We recently had a question & answer session with one of our clients who was keen in knowing about some interesting aspects about our Company and why we love working in Drupal. I am sharing all the information here as it is worth a read & things got quite interesting.
1) First off, speak about your team. What is your team size? Are they ALL Drupal experts, or only select individuals? Do you all work together in same office, or separate location? Do you practice AGILE, or any other management strategy/philosophy?
We @ Square63 are a bunch of geeks and fun loving fellas who love to work on Drupal projects of any nature. We love playing around with modules, we dream about themes. Drupal never seemed better utilized than at Square63. We have a team of around 5 Drupal developers now along with a QA who makes sure of good code quality and a bug free application. We have our office located in one of the prime areas in Lahore, Pakistan and the whole team works from there. We mostly follow agile development for most of our project with 1-2 week sprints. Daily meeting & updates are a ritual around here.
2) How long have you (or your team) been working in Drupal? What can you say about the growth/development of Drupal? (We’d like to hear more than just the number of years!)
We have been working in Drupal for more than 4 years now. It started slowly and amateurly but then Drupal burst into the mainstream as the most lethal CMS weapon in today’s web development arsenal. Flexibility, reliability and customization makes Drupal an even more powerful CMS tool for today’s content savvy websites. Be it an established e-commerce portal or a fan website of your favorite rockstar, Drupal lets you create the magic on the web very rapidly. I myself started working on Drupal 5 and worked on SageSpark.com while working at a previously company. A wide variety of businesses are now switching to Drupal based web presence which includes top news portals, media websites, celebrity websites, small to medium level enterprises and many more.
3) Out of all the technologies, languages, frameworks, etc.- Why is it that you have chosen to specialize in Drupal?
We are simply fascinated to see how all the modules in a Drupal application fit together like Legos and create a system working in perfect harmony. It’s about power and flexibility, Drupal allows us to create very complicated websites very quickly without losing the edge of customizing and changing anything according to desire.
4) What is Your Drupal Community Involvement? Do you participate in Drupal.org’s issue queues and discussion forums? Do you maintain your own modules or projects on Drupal.org?
Although most of our time has been involved in creating websites for clients and doing Drupal magic on website but we have recently started to become more and more active in the Drupal community, we go through forums and help other users out though patches whenever we can and we can developed 2 contributed modules as well and 2 more are under development nowadays. You can view our page on the Drupal market place for more information
5) Do you review/test/explore the latest modules? How do you ‘research’ contributed modules? How do you determine which modules you use on projects? How do you know or decide which modules are best for certain situations?
We have our RSS Readers all hooked with feeds from the Drupal.org website so we follow and get constant updated about new module releases and we make sure we try out any new modules that can help us develop websites. Over time we have realized it’s definitely worthwhile to understand & know more and more about modules that gives up a better insight on what to use for each project. our experience with modules like Context, Display Suite, Panels, Features, Geocode, GMAP & Views etc lets us quickly decide which module might be suitable for what reason
6) What is your experience with custom Drupal modules, or building modules from scratch? (I’d like to hear more than “Yes, we can do that”)
We have developed custom modules for several websites & also contributed modules to the Drupal community recently. We have developed complete functionality modules like the Discounts module for the website : http://tonightinri.com/discounts and also written small modules just to modify standard Drupal behaviour
7) Do you have any SEO experience? What do you know about Drupal SEO, or SEO particularly on Drupal-based sites?
We have some of our own Products like PakReviews.com & Bytesmarket.com so we understand what SEO can do for your website. We always try to bring SEO into the equation from the very beginning and things like Page title, URLS, Metatags, Alt Image tags are worked on all the time
8) Tell me about your experience with custom back-ends/admin panels. Have you ever done this before, beyond just applying a ‘back-end module/theme’? Have you ever built your own ‘back-end’ interface (or UI) for Drupal, or do you know how to do this, or how it is properly done?
We have developed custom screens for Drupal back-end that allow site administrators to manage content and make changes to the website in a better way but haven’t developed a theme specifically for the back-end so far. But we did develop a really awesome back-end admin interface for a client on another PHP project and I can demo it to you if the need arises
9) How would you describe your English skills? (Both written and spoken) What about your communication habits? Are you familiar using Basecamp? Do you use progress reports, daily status updates on projects, etc.?
My English skills are good, I wouldn’t say excellent but you can get the idea from these replies how well versed I am. We usually prefer emails & written documentation but are always willing to do voice meetings as well. We have worked with Basecamp, Redmine and Pivotal tracker and we use daily status reports to keep clients updated on the progress as we’ve realized its always better to keep the client involved in feedback right from the start rather than delivering too much at once and getting worried by too many changes request