupal 6 boasts a boat load of new functionality, ranging from Ajaxy yumminess throughout the system to native support for OpenID to vastly enhanced multi-lingual support. Several entire subsystems have been either overhauled or totally rewritten to proivde more power, flexibility, and speed. The official press release has the complete rundown, or for the more visually inclined there's a new features screencast. For me, though, the new theming system is feature numero uno.
For those who may not have noticed it, it looks like Drupal 7 is going to require not only PHP 5.2, but MySQL 5.0 as well. It makes sense to do. Drupal 7 won't actually ship for another year, by which point MySQL 4.1 will be on life support anyway. It will also lose all support during the Drupal 7 life cycle. So if you're planning a new server, get ahead of the curve and Go MySQL 5! :-)
Drupal 7: The version that gets over the 20th century.
So, Dries wants to know what our Drupal 7 battle plans are. I think this is the first version where I'll have explicit battle plans before hand rather than just "whatever I come up with along the way". :-) So, for those playing along at home, here's my goals for Drupal 7:
The latest in a long line of DrupalCamps was held this weekend at the Milwaukee School of Engineering in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It wasn't my first conference or my first BarCamp, but it was my first DrupalCamp. It was also the first event I've been at as a member of the Drupal Association, which meant it was my first event where I was supposed to actively flag for it. No one complained, so I guess I wasn't pushy enough. :-)
Although the turnout was a tenth that of the last DrupalCon, about 40 people, I have to say it was still a blast. Maybe it's just proximity, but I'd almost say it was even more fun than DrupalCon.
January 15th, a day that will live in infamy
I am generally not a very religious person, but sometimes things come together in ways that make me wonder if there is some strange and inexplicable order to the world. 15 January 2008 is one of those days, when three important things happened to me.
The first is, of course, Drupal's 7th birthday. OK, it is not specific to me, but it's still a curious irony given the restof the day.
The second is the completion of the project that got me into Drupal. The reason I use Drupal is finally complete.
And third, I got a new job. Well, sort of. I got more work. :-)