Introducing Drupal Lean Process

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I have been working in software development a long time. Early on I recognized the need for Process as a way of re-using best practices for teamwork. At that time, Process implied for most of us the Waterfall model, which divides a development project into discipline based phases, each to be visited once in turn, in a kind of cascade: Requirements; capture the requirements, do the Design, Implementation, Verification and Validation, Deploy, then shift into Maintenance mode. Most people still follow that model implicitly, it has stayed in the everyday consciousness of process, much like Newton's laws instead of the Theory of Relativity, much like the theory of Creationism over the scientific Theory of Evolution kicked off by Charles Darwin. Yep, Waterfall often creeps in even when people say and even when people think they are using Agile. Of course, project difficulties and even failures based on the extremely high propensity (40% minimum) for requirements to change within the life-cycle of a project highlighted the dire need for at least an Iterative and Incremental model. And when that became too top-heavy, at least in its wonderful, eye-opening but hard to tailor and work with Rational Unified Process, I moved on to a kind of personal synthesis of CMMI (love that continuous improvement and organization wide adoption!) and Agile and Scrum approaches. More recently I have loved the simpler work in process and visual approach of the Kanban as a lean variety of Agile:

“Some Agile methods take a more flexible approach to time than Scrum does. (For example, Kanban does away with the notion of a two-week batch of work and places the emphasis on single-piece flow.) But you can still make time within a Scrum sprint in which creative activities can take place.” Gothelf, Jeff (2013-02-22). Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience. O'Reilly Media.

Best = Free: Drupal Team Project Management tool based on latest Eclipse release (Kepler)

Second article in the Best = Free Drupal IDE series

This article follows last week's article Best = Free: Drupal IDE based on latest Eclipse release (Kepler), in which we established Eclipse as a premier Drupal IDE. This article demonstrates Eclipse (Kepler) as a Drupal Team Project Management tool also.

Our projects consist of deliverables, and our project deliverables live in repositories. Git repositories. For AWebFactory and a good number of developers and organizations, that means GitHub.

If you followed the first article in this series, you already have a powerful Drupal IDE to work on your Drupal based projects, both locally on your laptop or at your workstation, and remotely, directly on your server. In either case, assuming the code is cloned from a repository and incremental improvements and deliverables are pushed there, the version control cammands are often carried out in a terminal (inside of Eclipse, hopefully!) or else with a GUI of some kind, again, working with either local or remote cloned codebases.

Wouldn't it be great if these tasks could be carried out in the same IDE environment where the actual editing of the code takes place. And if that repo is on GitHub, and the IDE could integrate with GitHub issues (and even gists), our IDE would not only be capable of managing the codebase, it would be capable of managing the entire project and team also, via GitHub Issues 2 (

That's exactly what EGit and the GitHub Mylyn Connector can do. So we need to:

1. Install EGit

2. Install the GitHub Mylyn Connector

3. Start managing Drupal Team Projects and issue tracking right from your Kepler based Drupal IDE

Best = Free: Drupal IDE based on latest Eclipse release (Kepler)

I hate it when waves of closed source fashion hit the open source communities: Purchase such and such an IDE, “it's awesome”. Apart from paying a lot, hey, it's closed source! Forget that! This article is the first in a series that will show you how to get set up with a top of the line, free as in beer and truly open source Drupal IDE (and Project Management system!), complying with the following objectives:

  • Top of the line free software development IDE with multiple projects and a multitude of plugins, based on Eclipse Kepler.

  • No vendor lock in.

  • Support for Web development in general (HTML, CSS, JS, XML, etc.), that is syntax highlighting, autocomplete suggestions with pop-up documentation, mouse-over documentation.

  • Support for PHP development also.

  • Support for back-end languages (Java, etc.)

  • Support for Remote project development, including code highlighting, etc.

  • Support for Drupal development

    • Drupal coding standards,

    • Drupal files immediately editable as PHP code,

    • Spaces instead of tabs

    • The right encoding (Unix) so they can be committed to Drupal repositories.

Scala powered Lift web framework - Eclipse, Scala IDE, latest versions of everything Jan 2013

I'm searching for a rock solid, performant and scalable framework for my new venture Linguathon, as I said in my last article. Hey, instead of server side javascript, why not server side Java? Or Scala? Wicket? Why not Lift?

Why not indeed! Considering that I spent many years working with the Spring framework (plain old Java objects) on desktop apps years ago, as a lightweight alternative to Enterprise Java, things might start looking quite powerful and familiar, and yet streamlined and better. Things might calm down a little and I might get a productive, solid environment to rock on!

So I'm documenting how I got up and running now with the latest versions of Lift and the Scala IDE for Eclipse, etc., on a souped up MacBook Air, it's pretty sui generis but it might help someone, certainly myself if I come back to things after a stint at something else.

A look at PHPeclipse

In another post ( IBM is taking PHP (and Drupal) very seriously ), I mention a series of articles IBM is writing in the context of using Drupal as a web application framework.

In Part 6: Building a custom module in Drupal it is mentioned (and you can see from the graphics) that they are using PHPeclipse in their IDE.

Even though I prefer Vim myself, one cannot be oblivious to so much usefulness and convenience, especially when you consider that you can have the Eclipse Web Tools (html, css, javascript, xml editors, server debugging...) in the same package.

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