219: Around the Drupal World in 120 Days with Enzo

Listen to Drupal developer, contributor and businessperson, Enzo Garcia talk about how he is traveling around the world for 120 days in 2016, spreading the word in India, Asia and Australasia about building community and identity, the importance of Drupal 8 in the developing world, and the Drupal Console.

"As Larry Garfield said, Drupal 7 was an island. In real life, we have islands in communities, because we don’t know what boats we need to take to get to that island."

Keeping promises, fostering communities

During the election for the Drupal Association Community Board seat in 2015, Enzo made a promise: "I promised I will try to help local communities in developing countries to increase their presence in Drupal worldwide community, and the only way I found is to visit them and teach them how to use Drupal, the Drupal Console, to promote them writing documentation for Drupal 8 in their mother language ... And maybe to try to grow out the community in that way."

"I am going to New York first, Singapore, Vietnam, Korea - South Korea, Japan, five cities in China, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Philippines, maybe Australia and New Zealand. I am trying to put my money where my mouth is. I said that it’s possible and I am trying to do it. I’m having a sponsor recently, a Chinese person. He wants to invite me to do a session in Beijing, and he paid my flight to go to Beijing."

Q: So you’re going to meet-ups; you’re going to companies; you’re talking with these local communities. What is it that you’re promoting? What is your mission with these communities in the developing world?

My mission is to save them – okay, you can do more for yourself. You need to try to believe in yourself. You’re now to start to write documentation in your language, in [Chinese] and they - in Thai, in any language, because [Unintelligible] you solve your problems, right? Obviously, the idea is Drupal 8 is coming out, so it’s the learning curve. Everybody, they still worry about that, so I want to try to show them it’s not that – it’s difficult, but it’s not impossible; and try to put a seed in there to – in the - in many things, like they need to be more participate – they need to participate more in DrupalCons or near Drupal Camps to try to create a better Asian community around Drupal.

So my idea is we’ll be really – I will be really happy if we start to see more contributions from China and maybe pushing the Drupal Association to try to have some multilingual information in their homepage, because the main complaint, they say, for instance, I talk with people from Korea and Japan and China, it’s like when they try to sell or find something, Drupal.org is not the best source of information for them. This is something they really want.

They are working as an island. For instance, they have a drupalchina.cn website, and they publish a lot of information. Nobody knows about that. They don’t use their GDOs, because they don’t feel this is a good way to communicate in their community. So I think the challenge is for Drupal organization around the world is to try to find the proper channels to communicate with them. So what I did, I do some research and I discovered they used QQ, which is a clone of ICQ, and then I create my account and it was in Chinese. It was a nightmare at the beginning, but now finally, I found the groups and they are totally open. If you follow this group, this is like 4,000 people talking about Drupal problems, issues, documents; and they really love when some people overseas tried to share something with them.

As Larry Garfield said, Drupal 7 was an island. In real life, we have islands in communities, because we don’t know what boats we need to take to get to that island.

Q: So are you doing this trip to build some bridges between those islands and start to connect us better?

That is the point. It is one of the ideas. I have to learn about them. As I say, we need to learn what is doing for them, because maybe IRC, as you’ve said in the beginning in the session, is popular for Drupalers, but that doesn’t mean it’s the unique way to reach people. So I think in any country or any region, we need to find the options we have to communicate with them.

Interview video - 28 min.

120 days, 3 missions

Q: You've got three themes you're highlighting during your 120 trip. What are they?

Enzo: "The first thing is convincing local communities to believe in themselves and to grow themselves to produce documentation, to produce – to help each other in their own languages."

Q: Second. What is it that makes Drupal 8 an especially good fit for people in the developing world that you’re visiting?

Enzo: "Okay, because I grew up in a developing country, I am Colombian by birth, sometimes we don’t use first class software because we believe it’s expensive and will be really hard to find resources to do that. So for the reason in developing countries, you see some government sites that are really bad. So I think if we can provide the tools to teach them, you can create first class product for yourself; not to sell in USA, for America or Europe. So you can create first class products for your government, for universities. So the quality of life will be elevated. Because for instance, in Africa they have more mobiles and they don’t have mobile or responsive government websites, because all the solutions they have are really expensive. So this is my point of view. So giving them the tools to do a first class product, will we change their societies. The Drupal community is providing the best possible enterprise professional government quality software to anyone who wants to solve a problem in their own country. So they don’t need to look solutions out there. They just need to learn the first class product to do first class stuff for your citizens.

Q: Third. Now, your third message. The Drupal Console that run with Jesus Olivas and some other great people. What is the Drupal Console is and why people should be using it? What does it do?

Enzo: Drupal Console is a tool built using Symfony Console in the same way the Drupal 8 used Symfony components to create Drupal 8. We do the same to try to bring the awesomeness that Symfony Console provides in the Drupal work, and the main feature is to generate Drupal 8 code. You can generate controllers, models, forms, or in the basic stuff you need to be as a Drupal developer. In that way...

Q: So it saves me writing a lot of boilerplate code, for one.

Enzo: "Exactly. So you don't need to worry about that at the beginning. You could be productive in five minutes, and then just be concentrate in the business logic of the company. The second thing is we can create content that is good. In terms of local community, Drupal Console provides a special addition to local communities. We have right now 12 languages supported. Hindi, for example. That is good for DrupalCon India, and it’s translated in more than 80% to Hungarian, Romanian, Chinese, and Vietnamese.

It’s like Nelson Mandela said, "If you speak to someone in their mother language, you touch their heart." So we are trying to do that. So you can do two [Unintelligible] stuff fast and quickly, and if you speak Chinese, that is like that opened your mind totally.

Guest dossier

  • Name: Enzo
  • Work affiliation: CTO, Anexus
  • Drupal.org: enzo
  • Twitter: @enzolutions
  • LinkedIn: Eduardo Garcia
  • Website: enzolutions.com
  • Current projects: Drupal Console
  • 1st version of Drupal/PHP: Drupal 6. Enzo read Pro Drupal Development in 48 hours before a job interview, got the job, trained two others in Drupal and delivered his first project in three months!