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Contributing to Drupal: A ‘someday’ hopeful makes his first Core commit with community help

March 17th, 2020

Pekens' photo

Pekens Antoine (pekens, pictured here) was doing research on content management systems while running a digital marketing agency, and was exploring Drupal, which he viewed as a “well-thought-out system being developed by a lot of smart people,” and with that he “wasn’t sure if a contribution from myself could make a difference.”

But Drupal and its community held his interest, and in 2018, he attended his first Drupal event—DrupalCon Nashville. He went on to participate in two Drupal Camps as well thus far. It’s been these in-person experiences that left a lasting impression.

“It’s a great feeling to walk up to the maintainer of a project you use every single day and ask them a question,” he says.

This feeling was amplified at the New Jersey Drupal Camp afterparty earlier this year when he met people and they all spontaneously opened up their computers and worked on a Drupal Core issue that had come up in conversation.

“I realized that I could probably learn a lot about Drupal from the people at the table,” [who he offers a ‘shout out’ to: @traviscarden, @bnjmnm, @tedbow, and @jrockowitz], “and I wanted to do more than build sites with Drupal—I wanted to help build Drupal. They were kind enough to show me their process.

Travis Carden notes: “What I thought was particularly compelling about his story was the fact that he didn’t previously view himself as a potential Drupal contributor. He said, ‘I would like to someday be able to contribute.’ But he was eagerly received by the group of us.”

Their conversation continued on Slack:

Travis Carden I don’t know if you already saw it or not, but your Drupal core patch got committed the same night: https://www.drupal.org/project/drupal/issues/3110525 It now appears on your profile: https://www.drupal.org/u/pekens Congratulations, and welcome to the ranks of Core contributors! 😀

Pekens Antoine Thanks Travis! It feels good, even if I’m just a typo fixer for now 😆. Gotta start somewhere. I really appreciated you guys taking the time to share some knowledge! 🙏

Travis holding a laptop, telling a story to the camera.Travis Carden (traviscarden) sharing this story with Ryan Aslett (mixologic) at DrupalCamp NJ.

Carden said the whole process happened quickly: “He went from zero to contributor in about half an hour with commit credit the same day.”

Now Antoine has plans to continue his contribution, keeping those like himself in mind. “Using Drupal on a daily basis allows me to have some insight that new Drupal users may not have. I often forget that. There’s always something that you can teach or share, even if you only know a little bit. I’ll be keeping an eye out for opportunities to share and collaborate more on Drupal projects in the future.”

Antoine reflects on the overall meaning of both choosing Drupal and becoming a Drupal contributor: “Trying to understand every single piece of code for any project its size is impossible to do overnight. The Drupal community understands this. We’re able to grow individually and collectively by sharing and collaborating on the pieces we do understand.”