The Drupal Ladder: Resources and activities for meetups to help members learn and contribute

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As Drupal’s popularity sky-rockets, so does the volume of issues and sense of urgency for problems to get solved fast. To keep up, we need to get more people contributing to core. There are a lot of people who would like to contribute to Drupal core, but they’re not sure how, they don’t feel qualified, and the time commitment feels prohibitive. Meanwhile, as Drupal’s code base becomes more complex, the learning curve for contributing to Drupal core gets steeper. To get more people contributing to core, we need to make it easier to work on core. This is what the Drupal Ladder project about.

The Drupal Ladder project (formerly the Learn Drupal Initiative or "Boston Initiative") began with a pilot project in Boston in October 2011. The vision was this:

  • Make a list of all the different ways people contribute to Drupal core.
  • Organize the list like a ladder. The first few steps are easy for anyone, minimal knowledge of Drupal required. As you ascend the ladder, taking any consecutive step up the ladder is within reach, as long as you’ve taken the first steps.
  • For each rung in the ladder, we’re providing clear instructions and goals that make it easy to get up and running with something new in 15-30 minutes. (This way, people can contribute in one-off 1- or 2-hour sittings and get real, valuable work done.)
  • Drupal groups meet regularly all around the world. If each group dedicates a few hours to making contributions and helping members work their way up the ladder, together we can close a ton of issues and bring more people into work on Drupal core.

At Drupalcon Denver (March 2012), we shared the results of the Boston experiment with members of Drupal User Groups from around the world. We posted the materials we developed on; we invited other user groups to get involved by contributing lessons and organizing "learn sprints" and "issue sprints" at their own regular meetups; and we proposed some ambitious community-wide goals for the project:

  • Get 10 more user groups to organize learn sprints and issue sprints before Drupalcon Munich and another 30 groups before Drupalcon Portland
  • Re-launch and release a 1.0 version of the Drupal Ladder distro by summer 2012
  • Get 1% of active users on to contribute to core by 2014

This session will include a status report on the goals set in Denver, an overview of new materials and activities available to share with user groups, and case studies from the field. This session will also propose next steps for helping the community get 1% of active users to contribute by 2014.

Experience level: 
Time slot: 
Tuesday 15:45-16:45