I've immediately jumped on the new 6.5 release of the Netbeans IDE when it was released with much fanfare about its PHP support. Netbeans is a free to use IDE sponsored by Sun. I've used it years ago to edit XML documents, but did not look back on it ever since. Now it does indeed have nice PHP syntax highlighting, context sensitive code suggestions and debugger support as you'd expect from a PHP IDE.
One of my first new year's readings was Dries' reflection post on 2008 which includes predictions for 2009. One of the predictions is that he sees Drupal 7 to be released in the last quarter of 2009. He predicts pain but a strong outcome.
I predict that Drupal 7 will be released in the fourth quarter of 2009. The two most exciting features in Drupal 7 core will be custom content types and radical improvements in usability. To reduce the risk of important modules falling behind in support or update path, a significant portion of the Content Construction Kit (CCK) related modules will move to core and we'll pave the way for the Views modules. The same holds true for other important contributed modules, including token module, path auto module, and image handling functionality. In 2009, core becomes bigger, not smaller. The Drupal 7 code freeze will be longer than expected regardless our new continuous test framework, and the upgrade path to Drupal 7 will be more painful than hoped for. But like always, we'll come out stronger than before...
Two key takeaways to spread from my mind are that:
You should seriously move to Drupal 6 instead of staying on older versions, in anticipation of a new major Drupal release around the corner. The key modules are already out, and they are amazingly more useful then their Drupal 5 or earlier counterparts. The action happens in the contributed modules area!
The doors for your work on Drupal 7 are wide open! You should not hold back big ideas on the grounds of a shortly coming Drupal 7 release. We still have time to design and discuss bigger changes. No wonder the fields in core effort needs time to stabilize and achieve "CCK in core" on higher levels that we anticipated before.
Happy upgrading Drupal 5 sites, working on Drupal 6 modules and contributing to Drupal 7 core in 2009!
I've helped recently to unfork the Bluebeach theme (the theme used on Drupal.org and subsites) which was used with different code on drupal.org and groups.drupal.org. So now both sites can use the same source code for their theming. I've also ported the changes to the Drupal 6 port of the theme which was done by Earl Miles earlier, based on the Drupal 5 version. These were all in anticipation of doing upgrades of drupal.org and subsites with the existing theme before going to the next step with Mark Boulton's redesign.
Dries Buytaert recently posted his Fields in core code sprint debrief, in which he mentions toying with the idea of organizing a Drupal.org upgrade sprint at Acquia. This is what Dries has to say:
All things considered, this [Fields in core] sprint was a big success, and I'm now toying with organizing a "drupal.org upgrade" sprint at Acquia during the last week of January. The goal would be to upgrade drupal.org from Drupal 5 to Drupal 6, and make progress on the drupal.org redesign work. Is anyone interested in participating in or helping fund this sprint? If so, more soon.
From my previous involvement and blog posts, it is probably not big news that I am very interested in helping out with that. Are you?
Just over a week ago, I've been in New Orleans to talk about multilingual Drupal website building at the Do It With Drupal event organized by Lullabot. I've been happy to join fellow Acquians for a short time at the office and then at the Do It With Drupal seminar to represent the company. It was a fun experience to hook up with so many other people looking into using Drupal for the first time or even selling Drupal services already. It was a good mix, and was a very different target audience compared to Drupalcons. This event was more focused on the path seekers and the beginners with high detail and cross-discipline talks over four days. I've enjoyed several sessions, including Robert's session on Solr.
Unfortunately (for my enjoyment of the conference), my session was at one of the last slots, but it had a good turnout nonetheless. I've been prepared well in advance with a completely rethought line of thought (compared to previous, more developer focused events), and a slideshow done from the ground up. So despite talking about this topic before elsewhere, I needed to have a totally fresh look at the topic and present all the latest developments to date.
Since I do not have the permissions to upload my session to the website of the event, and the slides I sent in by email were not uploaded yet, I figured I'd better share them here with those eager to look into them soon. Happy holiday's reading if you are about to take time to learn more about multilingual Drupal solutions!