The Humans Behind Your Drupal Website

As a web developer going on 10 years now. I’ve inherited and handed-off a number of completed websites in my day. While developing and releasing a website often times we overlook providing documentation listing out the Modules, Libraries, Service Providers, Designers, Developers and Tools used in creating a website.

A website is the sum contribution of many peoples; rarely a single developer. As you develop your webapp or project I find having a bird’s eye view of components and contributors that went into developing a website paramount to understanding how a site works under the hood. Or, providing me a hint on whom I might be able to contact for assistance on piece of the website.

To that end I recently stumbled across an interesting initiative called humans.txt. It seeks to provide attribution to the people whose contributions made the website your clients interact with in a non obtrusive plain text file.

It’s my belief this is a simple, elegant way to provide a bird’s eye view of your development work without intruding on your codebase. Often times I view the plain HTML of websites and various entities leave breadcrumbs that they were there with HTML comments for attribution. Some example sites with extracted embedded references:

http://dailynexus.com/
<!-- WPZOOM Theme / Framework -->

http://antjanus.com

<!-- This site is optimized with the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin v1.4.7 - http://yoast.com/wordpress/seo/ -->

http://pragprog.com/

<!-- deployed from git -->

http://www.calottery.com/

<!--
 Bootstrap JavaScript
 Modernizr bundled with RequireJS & the optional RequireJS plugins
-->

-- A designer I know writes in the site template
<!--
*******************************************
Programming and Design by: John Doe
Famous Computing Group
Company Name
Project:  My Project Name
Development Begin Date: April 2010
Last Updated: April 10, 2013
*******************************************
-->

All of these examples are trying to give credit where credit is due. But, embedding such information into your HTML source is in my opinion bad practice. HTML Comments shouldn’t be used for such information as it’s randomly inserted your source code, and it eats up bandwidth.

There is a Drupal community module humanstxt which automatically creates this text file and provides an administrator an easy form field to fillout site attributions. I highly recommend this module as a means to give credit where credit is due, and to help clue-in others who will be touching your codebase.

If you’re using Drush simply:

drush dl humanstxt
drush en humanstxt -y

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Author Spotlight

David Gurba

David Gurba

I am a web programmer currently employed at UCSB. I have been developing web applications professionally for 8+ years now. For the last 5 years I’ve been actively developing websites primarily in PHP using Drupal. I have experience using LAMP and developing data driven websites for clients in aviation, higher education and e-commerce. If you’d like to contact me I can be reached at david.gurba@arvixe.com

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