Feeds

Author

Upgrade Your Drupal Skills

We trained 1,000+ Drupal Developers over the last decade.

See Advanced Courses NAH, I know Enough
Apr 22 2021
Apr 22

Last week, Drupalists around the world gathered virtually for DrupalCon North America 2021.

In good tradition, I delivered my State of Drupal keynote. You can watch the video of my keynote, download my slides (244 MB), or read the brief summary below.

I gave a Drupal 9 and Drupal 10 update, talked about going back to our site builder roots, and discussed the need to improve Drupal's contributor experience.

Drupal 9 update

People are adopting Drupal 9 at a record pace. We've gone from 0 to 60,000 websites in only one month. In contrast, it took us seven months to reach the same milestone with Drupal 7, and three months for Drupal 8.

A chart that shows that Drupal 9 adoption is much faster than Drupal 7's and Drupal 8's With Drupal 8, after about 1.5 years, only a third of the top 50 Drupal modules were ready for Drupal 8. Now, only 10 months after the release of Drupal 9, a whopping 90% of top 50 modules are Drupal 9 ready. A chart that shows the Drupal 9 module ecosystem is pretty much ready

Drupal 10 update

Next, I spoke about the five big initiatives for Drupal 10, which are making progress:

  1. Decoupled menus
  2. Easy out of the box
  3. Automated updates
  4. Drupal 10 readiness
  5. New front-end theme initiative

I then covered some key dates for Drupal 9 and 10:

A timeline that shows Drupal 9.3 will be released in December 2021 and Drupal 10.0.0 in June 2022

Improving the site builder experience with a project browser

A Drupal robot staring in the distance along with a call to action to focus on the site builder experience

When I ask people why they fell in love with Drupal, most often they talk about feeling empowered to build ambitious websites with little or no code. In fact, the journey of many Drupalists started with Drupal's low-code approach to site building. It's how they got involved with Drupal.

This leads me to believe that we need to focus more on the site builder persona. With that in mind, I proposed a new Project Browser initiative. One of the first things site builders do when they start with Drupal is install a module. A Project Browser makes it easier to find and install modules.

If you're interested in helping, check out the Project Browser initiative and join the Project Browser Slack channel.

Modernizing Drupal.org's collaboration tools with GitLab

A small vessel sailing towards a large GitLab boat

Drupal has one of the largest and most robust development communities. And Drupal.org's collaboration tools have been key to that success.

What you might not know is that we've built these tools ourselves over the past 15+ years. While that made sense 10 years ago, it no longer does today.

Today, most Open Source communities have standardized on tools like GitHub and GitLab. In fact, contributors expect to use GitHub or GitLab when contributing to Open Source. Everything else requires too much learning.

For example, here is a quick video that shows of how easy it is to contribute to Symfony using GitHub:

Next, I showed how people contribute to Drupal. As you can see in the video below, the process takes much longer and the steps are not as clear cut.

(This is an abridged version of the full experience; you can also watch the full video.)

To improve Drupal's contributor experience, the Drupal Association is modernizing our collaboration tools with GitLab. So far, this has resulted in some great new features. However, more work is required to give new Drupalists an easier path to start contributing.

Please reach out to Heather Rocker, the Executive Director at Drupal Association, if you want to help support our GitLab work. We are looking for ways to expand the Drupal Association's engineering team so we can accelerate this work.

Drupal.org's goals for Gitlab along with positive attendee feedback in chat

Thank you

I'd like to wrap up with a thank you to the people and organizations who have contributed since we released Drupal 9 last June. It's been pretty amazing to see the momentum!

The names of the 1,152 individuals that contributed to Drupal 9 so farThe logos of the 365 organizations that contributed to Drupal 9 so far
Apr 19 2021
Apr 19
Logos of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson

Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson all use Drupal for their websites. They each have hundreds of Drupal websites.

AstraZeneca, the fourth vaccine producer, doesn't use Drupal. However, the University of Oxford, who developed their vaccine, is an active Drupal user.

These organizations save millions of people each year. I'm proud that they use Drupal.

Feb 26 2021
Feb 26

Acquia was named a Leader in The Forrester Wave for Agile Content Management Systems, Q1 2021.

Acquia shown as a Leader together with Adobe and Optimizely

This research replaces Forrester's Wave on Web Content Management Systems. The focus is now on "agile content management" instead of "web content management". This change makes sense given the way people consume content today. Because consumers shift between channels when researching a brand or product, organizations need a back end that can support different end points (e.g. web, mobile, kiosks, voice assistants, etc).

The analysts note: The [Acquia] platform shined in developer and practitioner tooling, with superior capabilities in front-end components and backend extensibility of the platform..

Jan 29 2021
Jan 29

For the second time, Acquia has been recognized as a leader in the Gartner MQ for Digital Experience Platforms.

For the second year, Acquia was named a Leader in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs).

Gartner magic quadrant for digital experience platforms

Our leadership position improved compared to last year. Acquia is now the clear number two behind Adobe. Market validation from Gartner on our vision is exciting and encouraging.

In the report, the analysts note the Drupal community as a powerful entity that sets Acquia apart from closed-monoliths. Closed monolithic stacks and martech silos are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Drupal's scale, modularity and openness is a real differentiator.

Mandatory disclaimer from Gartner

Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms, Irina Guseva, Mick MacComascaigh, Mike Lowndes, January 27, 2021.

This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Acquia.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Jan 15 2021
Jan 15
Birthday cup cakes

On January 15, 2001, exactly 20 years ago, I released Drupal 1.0.0 into the world. I was 22 years old, and just finished college. At the time, I had no idea that Drupal would someday power 1 in 35 websites, and impact so many people globally.

As with anything, there are things Drupal did right, and things we could have done differently. I recently spoke about this in my DrupalCon Europe 2020 keynote, but I'll summarize some thoughts here.

Why I'm still working on Drupal after 20 years

Student roomMe, twenty years ago, in the dorm room where I started Drupal. I'd work on Drupal sitting in that chair.

I started Drupal to build something for myself. As Drupal grew, my "why", or reasons for working on Drupal, evolved. I began to care more about its impact on end users and even non-users of Drupal. Today, I care about everyone on the Open Web.

Optimizing for impact means creating software that works for everyone. In recent years, our community has prioritized accessibility for users with disabilities, and features like lazy loading of images that help users with slower internet connections. Drupal's priority is to continue to foster diversity and inclusion within our community so all voices are represented in building an Open Web.

Three birthday wishes for Drupal

Dries giving a presentation on DrupalMe in 2004, giving my first ever Drupal presentation, wearing my first ever Drupal t-shirt.

Drupal's 20th birthday got me thinking about things I'm hoping for in the future. Here are a few of those birthday wishes.

Birthday wish 1: Never stop evolving

Only 7% of the world's population had internet access when I released Drupal 1 in 2001. Smartphones or the mobile web didn't exist. Many of the largest and most prominent internet companies were either startups (e.g. Google) or had not launched yet (e.g. Facebook, Twitter).

A timeline with key technology events that impacted Drupal. Examples include the first mobile browser, social media, etc.A list of technology events that came after Drupal, and that directly or indirectly impacted Drupal. To stay relevant, Drupal had to adjust to many of them.

Why has Drupal stayed relevant and thrived all these years?

First and foremost, we've been focused on a problem that existed 20 years ago, exists today, and will exist 20 years from now: people and organizations need to manage content and participate on the web. Working on a long-lasting problem certainly helps you stay relevant.

Second, we made Drupal easy to adopt (which is inherent to Open Source), and kept up with the ebbs and flows of technology trends (e.g. the mobile web, being API-first, supporting multiple channels of interaction, etc).

The great thing about Drupal is that we will never stop evolving and innovating.

Birthday wish 2: Continue our growing focus on ease-of-use

For the longest time I was focused on the technical purity of Drupal and neglected its user experience. My focus attracted more like-minded people. This resulted in Drupal's developer-heavy user experience, and poor usability for less technical people, such as content authors.

I wish I had spent more time thinking about the less technical end user from the start. Today, we've made the transition, and are much more focused on Drupal's ease-of-use, out-of-the-box experience, and more. We will continue to focus on this.

Birthday wish 3: Economic systems to sustain and scale Open Source

In the early years of the Open Source movement, commercial involvement was often frowned upon, or even banned. Today it's easy to see the positive impacts of sponsored contributions on Drupal's growth: two-thirds of all contributions come from Drupal's roughly 1,200 commercial contributors.

I believe we need to do more than just accept commercial involvement. We need to embrace it, encourage it, and promote it. As I've discussed before, we need to reward Makers to maximize contributions to Drupal. No Open Source community, Drupal included, does this really well today.

Why is that important?

In many ways, Open Source has won. Open Source provides better quality software, at a lower cost, without vendor lock-in. Drupal has helped Open Source win.

That said, scaling and sustaining Open Source projects remains hard. If we want to create Open Source projects that thrive for decades to come, we need to create economic systems that support the creation, growth and sustainability of Open Source projects.

The alternative is that we are stuck in the world we live in today, where proprietary software dominates most facets of our lives.

In another decade, I predict Drupal's incentive models for Makers will be a world-class example of Open Source sustainability. We will help figure out how to make Open Source more sustainable, more fair, more egalitarian, and more cooperative. And in doing so, Drupal will help remove the last hurdle that prevents Open Source from taking over the world.

Thank you

Areal photo of DrupalCon Seattle 2019 attendeesA group photo taken at DrupalCon Seattle in 2019.

Drupal wouldn't be where it is today without the Drupal community. The community and its growth continues to energize and inspire me. I'd like to thank everyone who helped improve and build Drupal over the past two decades. I continue to learn from you all. Happy 20th birthday Drupal!

Jan 06 2021
Jan 06

Every day, millions of new web pages are added to the internet. Most of them are unstructured, uncategorized, and nearly impossible for software to understand. It irks me.

Look no further than Sir Tim Berners-Lee's Wikipedia page:

The markup for Tim Berners-Lee's Wikipedia page; it's complex and inconsistentWhat Wikipedia editors write (source).The browser output for Tim Berners-Lee's Wikipedia pageWhat visitors of Wikipedia see.

At first glance, there is no rhyme or reason to Wikipedia's markup. (Wikipedia also has custom markup for hieroglyphs, which admittedly is pretty cool.)

The problem? Wikipedia is the world's largest source of knowledge. It's a top 10 website in the world. Yet, Wikipedia's markup language is nearly impossible to parse, Tim Berners-Lee's Wikipedia page has almost 100 HTML validation errors, and the page's generated HTML output is not very semantic. It's hard to use or re-use with other software.

I bet it irks Sir Tim Berners-Lee too.

The markup for Tim Berners-Lee's Wikipedia page; it's complex and inconsistentWhat Wikipedia editors write (source).The generated HTML code for Tim Berners-Lee's Wikipedia page; it could be more semanticWhat the browser sees; the HTML code Wikipedia (MediaWiki) generates.

It's not just Wikipedia. Every site is still messing around with custom

s for a table of contents, footnotes, logos, and more. I could think of a dozen new HTML tags that would make web pages, including Wikipedia, easier to write and reuse: , , , and many more.

A good approach would be to take the most successful Schema.org schemas, Microformats and Web Components, and incorporate their functionality into the official HTML specification.

Adding new semantic markup options to the HTML specification is the surest way to improve the semantic web, improve content reuse, and advance content authoring tools.

Unfortunately, I don't see new tags being introduced. I don't see experiments with Web Components being promoted to official standards. I hope I'm wrong! (Cunningham's Law states that the best way to get the right answer on the internet is not to ask a question; it's to post the wrong answer. If I'm wrong, I'll update this post.)

If you want to help make the web better, you could literally start with Sir Tim Berners-Lee's Wikipedia page, and use it as the basis to spend a decade pushing for HTML markup improvements. It could be the start of a long and successful career.

— Dries Buytaert

Dries Buytaert is an Open Source advocate and technology executive. More than 10,000 people are subscribed to his blog. Sign up to have new posts emailed to you or subscribe using RSS.

Calendar iconJanuary 6, 2021Clock icon1 min read time Tag icon
Dec 17 2020
Dec 17

Last week, Drupalists gathered virtually for DrupalCon Europe 2020. As a matter of tradition, I delivered my State of Drupal keynote. You can watch a recording of my keynote, download a copy of my slides (146 MB), or read the brief summary below.

The theme of my presentation was "How to optimize for impact". Often my DrupalCon talks are product-focused. This time, I wanted to be more reflective on the journey of building Drupal over the last 20 years.

Drupal has done a great job of embracing technological innovation. Not many technologies survive two decades of dramatic changes. I called out our current work on Headless Drupal as a recent example of keeping up with the pace of innovation. And now we're working towards launching official JavaScript components for Drupal, starting with Decoupled Menus. You can see our progress in this video snippet:

From there, I moved on to reflecting on what I would change if I could do things differently. I covered topics like "being compelling beyond code alone", obsessing about the user experience, and rewarding Open Source Makers to maximize the speed of innovation.

Perhaps most importantly, I've been surprised by a few big things since first creating Drupal, starting with the larger impact of Drupal on the Open Web. Today, this is an important part of my big picture "Why". An important part of that vision includes cultivating a diverse, inclusive Open Source community.

Looking back, what do you think are Drupal's biggest successes? Knowing what we know now, what would you have done differently? Has anything surprised you?

Nov 09 2020
Nov 09

An in-depth analysis of how Drupal's development was sponsored between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.

For the past few years, I've examined Drupal.org's contribution data to understand how the Drupal project works. Who develops Drupal? How diverse is the Drupal community? How much of Drupal's maintenance and innovation is sponsored? Where do sponsorships come from?

The report might be of interest even if you don't use Drupal. It provides insights into the inner workings of one of the largest Open Source projects in the world.

This year's report shows that:

  • The recorded number of contributions increased year over year.
  • More and more contributions are sponsored, but volunteer contributions remain important to Drupal's success.
  • Drupal's maintenance and innovation depends mostly on smaller Drupal agencies and Acquia. We don't see many contributions from hosting companies, multi-platform digital agencies, system integrators or end users.
  • Drupal's contributors have become more diverse, but are still not diverse enough.

You can also look at the 2016 report, the 2017 report, the 2018 report, and the 2019 report.

Methodology

What data did we analyze?

We looked at all Drupal.org issues marked "closed" or "fixed" in the 12-month period from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. This for Drupal core and all contributed projects, across all major versions of Drupal.

What are Drupal.org issues?

Each "Drupal.org issue" tracks an idea, feature request, bug report, task, or more. It's similar to "issues" in GitHub or "tickets" in Jira. See https://www.drupal.org/project/issues for the list of all issues.

What are Drupal.org credits?

In the spring of 2015, I proposed some ideas for how to give credit to Drupal contributors. A year later, Drupal.org added the ability for contributors to attribute their work to an organization or customer sponsor, or mark it the result of volunteer efforts.

Example issue credit on drupal orgA screenshot of an issue comment on Drupal.org. You can see that jamadar worked on this patch as a volunteer, but also as part of his day job working for TATA Consultancy Services on behalf of their customer, Pfizer.

Drupal.org's credit system is unique and groundbreaking within the Open Source community. It provides unprecedented insights into the inner workings of a large Open Source project. There are a few limitations with this approach, which we'll address at the end of this report.

What is the Drupal community working on?

In the 12-month period between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020, 31,153 issues were marked "closed" or "fixed", a 13% increase from the 27,522 issues in the 2018-2019 period. This averages out to 85 issues marked "closed" or "fixed" each day. This is compared to 75 issues in 2018-2019.

In total, the Drupal community worked on 4,195 different Drupal.org projects this year compared to 3,474 projects in the 2017-2018 period — a large 20% year-over-year increase. I attribute the larger than normal growth to the Drupal 9 release.

Time period Number of issues "fixed" or "closed" by day Number of projects worked on 2017 - 2018 67 3,229 2018 - 2019 75 3,474 2019 - 2020 85 4,195

The majority of the credits are the result of work on contributed modules:

A pie chart showing contributions by project type: most contributions are to contributed modules.

Compared to the previous period, contribution credits increased across all project types:

A graph showing the year over year growth of contributions per project type: contributions to modules grew the most.

It is nice to see the "non-product credits" grow. More and more members in the community track credits for non-product contributions. These include organizing Drupal events, presenting at Drupal events, promoting Drupal, mentoring, and more. While some of these increases reflect new contributions, others are existing contributions that are newly reported. The fact that the credit system is becoming more accurate in recognizing more types of Open Source contributions is both important and positive.

Who is working on Drupal?

For this report's time period, Drupal.org's credit system received contributions from 8,303 different individuals and 1,216 different organizations. We saw a 2.5% decline in individual contributors, but a 7% increase in organizational contributors.

A graph showing the number of individual and organizational contributors year over year.

Consistent with previous years, approximately 50% of individual contributors received one credit. Meanwhile, the top 30 contributors (the top 0.4%) account for 20% of the total credits. In other words, a small number of individuals do the majority of the work.

Starting last year, I weighted each credit based on the adoption of the project the credit is attributed to. For example, each contribution credit to Drupal core is given a weight of 10 because Drupal core has about 1 million active installations. Credits to the Webform module, which has over 470,000 installations, get a weight of 4.7. And credits to Drupal's Commerce project get 0.6 points, as it is installed on around 60,000 sites.

The idea is that these weights capture the end user impact of each contribution, but also act as a proxy for the effort required to get a change committed. Getting a change accepted in Drupal core is both more difficult and more impactful than getting a change accepted to a much smaller, contributed project.

This weighting is far from perfect, but so is the unweighted view. For code contributions, the weighted chart may be more accurate than a purely unweighted approach. I included both charts:

A graph showing the top 30 individual contributors ranked by the volume of their contributions.A graph showing the top 30 individual contributors ranked by the impact of their contributions.

No matter how you look at the data, all these individuals put an incredible amount of time and effort into Drupal.

It's important to recognize that most of the top contributors are sponsored by an organization. We value the organizations that sponsor these remarkable individuals. Without their support, it could be more challenging to contribute.

How much of the work is sponsored?

When people contribute to Drupal, they can tag their contribution as a "volunteer contribution" or a "sponsored contribution". Contributions can be marked both volunteer and sponsored at the same time (shown in jamadar's screenshot near the top of this post). This could be the case when a contributor does paid work for a customer, in addition to using unpaid time to add extra functionality or polish.

For those credits with attribution details, 15% were "purely volunteer" (8,429 credits). This is in stark contrast to the 69% that were "purely sponsored" (37,399 credits). Put simply, roughly two-thirds of all contributions are "purely sponsored".

A graph showing how many contributions are voluntary vs sponsored: two-thirds of the contributions are sponsored.

This is the first time in Drupal's history that "purely volunteer" contributions stayed flat year over year. This might be related to COVID-19; coding sprints are harder to organize, people may have lost income, parents are busy home-schooling their children, people have Zoom-fatigue, and times are generally stressful. In contrast, we did see a very large increase in "purely sponsored" contributions.

Volunteer contribution remains very important to Drupal. Volunteers contribute across all areas of the project. A lot of volunteer time and energy goes towards non-product related contributions such as event organization, mentoring, and more.

A graph showing how many of the contributions are volunteered vs sponsored.

Who is sponsoring the work?

Now that we've established that the majority of contributions are sponsored, let's study which organizations contribute to Drupal. While 1,216 organizations contributed to Drupal, 50% of them received four credits or less. The top 30 organizations (roughly the top 2.5%) account for approximately 30% of the total credits. This means that the top 30 companies play a crucial role in the health of the Drupal project.

Similar to the individual contributors, I've ranked organizations by both "unweighted contributions" and "weighted contributions". Unweighted scores are based solely on volume of contributions, while weighted scores also try to take into account both the effort and impact of each contribution.

A graph showing the top 30 organizational contributors ranked by the volume of their contributions.A graph showing the top 30 organizational contributors ranked by the impact of their contributions.

If you are an end user looking for a company to work with, these are some of the companies I'd work with first. Not only do they know Drupal well, they also help improve your investment in Drupal. If you are a Drupal developer looking for work, these are some of the companies I'd apply to first.

A variety of different types of companies are active in Drupal's ecosystem:

Category Description Traditional Drupal businesses Small-to-medium-sized professional services companies that primarily make money using Drupal. They typically employ fewer than 100 employees. Because they specialize in Drupal, many of these companies contribute frequently and are a huge part of our community. Examples are Third & Grove, Srijan, PreviousNext, MD Systems, etc. Digital marketing agencies Larger full-service agencies that have marketing-led practices using a variety of tools, typically including Drupal, Adobe Experience Manager, Sitecore, WordPress, etc. Many of these larger agencies employ thousands of people. Examples are Wunderman, Possible, and Mirum. System integrators Larger companies that specialize in bringing together different technologies into one solution. Example system integrators are Accenture, TATA Consultancy Services, EPAM Systems, and CI&T. Hosting companies Examples are Acquia, Pantheon, and Platform.sh, but also Rackspace or Bluehost. End users Examples are Pfizer or bio.logis Genetic Information Management GmbH.

A few observations:

  • Most of the sponsors in the top 30 are traditional Drupal businesses with fewer than 50 employees. With the exception of Acquia, Drupal's maintenance and innovation largely depends on these small Drupal businesses.
  • The larger, multi-platform digital marketing agencies are barely contributing to Drupal. Only one digital marketing agency shows up in the top 30: Intracto. Hardly any appear in the entire list of contributing organizations. I'm frustrated that we have not yet found the right way to communicate the value of contribution to these companies. We need to incentivize these firms to contribute with the same commitment that we see from traditional Drupal businesses.
  • The only system integrator in the top 30 is CI&T. CI&T is a smaller system integrator with approximately 2,500 employees. We see various system integrators outside of the top 30, including EPAM Systems, Globant, Capgemini, Publicis Sapient, Accenture, and TATA Consultancy Services. Accenture and Wipro, despite doing quite a bit of Drupal work, did not receive any credits.
  • Various hosting companies make a lot of money with Drupal, yet only Acquia appears in the top 30 with 1,823 credits. The contribution gap between Acquia and other hosting companies remains very large. It was great to see that Pantheon tripled its contributions from 43 to 122 this period. Platform.sh earned 23 credits compared to 22 in the last period. In general, there is a persistent problem with hosting companies not contributing back.
  • We only saw two end users in the top 30 this year: Thunder (815 credits) and Pfizer (201 credits). Many end users contribute though: European Commission (290 credits), bio.logis (219 credits), Google (144), University of Waterloo (111 credits), Johnson & Johnson (93 credits), University of British Columbia (91 credits), University of Texas at Austin (74 credits), NBCUniversal (48 credits), Workday (38 credits), PayPal (17 credits), and many more.
A graph showing that Acquia is by far the number one contributing hosting company.A graph showing that CI&T is by far the number one contributing system integrator.

I often recommend end users to mandate contributions from their partners. Pfizer, for example, only works with agencies that contribute back to Drupal. The State of Georgia started doing the same; they made Open Source contribution a vendor selection criteria. If more end users took this stance, it could have a big impact on Drupal. We'd see many more digital agencies, hosting companies, and system integrators contribute to Drupal.

While we should encourage more organizations to sponsor Drupal contributions, we should also understand and respect that some organizations can give more than others — and that some might not be able to give back at all. Our goal is not to foster an environment that demands what and how others should give back. Instead, we need to help foster an environment worthy of contribution. This is clearly laid out in Drupal's Values and Principles.

How diverse is Drupal?

Supporting diversity and inclusion is essential to the health and success of Drupal. The people who work on Drupal should reflect the diversity of people who use the web.

I looked at both the gender and geographic diversity of Drupal.org contributors.

Gender diversity

Only 10-11% of the recorded contributions were made by contributors who do not identify as men. This is a very small improvement compared to last year. The gender imbalance in Drupal is profound. We need to continue fostering diversity and inclusion in our community.

A graph showing contributions by gender: 72% of the contributions come from people who identify as male.

Two years ago I wrote a post about the privilege of free time in Open Source. It made the case that Open Source is not a meritocracy. Not everyone has equal amounts of free time to contribute. For example, research shows that women still spend more than double the time as men doing unpaid domestic work, such as housework or childcare. This makes it more difficult for women to contribute to Open Source on an unpaid, volunteer basis. Organizations capable of giving back should consider financially sponsoring individuals from underrepresented groups to contribute to Open Source.

A graph that shows that compared to males, female contributors do more sponsored work, and less volunteer work.Compared to men, women do more sponsored work, and less volunteer work. We believe this is because men have the privilege of more free time.

Free time being a privilege is just one of the reasons why Open Source projects suffer from a lack of diversity. Other reasons include hostile environments and unconscious biases. We should consider collecting data on other systemic issues beyond gender. The Drupal Association is currently working to update demographic data collected at DrupalCon, and beyond, with the goal of better understanding our community. Knowing more about these trends could help us close existing gaps.

Geographic diversity

We saw individual contributors from six continents and 117 countries. The top countries:

A graph showing the top 20 contributing countries in 2020.The top 20 countries from which contributions originate. The data is compiled by aggregating the countries of all individual contributors behind each issue. Note that the geographical location of contributors doesn't always correspond with the origin of their sponsorship. Wim Leers, for example, works from Belgium, but his funding comes from Acquia, which has the majority of its customers in North America. Wim's contributions count towards Belgium as that is his country of residence.

Europe contributes more than North America in both absolute and relative terms.

A graph that shows most contributions in 2020 come from Europe and North America.A graph showing which continent contributes the most by looking at the number of inhabitants.Contribution credits per capita calculated as the amount of contributions per continent divided by the population of each continent. 0.001% means that one in 100,000 people contribute to Drupal. In North America, almost 4 in 100,000 people contributed to Drupal the last year.

Asia, South America, and Africa remain big opportunities for Drupal; their combined population accounts for 6.3 billion out of 7.5 billion people in the world.

Limitations of the credit system

It is important to note a few of the current limitations of Drupal.org's credit system:

  • The credit system doesn't capture all code contributions. Parts of Drupal are developed on GitHub rather than Drupal.org. Contributions on GitHub usually aren't credited on Drupal.org. For example, Drush is maintained on GitHub instead of Drupal.org, and companies like Pantheon don't get credit for that work.
  • The credit system is not used by everyone. There are many ways to contribute to Drupal that are still not captured in the credit system. Technically, that work can be captured. But because using the credit system is optional, many contributors don't. For example, not all event organizers and speakers capture their work in the credit system. As a result, contributions often have incomplete or no contribution credits. Where possible, we should automatically capture credits. For example, translation efforts on https://localize.drupal.org are not currently captured in the credit system, but could be automatically.
  • The credit system doesn't accurately value complexity and quality. One person might have worked several weeks for just one credit, while another person might receive a credit for 10 minutes of work. Each year we see a few individuals and organizations trying to game the credit system. In this post, I used a basic weighting system based on project adoption. In future, we should consider refining that by looking at issue priority, patch size, number of reviews, etc. This could help incentivize people to work on larger and more important problems and save smaller issues such as coding standards improvements for new contributor sprints.

Because of these limitations, the actual number of contributions and contributors could be much higher than what we report.

Like Drupal itself, the Drupal.org credit system needs to continue to evolve. Starting this year, the Drupal Association, with the direction of the newly formed Contribution Recognition Committee, will start to evolve and leverage the credit system in new ways.

Conclusions

Our data confirms that Drupal is a vibrant community full of contributors who are constantly evolving and improving the software. It's amazing to see that just in the last year, Drupal welcomed more than 8,000 individual contributors and over 1,200 corporate contributors. It's especially nice to see the growing number of contributions year over year.

To grow and sustain Drupal, we should support those that contribute to Drupal and find ways to get those that are not contributing involved in our community. Improving diversity within Drupal is critical, and we should welcome any suggestions that encourage participation from a broader range of individuals and organizations.

Oct 27 2020
Oct 27

Acquia Engage took place last week. For the first time in seven years, it was an all-virtual event.

Dries standing in a virtual conference lobby.The virtual conference lobby of Acquia Engage, modeled after our Boston office's lobby.

The best way to learn about what Acquia has been up to, is to watch the recording of my opening keynote. In 30 minutes, I cover 10 major updates to Acquia's Digital Experience Platform. We packed the presentation with short product demos. You can also download a copy of my slides (65 MB), but you won't get to see the demos.

Acquia Drupal Cloud updates

First, I talked about new features for Acqiua's Drupal Cloud. All features are focused on helping developers migrate, develop, design and launch Drupal sites faster.

I covered the following new features for Acquia's Drupal Cloud:

  • Acquia Migrate: A family of products that help you migrate to Drupal 9 five times faster and easier.
  • Acquia Cloud IDE: A cloud-based development environment optimized for Drupal and Acquia.
  • Acquia CMS: An easy, out-of-the-box distribution of Drupal 9. It comes pre-integrated with Acquia's products.
  • Acquia Site Studio Page Builder: A new page builder for Acquia's low-code/no-code website building tool. It's optimized for marketers and content creators.
  • Acquia Cloud Next: A container-based cloud hosting environment optimized for speed, scale and security.

Acquia Marketing Cloud updates

Next, I covered new Marketing Cloud features. Marketers today are using more and more tools to get their jobs done. Unfortunately, many of these tools are not well-integrated. This lack of integration results in siloed customer information and inefficient marketing. Ultimately these silos lead to poor customer experiences. Acquia Marketing Cloud solves these problems by eliminating these silos. We combine or unify customer data profiles, segments, analytics, and machine learning capabilities into a single, easy-to-use platform.

Dries delivering his presentation in front of a virtual audience

New announcements for Acquia's Marketing Cloud include:

  • Unified real-time user profiles: Aggregates customer actions across platforms into profiles in real-time. Use them instantly in marketing campaigns.
  • Universal segments: Use consistent segments across every tool within Acquia Marketing Cloud. A segment created in our Customer Data Platform (CDP) automatically becomes available in our website personalization product and multi-channel marketing automation solution.
  • 360º marketing analytics: Measures marketing campaign effectiveness across the Acquia Marketing Cloud.
  • "Predictive sends" machine learning model: Uses machine learning to predict the best time to send campaign emails.
  • COVID-19 dashboard: Helps you understand your customers' shift from offline to online, as well as changes in channel preferences, product preferences and opportunities for growth.

Closing words

I'm proud that Acquia is innovating faster than ever before. I want to thank our product and engineering teams for working incredibly hard in the midst of a pandemic.

Sep 18 2020
Sep 18

Yesterday I wrote about why software funded with tax dollars should be Open Source. Based on the feedback in email and social media, lots of people seem to agree.

Today, I want to highlight how this could be a game changer for Open Source sustainability.

Using Drupal as an example, let's do some quick math. Imagine if:

  • 1,000 government agencies around the world (federal, state, or local) spend an average of $300,000 a year on their Drupal sites.
  • 5% of that investment results in Open Source contributions.

Even if these numbers are conservative, it would lead to $15 million in annual contributions to Drupal: 1,000 x $300,000 x 0.05 = $15,000,000. That could be 150 full-time contributors each year.

In other words, requiring public code in government could be Open Source's best funding mechanism.

Aug 12 2020
Aug 12

I'm on vacation this week, and was catching up on my RSS feed. I read that the Australian government content management system GovCMS has reported record traffic spikes this year due to COVID-19.

This caught my attention because GovCMS is a Drupal distribution — a version of Drupal developed as a cost-effective option for building government websites.

Today, 91 Australian government agencies use GovCMS. At the peak of the pandemic, the platform saw 2 billion hits per month, 100,000 pageviews per minute, and 187,000 concurrent users.

When I read that, I felt proud that Drupal is scalable, secure and accessible. I hope other Drupalists feel that way as well. One of the best ways to get more people to contribute to Drupal is by building software that people can be proud of.

The GovCMS numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. Drupal is not just being used by the Australian government – it's being used by thousands of federal, state and local governments around the world. Many of these government agencies are providing essential health information and other digital services during these trying times.

It's a powerful reminder of Drupal's impact, and why it's non-negotiable that we build Drupal so everyone can use it, and use it reliably.

Jul 20 2020
Jul 20

Last week, Drupalists from around the world gathered for DrupalCon Global. This DrupalCon was the first ever virtual event of this scale for the Drupal community.

As a matter of tradition, I delivered the opening keynote. You can watch a video recording of my keynote, download a copy of my slides (212 MB), or read the brief summary below.

The online conference web application showing my slides, my webcam, and real-time chat.A screenshot of the first ever virtual DriesNote. The virtual conference tool showed my slides, my webcam, and real-time chat.

I announced that we are targeting the release of Drupal 10 around June 2022.

Next, I spent the majority of my presentation proposing five strategic initiatives for Drupal 10. While it seems early to speak about Drupal 10, we need to start working on these strategic goals now to have them ready by the time Drupal 10 is released.

A slide from the DriesNote showing that the goal of the presentation is to propose five well-balanced initiatives for Drupal 10.The goal of my presentation was to propose five well-balanced initiatives for Drupal 10.

We decided to go with just five initiatives so we're more focused and because the Drupal 10 release cycle will be shorter than Drupal 9's. Selecting only five initiatives was hard, but guided by the results of the 2020 Drupal Product Survey I launched earlier in the year.

If you'd like to do your own analysis of the survey data, you can download a copy of the raw survey results (Microsoft Excel format) and look at the raw data yourself. I anonymized the data by removing the names, e-mail addresses and IP address information.

I spent 35 minutes walking the audience through the selection process. The five proposed initiatives:

  1. Drupal 10 readiness
  2. An easier out-of-the-box experience
  3. A new front-end theme (Olivero)
  4. Automated updates for security releases
  5. An official JS menu component for React and Vue

1. Drupal 10 readiness

Drupal depends on third-party software components, many of which will go end-of-life (EOL) in the next few years. When a component goes EOL, it will no longer receive security support.

The "Drupal 10 Readiness" initiative will focus on upgrading these third-party components. Not only does this keep Drupal secure, it also allows us to take advantage of any new capabilities that come with these updated components.

A slide from the DriesNote with a table that lists jQuery 3, CKEditor 4, jQuery UI, PHPUnit 8, Symfony 4, PHP 7, Composer 1, etcSome of the third-party components that need to be updated in preparation for Drupal 10.

2. Easy out-of-the-box

Improving Drupal's ease-of-use remains the number one most impactful item for the community to work on.

Drupal 9 dramatically improved Drupal's ease-of-use. Several of our most promising improvements made it very far, but still need some finishing touches. Specifically, our new Media Library, Layout Builder and Administration Theme (Claro) are not yet enabled by default.

I proposed the "Easy out-of-the-box" initiative to work towards enabling these features by default. I believe this initiative will be very impactful in terms of attracting new users to Drupal.

A slide from the DriesNote visualizing the 'Easy out of the box' as the sum of Media, Layout Builder and Claro.The 'Easy out of the box' initiative consists of finishing Media, Layout Builder and Claro.

3. Front end theme

One of the most important features to complete is our modern front end theme, Olivero. While there has been a lot of progress in this area, Olivero does not ship with Drupal yet. We want to make sure this beautiful front end theme is available by default.

A screenshot of the upcoming front-end theme called Olivero. It looks clean, modern and light.A screenshot of the upcoming front-end theme called Olivero.

4. Automatic updates

As shown by the Drupal 2020 Product Survey, by far the most requested feature is automated updates.

Fortunately, it's something we have been working on for some time. Our first milestone will be to automate security updates so all site owners can sleep well at night, no matter when security releases are taking place.

Beyond security, automated updates help us work towards our long-term vision of building a composable — or Assembed Web — architecture for Drupal.

The Automated Updates initiative requires integrity checks for Drupal core, Composer 2, package signing and a custom bootloader.The four major architectural building blocks of the Automated Updates initiative.

5. JavaScript menu component

As I have been saying for years now, many websites are evolving into personalized, omnichannel digital experiences. It's a multi-decade trend, and one of the most powerful ones in our industry.

Drupal needs to keep evolving with this trend in mind. On the back end, we need to continue to make Drupal the best structured data engine and web service platform. On the front end, JavaScript continues to grow fast. While Drupal is recognized as a capable headless or decoupled CMS, there is still more we can do.

Furthermore, the second most requested feature in the Drupal 2020 Product Survey was a more modern administration UI. These kinds of UIs are typically built using JavaScript and web service APIs. When done well, a JavaScript UI can offer major usability improvements.

Clearly, there is more than one reason to invest in web service APIs and to embrace more JavaScript in Drupal:

  1. Many of Drupal's end users are focused on building decoupled front ends and omnichannel digital experiences.
  2. Drupal could improve its own administration UI with more WYSIWYG, drag-and-drop, and other ease-of-use features.

To make a start toward improving Drupal's headless capabilities and administration UI, I proposed we start to add official Drupal JavaScript components to Drupal Core.

As a first step, I recommended implementing a JavaScript menu component in Vue and React. This would mark the first official JavaScript component in Drupal.

A slide from the DriesNote that shows a flag with the text 'Decoupled menu components' waving on the top of a mountain.'Planting the flag' for providing official JavaScript menu components for Drupal.

Developing a JavaScript menu component solves a very real problem that many front end developers face. This menu component would render a menu and could be placed in a front end JavaScript application. The content of the menu comes from Drupal. This would allow content authors and non-developers to make simple menu changes without the need for custom code.

Releasing a first official JavaScript component will require us to set up the tools and processes to manage and release JavaScript components. This will establish a pattern or recipe for more components. Once we build one component, it will be easier to add many more in parallel.

A slide from the DriesNote that shows the long path to the flag at the top of the mountain.The path to having a first official JavaScript component is longer than it may appear.

Let's do this!

A slide from the DriesNote that shows a fictitious Drupal 10 press release dated June 2022.A fictitious or forward-looking press release for Drupal 10 in June 2022.

With the release of Drupal 10 targeted for June 2022, our community has a big opportunity to make the beginner and non-developer experiences much simpler, while still keeping Drupal's power as strong as ever for experts. I believe the proposed strategic initiatives will help achieve that.

For more details, I recommend you watch the recording of my presentation.

Whether you're just getting started with Drupal or have been here for years, we want you to contribute to Drupal 10! The best way to get involved in any of these initiatives is to join their discussion channels on Drupal Slack:

  • Drupal 10 readiness: #d10readiness
  • Claro: #admin-ui
  • Olivero: #d9-theme
  • Automated updates: #autoupdates
  • JS Menu Component: #js-menu-component

Thank you to everyone who attended the very first Drupalcon Global and contributed to the event's success. Even though we were unable to meet in person, I was blown away by the energy of everyone involved, and grateful for the time to connect with old and new friends.

Jul 15 2020
Jul 15

We are targeting to release Drupal 10 around June 2022 and will end-of-life Drupal 9 around November 2023. Don't worry: we'll make it easy to upgrade to Drupal 10.

We are targeting to release Drupal 10 around June 2022. That is less than two years from the day of this post. A timeline showing that Drupal 10 is targeted for June 2022 because Symfony 4 is end-of-life in November 2023.

Why June 2022, you ask?

Drupal 9's biggest dependency is Symfony 4, which has an end-of-life date in November 2023. This means that after November 2023, security bugs in Symfony 4 will not get fixed. Drupal has to adopt Symfony 5 (or later) and end-of-life Drupal 9 no later than November 2023.

For security purposes, all Drupal 9 users will need to upgrade to Drupal 10 by November 2023. We like to give site owners at least one year to upgrade from Drupal 9 to Drupal 10, therefore we are targeting Drupal 10 to be released in June 2022.

Will the upgrade to Drupal 10 be easy?

Yes, it will be easy, and here is why.

New functionality for Drupal 10 is actually added to Drupal 9 releases. This means module developers can start adopting any new APIs right away. Along the way, we deprecate old functionality but keep backwards compatibility. Once we are ready to release Drupal 10, we remove all deprecated code. Removing deprecated code breaks backwards compatibility, but because module developers had a chance to stay up to date with API changes, the upgrade to Drupal 10 should be easy.

If that makes your head spin, think of it this way: Drupal 10 is identical to the last version of Drupal 9, with its deprecations removed. Because of that, there should be no last-minute, big or unexpected changes.

We used this approach for Drupal 9, and it was successful: 95 of the top 100 contributed modules were ready the day Drupal 9.0.0 was released. We know from Drupal 9 that this approach to upgrades works, and we'll continue to refine it going forward.

About Drupal Sun

Drupal Sun is an Evolving Web project. It allows you to:

  • Do full-text search on all the articles in Drupal Planet (thanks to Apache Solr)
  • Facet based on tags, author, or feed
  • Flip through articles quickly (with j/k or arrow keys) to find what you're interested in
  • View the entire article text inline, or in the context of the site where it was created

See the blog post at Evolving Web

Evolving Web