Yesterday, I talked about the Gartner hype cycle and how the Drupal 7 release will evolve through it. Now I'd like to generalize it to show how the hype cycle affects the Drupal community — particularly core developers — during the development lifecycle of a major release.
Here is the curve of one lifecycle, as seen by Drupal's developers:
The development cycle is like a song, and each phase has its own stanza. Slow motion's lyrics are, "We need more core committers to review patches!" and "Drupal development is so broken!". Patch frenzy wails, "Crap, my patch isn't going to make it in!" and "Wait, we can't freeze the code like this!". User scream is a call-and-response with the market, which sings "You shouldn't release core until contrib is updated" and "I can't believe you're already working on the next version when I haven't even upgraded yet".
Complicating matters is the fact that we're always working on both the current version of Drupal and the next one. (We also maintain the previous version, but its cycle has already finished.) When you overlay Drupal 7 and Drupal 8's cycles, they look something like this:
Adding the two graphs together gives us a new curve that reflects the total picture.
I've put a line where I think we are now. Drupal 7 is on its way into the "Slope of enlightenment", while Drupal 8 is near the beginning of its path.
Unfortunately, a low mood characterizes both of these stages, so the total mood can be discouraging these days. But if you look into the future, it's clear that both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 are entering a good time. The excitement will only grow until the release of Drupal 8. When will that be? I'll talk about that in my next blog post.