Contributing to Drupal - a useful guide

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Having been to a couple of the London Drupal Code Sprints [eventbrite.com] now, I have managed to contribute a number of patches for documentation on Drupal Core (None have been accepted at this time, but I am working on them still to get them in) but there seems to be a lot of momentum at the moment behind getting more involved in the community. This is a really good thing because without any community momentum Drupal wouldn’t get better, it wouldn’t get new releases etc. The London Drupal Code Sprint has been running regularly for about 4 months now (Although they have had many events before, Sept 2012 was the first in quite a while) and this has in part at least been the driving force behind my coding contribution to Drupal. I first went in November 2012 and did the Drupal Ladder that was being run that day. I then started completing the lessons on Drupal Ladder. I also went to the 26th Jan Drupal Code Sprint, and again did the Drupal Ladder. Not because I had forgotten the stuff I learnt the first time, but more because they were walking through patching and fixing an issue, where as the first time round we looked at issues already fixed. I found both ways a great way to learn, as the first we saw the anatomy of the fixing process using both good and bad examples of patches. Another reason I think that there is more of community drive right now is popular Drupal podcasts such as Drupalize.me[lullabot.com] podcasts* is also pushing community participation. They have a number of days of training coming up on how to push this forward, and I believe Addison and Joe Shindler [both links D.O.] of Lullabot are running a day on this at Drupal Camp London [drupalcamplondon.co.uk]. To the best of my knowledge this hasn’t been finalised yet, but I do know Joe has a session proposed so I guess he will at least be there :-). Anyway back to my point about the community being pushed. If you use Drupal why not contribute - you’re getting so much awesomeness for free - it’s nice to contribute back. But one think I have been asked a few times at Drupal Cambs is “How do you contribute”? Now I’ve only been using Drupal for 3 (ish) years and a D.O. member for coming up on 2.5 years, and until recently I didn’t know how easy it was to get involved in a more worldwide way, rather than by offering local community support, in my case via Drupal Cambs [meetup.com]. (The next Drupalcambs meeting is 28/01/2013 [meetup.com] by the way and at the time of writing that was tomorrow) It’s really easy to get involved, and you don’t have to be a coder. Drupal always has need for documenters, testers, etc, so don’t feel you have to be a coder to be able to contribute. The best thing ever did when I started wanting to contribute to the community was sign up for Drupalize.me [drupalize.me] so I could learn how to do Drupal properly rather than the mishmash way I had taught myself. I also read through some (But not all - yet) of the coding standards, and documentation standards, and then looked at core.drupalofficehours.org [drupalofficehours.org] and looked through the issues listed there. Drupal Office hours is a great initiative designed to get more people contributing to Drupal Core (I think they are targeting a 1% of D.O users contributing to core by the end of 2013 - although I can’t find where I read/heard that so I may be wrong.) and the website shows a number of tasks and issues that are identified as particularly suitable for novice contributors. A lot of them are typos in documentation or similar, but everyone starts somewhere. Once I had those things (Which were all pointed out to me by the Drupal London Code Sprint) I went off to do some “Novice” tasks. I have also got a contribution to the commerce_webform [drupal.org] - it was a simple patch that stopped commerce webform showing disabled products but I was so pleased I got something in somewhere :-) I got bitten by the bug (Scuse the pun) and now am trying to get more in. I have a couple of patches ready for Drupal Core (Documentation mostly) and as soon as I get them sorted I will update this blog entry with links :-)

So what was the point of this article now I have read all that? Yeah I can totally understand why you say this - this article is seemingly full of hot air (Which will surprise nobody who actually knows me!) but I wanted to highlight 2 of the things that helped me get started on my journey to contributing to Drupal - and also to give some people a reference as to how quick and easy it can be to get things started, be they in the contrib (Short for contributed modules - the community provided modules, rather than core itself) or in core. Happy Drupaling people :-)

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