Community Spotlight: Neil Drumm

February 26th, 2011

Neil Drumm (drumm) has been an active contributor to Drupal for over 7 years. He has attended every DrupalCon, often as a presenter. Besides contributing to many Drupal modules and other projects, Neil can be found working as:

  • Lead architect for, hired by the Drupal Association
  • Maintainer of
  • The (recently retired) Drupal 5 maintainer
  • A member of the Drupal Association General Assembly
  • A member of the Security team

In addition, Neil is whip-smart and great to work with. He has a lot of friends and fans in the Drupal community (he even has a Twitter-based impersonator)!

photo of Neil
Photo by Robin Pam (

Neil was nominated for the Community Spotlight by Angie Byron (webchick) and Lisa Rex (lisarex). We like Neil a lot, and we presented him with these questions:

How did you get involved with Drupal?

I got involved with Drupal through Howard Dean’s 2004 U.S. presidential campaign. Zack Rosen (zacker) asked me if I wanted to help out. We started hack4dean, later renamed DeanSpace. Taking advice from #php on freenode, we started customizing Drupal 4.2 for local campaign groups.

Do you have any advice to anyone just starting with Drupal?

We were hesitant to join in the Drupal community; I wanted to focus on our customizations. Moshe Weitzman (moshe) said something along the lines of “anyone worth their salt wants to patch Drupal core,” I think that was a turning point. I had been using Linux and knew how open source worked; the extra invitation helped put that into practice.

Can you explain some of the benefits of getting involved with the community, and what you get out of it?

I’ve able to work with great people around the world on interesting problems.

What Drupal presentations have you made, and when?

I’ve been to every DrupalCon and presented at many. I’m a generalist on Drupal topics; there is always someone more expert than me at any given niche skill. I do currently consider myself an expert on, that’s what the project managers and myself are speaking on at DrupalCon Chicago.

Can you share names any of your other lesser known Drupal projects?

I’ve learned to not over-commit on small side projects.

Any interests outside of Drupal?

I do some road biking and cooking.

How people can reach you/learn more?

I have a sparsely-updated blog at I’m continuing work on and blogging about it on the Drupal Association site. The best way to contact me about stuff are the Project issue queues, which I read a lot of. Otherwise, email drumm [at]

Was it hard to decide whether to be the branch maintainer for Drupal 5?

Dries asked about this during DrupalCon Vancouver 2006. I don’t think I could have said no to such a great opportunity. I was working either 4 days/week or 3 weeks/month at the time, so it was easier to work out with my employer at the time, Advomatic.

What made you decide to get involved with

This was one of the many big projects started by Jonathan Chaffer (JonBob). It has some interesting data, especially when all of contrib is indexed; I’m looking for interesting ways to use it. I’ve been doing refactoring to better support modules and classes. Much of the user interface code will be refactored this year.

Drupal has recently been described as powering 1% of the internet. What’s your projection for 5 years from now?

Projection-making is not one of the hats I wear well.

What’s the deal with the @fakeneildrumm Twitter account?

A friend registered that with a guessable password, a few friends use it. Some tweets are based on things I actually said, others are just random.

What’s the recipe for your favorite veggie scramble (or other vegan dish)?

I do variations on this tofu scramble recipe. I strive to make vegan food that everyone likes, no nutritional yeast & Bragg piles. I make a good butternut squash soup.

What’s your favorite San Francisco restaurant?

I don’t want to name just one. For fanciness, Millennium; for burritos, El Metate; for sandwiches, Jay’s Cheesesteak; for bar food, Bender’s; for coffee, Ritual Roasters.

More Neil Drumm goodness Profile:
Personal site:
Drupal Association blog:
Fake Twitter:

Neil Drumm
How Google sees Neil.