Proof of Concept for Stand-alone Drupal Newsletter

Sneak preview of this discussion (if you decide not to click through to the rest of this discussion topic):

This DrupalCon has been phenomenal! We had an impromptu BoF session yesterday for the Drupal Newsletter. The three big things that came out of that were a plan for March’s newsletter, the newsletter length, and building a stand-alone site for the newsletter.

The obvious topic for the March newsletter is the DrupalCon, of course. There are over 800 people here, though and we need to recruit people to write up their favorite session/s. If you are at the conference, please write up at least one session, and/or find three other people who can write up a session. We only need a paragraph or two, but feel free to write up a whole big article if you’re inspired.

To the second item, we plan to use a system of teasers for the next issue. We’ll put each section and/or article in the groups, and just link a manually created teaser in the digest that gets e-mailed and posted on d.o. We’ll refine that process as we continue creating future newsletters.

Which is yet another strong case for a stand-alone newsletter site, bringing us to the third item of discussion. We created a working group, currently consisting of Alex UA, mlsamualson, and myself, to create a proof-of-concept stand-alone site. You can see it at (which is just filler, as you’ll see).

Everyone in the newsletter group is invited to become part of this process. You can see notes and todo items at as we post them.

If you want to jump into helping create the site, create an account there. There are three roles: developer, admin, and editor. As this is on my server, only a couple of people are getting devel access, so don’t even ask. Admin access I’ll grant to people FROM THE NEWSLETTER GROUP who have stepped up for specific tasks, once we have had a chance to fill out the task list. Editor access will be given to anyone from that group as well, so we can test out workflow. Authenticated users can add articles, so we’ll need to test that role out too.

Basically, the workflow is this:

  • Anyone who feels inspired adds an article, tagging it and/or adding it to a special section (Drupal Dojo, Drupal Groups, Getting it Done Interviews, In the Media, etc).
  • The article will appear in the ‘all articles’ block and on that page.
  • Anyone can read submitted articles, comment on, and rate them.
  • When preparing the next newsletter digest, an admin will create a new issue for that month.
  • There is an editor-only view of articles that haven’t been assigned to an issue yet, which is a sortable table with dates, teasers, rating, edit links, etc.
  • They’ll click on the ‘promote to newest issue’ link on a deserving article, which will do what it says. Articles not promoted will stay on the archive page, but will probably eventually get buried, unless an author polishes it up or something else to give it more momentum for the next issue.
  • Additionally, one or more articles may be assigned as ‘Feature Articles’, so they’ll be displayed prominently on the page.
  • The issue page will become the digest, and we’ll just be able to click on a print-only page to get a version suitable to put on d.o and send by e-mail, which will automatically be sorted, with teasers, and links to the full versions of the articles.

Please, please, explore the site and give your feedback. We need a theme! Themers/designers, put on your thinking caps, look at the wireframes (the site is the wireframes), and come up with some comps. Things are moving fast, but I want us to bring in the larger group and get it moving even faster.

Our next step after this will be to bring in the Drupal Association to the discussion, and the larger community. There’s a session tomorrow about the redesign of, and that seems like a good place for this to be discussed as well. I don’t know if this would be better as, or integrated fully within the site. As I said, this stand-alone is only proof-of-concept, but I think we can turn it into the real thing as well.

(cross-posted at gdo/d-n.)