Publishing our first module on Drupal.org

As many of you already know we are using Drupal on the new svenska.yle.fi site. Some of you may also know that Drupal is an open source platform. Open source among other things means that users can use Drupal free of charge and more importantly be a part of the development process. Drupal is actually a very basic framework that does not have many out of the box functionalities, but instead offers a robust platform to work with to create solutions for your specific needs. Drupal’s core functionalities are meant to be extended with contribute (or contrib) modules in order to achieve the desired functionality for each site.

We here at svenska.yle.fi also want to be a part of the community and we are pround to announce our first public contrib module that is given back to the community. The module is called ONKI. ONKI links the Drupal taxonomies with the Finnish ontology service called Onki. Onki offers the needed ontologies, vocabularies and thesauri needed to publish content cost-efficiently on the Semantic Web.

The ONKI module uses mainly ontologies from Onki. Ontologies are conceptual models that identify concepts of a domain (like medicine, animals, plants) and they also contain the machine readable descriptions of the relations between the concepts (usually words). In Drupal the ONKI module is attached to the desired taxonomies and the module uses Onki to autocomplete results when the user enters a word they want to tag their article with.

Terms or tags are autocompleted from Onki service when user starts typing into the field

Drupal has a procedure on how new modules are accepted into the community as contrib modules. More info can be found on Drupal.org (D.O.). In short the process an be divided into into three steps. First you have to create a sandbox project on D.O. where you develop your module. The sandbox project has most of the same functionalities (like issues) as a full project, but it is not found from the module directory nor will it have a clean URL. The development can be in any development environment but it is considered good practice to host your projects on D.O.

Secondly when you think you have completed your module you can apply for access to release it as a full project. There is a quite comprehensive guide on D.O. on how this is done. Drupal has also a style guide on how modules should be built and coded.

There is an average of 3-4 weeks of review time depending on how many projects are on the waiting list. There is a list of projects that are waiting to be granted full project status. You can speed up your review process by reviewing other peoples projects.

ONKI module is currently in the review process for being a full project and the issue can be found from here:
http://drupal.org/node/1604784

The third step is the one where your module is granted the privilege to become a full project. Full projects can be downloaded and used by any Drupalist, so full projects have to be maintained actively since for an example the Drupal core is constantly changing. Those changes can cause your module to malfunction. Also security fixes are important to be dealt with in a full project.

To summarize, Drupal is a self evolving and open community that offers an environment for developers to work on their projects. We here at svenska.yle.fi want to be a part of that community.