Every spring, anticipation builds in the Drupal community. DrupalCon — the official conference for the Drupal community to participate in learning sessions, talks, code sprints, and social events — is around the corner. While several “Cons” are held internationally, this marked my first experience at the event, held this year in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Kicking-off sessions was Drupal’s founder and Acquia CTO, Dries Buytaert. The opening keynote was well-attended and furiously tweeted with the affectionate #DriesNote as excited developers, product owners, and sellers-of-open-source anxiously awaited Dries’ SOD (state of Drupal) speech.

As with many technological advancements (in this case, the release of Drupal 8), attendees were desperate for some validation and direction.

  • Have I made a good investment in Drupal?
  • Am I doing the right thing for my organization? What about my own career?
  • I just released a Drupal 7 application and Drupal 8 is out; now what am I supposed to do?

Dries opened with some impressive stats including the rate at which Drupal 8 is already being adopted.
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Dries revealed 8 key initiatives focused on content creators, developers, and end-users. While a couple are already in-the-works, these proposed initiatives will be the basis for improvements in future D8 releases.

Audience: Content Authors

  1. Media – Authors and editors need simple drag-drop media and asset handling
  2. Workflow – Authors and editors need easy-to-use tools to share, review, approve, stage, and collaborate on content before it’s live.
  3. Blocks and Layout – Site builders need intuitive tools to build pages, change layouts, and add & arrange blocks with live preview.
  4. Data Modeling – Site builders need tools to quickly implement architecture.

Audience: Developers

  1. API-First – Developers want Drupal to integrate with other systems to bring your content anywhere and display as they wish.
  2. Theme Component Library – Convert Drupal’s complex combination of templates and huge render arrays into a simple, structured, tree of reusable components.

Audience: Customers

  1. Cross Channel – Customer Experience is cross channel, becoming web-less, and about conversational interfaces. Drupal needs to grow to provide better digital experiences via contextualization.
  2. Orchestration – Customizing communication based on where the user is and what type of communication they receive as a result. (e.g. If user is in the car then send voice message.)

Given the SOD, I am confident in telling my colleagues and clients that investing in Drupal is sound, and that Drupal is going to continue to empower content managers and optimize the publishing experience in ways that no other CMS yet has.
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Drupal has broken down technical barriers and created opportunity for so many. As an enterprise-caliber platform, Drupal isn’t right for every scenario. But for non-profits with editorial teams, government agencies, universities and more, Drupal continues to evolve into a powerhouse content management system. It was invigorating to experience the excitement of a passionate community.

Shameless Plug

To those product owners feeling a bit stumped at the daunting task of upgrading an existing Drupal application or building a new one in Drupal 8, know that help is out there.

At the time of writing, Taoti has several D8 builds in progress and our clients will reap the benefits of running the latest version. If you’re not sure where to start your D8 project, contact us and we’d be happy to give you a free consultation!

Final Thoughts

Moving throughout the week, it was clear that the nearly 3,100 in attendance as well as many digital onlookerswere just as excited about the discussions and other sessions. The week was alive with NOLA creativity.

Some of my favorite moments included:

  1. Eating authentic creole fare
  2. Hanging out in the exhibit hall; seeing old friends and colleagues and making new ones
  3. The many social events including sponsor parties and group meals
  4. Getting to meet new people and find out what they do with Drupal and why they came

With DrupalCon 2017 scheduled to take place in Baltimore, I expect to see many more familiar faces and look forward to sharing my experience with next year’s freshmen!

References:

  1. Initaitves and graphics pulled from Dries’ keynote.