A new beginning for the Drupal community!

Debug Academy class at Drupal GovCon 2018

The Drupal we all know and love is evolving. The learning curve is shifting, the development paradigm is different, and the community, not only the software, is more ambitious. We felt it was time to build Drupal.tv as a thank you to the wider community.

Kevin Thull

From the community spotlight on Drupal.org: “He's the fellow that is dashing from room to room before the first session begins to set up the AV equipment and checking in with presenters making sure they all "push the red button". Because of him, we are all able attend the sessions we miss while busy elsewhere. He is personally responsible for recording over 800 sessions and donating countless hours of his time.”

Hear his thoughts on the unofficial Drupal recording initiative ( https://www.drupal.org/association/blog/introducing-the-unofficial-drupal-recording-initiative ).

Thank you, Kevin!

A Tweet to start it all

In Oct 2018, Rachel Lawson (@rachel_norfolk) tweeted: “It strikes me that creating a “DrupalTV” site, collating all YouTube session videos, would be possible in Drupal core these days. Tagging, searching, the lot. Could be a fun project? I’m sure one of our hosting providers would help…

As fate would have it, Ashraf Abed (@ashabed) of Debug Academy was looking for the upcoming semester’s class project and came across the tweet. Debug Academy always does a real, new project in class as it’s the best way to learn programming and to build credibility.

Yes, newbie Drupalers built this site.

Drupal’s learning curve is shifting. The focus of many ongoing core initiatives is improving developer experience, and not only for senior programmers.

This project was built (& continues to be built) by a team of new Drupal developers, led by one Acquia “Grand Master” certified Architect (Ashraf Abed, Debug Academy’s CEO).

The backgrounds of the team include (but are not limited to):

  • 4 experienced backend developers with 0 Drupal experience

  • 1 experienced front end developer with 0 Drupal experience

  • 2 self-taught web developers with 0 Drupal experience

    1. Former career: Library and Information Science

    2. Former career: Teacher (PHD in history!)

  • 2 self-taught with light site building experience in earlier versions of Drupal

  • 1 Drupal Grand Master / Architect (Ashraf)

To illuminate this a bit more: Ashraf was not allowed to contribute any code on the project during the semester, which ended on December 22nd, 2018 (1 week before this site’s launch). That is to ensure that the new developers gain proper experience building the project. So the majority of this project truly was built by non-Drupal developers. We’ll share more about those developers in an upcoming article, with their permission.

And if you’re thinking “the experienced backend developers did most of the work”, that simply is not the case. The majority of the work on the project was contributed by the rest of the group.

Furthermore, as is the naturally occurring case with most Debug Academy semesters, the development team was highly diverse. Over 70% of the team members come from backgrounds that tend to be minorities in our field, and we were lucky to benefit from their ideas and expertise. 

What’s now and what’s next?

Video Coverage

Kevin Thull provided us with a list of DrupalCamp videos, of which we’ve imported 100%. Thanks to Wendy Abed, Kevin, and Ashraf for importing the DrupalCamp and DrupalCon videos. We’re at over 3,500 videos!

In the near future, we will also add free Drupal training videos created by various providers. All videos on this website will always be free.

Conferences

You may have noticed some videos are tagged with conferences. In fact, all videos are tagged with conferences, but you can only see the published ones.

We ask DrupalCamp organizers to reach out so that they can populate their own conference pages. Debug Academy’s next cohort will built out the conference (meetups, Drupal Camps, Drupal Cons) functionality on the website to make conferences (past & future) easy to find.

Searching / Sorting / Filtering

The site’s search is powered by the Search API module(s). The plain text search actually works quite well - search for a conference name, a topic, etc, and you will find all videos from that conference/topic.

As part of next semester’s project, we will be tagging talks with topics and speakers, which will enable us to use faceted search on the website.

Wider accessibility

We want this site to be globally useful. We plan to import video captions as well as and enable the multilingual features available in Drupal core. And if you are recording Drupal conferences in your country, reach out to us with your youtube playlist!

Submitting videos

Video submissions are open to the public! Approved content administrators will have the ability to import entire playlists from youtube, but anyone can import an individual video! Anonymously submitted videos will be created as “Drafts”, and our team of alumni and approved moderators will approve appropriate videos (thanks, Drupal core content moderation!)

Ongoing maintenance

Debug Academy students and alumni will continue to build and maintain the website as a non-profit project for the Drupal community. We will periodically share articles about what new Drupal developers were able to build using the website.

After next semester’s project, we may reach a point where smaller Drupal Camp events do not need to create/maintain their own website. Instead, they could simply create a conference page on Drupal.tv and use their time on higher value initiatives, like running a great conference, as usual! :)

How can you help?

At the moment, we have plenty of development capacity for the project, and we would like this project to continue to enable graduates of Debug Academy to land their first full time jobs as Drupal developers. You can help by spreading the word!

Follow us on twitter @drupaldottv, sign up for our newsletter (in the footer) to hear about new videos and articles, and simply share this website to the wider Drupal community

Also, follow a few of the team members who helped create or populate the site: @kevinjthull, @ashabed, @jackg102@cotterpinx, and @DebugAcademy for sponsoring the project.

We'll be reaching out to our alumni to do a separate piece on them with their inputs and permission. We launched on New years, but it turns out that's an inconvenient time for many contributors. Who would've known?!

And I’d like to give a special shout out to the founder of Drupal, Dries Buytaert, for allowing us to use the domain drupal.tv for this project!

Happy new year, everyone!