Drupal.org Project Application Perspectives - Another Way to Learn and Contribute Back

One of Drupal's most powerful and compelling aspects is that in addition to the core functionality offered from Drupal Core, the vast number of contributed modules allow you to customize and extend your Drupal site.

These contributed modules are community created modules that have been shared and are available free for anyone to use.

The process of approving who can create these modules, and then allow them to be accessed on Drupal.org may seem intimidating and confusing at first.

Essentially, if you have a module that you want to share with the community at large, nothing is stopping you from doing so. If, you want your module to be listed and available on Drupal.org itself though, there is a code-review and user vetting process that takes place.

This serves a few purposes, and works relatively well for the community. First, it discourages spammers and keeps cruft out of the official project listings. Second, it ensures quality code and adherence to the Drupal Coding Standards. The third purpose, which quite possibly could have been untended initially, is strictly educational on the part of the applicant.

The process of gaining the ability to create full-projects can be broken down into six steps:

  1. Get a User Name and agree to the git application
  2. Create a module, theme, or installation profile.
  3. Create a sandbox for this code.
  4. Submit a new project application.
  5. Answer questions from community reviewers, and if needed make changes.
  6. Get approval and promote your sandbox to a full-project.

The fifth step is the most important. This is where I learned the most and actually got to help others. This step is also the most time-consuming and frustrating step.

Since the application issue-que is staffed by community volunteers, it can take some time. There is, however, a way to speed things up. Just like most open source projects, the more you give back, the more you get in return. The PAReview process is no exception. If you have an application that you would like approved more quickly, you help out in the project application-que, by reviewing other projects. After your review at least three other projects, you add a tag to your own application, include links to your three reviews of other projects, and then your project gets reviewed much faster.

After going through the process myself, and participating in the PAReview bonus program, it took about one month to gain full-project creation status. If my code had been a little better written and documented, the time would have been a bit shorter.

Despite the fact that I now have full-project access and don't need to participate in the PAReview bonus program, I find myself still helping out with reviewing new project applications. I've already made some new contacts in the Drupal community, and have helped other prospective module maintainers improve their code, just like others have helped me.

Anyone with an account on drupal.org can do this, just like most contributions with Drupal. Some issues can take five minutes of your time, and others can take hours.

If you find yourself with a few spare minutes, why not check out the new-project applications and consider helping a brand-new baby module grow up?