November 3rd, 2011
Klaus Purer is a member of the Drupal community who has been recently been extremely active with project applications. How active? In the last 30 days he has commented on almost twice as many projects as the next most prolific commenter. Even though he just got involved in the last month, he’s tied for most reviews of the most projects in the last 6 months!
How did you get involved with Drupal?
I started to work with Drupal during my involvement with the students union at the Vienna University of Technology (Fachschaft Informatik) back in 2006. I was just a user at that time, posting articles and keeping the web site up to date. In 2008 I was looking for some work besides my computer science studies and ran into a job advertisement by jpetso. I found it very appealing because it mentioned “actively taking part in an open source project” and since I at least knew Drupal a little it was a great match. So I started at Pro.Karriere (now known as epiqo) as part time Drupal developer, I think I did my first patch for Comment CCK (porting it to Drupal 6). Another boost for my involvement was the Google Summer of Code program in 2009, where I did a project for the Rules module. Fago was a great mentor (and still is today).
What do you do with Drupal these days?
I finished my master thesis this year, which talks about the Web Service Client module. I’m working on eRecruiter, a Drupal 7 distribution for online job boards. I help fago to maintain Rules and sometimes Entity API, I really like to work with RESTWS and I sometimes have to do hackish, pure Drupal-work-around modules like Role Export. I am a Google Summer of Code mentor and I am proud what my student sepgil accomplished this year (Rules Link). I have some Drupal core patches here and there waiting for your review. You can find me on meetups of the Drupal Austria local user group.
What got you started in the project application review process?
I saw people whining online about the project applications issue queue and the huge backlog. I was curious how hard it could be to do a review, and I saw that it actually is pretty easy. Then I wondered how many reviews one person could do in 24 hours. I took some time in the weekend and slayed down around 130 issues. I got motivated by the progress and continued my work, now with the challenge to reach zero “needs review” issues. Haven’t succeeded yet, but will go for it when I have time. I think it is crucial for the Drupal community to get more developers on board, so that not only the Drupal user base grows but also the developer base.
What are some of your favorite moments from that process?
I like it how fast projects can evolve from a crappy code base to a clean and polished version. It is great to see how people care about their work, want to learn and want to get it right. They are excited when they get approved and spread their motivation to others, even to myself.Another aspect is that I myself learn a lot being a reviewer. The most valuable things are the security reviews by greggles, that point out weaknesses in the code that could be exploited by an attacker. It really hurts when greggles shoots down an issue for security reasons that you RTBC’ed before, but I appreciate it as it grows my awareness about security issues and my knowledge how to identify them.
Are there any cool projects you’ve learned about through that process?
Yes, definitely. Of course people don’t do blockbuster modules like Views or Rules as their first Drupal module, but there are nice ideas like Fixed field, Guest, User Email Domain and many others that I have forgotten right now.
What changes do you hope will come in the project review process?
I would like to get more reviewers involved. We can automate the reviews a bit (I created a bash script to do some common checks, see PAReview.sh), but we need human approval anyway later in the process. There are plans to deploy some automation on drupal.org directly, but that long term effort does not solve the problem of lacking reviewers now. You can do a decent project review in 10-15 minutes, so if more people would just do one per day or one per week we would not have any problems.
It looks like you’ve been to several Drupalcons. What is your favorite part of these events?
The atmosphere of friendly human interaction. It amazes me how nice and welcoming all people are and how low the barriers of entry are. I like it that there are almost no hierarchies between the people and that you can talk to just anyone.
Tell us a little about your background or things that interest you outside Drupal?
I’m living in Vienna, Austria, and I’m a free and open source software enthusiast. I like to compare programming languages, so I hate PHP (if only Drupal were written in Python!). I’m interested in politics, ethics, philosophy and gender studies. I am a vegetarian and I support attac.
Where to find Klaus: