What comes next for the Snowman project? At the Drupalcon BoF, we nailed down some clear goals for the project and resolved a number of outstanding questions about purpose and target audience. We could start having arguments and bikeshed discussions about specific features, layout, and so on. But because that's not awesome, we're not.
Instead, at Leisa Reichelt's suggestion, we're going to approach it the way designers handle the brainstorming phase of a project: we're going to build some simple sites that mirror what we'd want Snowman to be used for. We'll study those real built-out sites, discuss what common threads emerge, and nail down our gameplan for the profile. At this point, anyone interested in helping with the Snowman project should do the following:
- Read up on what's been figured out already (see the FAQ, the Personas discussion, and the BoF writeup).
- Write out an actual 'story' for a group that matches the Snowman use case. (See The Snowman R&D Page for examples: they don't have to be long, but they should give enough precision and personality to give the general use case some life.)
- Fire up a copy of Drupal 7 and start building a web site that serves that group's needs! Remember that we're only using the tools available in Drupal core. No contrib modules or themes allowed!
- Post a note about the site you're working on to the Snowman R&D Wiki. If you run into particularly interesting questions or insights, start another discussion here so the rest of the Snowman Crew can talk through it with you.
- As you build out the site, keep track of the 'gaps' in core functionality that you find, large or small. Whether it's managing a mailing list or changing how many nodes appear on the front page, make a note of it and keep track of how it would improve the site for users.
In a month -- about the middle of April -- we'll close up this experimental R&D phase and look over all of the sites together. We'll be looking for common patterns that emerge with sites for these kinds of groups, unique and cool tricks that some of us come up with, and insights into what walls we hit with core's built-in capabilities.
From there, we'll start putting our plan for Snowman's specific feature set together. The 'gaps' we spot in core functionality that keep us from implementing server features can be handled in one of two ways: we can brainstorm simple patches for core that would make them possible, or we can use them as 'on-ramps' that nudge new site owners towards Drupal.org, the modules directory, and the world of site building.
Let's build a snowman!