In my last blog post, I explained, "Why I am one of the top contributors to Drupal?" and examined my ongoing contribution to the Webform module for Drupal 8. My post was inspired by Dries Buytaert's annual who sponsors Drupal development post. Now I want to dig into that list of who’s and acknowledge other individuals contributing to Drupal.
Let's explore some of the top contributors to Drupal.
I am deliberately limiting the discussed contributors to people that I have had minimal or no direct interaction with online or in-person. I want to explore their contributions based on their online presence versus directly interviewing them.
Every contributor's online presences tell a story
The Drunken Monkey
This module provides a framework for easily creating searches on any entity known to Drupal, using any kind of search engine.
We rarely appreciate an API module until we have to start using them and diving into the code. The Search API module for Drupal 8 is a magnificent example of great code which conquers one of the hardest challenges in programming: naming things.
For a recent project, I was diving into Search API's code, and Drunkey Monkey helped me out when I discovered Issue #2907518: Breakup tracking of content entities into smaller chunks to prevent memory limit issue. For the developers out there, if you read through the issue to the final patch, you will notice that Drunken Monkey manages to even improve some APIs while fixing the problem.
The Search API Guy
The first place to understand who is who in the Drupal community is people's user profiles. The most immediate thing that stands out about Drunkey Monkey is that he is…
The Search API Guy
This statement is something I can relate to because I have also promoted myself as "The Webform Guy for Drupal 8". I learned from maintainers like Drunken Monkey that becoming the person behind a Drupal project is a valued role in the Drupal community. On a related note, Thomas and I have both been members of Drupal community for 10+ years and this fact indicates that it can take time to find one's niche in the Drupal community.
Drunken Monkey is Thomas Seidl
Thomas is the man behind the code and his personal website promotes his contribution to Search API and offers his paid support services. His promotion of paid support directly contributed to his sponsored work porting Search API to Drupal 8.
Thomas was a student who became a mentor
Thomas' code and ability to maintain something as complex and important as Search API hints that he has professional training. Thomas has a Master's degree in Computer Science and a Bachelor in Engineering Physics.
Being mentored and mentoring is the not so secret sauce to Open Source. Thomas has some experience doing both because he participated as a student in four Google Summers of Code and twice as a mentor.
Not surprising, Google Summer of Code has helped many other people begin their Drupal careers /experience.
What was Thomas's first foray into the world of Drupal?
Thomas' first post and patch to Drupal
Looking at someone's very first post on Drupal.org can lead to many conclusions or thoughts. Some people test the Drupal community's waters by asking a simple question. Others post an issue and then disappear. Then there is someone like Thomas who hits the ground running. His very first post on Drupal.org from 2007 is…
Finally, and definitely worth noting, Thomas, the Search API guy, had many individuals and organizations helping him. He highlights and acknowledges them on the Search API project page. Giving props to the collaborating irons in the fire, both big and small, demonstrates a wholly appreciative understanding of what this is all about.
“Our thanks goes to Acquia, MD Systems, Intracto and a few smaller donors and clients for financial support. Thanks as well to the large number of people who helped with development tasks and patches.”
-- Thomas Seidl
Who is volkswagenchick?
Let's immediately acknowledge that 'volkswagenchick' is a pretty identifiable username. Appending the word 'chick' to one's username allows one to stand out in the sea of geeky names like 'optimusprime' and 'frodo'. I am not sure if AmyJune Hineline is German, but I was able to learn that she like Volkswagens and lives in the US.
Volkswagenchick is AmyJune Hineline
Wow, three years into her Drupal career and AmyJune is one of the top contributors to Drupal.
Hook 42 contributes to Drupal
After reading and learning about Hook 42, I am tempted to do a dedicated follow-up post exploring the organizations that contribute to Drupal but for the moment, I think Hook 42 deserves credit and gratitude for their employee’s role and contribution to the Drupal community. And I’m not the only one who seems to think so - Hook 42 is making a major contribution to Drupal and does appear in Dries blog post.
Our organization is not only using Drupal, but also contributes back to the community and to the project by writing modules and themes, participating in forums, presenting at conferences, organizing Drupal events, and more.
AmyJune has a mentor
Besides having a great employer, AmyJune found one of the best instructors/mentors in the Drupal Community: Mike Anello (ultimike). AmyJune credits Mike’s Drupal Career Online for helping to get her started with her career in the Drupal community. A while back, I talked about Mike's Drupal Career Online.
I’m specifically intrigued by his Drupal Career Online for individuals; It's a 12-week, instructor-led online course that goes deep and broad into the technology, community engagement, and hands-on exercises to give you a rock-solid foundation for a successful Drupal career. Mike's helping Drupal newbies become Drupal rockstars. He’s helping to grow the Drupal community by inspiring and helping individual developers to join our community. "He is helping the little guy in our community."
AmyJune just proved that Mike is helping Drupal newbies become Drupal rockstars.
AmyJune has an amazing story
Drupal was the feel good adventure I needed to move on. Being open-source and free, it allows more organizations, like nonprofits and higher-eds to have custom websites built to their specific needs while maintaining smaller budgets.
Reading AmyJune's blog posts and understanding her journey makes it clear to me that some of the top contributors to Drupal are not just coders but people who are an integral part of the Drupal community.
AmyJune's first issue on Drupal.org
Right out of the gate, AmyJune posted a very simple constructive comment:
Thanks for the feedback. Hope you enjoy this module.
Little did John know that he was also helping AmyJune on her journey to becoming a leader in the Drupal Community. Ironically and related to this first issue, AmyJune went on contribute many patches which improved the README.txt files for dozens of contributed modules.
What does IMCE stand for?
IMCE is an image/file uploader and browser that supports personal directories and quota.
Nowhere on the IMCE project page does it state what the heck does IMCE stands for. I am not even sure it is an acronym. Even with Drupal's amazing improvements to media and file handling, IMCE has continued to be one of Drupal's most installed modules.
Besides the module's name, the even bigger mystery is the project's maintainer, ufku. I would like to thank them for saving my butt on numerous occasions where the IMCE provided the exact functionality needed to fulfill a project's requirement. Ufku does not seem interested in racking up commit credits, but I’m intrigued to explore who they are and say thanks
Who is Ufku? The Unknown Drupaler
Ufku has been maintaining IMCE for over 12 years. They have been a member of the Drupal community for 14 years. Ufku's user profile is sparse and their personal website just includes an IMCE demo with README files. I even desperately checked ufku.com in the whois database and there is no identifying information
Ufku has made an awesome contribution to Drupal for many years and does not seek any acknowledgment.
Let's just say thanks to Ufku
Clearly, Ufku's commitment to IMCE shows that they value Drupal. I hope that Ufku's tremendous and continuous work on IMCE is on their resume because it demonstrates a fantastic commitment and contribution to Drupal and Open Source.
Ufku whoever you are, I want to say thanks.
Ufku first post on Drupal.org
I am hesitant to pry through Ufku posts on Drupal.org because clearly, they want to remain somewhat anonymous.
There are so many more contributor stories out there
Every contributor to Drupal has a story and there are many ways to explore them. Personally, I always start with people's Drupal.org profile and if I get curious enough, I start hunting for videos and podcasts.
Hear more about AmyJune and Thomas
Below are some links to learn more about AmyJune and Thomas.
AmyJune Hineline (volkswagenchick):
Thomas Seidl (drunken monkey):
For now, ufku can be called 'The Unknown Drupaler'.
Learn more about Drupal contributors
I hope the biggest lesson you can take away from this blog post is…
Behind every line of Open Source code is a person or organization. Since the code and its history is Open Source, you can find out who that person is and thank them.