InfoWorld's Test Center picks the best open source applications of 2011
In January, the Drupal project popped the champagne on Drupal 7, a top-to-bottom overhaul that updated the widgetry to handle new innovations from the evolution of HTML5. WYSIWYG editors are simpler to use. Administration menus float above the content. All of the blocks are now more powerful and more secure. Many of the features that were cobbled on with modules are now baked into the project.
Also notable is how the group managed the transition. At the same time they started rewriting the central code, the group started putting pressure on the module developers by asking them to pledge that their modules would be ready when Version 7 shipped. Modules are all separate projects run by people who may or may not be very interested. Forcing the module owners to make public pledges let the users know which modules were under active development and which ones were fading from the frontal cortexes of their creators.
Managing mature open source projects is a new challenge for the community, and all too often the older piles of code are just eclipsed by newer, flashier upstarts. There are advantages to sacking the old code base, but the thrill of revolution is often followed by the mire in reinventing what was learned before. The Drupal team effectively moved the code base forward and lost little of the collective wisdom. Oh, there are still people complaining that it didn't go far enough or that it destroyed some beloved feature, but overall it was a stable, thoughtful migration into the future.
The Bossies 2011 index:
This slideshow, "Bossie Awards 2011: The best open source applications," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in applications and open source at InfoWorld.com.