Separate dev.drupal.org

naught101's picture

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...

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.

Comments

Interesting

xjm's picture

Drupal.org is in fact serving two separate audiences. I hadn't thought about it that way before, but it's true. The rule of thumb is usually one site:one audience.

On the other hand, we are always striving to get users (new ones especially) to make more use of the forums, the issue queues, the handbook. These tools serve both audiences. The handbook includes everything from "How do I install Drupal?" to low-level coder stuff, and tech support via the issue queues is invaluable to both end users and module maintainers. I'd worry that splitting the developer audience off would set us back in that regard.

Nonetheless, interesting to think about.

Site Map

MGParisi's picture

I was apart of SOME of the front page redesign, but that took years to accomplish (I think it was like 4+ years) and was unfortunately around when it was finished. To give credit it is a nice front page... I know a few people who may know the layout of certain parts of the site much better (like the document leads, and the people you where talking too.).

This is dealing with a HUGE amount of information. If I try to sort it out through a Macro level I get overwhelmed, but if I try to improve one thing at a time I can make progress.

Is there a current site map? Something like...

Currently a directory form of the site map kinda follows the homepage
-Getting Started
-Community & Support
-Documentation
-Download and Extend (http://drupal.org/download)
--Download and Extend Home
--Core
--Modules
--Installation Profiles
--Themes
--Translations
-Market Place
-About

We also have
Drupal.org - Introduction and Implementation of Drupal
Groups.Drupal.org - User managed Groups for Discussions
Security.drupal.org - Security team documentation and security review
{probably others, but some of these are REALLY hard to find, ex security.drupal.org)

But if you drill down you start to see where things overlap. You have Drupal Contrib Module Contrib that both use the Security and the Development Guidelines. We also are kinda creating a sub section for developing on d.o. Then you got forums for all of those, IRC channels that are elusive to different sections, groups, etc... personally

Modules that produce site maps (I wonder what would happen if we installed one of these)
http://drupal.org/project/site_map
http://drupal.org/project/xmlsitemap
http://drupal.org/project/gsitemap (abandoned)

Then you google "site map" and you get something like this
http://groups.drupal.org/node/4613 which says gsitemap is better (but as you can see its abandoned).

I start too try and categorize things and I realize that there is no logical directory, websites kinda cross all over the place...

We have the Windows 7 approach, which seems to take the more advanced administration tasks and bury them... Basically its better to use the Microsoft Help system when you need to do anything like change TCP/IP settings because its easier.

Maybe a basic table of context (basic site map) and an index are two good documents that we can create (and would help with information overload).

Edit: There is currently a Site Content Audit http://groups.drupal.org/node/139814 which should help.


--Sig--
Owner of Toastyart a Drupal based High Quality Art Gallery.

Yup. Content Audit!

lisarex's picture

I'm leading the content audit and it's slow going, but we're finding them really interesting problems. I need to find more time to analyze.

"(I wonder what would happen if we installed one of these)"

I could definitely install one on the content site I have set up. d.o. is a mix of tpl files and nodes, so I don't know how it will handle the tpl files. I'll report back on that!

==================================
http://about.me/lisarex

.

Michelle's picture

For me, selfishly, I like it. That's why I kept saying I don't like the changes to the front page of d.o but recognize that I'm not the target audience of the front page of d.o since I'm already using it. I just need my little dev corner were I can do my dev stuff.

If I may be so bold as to be 100% positive of one thing, though... webchick won't like it. :)

And why? Because when you put newbs in one spot and the old farts in another, you rarely get cross-pollination. And that is even more dangerous than the newbs getting confused by the dev talk and the oldies getting annoyed at all the marketing lingo.

Michelle


My blog, mostly about Drupal: Shell Multimedia

more than two audiences and that's fine.

leisareichelt's picture

so, while I don't want to pretend for a moment that Drupal.org in it's current format is ideal for anyone, to suggest it serves two audiences - developers and everyone else, is a very simplistic and self referential view of the world. There are a LOAD of different people who have different needs of Drupal.org beyond this. Developers who are evaluating it as a solution vs developers who are part of the community, CTOs trying to sell Drupal as a solution, CEOs who are trying to decide, Designers who have been told they have to make their designs work for Drupal, people who don't identify as developers who want to make something using Drupal (but who don't code much, yet), UX people, tech writer, other non-technical potential contributors who want to find out more about open source and whether/how they can contribute to Drupal. There are SOOOO many audiences and they are of varying importance to us, but many of them are important in our mission to increase the use of Drupal and to grow our community.

the idea that there is a rule of one audience / site is just not true. All sites have multiple audiences, and the trick is to sign post each audience to the part of the site that is most appropriate to them and then to make sure that that part of the site is designed in a way that is optimal for their use. This is where, I agree, Drupal.org is not entirely delivering.

The most recent redesign was heavily focussed on making Drupal a compelling (and understandable) choice for people who don't know Drupal and don't necessarily know code. I think we've done an ok job of moving that forward significantly from where it was before.

Now we have a major challenge to make the rest of the site work better for the rest of the audiences - this is kind of like unfinished business for me which is why I wanted to get the Prairie Initiative focussed on exactly these kinds of issues and audiences.

I'm in the same camp as Webchick when it comes to separating audiences. It's not a good idea.
In order for Drupal to be more productive and more effective we need to bring people through a journey of being new to Drupal to being old hands who are actively engaged in contribution. We need to bring designers who have never heard of Drupal to be actively engaged with helping developers make their work even more amazing. We need to bring product managers and writers and marketers and all other kinds of people into our community. Making separate sites, splitting our activity apart, this is not the answer.

BUT - better designing tools for specific audiences and situating them appropriately within Drupal.org and making sure the signposting to those tools is clear - that's a BIG challenge that I hope we can put some focus on here :)

my 2p.

leisa reichelt - disambiguity.com
@leisa

Groups

MGParisi's picture

Every group on G.D.O. is an audience. What would it take to empower the "Developers" to create and maintain their own group with the content they want?


--Sig--
Owner of Toastyart a Drupal based High Quality Art Gallery.

see also: Topic pages

leisareichelt's picture

so, also related to this - I've proposed the idea of 'topic' pages here http://groups.drupal.org/node/138439 which I think might also help to address this challenge a little... at least give you a place to signpost various groups to from which hang all the most relevant activity (issues, groups, documents, subsections of Drupal.org etc.)

leisa reichelt - disambiguity.com
@leisa

I found this old discussion,

lisarex's picture

I found this old discussion, where developer.drupal.org was proposed

http://groups.drupal.org/node/3769

==================================
http://about.me/lisarex

Once we recognise that the

patcon's picture

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.

Whoa. This brought it home. I don't know about everyone else, but I honestly haven't been to the front page in like 2 years, except maybe to view the redesigns, or when I'm on a computer that isn't my own. If I'm in an way representative, I've got to ask "Why is the frontpage talking to me?"...

I'm not saying we should divide audiences or anything, but I think developers tend to just jump to the places they need to be, most likely by google searches

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