In a world where we cannot guarantee what technology providers will do (see our posts on the Ning situation and the web project update’s ‘wider web’ section), how are we to know what to use for our websites?
This is an amazing story, and proof of the power of what people can do when they collaborate effectively on a shared problem with the right tools and attitude and a healthy dose of generosity. It’s a story of what ‘Open Source‘ means in principle and practice and we are honoured to be part of it.
Our web project did not have the time or resources to put together a ‘website in a box’ offer for initiatives when we reviewed our possibilities in 2009. We wanted to, but necessarily focused on the wider, ‘knowledge-sharing’ goals of the Network and worked on a simple solution (the community microsites) to help those in need of basic support. That’s all we could do.
Meanwhile… out there in the wider world, following the ‘drupalcon‘ in San Fransisco (a gathering of people who use the drupal software), a group of drupalists from different initiatives around the world have come together of their own accord to co-create a service that can offer Transition initiatives websites which have been designed at their core for the needs of an initiative.
It’s early days yet, but the group are pressing ahead with astounding and mesmerising gusto and we’re doing what we can to help. Ed was in a group call last week, sharing as much as we had all learnt from the surveys and consultations done in 2009.
It’s being co-ordinated by Andre, of Postpeakliving, and he is looking to attract some likely characters familiar with the web, drupal software, and sharing their work with others. Here’s his outline:
At the April DrupalCon San Francisco conference the open-source Transition Drupal project was kicked off. Drupal is a popular website management system that specializes in creating social networks (its tag line is “community plumbing”). Many popular sites are being run on Drupal, WhiteHouse.gov recently becoming one of them.
Drupal by itself takes significant technical know-how to set up so the Transition Drupal project is creating a “website in a box” package that a modestly skilled person can set up on an inexpensive hosting account. It will have the essential features already configured — just add content.
Work has begun identifying the features version 1.0 will have. You can find the the draft 1.0 specification at the Transition Drupal site (pardon the spare look; though under construction it’s usable). Most of the conversation about the project itself is taking place in the drupal groups site (anyone can register for an account). You’ll also find discussion of the first draft of a fabulous theme Chris Wells from Transition Kensal & Kilburn has put together.
There will be plenty of ways throughout the project to help. Right now we need these specific skills:
Information Architect: This person would design one or more site maps that would be appropriate for different sizes and types of Transition Towns. A large town may need different features, content and layout than a small one, for instance, and we need someone to study needs and put together one or more site structures.
Drupal developers: if you are a Drupal developer, please consider joining the core development team! With help, some of the long list of features currently slated for Version 2.0 may make it into Version 1.
Graphic designer: we have lots of graphic needs throughout the project
Drupal Themer: This is a specific skill that converts graphic designs into theming code
In a few months we will need:
Documentation: We’ll need people to create setup tutorials and other documentation, including video tutorials
Installation support: we’ll need people who know how to set up Drupal to answer questions on the forums
If you are interested in participating, get an account on the drupal group and introduce yourself!