The redesign timeline comes to an end soon - now what?

As Tiffany published in the post titled redesign officially underway in September, Mark Boulton design's activity with the redesign is tied to a timeline, and will end in one week as originally planned. Whether this deadline is actually met or not, the fifth iteration of the prototype was posted on the group related to the redesign a few days ago. Mark and company's involvement in the redesign however ends with all the great plans. It is then taken on by skilled engineers, designers, site architects, content authors, reviewers like you and me - from the community. We need to put into form all the plans on shared authentication, cross-site search, great project module improvements, better customization tools and so on.

There is no reason to wait to hear the bell though, the redesign already offers plenty of work to get involved with. Kieran Lal opened a new group named redesign infrastructure team which is aimed at exactly those who are interested to be involved with the work of actually putting the design into testing and then production.

Unfortunately still runs on Drupal 5. Dries Buytaert provided a status update in August, acknowledging that it was a mistake to release Drupal 6 without upgrading the mothership first. Well, even since his status update, not a lot of things changed in the update status of contributed modules run by I think we can agree that it would be extremely unwise to develop all these new great features on a Drupal version which is almost two years old, especially, when Drupal 6 is ready to build amazing sites like the Drupalcon Washington DC 2009 website. So upgrading what is there and we still intend to use is key. Since most modules are available in the open, anyone can help. In fact, many modules are useful general tools such as comment_upload, so they are not at all tied to only.

Being a stakeholder in the redesign success, I sat down and did a validation of availability of module upgrades and required work to be done over at the new group opened by Kieran. The report titled Where we are with modules vs. Drupal 6? focuses on itself without its subsites, acknowledging that this is not the complete picture but an important first step. (Some functionality will probably even brake out of to subdomains, so will not necessarily affect itself, but would still be required for the whole site family).

While I've included the maintainer nicknames in the report, it is really up to anyone who can help upgrading these modules to make them work better with Drupal 6. Maintainers are important though to get anything committed. For the project module related tasks, my latest information is that the maintainers look for new stable releases for Drupal 5 and would then jump to committing Drupal 6 porting patches (given that a huge part of the porting and Views 2 adaptation was already done by Adam Light). Look for links to issues in the report. Similar guidance from other maintainers would help focus effort on the right places, and get things moving sooner then later.

We are getting pretty close to being left with designs we need to build actual working functionality behind. There is nothing like building a website for more then 300,000 users and 720,000 unique visitors per month. You might not catch such a project soon, if you miss this one.

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