Timing! (Also: “Drupal 7 New Features” video series released by lynda.com)

7 October 2010

The same day that Angie Byron (webchick) announced the release of Drupal 7 Beta, my Drupal 7 New Features course comes out. Syncronicity! It’s 2-1/2 hours of videos that (I hope) covers the bulk of changes that Drupal administrators will face. (For a larf, enjoy my goofy face in the intro video.)

As always, working with lynda.com was a great experience, and I look forward to going back later this year to record two more courses — details of which I’ll post when they’re released.

Timing means a lot. I wrote about Drupal 7’s release date almost a year ago, when I was deep in the middle of writing Drupal 7: Visual QuickStart Guide for Peachpit Press. We’d planned for Drupal 7’s release in early-to-mid 2010, but we all now know it was not to be. Peachpit and I put the book on ice for a few months, holding weekly phone meetings to discuss the anticipated release date. We started up again a few weeks ago, and now project a December release. Here’s to hoping.

It’s a tough gamble. On one hand, an early release could be inaccurate; on the other, a late one costs sales. It’s a more complicated matter than most people realize, especially in a traditional-publishing context. That’s true for both Peachpit and lynda.com. Although the latter is a video publisher, its model is a lot like that of print publishing: A lot of production goes into every video, so corrections aren’t as easy as you’d think. On the Peachpit side, I’m told that the book has gotten substantial pre-orders. That’s great news for both me and the Drupal community, but it brings extra pressure: If we were to delay the book’s release, we could lose those sales.

Some publishers went for it. On 21 September John Forsythe generously posted a list of Drupal 7 books, of which two were already shipping. (Drupal.org user juan_g helpfully summarized the books’ release dates in a comment.) One of them unleashed the anger of Earl Miles (merlinofchaos), one of Drupal’s most valuable contributors by including information about his unreleased modules; to their credit, the publisher joined the discussion on drupal.org to discuss their decision. Webchick, who’s a published author in addition to being Drupal 7’s co-maintainer, jumped in to explain the quandary publishers find themselves in when a release date slips.

But these are problems that come with Drupal’s growing popularity, and are therefore happy ones for us as a community to face. (Did any projects depend on when Drupal 4’s release date? Probably not.) This is a challenge I hope we meet better with Drupal 8. My own suggestion: Define regular releases with an absolute schedule, much like Ubuntu does. That will not only help the commercial organizations who depend on a stable release date; it will, I think, remove some pressure of uncertainty from Drupal developers themselves.

What do you think?

Web development

4 Replies to “Timing! (Also: “Drupal 7 New Features” video series released by lynda.com)”

  1. Drupal 7
    Hi Tom,

    Great to see that your back teaching Drupal at Lynda!

    I very much look forward to your Drupal 7 Essential. Hope it’s
    out soon? When it’s out, I will rejoin as a Lynda member.

    Keep up the great work, and please do Ubercart training.

    Thank you

    Rask

    1. Drupal 7 Essential Training not yet announced
      Hi, Rask! Thanks for your encouraging words. I’m afraid I can’t comment on unreleased titles, except to say “watch the skies”. 🙂

      As for Ubercart Training: I’m putting together the coming year’s schedule and would like to do *some* kind of Drupal-based storefront software. What’s your opinion of Drupal Commerce vs. Ubercart?

      1. Drupal Commerce vs. Ubercart
        Drupal Commerce vs. Ubercart you ask. Well to me that question is easy to answer. Drupal Commerce is, just like Drupal 7 the future and hence the way to go.

        Have a great weekend

        Rask

        1. Agreed
          That’s pretty much my feeling, but if anyone has arguments to the contrary I’d like to hear them. Thanks again!