Before anything else, I want to point out that while this post will focus on maintaining a contrib module on drupal.org, that is just one of the many ways to contribute to the Drupal project. Every contribution is important whether it's a core patch, a documentation edit, a translation, or something else. If you use Drupal, please consider how you might be able to give back to the community. If you're already contributing, then thank you!
You are here
A Drupal site is composed of many parts, often similar to a puzzle. Just like a puzzle, you need to be able to control the pieces at any time. In the software development world, where software exists in the form of source code files, this is handled by a version-control system (such as CVS, Subversion or git - naming just the ones we use for Trellon). By using a VCS, you're able to check-in and check-out all the PHP files that make up Drupal and all the contrib and custom-made modules that compose a site.
With the recent release of Drupal 7, the community should now focus on upgrading existing Drupal 6 modules to Drupal 7.
Having already upgraded the print module from 4.7 to Drupal 5, and from that to Drupal 6, I can tell you that this time the process will be both harder and easier.
A lot harder
PDFs have historically been difficult to integrate into Drupal. Site owners were forced to include PDFs as attachments to content, and accept the interruption to the site layout that the external plugin presented. Building on the excellent Scribd API, our new module allows PDFs to be displayed on your site without the Adobe Reader plugin.
The Berkeley Drupal User Group's March meeting was a week and a half ago, but I'm still thinking about it, and now, in the "better late than never" spirit, I'm writing about it.
In between sessions at Drupalcon DC I was asked if Trellon generally implements bookmarking tools such as, sharethis or addthis, for clients? I started to answer that we have no preference but stopped myself when I remembered a client situation with Sharethis. When the Sharethis component was installed it made page load times slow and it had some script caching issues.
Whenever I need to implement a custom feature for a Drupal site, I always check the Drupal.org module repository to see if someone has already written a module that does the same thing. This can be difficult, since the number of modules has exploded in recent years and the infrastructure for browsing them has not caught up (though the redesign project has noticed this and is discussing some great improvements).
I'm known, famously or infamously, for my code quality reviews and, whilst I don't get enough time to perform the same anal-retentive behavior at Trellon, I've streamlined checks of the most egregious errors with daily e-mailed reports using Coder and Drush. Drush allows you to operate your Drupal site from the command line, while Coder is a friendly "do it right, bub" for code quality.
Getting things installed and configured