The Benefits of Drupal Contributions

Posted by Jonathan Dale on January 23, 2013

When I explain to family and friends what I do for a living, the immediate image in their mind is of the lone kid sitting in front of a computer in the middle of the night. The reality is that the work I do goes far beyond that and tends to include meeting with clients, setting expectations, and developing design and implementation plans. As part of my role here at Digett, I also look for ways in which we can help contribute to the open source community, and specifically to Drupal.

Community engagement is key

At Digett, we are continuously evaluating the needs of our clients to determine how best to achieve their goals. When looking at Drupal, this includes having a breadth of knowledge with regards to the functionality provided by Drupal Core and which contributed modules will work best for a given scenario. On those rare occasions where the required functionality does not exist, and we have a need to develop that functionality, we also ensure we are doing so in a manner that allows us to contribute back to the community.

These contributions allow us to develop better code and better solutions based on community feedback and innovation, which in turn provides direct benefits to our clients.

As an individual, my contributions allow me to further develop my skills and become more familiar with the Drupal code base and community. This iterative process creates a loop of continual feedback and improvement for our development team and encourages beneficial growth for Digett, our clients, and the Drupal community at large.

How can I benefit?

One of the big questions that is usually asked when any organization or individual begins contributing to an open source project is, “What do I/we get out of it?” With Drupal, there are several advantages:

  • Faster Deployment
    • By using an open source project as a starting point, deployments tend to be faster and help to avoid reinvention of the wheel.
  • Better Code
    • The development of code with an eye towards community contribution results in refinements geared towards community standards and guidelines.
  • Community Engagement
    • Engagement with the community means that contributions will be more likely to receive reviews and feedback.

The worldwide involvement of individuals and organizations within the Drupal community provides access to virtually limitless resources and is something that would be difficult to reproduce within most organizations. By participating in the Drupal community, you can encourage growth and innovation far beyond that of any one individual.

What about you?

How do you or your organization approach contributions to the community? What benefits have you seen from doing so? How has this changed your deployment process?

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Submitted by David Needham on Wed, 01/23/2013 - 9:25pm

A company that uses Drupal for their day-to-day work but doesn't contribute back has something fundamentally wrong. Some are worried about losing money on non-billable time, but inside they're really just missing the point of open source altogether. They have no sense of the Drupal karma: we feel like helping because we wouldn't know Drupal without someone helping us. Plus, they're really doing their developers and company a huge disservice by not letting them gain reputation or benefit from code review and collaboration.

Drupal may be free, but it comes at a cost.

Submitted by Mark on Wed, 01/23/2013 - 9:50pm

Jonathan, inspirational post. Drupal is a unique community, indeed, and I'm very proud of how Digett plays one tiny part within it. Thanks for your leadership in that regard.

Submitted by Jonathan Dale on Wed, 01/23/2013 - 10:12pm


Agreed. I began contributing personally long before I joined the team at Digett and I am very proud of how Digett views the community and values our contributions to it.

Submitted by Mark Figart on Wed, 01/23/2013 - 10:18pm

I completely understand your point of view, David. And yet, Drupal developers I know seem all too eager to be part of a community that serves so many beyond its own borders. If you think about it, we—as developers—need all those non-contributing business stakeholders in order to ensure the highest value is associated with our efforts, after all. In other words, just using and benefiting from Drupal is in and of itself a service to the community. Extra kudos to dem dat go the extra mile to help improve it!!