Tuesday, March 30, 2010

3347 Reasons For the Toba Catastrophe to Hit Drupal

I was recently tasked with getting the title and project links for all of the Drupal 6 modules. There appear to be something like 3347 Drupal 6 modules at Drupal.org. That seems like a lot.
I know why this is: people have the freedom to create anything they want and post that to the Drupal repository of contributed modules. When two competing modules come into play, they are a little bit different so the features are similar, but not the same. What you get are either multiple flavours, one that may be to your liking-- or none that match and require you to make yet another version that fills your bill. The downside of multiple similar modules is that they each take support and care. More of them means that there are fewer developers to go around-- each module will have its own maintainer. If several developers could work on a module similar to what interested them, then there would be greater support: a more feature rich module, or one that's sturdier.
80,000 years old, the Toba eruption killed most of the humans on Earth. That left 80,000 odd people to spawn our species today. I think that there is something to be said for a constructive die-off of modules. We don't want to lose this diversity, but is there a way to control the explosion of functions?
This could amount to a leaderboard approach of similar modules being weighed: which is viewed as more stable; or feature rich? Can one of them be deprecated if their intrinsic features were rolled into the victorious module?
Is there a way to make more use of Drupal Groups? Can we get people to come up with a common way to describe module functionality, then voice an intention to do a module and look for like-minded developers to share the load?

From a developer standpoint these 3347 modules pose a problem: why would I develop a module if there are several that could fit my needs? I have developed custom modules for my work, but none of them are fit for a general audience. When someone says, "What have you done-- which modules have you developed?" I don't see enough room to build a module-- there are dozens for every role I've come up with.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Cooking with XSLT, XML, PHP and a dash of automation

Fun with :
XSLT, 6000+ recipes in Recipe XML format, PHP and a page building script that I whipped up: