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August Acquia India Drupal meetup in Delhi

Thanks to everyone for attending a great Drupal meetup on August 15th in the Acquia offices in Delhi in Stirring Minds.

Although a lot less than 50+ registered, we still managed to get around 30 people in the room for some snacks, chat, presentations and hacking, making this one of the largest Drupal meetups I've seen in the Delhi area.

The event kicked off with some socializing, table tennis, drinks and snacks. Following that, I (Jacob) did a short presentation on the tools I use to be both lazy and efficient as a developer.

Post that, we dug into some Khati rolls, beer and cold drinks and split into Birds of a Feather groups focused on the following:

  • D7 to D8 module migration (led by Abhishek and Abhishek)
  • Drupal for absolute beginners (some new people from Stirring Minds also attended. (Suchi)
  • Performance optimization (Amit Goyal)
  • Contributing to Drupal (Rajeev).

Many people came up and told me it was the best meetup they've been to, which was great to hear.

Future meetups

Unfortunately, Delhi has not has a history of regular meetups. We're hoping that with the central space at Stirring Minds and a little intention we can change that. I sent out a survey which

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Letter to a graduate

Below is a letter I wrote in response to a job applicant. She's 24, a recent masters graduate in computer science from a mid-tier university with absolutely zero work experience. Her cover letter stated "Want to seek a challenging position." I generally ignore such resumes. Don't judge me, India has a bad signal to noise ratio when it comes to job applicants and if someone doesn't take the time to even read the requirements, I don't feel obligated to reply. However, for some reason this one stood out. I'm not sure why, perhaps because she was the first one with no experience whatsoever and I wondered what it felt like to be her. Her name is not Sushmita.

Hi Sushmita,

Thanks for applying for our Project Manager job. I assume you know we could never consider you for this position since you do not fulfill any of the criteria. I get lots of applications which do not come close and I generally don't reply to them. It seems to be a common practice in India to just apply to random jobs and hope someone is not paying attention or is especially desperate.

I'm writing to you because you have no experience at all (related or otherwise). I imagine you don't really know how to

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Drupalstan: What's up in the Indian Drupal community

Welcome to the first of a hopefully regular update on the Drupal community in India - Drupalistan!

Contribution spotlight: Capgemini helping with drupal.org testing

Drupal's massive growth has attracted some true global giants to our community. Capgemini is a 100k+ person consulting firm with over 35k employees in India. Apart from Capgemini's established reputation as a leader in large scale Drupal implementations, they are now also actively contributing to the community through drupal.org testing efforts.

The CG drupal.org contribution team consists of 3 developers with Drupal and PHP backgrounds. Apart from this, a Drupal architect [DurgaGopalPrasad] and a Manager[Rizwan Sayyad] also worked for part-time.

Team members:

Describe the project you worked on: (what was the goal, how did you accomplish it, who mentored you, etc):

The project is about automating the testing process of the upgrade work of drupal.org from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7. Behat is a PHP testing framework capable of running human-readable test cases against the application that needs to be tested.

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Acquia U graduates

Do you remember what your first day on the job was like? Maybe it begins with an orientation by an HR administrator; where is the coffee, how do I get on the intranet, where is my nerf gun. For many software companies it goes more like "Here's a link to the wiki, version control creds are in your email, try not to screw anything up." As a self-made scrapper, I can totally respect a DIY orientation. Many consider it the first test, is the person ready to take initiative and figure things out for themselves? My first day at Acquia three and a half years ago was in this vein.

Planning for growth

As an organization gets larger though, the processes and roles become more complex and harder to adapt to. To react to this reality and to continuing hiring and developing stellar talent, we embarked on a new project 6 months ago called Acquia U.

Kay Van Valkenburgh and I took eight aspiring web developers and gave them six weeks of intensive training followed by two 6-week on-the-job training rotations through different departments at Acquia.

Basic training

The training portion of the program is rooted in the Agile development methodology where the participants choose, execute,

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Managed Chaos: How I use Agile and Scrum in the classroom

Agile is great for developing software. It improves quality by committing to transparency and realistic estimates. It improves morale by putting creative people in control of their process and it gives stakeholders visibility into the process and the flexibility to change priorities (pivot for all you trendy wantrapraneurs out there).

And while Agile originated in the software industry, the principles and even the processes now exist outside of it. It works pretty well as a system in any place where there is inherent uncertainty. While traditional management methodologies seek to eliminate uncertainty by careful planning and enforcement, Agile embraces uncertainty as essential and builds teams and processes which can adapt to it.

Now think about traditional education. You have a lesson plan, you have a syllabus, the teacher assumes how will each student will absorb every lesson, how many hours of work they will need to put in to prep for a test, how best to learn each topic, etc.

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Acquia U week one highlights

The group had a really busy week. Everyone from the Services department was on hands at Acquia - So they got a chance to meet with Dries, Peter Guagenti (VP Services) as well as Bryan house (VP Marketing) and many others.

In addition, as the group was cramming to get their work done, we got iced by the PS team.

With all that extra-curricular activity, they were crammed to get their assignment in. The assignment was simple:

  • Build a Drupal Gardens site as a portfolio of your work.
  • Interview 5 Acquians (selected at random).
  • Publish their interviews / photos on your site.
  • Build a view with list and tabular displays that can filter by department.
  • Make a block which showed a random Acquian.

The results where absolutely impressive. A few of these people (including Andrew - the first one below) were using Drupal for the first time! The group has since moved on, their portfolios have been moved to Acquia hosting.

Here's a few screenshots and links - check it out and get to know some Acquians and how the Ubies did on their first assignments.  

Please show the Ubies some love and comment on their blogs / follow them on twitter.

http://andrew.drupalgardens.com/interviews

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The making of a Ubie - Inside Acquia training

As you may know, Acquia has been growing quite fast. Since I joined the company in the fall of 2008, we have gone from about 25 employees to around 200 today. It has been a fantastic ride for everyone, and we see no signs of slowing. The tough part of growth for us has been keeping up with the demand for talented Drupalists. From what I understand, Acquia isn't unique in this requirement.

To fix this problem, the only option is to train. We do this in several ways:

These are all great for the labor shortage in the Drupal ecosystem as a whole, but doesn't explicitly solve our problem of needing to staff our client advisory, professional services or engineering teams (all hiring btw).

Acquia U

Enter Acquia U. Acquia U's goal is to take people who are recent grads or web developers who are new to Drupal and train them to become members of Acquia's technical teams.

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Adding SOPA blackout to a Drupal Gardens

If you want to blackout your site in protest of SOPA/PIPA, here's what you gotta do:

(hat tip to http://www.zachstronaut.com for the blackout page).

Important: Keep the url mysite.drupalgardens.com/admin/content handy. 

Once you follow these instructions, your site will go dark (if it is January 18th 2012).  If you want to get it back, you will need to delete the block later.

  1. Navigate to Structure -> Blocks
  2. Click on "Add Block"
  3. In the "Body" use the dropdown to change from "Safe HTML" to "Full HTML" (the buttons will go away)
  4. Make the block show by setting a region.
  5. Copy the following and paste it into the body:

 


<

div>

<script type="text/javascript">
    var a = new Date;
    if (18 == a.getDate() && 0 == a.getMonth() && 2012 == a.getFullYear()) {
        window.onload = function () {
            var cover = document.createElement('div');
            cover.style.position = 'fixed';
            cover.style.zIndex = 9999999;
            cover.style.width = window.innerWidth + 'px';
            cover.style.height = window.innerHeight + 'px';
            cover.style.top = 0;
            cover.style.backgroundColor = '#000';
            cover.innerHTML = '<iframe

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State of Drupal in emerging markets survey 2012

This survey is intended to gather data about Drupal's opportunities and challenges in emerging markets.  "Emerging market" is a loaded and awful term, but for lack of a better one, I'm using it to mean anywhere that doesn't already have a large Drupal marketplace and community (i.e. North America and Western Europe).

 
I'm going to use this data in my presentation at DrupalCon Denver and the raw data will be released publicly under a Creative Commons license.
 
The goals of my presentation are:
  • Highlight the growth of Drupal worldwide
  • Provide insights on the adoption patterns of customers in emerging markets
  • Show the challenges and opportunities for SMEs and large companies
  • Celebrate and discuss the challenges of new Drupal communities around the world
 
The presentation will be somewhat heavily about India and probably China.  So it will be skewed towards the big IT players and how they are adopting Drupal, but I hope to also present a well rounded view of many markets people are not aware of.
 
Please answer honestly and completely, and feel free to suggest additional questions & add comments in the provided long-answer fields.
 
If you have any questions, get in touch with me at http://www.jacobsingh.name/contact.
 
Thanks!
Jacob
 
 

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A collaborative open source presentation

I presented at DrupalCon London on contributing to Drupal.  The talk is called “How to have an open relationship… with software.”  Sadly, there is no nudity, polygamy or even dirty jokes.

 Nope, it’s just about how it is strategic to contribute to Open Source software and techniques for sales, marketing, management and developers. I did the same talk at Drupal Camp Montreal in September (video and Slides - not matching video).

 
 
It’s a lot of fun to do this talk.  It’s also the first time I’ve presented on non-technical topics.  There is a lot more doubt there.  When presenting on a technical topic I know that I am an authoritative voice on the topic.  That is, I have facts at my disposal. Solid, indisputable knowledge that my audience (at least 99% of them), will not have.  That is a position of power, it’s why
  • Engineers have good stability and income
  • Managers are scared to death we aren’t really working hard
  • We had a boss screen in DOOM and it worked, etc.
My new talk is all opinions.

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