For several years now, I've been serving as the API documentation maintainer for the Drupal core project. It's a job that I enjoy doing, since it combines working with the Drupal community (especially new contributors) and improving API documentation (somewhat of a passion). But it's a pretty big job for just one person, and lately, I've been taking more "personal time" (traveling, not working a full 8 hour day, etc.), and I've had less time to devote to it.
Earlier this week, I attended and gave a talk (Motivating Developers to write API Documentation -- based on my experiences with the Drupal project) at the first WriteTheDocs conference in Portland, Oregon. The conference overall was pretty good:
Submitted by jhodgdon on 10 January 2013 - 11:01am
I finally got a copy of my new book, Programmer's Guide to Drupal in the mail yesterday -- it's very satisfying to see it in print. Maybe you'd think someone who makes her living almost entirely by electronic means would stick to e-books, but ... call me old-fashioned, but I still do like reading paper. So, while e-books are poised to outstrip paper books (especially for technical books) any day now, I am glad that my book is available in paperback too, and it's tangible and very satisfying to hold.
The writing and publishing process was an interesting break from my usual Drupal site building and programming work, and I enjoyed it. Working with O'Reilly was great, and I'm thrilled that the book is finally done... at least for now. I expect to be doing revisions for a second edition when Drupal 8.0 comes out (sometime next summer or fall).
One of the problems that I think every open-source software project faces is how to get new contributors to the project started. It's always necessary to recruit new contributors -- not all of a project's existing contributors will stay around forever, and any project benefits from new people with fresh ideas. But it can take a lot of time from the established contributors to get new people started contributing "the right way" in an established open-source project.
Submitted by jhodgdon on 23 January 2012 - 10:24am
For a client project last week, I needed to display automatically-generated embedded maps or links to external maps (e.g., a link to Google Maps), based on an entered address for a performance venue. In some display modes, I wanted a map on the page (such as when displaying a Venue page by itself), and in other display modes, I wanted a map link (such as when displaying venue information on a Performance page). Although this is, I'm sure, a common need on web sites, an extensive search for existing Drupal modules to didn't get me anywhere.
We're having a Drupal API documentation cleanup sprint, to bring the function and file documentation headers up our Drupal 7 documentation standards. If you want to participate, see issue http://drupal.org/node/1310084 for instructions -- new contributors welcome!