Disclaimer: This is not a request. This is not a complaint. This is not a demand. This is just an idea, posted here with the intention to provoke thoughts. I cannot commit any time to any future implementation, and I would not expect anyone else to. I do not even expect you to think it's a good idea ;)
Right, now that's out of the way... Some of the points in tsvenson's original post at http://groups.drupal.org/node/136294 got me thinking, and after speaking to lisarex on IRC, she asked me to post my ideas here. I have mulled it over for a few days, and after spending 10 minutes in bed at 2:30am, and realising that this caffeine isn't going to let me sleep, I decided to write something up and post it.
Move the entire development off drupal.org, and onto a (sub) site.
Drupal.org should be primarily about showcasing Drupal, and helping people get it up and running and customised. Probably more than 99% of first time d.o visitors don't care what's happening with the development process of drupal, and won't care until they find their first bug, which, considering the maturity of the most popular modules, probably won't be for a while, for many of them. Definitely not before they've got their first site up and running.
When it really comes down to it, this is almost entirely about the front page. At the moment, it's catering to too many audiences. ie. 2: end-users and developers. That's one too many. This has two negative effects:
First, users and designers get a whole lot of information that they don't care about - a whole column on development, and a map of what is mostly developer commits, and news that is almost entirely developer news. All they really want to know is
- What Drupal do? No, even better, Can drupal do what I want?
- Can I see some examples that show that? (This could be a slideshow?)
- Alright I'm convinced, where do I get it, and how do I install it
The second negative effect is on developers. Most of the information listed above is totally irrelevant to developers (and will also quickly become irrelevant to designers and users who have figured it all out). Basically, all developers need is a list of news about development-related stuff. After an extensive survey of #drupal-contribute (well, ok... 2 people, both regular developers, and myself), it was noted that since the d.o front page redevelopment, the front page is barely used anymore. Both interviewees said they used to like the old river-of-news. Both also said that they didn't use the dashboard, but prefer to use the tracker and user issue queues (I do use the dashboard, a little, but also my tracker, and issue queue). They don't use the tracker because it didn't contain the enough information (ie. need more than a few issues - btw. I just noticed that I can show 150 posts, but only 10 issues. Wtf?), and they didn't use it for news at all.
So we create a new sub-site, with all development content. Call it the Drupal Underground. Or the Boiler Room. Something cool, and maybe a bit hackerish. There is value in style, and Drupal's style should be crafted to suit it's communities - that is, different for each sub-group. We could move all the issue queues and developer docs and anything else that isn't directly related to getting Drupal downloaded, installed, customised, and upgraded and actually used (anyone else in the dev community find themselves forgetting that that's the primary purpose of Drupal?), over to the dev. site.
Then again, maybe it's just easier, and more sensible, to just improve the dashboard. It seems likely to me that if developers aren't using it, then no-one is. Perhaps a developerUX is in order, just a simple one, focusing purely on the dashboard, and possibly other related things, like the issue queue, and user pages. Especially try to get input from long-term dev community members, as they are the ones who've been using it the longest, and have the wisdom and experience and intuition to provide great feedback. But also do not neglect new users, who are the ones who need help the most.
tsvenson's post is right in so far as we have a lot to learn from WordPress, at least about bringing in new users. Obviously Drupal is not WordPress. There are some significant differences, not least that apparently WordPress doesn't have a very open development community (In fact, it took me 4 clicks from the front page to actually find out that they have no development site, no issue queue, just a mailing list). But this obviously does no harm to their market, and we shouldn't be afraid of it doing any harm to ours, either. Once we recognise that the only people coming to the front page looking for development-related content are return visitors, then all we really need is one or two links in a reasonably accessible place on the front page. I would envisage just a simple, coloured block (is there a development-subsection colour?), with links to a central development landing page (perhaps something related to http://drupal.org/getting-involved, pending developerUX), and possibly to a page describing how to submit valuable bug reports (We don't have one of those already? Whoa..).
Drupal is an awesome machine, and drupal.org is the centre of an awesome community. Oviously one requires the other, but entry into the Drupal world should not require entry into the (sometimes quite scary for newbies) world of Drupal Dev. A little bit of separation would go a long way towards making the entire website more enjoyable and useful for all users.