Awesomeness

Drupal 7 Code Freeze = Two Months?

There was some talk recently about releasing pre-alpha versions of Drupal 7 for development and testing purposes and this got me thinking about the actual Drupal 7 code freeze. For those of you who are "in the cold" and don't know what a code freeze is (horrible pun, sorry), it's a given amount of time where features are denied from going into Drupal. Although it's sad to see additional features not be able to go into Drupal, it gives the developers a bit of time to fix bugs and optimize performance before the official releases go out.

If you have a look at Dries' Drupal 7 Timeline, you see that he predicts a November 15th code freeze if we have full test coverage. Now, if you have a look at the Drupal 7 test coverage report, you can see that we're pretty close! So, assuming that we get the three month code freeze, that means we only have about two months left to get all the features and awesomeness that we so ever want in Drupal 7. What awesomeness is missing from Drupal 7, you ask?

Here are the items remaining on my wish list:

Although Drupal 7 has already achieved its awesomeness status, having these items added to its mastery would absolutely blow my mind.

Turning Drupal into a Distributed Twitter/Micro-Blog

One thing that has really blown up in the past two years is micro-blogging and the idea of sending little updates to a mass majority of people at once. These updates are public, and users can "subscribe" to another's updates, therefore encouraging conversations to start, and "lifestreams" to spawn.

Some fairly large websites that provide this type of service are Twitter, Jaiku, Facebook, Spoink, LinkedIn, and Identi.ca/Laconica.

Robert Scoble has made some pretty interesting quotes about the phenomenon, my favourite being "Twitter is the public square. Lots of noise, little signal. Blogs are like a speech. Signal, but little noise". But that's up for debate, and out of context with what I want to talk about in this blog post. What I want to talk about here is integrating micro-blogging with the content management system, Drupal.

Recently, Identi.ca has become quite popular. What makes it different then other services like Twitter is that it is open source, under software named Laconica. Since Laconica is open source, it means that there could be any number of servers running the software at any given time. I could be posting on Identi.ca, while my friend is posting on SportsTwit. So how do I subscribe to my friend's posts when we're on different networks? The answer is provided through the OpenMicroBlogging specification, which describes how two different systems could manage subscriptions across networks. When I log into Identi.ca, I see updates from people across a number of different Laconica installations and networks.

So why would we want to bring this to Drupal to make a distributed Twitter clone? This would allow you to use your own blog as your Twitter/micro-blogging profile. People could still subscribe to your posts, and you could subscribe to theirs. Instead of just writing small 140 character text updates, you could incorporate anything you wanted (video, pictures, audio, etc). Drupal is all about distributed open source awesomeness, and this would bring that awesomeness to the micro-blogging world.

How would we put this into action? The first thing to do is take a closer look at the OpenMicroBlogging specification, as well as the awesome OAuth Drupal module. Sumit Kataria wrote a brilliant post about OAuth and how it works. I posted a groups discussion on it a while ago to get discussion going, and Tim Millwood mentioned that he started FooCity. It doesn't allow subscribing to other networks through the OpenMicroBlogging specification though and that, my friends, is the next step to allowing the ultimate distributed micro-blogging platform come to life: Implement the OpenMicroBlogging specification using Drupal and OAuth.

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