GHOPers Head to Paris to Add Testing to Drupal Core

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

You may recall that Charlie Gordon and Jimmy Berry were named two of Drupal's runner ups for the Google Highly Open Participation Contest (GHOP). What you may not know is that both of these gentleman are highly skilled testing aficionados, both of them continuing to improve Drupal long after the contest has ended. When we heard that our Drupal friends were organizing a Testing Sprint in Paris, we were excited to hear that years of desire for better testing had gelled into plans for a weekend of concerted community effort in this area.

We were even more excited when we heard that Charlie and Jimmy were counted among the key participants for the sprint, and we were happy we could assist them with their attendance at the sprint. While we wish we could have joined them in the City of Light, the most exciting part of all is hearing from Charlie and Jimmy about all the great things they managed to accomplish in just two days, in addition to all of the great work they've been doing for Drupal since GHOP. Both of them were kind enough to send us along updates on all things Drupal, testing and sprinting.

Charlie writes:

A few weeks ago, Google sponsored a trip for me and Jimmy Berry (18) to Drupal's Code Sprint in Paris. It is safe to say that without Google's sponsorship, I would not have been going. This opportunity was incredible, both for myself, Jimmy, and the Drupal community as a whole. Drupal is a Content Management Platform which has recently decided to make the switch to test driven development. Once all of us were there in Paris, we did our best to make this dream a reality. The results were superb— Drupal now has an automated testing system in its core, and we have functional tests written for nearly all of the Drupal core. This is truly an amazing achievement that Drupal has been striving for for nearly three years, but this sprint has made it into a reality. It is truly awesome to be involved in such a vibrant open source community with so much support. I'm only fifteen years old, but my involvement in open source has led me to go places and do things I would never have dreamed I could do. If someone had told me a year and a half ago, before I started working on open source, that in less than two years I would be sponsored by Google to go to Paris to help improve an automated testing framework in order to get it into the core a content management system called Drupal, I wouldn't have thought it possible.

Drupal Testing Sprinters
(clockwise from top left: Jimmy Berry, Dries Buytaert, Charlie Gordon, former Google Summer of Code™ student Rok Zlender, Douglas Hubler and Miglius Alaburda)

Jimmy shares these thoughts on graduation from GHOP, life after the contest, and moving on to become a Google Summer of Code student:

Since the end of GHOP I have become increasingly involved in the Drupal project. After much encouragement and generous donations I was able to attend Drupalcon Boston 2008. At the conference I spoke in two sessions, one about GHOP and the other regarding automated testing of Drupal, an area where I'd become particuarly involved. My contributions from GHOP had placed me at the forefront of the push to improve automated testing of Drupal, and it was quite rewarding to see Dries deliver his State of Drupal keynote in which he detailed plans to have 100% test coverage of Drupal 7, especially since his talk occurred right after our testing session.

The newly increased priority and accelerated timeline meant that much work would need to be done in the next several months. Upon returning home I got started and was soon given the opportunity to become the maintainer of the SimpleTest module, the focus of automated testing development. I was excited by the opportunity to play an influential role in the development of Drupal 7 and accepted heartily. Given the authority to make code changes and incorporate contributed patches, I accelerated the rate of development. SimpleTest soon saw an enormous amount of change and inched ever closer to inclusion in Drupal core.

The proposed Paris testing sprint started to become a reality and I began raising funds and further preparing SimpleTest for the sprint. Work continued furiously over the next several weeks. Thanks to generous donations from individuals and Google I received the necessary funding to attend and the sprint took place in Paris, France from April 19th to 21st. We worked for two days before resolving the outstanding issues that blocked SimpleTest's entrance into the core, but our efforts paid off once SimpleTest was committed. It was a great experience to work with a group of dedicated developers to accomplish goals.

I plan to continue my contributions to Drupal through the Google Summer of Code. My Usability Testing Suite was accepted as a project for the 2008 summer. I am looking forward to working on the project and seeing it put to good use. None of this would have happened without the GHOP initiative and all those involved, so my thanks to all of you.

Many thanks to Charlie and Jimmy for sharing their experiences. As we like to say here at Google, debugging sucks, but testing rocks! We're glad we could help Charlie, Jimmy and the whole Drupal community rock even more than they already do.