As we gear up for the official launch of the Buzzr.com DIY solution, we’re especially excited about our new color picker feature. It’s a pretty amazing tool for creating or adjusting styles — you can change colors, spacing and fonts of virtually any element on the page.
We have the very talented people at ONE Agency, based in Belgium, to thank for this incredible tool, and the lead developers Kristof De Jaeger and Jan-Yves Vanhaverbeke. They are working feverishly on the project, and contributing the code to the world at large, through a new open source Drupal module called Sweaver. We’ve been helping out a bit where we can — our patches are being committed by Buzzr lead developer Karen Stevenson. Time permitting, when we launch, she”ll be writing a blog post about her work with integrating Sweaver into Buzzr. We’ve streamlined it to make it simpler for regular users and are working to make it compatible with our existing styles.
I must admit that despite having now worked with open source Drupal for almost five years, I still can feel a sting when I see a competitor (we really only have one and their platform is mostly for Drupal pros, not the ordinary user Buzzr is targeting) has adopted a tool we spent a great deal of time and money developing. True, we released it for the world to use freely, and in exchange, we get the benefit of any improvements the world gives back to the project. But I still get a little miffed when I know a competitor’s site would be much weaker were it not for ideas we developed.
I’ve confided this feeling in the past to my colleague Angie Byron, or “webchick”, the co-lead of Drupal 7, the next release of Drupal, and an important contributor to the Buzzr project. Angie is always reminding me that the nature of open source is give and take — and that Buzzr gets a huge amount from the Drupal community. It’s allowed us to create a platform for a few hundred thousand dollars that would have otherwise cost many millions of dollars, possibly tens of millions.
Nothing has brought that concept home more than the Sweaver theme module, the result of thousands of hours of work that we now get for free. The ONE Agency is going to do their own commercial work around Sweaver, and I’m delighted we can help make it better in any way we can. For all I know, we’ll end up offering similar services to certain clients. But when it comes to Sweaver, we’re friends and co-workers, not competitors. And that’s pretty amazing.
An update for those awaiting the official launch: we’ve pushed it back just a tad to incorporate Sweaver. We’re coming soon.