At the same time I invited Neil Drumm to help Steven and myself out with the next Drupal version, I asked Gerhard Killesreiter to help with the day to day maintenance of the current Drupal version, Drupal 4.7. Having a dedicated maintainer who's task is to secure the stability of the Drupal 4.7 release series is going to be extremely valuable. I choose Gerhard because he has the kind of unspoken commitment that a father shows to his child. That and he is particularly skilled in saying no, only bugfixes are allowed, and what part of 'no' don't you understand? in particular. So far, it's been one of my best decisions in months.

Recently training was conducted for participants representing a number of NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP) Training Centers.

Participants were led through a set of scenario driven exercises using a system based on Drupal and XMPP. The scenario encouraged participants to "meet" online (even though they were sitting across the room from each other) and coordinate events and information in "semi public and private spaces". The group also modeled and simulated how to find subject matter experts using the expertise keywords, profiles, tagging, and search.

Interesting to see how social software tools (i.e. Drupal) are used by institutions such as NATO, and glad to see that we help make the world a better place ...

Nato using drupal
A Partnership for Peace (PfP) website using Drupal.
Pfp drupal training
Drupal training at a Partnership for Peace (PfP) Training Centers. © Chrys.

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Two months ago I invited Neil Drumm to become a core committer of the next Drupal version. For the duration of one release cycle, Neil will help Steven Wittens and myself to shape the face of the next Drupal version by identifying and coordinating interesting development efforts. I haven't been very verbose about my choice of Neil, but I figured it would be a pretty good hint as what I'd like to see us work on. Not unsurprisingly, this went mostly unnoticed.

I picked Neil for two reasons. First and foremost, Neil doesn't like complexity. People tend to propose incomprehensibly complex solutions, and Neil has quite a knack for detecting attempts to get cruft into Drupal. Secondly, Neil has been the co-founder and maintainer of CivicSpace, the first Drupal distribution. In his role at CivicSpace, Neil has been actively involved with the development of an install system. I hope that in his new post, Neil will help coordinate the development of a cruft-free install, upgrade and dependency system for core.

It is needed to get custom content types in core and part of the larger goal to make Drupal easier to use and develop for.

Right now, creating a new content type in Drupal typically involves developing a new module, or extending an existing Drupal module to your needs. One of our long-term goals is to make it possible to create custom content types without having to write any code at all. We want users, not developers, to be able to create custom content types from within Drupal's administration interface. The need for this has been emerging gradually, and will become increasingly important for the success of Drupal, and content management systems in general. Eliminating developer intervention is a good example of how we can make Drupal more accessible to people that want to build websites.

The current code name for this project is the "content construction kit" (CCK). The project's goal is to allow users to create custom content types in Drupal through the web. The project is headed by John VanDyk and Johnatan Chaffer, who started working on the CCK almost two years ago. From day one, I've been keeping an eye on their work, hoping we can integrate it into Drupal core at some point. To understand the impact of such move, you can best think of it of as a heart transplantation. Much like open heart surgery, it needs careful planning and preparation.

It is part of the larger goal to make Drupal easier to use and develop for.