DrupalCon Barcelona: How Drupal is evolving

Stop, drop and roll

There are a lot of changes in store for Drupal, both in its future development process as well as its connection with the broader development community. The conversations at DrupalCon 2015 in Barcelona highlighted many of these upcoming changes.

“Community” is a key term in the Drupalverse.

At DrupalCon, the community track highlighted some of the dynamic Drupal community’s successes. For example, Drupal Meetups span 51 countries. That said, nobody is settling, with the community pushing to expand. Dries Buytaert, original creator and project lead for the Drupal project, notes “If we focus on the non-coders, there is tremendous potential” for the Drupal platform.

It’s my impression that the Drupal community seeks to be inclusive of not just people of different backgrounds, abilities and genders, but also to be inclusive of developers with different experience levels. Drupal has a strong focus on diversity and outreach, and at DrupalCon there was much discussion on what we could do as a whole and in our local groups to move forward.

The theme of not just being an open source platform but a truly open community was repeated time and time again.

While the community conversations were woven throughout the DrupalCon event, Dries shared his reflections and thoughts on the state of the Drupal project itself — especially in the areas of the project’s development process and market position.

Two particular things stood out for me in the presentation: the evolution of the Drupal development process and an expansion of Drupal’s market focus.

Drupal’s development process is evolving

For Drupal 8, the project used a release marker approach of checking all new code for the release into the trunk. (As a former release manager, I can tell you that this can be a real nightmare for releasing code quickly.) Dries noted that after Drupal 8, the community will flip to a feature branching strategy. This will allow for quick releases as new features are ready. It also means developers will see a faster turnaround on bug fixes and improvements.

Drupal’s aims to expand its market position

Drupal is big, and powers some of the biggest websites out there. It supports the likes of the Government of Australia, Weather.com, and one of my favorites, the MLS.

There are numerous examples of large sites powered by Drupal.
There are numerous examples of large sites powered by Drupal.

Pushing forward to expand and bring Drupal to more customers, Dries discussed the importance of the user experience. Drupal looks to shift the interface and tools to support both large and thriving sites AND to help fledging sites become more successful. Providing intuitive interfaces that can help everybody — from those flying through the command line to those who would rather work within templates — might be on the horizon.

Through all of these changes, one thing seems the be constant: the drive and passion of the Drupal community. They have created an incredibly powerful open source community that’s worth taking the time to get to know. I suspect you’ll be hearing the name more and more.

Image by: Mendel Kurland