Kristjan Jansen

Sandbox Time Machine

Now and then in Drupal-land we encounter ideas what are already tried in the past. This includes recently introduced Git sandboxes – temporary project spaces what can contain experimental stuff: prototype code, alternative takes on modules etc.

Now lets rewind back 8 years: meet CVS sandboxes – somewhat similar concept introduced in early days of Drupal when community of core contributors started to emerge but there were no issue/patch queue as we know it. Also as there were no module/theme versioning at that time, the devs somehow needed to maintain their -dev versions of their code.

So, sandboxes were introduced, located under contributions/sandbox/<em>username</em> where users with CVS write access could store their stuff. It's hard to pinpoint the excact beginning date of the sandboxes, my personal quess would be late 2002 – early 2003 but please correct me here.

But enough of old stories, lets get to the fun part: diggin' some 'boxes. Although both repository viewers, and are now defunct, CVS sandboxes are still accessible via running

 cvs -z9 -d:pserver:anonymous:[]( checkout -d sandbox contributions/sandbox 

Warning: this gets you all sandboxes, 130MB in total by 292 users.

Here are some findings from my own stash, such as a very rare mockup for, (precursor of Drupal Planet) from March 2003:

README states:

This directory consists concept sketches and neccessary image files to to make bluemarine.theme suitable for portal.Unfortunately I do not have time to implement these changes myself, I hope someone will take a lead.

Also there's a usability analysis, redesign proposal and IA for Drupal admin section from Nov 2003 what almost sounds like a D4UX project of the era:

First of all we must ask ourserves – why should we the vistit admin page at first place? What are the tasks we do often? What are the admin sections we rarely vistit? /…/ Current Drupal admin page is a victm of its own über-modularity. All admin links are treated as equal, but in reality they are not. /…/

Note that this is only the beginning, it was the checkout in the latest known state. Checking out stuff using different CVS timestamps or branches could earth more hidden gems.

So what's in your sandbox? Just type the following, replacing username with your CVS username

 cvs -z9 -d:pserver:anonymous:[]( checkout -d sandbox-*username* contributions/sandbox/*username* 

and launch your Sandbox Time Machine before @drupalgitgremln pushes it to the void!