If you look at the Drupalcon Szeged 2008 website's tracker, you'll see that most announcement posts are attributed to me. This is all too misleading, because in many cases, I am merely channelling information collected and discussed by various organizers to the public website.
This is the first Drupalcon for which the organizers have set up a management website, with the sole purpose to serve the organization team as good as possible, and while it is certainly not perfect, it works well so far. The "Do Drupaltown" website uses the core profile module, the organic groups and casetracker modules, as well as some small helpers like comment upload, upload preview, markdown with smartypants, diff and of course OpenID. Nothing earth-shatteringly special, just trying to work out easy ways to collaborate.
The two basic requirements were to have work groups for specific tasks, in the name of limiting scope and handing out responsibility. An event organized with a thousand attendees expected has so many aspects it is very hard to have a good overview of each aspect. So we have an organic groups setup with some top level groups and several focus groups for tasks like producing (valuable) materials for the registration packages, discussing and solving venue tasks, and so on. Because in numerous cases, we need responsibles to hand out tasks to, organic groups nicely fits with its concept of group ownership and memberships. It also supports mailing updates when new content is published, which is good to drive idle volunteers to the site when things are happening.
Since we are tracking tasks, these also need to have responsibles, an importance level, and a completion status. This allows us to have a running list of important tasks to complete, which helps us focus, know about the status of different jobs and get a distributed team to do that. Case tracker helps us there, it does integration with organic groups, so we can relate tasks to groups, email updates to tasks are mailed and severity and status flags are supported. We also have a patch pending for the views integration to be able to order by task priority, which was a trivial thing we needed to produce lists of tasks from most important down to less important.
Given how distributed our team is (only some people onsite in Szeged, lots of others are around the country elsewhere, while some volunteers from as far as Prague or Belgium), we need a way to reach any given member of the team when we are in a pressing need. We use the core profile module, which provides enough features for us to collect skype names, phone numbers, living locations, and so on, and it builds up a volunteer overview page, which gives us instant access to the contact information of anybody in our team. The only little glitch with profile module is that the number of volunteers grew above 20, so it does not fit on one page by default. Talk about sweet problems...
All-in all, our volunteers are happily working towards completing our goals, and we are marching on to come out with new exciting things for you regularly. Now that the public website of Drupalcon Szeged 2008 is building out, you will notice the volunteers themselves more there too, not just through my filtering.
Dries approached me a few months ago, whether I was satisfied with unsolicited content submission solutions I was using on my sites. Well, I was using captcha as anyone else, and the promise of an automated content analysis service which would get my site rid of captchas in most cases did sound very attractive, so I jumped on the train and installed Mollom on this blog. It was hard to not get the word out and always talk in secret-speak instead with people who I knew use or know about Mollom. Since yesterday, Mollom is in public beta, so people can try it for themselves. My spam/ham graph from the Mollom site shows how well does this service serve my site without me doing much about it (and the graph/site looks sexy too):
While Mollom started off with spam identification, it is already doing unsolicited user registration blocking and other content protection schemes are on the plan, including quality and offtopic content analysis. I am eager to see what comes out of this adventure of Dries.
As I explained in an earlier blog post, I was tasked by Acquia (specifically Dries) to identify and propose fixes to issues around integrating visual content editors (WYSIWYG = What You See Is What You Get or RTE = Rich Text Editor). Instead of rushing to select an RTE, the focus of my roadmap is to solidify input format support in Drupal so that integrating a visual editor becomes a peace of cake at the end hopefully.
Textarea and format identification
Drupal is very flexible and this makes integrating an RTE harder compared to one-purpose systems. First I tried to deliver a solution for RTEs to identify the form fields to attach to. For this to work, we need input format metadata attached to form elements, which is implemented in issue #125315 with the new #input_format Form API key. This suffers from some parenting issues still (does not support multiple format selectors in one form), which we need to solve before being able to commit. On the same angle, the RTE should know whether that format has anything to do with the format supported by the RTE, be it HTML, wiki markup or bbcode for example. Drupal uses HTML by default, and administrators need to explicitly disallow HTML. This setting however was tucked down in the "Filter HTML" filter, which made it non-intuitive to identify. So issue #24988 deals with breaking that out to its own filter for easy non-HTML format identification. This way we can easily disable HTML RTEs on such formats.
Putting permissions to place
Simplifying input format setup is quite important. Right now, there is a disconcert between setting up general permissions and input format access settings. Although the later configuration maps input formats to user roles, it is implemented in its own custom permission system. By leveraging the core permissions system for this in #110242, just like the node permissions are implemented with their dynamic names, we clean up the user interface, bring in consistency to permission setup and also simplify the API.
More fun with blocks
Finally, there are quite a few textarea based input interfaces without format support in Drupal core still. For some site settings, like the contact page help or the user registration help, I think it makes a lot of sense to just use blocks. By making the help area an official theme region, we can put the help text there as a block, and allow users to add any number of blocks to the help region to add more custom help to any page. The one-off solutions for contact page help and user registration help can be easily generalized to an admin-configurable custom help system in issue #240873. By using blocks in the help region, admins can limit and share help between different pages, provide different help for different roles and use any format for their help input. If this sounds a lot like the helpedit module or somewhat like the helptip module, that's not a coincidence, this simple change would move some of the features of these modules to core.
I was browsing around in the fresh Drupal images on Flickr, when I stumbled on this composition. While in reality I had a back scratcher in my hand at the time (which became famous on its own right that day), this edition of the photo is simply hilarious.