Drupal 7 Status Update

The Drupal (news, site) open source Web CMS project is in the midst of ironing the kinks out of Drupal 7 with the recent release of the second Drupal 7 alpha. Project founder Dries Buytaert recently shared a status update and release plan to take the project through the home stretch. Here's what's cooking in Drupal land.

When's the Beta?

According to Buytaert's update, Drupal 7 will enter the beta phase when the upgrade path from Drupal 6 to 7 works. At the time of this writing there are 13 critical issues preventing this advancement. Once Drupal 7 reaches beta status, Buytaert states that they'll become more and more strict about accepting changes and "commit to making HEAD to HEAD upgrades work." 

When Will We See Release Candidates?

The Drupal project will put out an RC once the number of critical issues reaches (or at least nearly reaches) zero. As of now, there are currently 141 critical issues in the Drupal 7 ticket queue.

Streamlining the Process

To focus the team on critical bugs, Buytaert states that they're adding a new "major" severity level to their ticketing system, positioned between critical and normal.

"Major bugs would be really bad, but not necessarily block a release," says Buytaert. "For example, bugs that don't prevent Drupal from working, or that only affect a fraction of the Drupal population would be prioritized for fixing in follow-up releases.

Critical bugs are those that badly break Drupal, or that are a major regression compared to Drupal 6."

How You Can Help

Among the bugs that need to be fixed are a number of non-trivial issues that require "a lot of background and domain expertise" and therefore can only be fixed by one or two people in the project. Buytaert states that it's important to encourage and mentor new people to get them up to speed so they can help shake out these problems.

In particular, he says, "I'd like to ask all sub-system maintainers to watch their sub-system's issue queues closely (like Moshe did recently) and to provide the leadership to help us make progress."

If education is cultivated and talented assistance is encouraged, Buytaert feels that Drupal 7 can release in the second quarter of 2010. Otherwise, he expresses concern that it may be delated until the third quarter.

"It would make for quite a party if we could roll a first release candidate in time for DrupalCon San Francisco on April 19th," he concludes. "I would have to sing on stage from happiness, or something." Let's hold him to it.