Drupal 8: Start Contributing with the Drupal Ladder

Here at Drupalize.Me everyone is contributing time to Drupal 8. For my part, I'm turning my attention back to the Drupal Ladder. I was heavily involved in this project when it started a few years ago, and it remains a great resource for bringing people up to speed on the technical aspects of contributing to Drupal Core. The Drupal Ladder is a collection of lessons—organized step-by-step like a ladder—that walk you through the basic tools and processes used by the Drupal community. If you want to contribute to Drupal 8, the Drupal Ladder is an easy place to start, and your first step should be the Drupal Core Ladder. (There are numerous ladders for different topics; stick with the Core ladder initially.) Here are two ways you can dive in:

1. Walk through the lessons and prepare to contribute

The first four lessons of the Drupal Ladder will teach you how to obtain and use the tools you need—a local web server, Git, Drupal 8, the issue queue. This is done with step-by-step instructions and real examples you can play with in a project sandbox. Anyone familiar with installing a Drupal site can perform these simple tasks. Even if you're not a developer, you'll want the basic understanding these tasks provide so you can dive into the issue queue and help. Steps five and six teach you even more skills you can apply with the same tools. Alternatively, Drupalize.Me has free videos that walk through these Ladder lessons. They're part of a larger collection of videos we have in our free Drupal Community Tools and Core Mentoring guide.

Once you complete the Ladder lessons, you'll want to find a real issue to help with. I recommend that you join a Core mentoring session for hands-on guidance. (Check out Amber's recent post about her experience with Core mentoring.) And remember you don't need to be a developer to help with issues. Really.

2. Help improve the lessons

As you walk through the lessons, leave comments about things you find troublesome. (You need to sign up for an account to leave comments.) If you're feeling confident, draft corrections with those comments too. We can then go through, review your comments/corrections, and make revisions. This will help everyone who comes after you. 

When you're familiar with the basic tools and processes, explore the other Drupal 8 ladders on the siteD8 Twig theme system and D8 Multilingual Initiative. These two ladders cover new, evolving areas of Drupal 8, and they may need to be updated. But you'll be exposed to some cool new Drupal 8 features and you can help update the Drupal Ladder at the same time.

Jumping into the Drupal community can be overwhelming, but the Drupal Ladder exists to make jumping less scary. It's also a great way to start playing with Drupal 8 and to get excited about the new features. I hope to see you on the Ladder soon!

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