by Elliot Christenson on November 22, 2016 - 6:12pm
Drupal is Open Source, which means that we can all collaborate on fixing problems in Drupal core or contrib modules and themes. That is one of the joys of working with Drupal! You don't have to wait around for some vendor to tinker around in a black box and make things work again - we're empowered to dive in ourselves or ask our neighbor.
But it also means that we're forced to each find and solve the some of the same problems independently - even though someone else may have found and solved the problem for their site already. Over and over again.
However, we think we can provide a better way to our customers!
Read more to find out how...
The "Normal" Way Issues Are Handled
At myDropWizard, we've been officially offering support for Drupal 6, 7 and 8 websites for over a year. Our team has provided support in independent roles as consultants and agency developers. So, we're familiar with how Drupal issues are normally dealt with. Drupal is an open source content management system (CMS), so the theory is that users can fix things themselves.
1. Something Happens That Affects Lots of Sites
One day, a subtle problem in module used by thousands of sites crops up.
There are many modules and themes in Drupal. There are many sites that are running different combinations of all of these add-on modules and themes. Different sites have operators who are of varying degrees of aptitude and attention. Many, many sites are deployed - and even if used every day - may not have an active site administrator.
2. The Site Administrators Independently Have to Notice the Problem
Now, the administrator for each site with this subtle problem needs to notice that it's even there.
Absentee administrators are one thing, but even if you are an active site administrator, the process for finding and fixing issues isn't always clear. You or your users discover an issue through usage. You try to find whether other users have the issue via Drupal.org or a Google search. Perhaps there is an update you missed! Maybe there is a "beta" version that fixes your issue.
Even if you are diligent with updating your modules and themes when new releases are announced, all site administrators need to go through this process.
3. All Administrators Must Craft a Solution
Once the problem is identified, each site administrator must independently come up with a fix for the problem.
Drupal is Open Source! We can all collaborate on the fix in the issue queue on Drupal.org, right! That's the way things can happen. What if you aren't very familiar with the inner workings of Drupal. What if you don't know what to search for?
4. Everyone Independently Deploys the Fix to Their Sites
And then the fix must be deployed to each of the sites.
Even if you have only a single Drupal site, your development and deployment process may be complex and involved. If you did develop a fix, you then need to roll it out to all of your sites, test each site, fix any other issues, rinse - repeat.
There Can Be a Better Way
You may recall some past blog posts talking about a YouTube issue:
Here's the story on that:
We had two different clients report problems with YouTube videos on the same day. Obviously, we asked ourselves "What’s going on?”
So, we looked into it and found the fix! We then deployed it to those customers.
Then we found all our other customers that were affected, and fixed it for them before they even noticed it. That is the magic of outsourcing support and maintenenance. You get to take advantage of the experience of our support team, but you also get to leverage the fixes potential issues that can occur with hundreds of other similar sites!