Drupal 8.6.0 released

Last night, we shipped Drupal 8.6.0! I firmly believe this is the most significant Drupal 8 release to date. It is significant because we made a lot of progress on all twelve of Drupal 8 core's strategic initiatives. As a result, Drupal 8.6 delivers a large number of improvements for content authors, evaluators, site builders and developers.

What is new for content authors?

For content authors, Drupal 8.6 adds support for "remote media types". This means you can now easily embed YouTube or Vimeo videos in your content.

The Media Library in Drupal 8.6
The Media Library in Drupal 8.6

Content authors want Drupal to be easy to use. We made incredible progress on a variety of features that will help to achieve that: we've delivered an experimental media library, added the Workspaces module as experimental, providing sophisticated content staging capabilities, and made great strides on the upcoming Layout Builder. The Layout Builder is shaping up to be a very powerful tool that solves a lot of authoring challenges, and is something many are looking forward to.

The Workspaces module in Drupal 8.6
The Workspaces module in Drupal 8.6

Each initiative related to content authoring is making disciplined and steady progress. These features not only solve for the most requested authoring improvements, but provide a solid foundation on which we can continue to innovate. This means we can provide better compatibility and upgradability for contributed modules.

Top requests for content authors
The top 10 requested features for content creators according to the 2016 State of Drupal survey.

What is new for evaluators?

Evaluators want an out-of-the-box experience that allows them to install and test drive Drupal in minutes. With Drupal 8.6, we have finally delivered on this need.

Prior to Drupal 8.6, downloading and installing Drupal was a complex and lengthy process that ended with an underwhelming "blank slate".

Now, you can install Drupal with the new "Umami demo profile". The Umami demo profile showcases some of Drupal's most powerful capabilities by providing a beautiful website filled with content right out of the box. A demo profile will not only help to onboard new users, but it can also be used by Drupal professionals and digital agencies to showcase Drupal to potential customers.

The experimental layout builder in Drupal 8.6 with the Umami demo profile
The new Umami demo profile together with the Layout Builder.

In addition to a new installation profile, we added a "quick-start" command that allows you to launch a Drupal site in one command using only one dependency, PHP. If you want to try Drupal, you no longer have to setup a webserver, a database, containers, etc.

Last but not least, the download experience and evaluator documentation on Drupal.org has been vastly improved.

With Drupal 8.6, you can download and install a fully functional Drupal demo application in less than two minutes. That is something to be very excited about.

What is new for developers?

You can now upgrade a single-language Drupal 6 or Drupal 7 site to Drupal 8 using the built-in user interface. While we saw good progress on multilingual migrations, they will remain experimental as we work on the final gaps.

I recently wrote about our progress in making Drupal an API-first platform, including an overview of REST improvements in Drupal 8.6, an update on JSON API, and the reasons why JSON API didn't make it into this release. I'm looking forward to JSON API being added in Drupal 8.7. Other decoupled efforts, including a React-based administration application and GraphQL support are still under heavy development, but making rapid progress.

We also converted almost all of our tests from SimpleTest to PHPUnit; and we've added Nightwatch.js and Prettier for JavaScript developers. While Drupal 8 has extensive back-end test coverage, using PHPUnit and Nightwatch.js provides a more modern platform that will make Drupal more familiar to PHP and JavaScript developers.

Drupal 8 continues to hit its stride

These are just some of the highlights that I'm most excited about. If you'd like to read more about Drupal 8.6.0, check out the official release announcement and important update information from the release notes. The next couple of months, I will write up more detailed progress reports on initiatives that I didn't touch upon in this blog post.

In my Drupal 8.5.0 announcement, I talked about how Drupal is hitting its stride, consistently delivering improvements and new features:

In future releases, we plan to add a media library, support for remote media types like YouTube videos, support for content staging, a layout builder, JSON API support, GraphQL support, a React-based administration application and a better out-of-the-box experience for evaluators.

As you can see from this blog post, Drupal 8.6 delivered on a number of these plans and made meaningful progress on many others.

In future releases we plan to:

  • Stabilize more of the features targeting content authors
  • Add JSON API, allowing developers to more easily and rapidly create decoupled applications
  • Provide stable multilingual migrations
  • Make big improvements for developers with Composer and configuration management changes
  • Continually improve the evaluator experience
  • Iterate towards an entirely new decoupled administrative experience
  • ... and more

Releases like Drupal 8.6.0 only happen with the help of hundreds of contributors and organizations. Thank you to everyone that contributed to this release. Whether you filed issues, wrote code, tested patches, funded a contributor, tested pre-release versions, or cheered for the team from the sidelines, you made this release happen. Thank you!

My re-entry from vacation

Today is the first day back from my two-week vacation. We started our vacation in Maine, and we ended our vacation with a few days in Italy.  

While I did some work on vacation, it was my first two-week vacation since starting Acquia 11 years ago.

This morning when the alarm went off I thought: "Why is my alarm going off in the middle of the night?". A few moments later, reality struck. It's time to go back to work.  

Going on vacation is like going to space. Lots of work before take-off, followed by serenity and peaceful floating around in space, eventually abrupted by an insane re-entry process into the earth's atmosphere.

I got up early this morning to work on my "re-entry" and prioritize what I have to do this week. It's a lot!

Drupal Europe is only one week away and I have to make a lot of progress on my keynote presentation and prepare for other sessions and meetings. Between now and Drupal Europe, I also have two analyst meetings (Forrester and Gartner), three board meetings, and dozens of meetings to catch up with co-workers, projects, partners and customers.  Plus, I would love to write about the upcoming Drupal 8.6.0 release and publish my annual "Who sponsors Drupal development?" report. Lots to do this week, but all things I'm excited about.

If you're expecting to hear from me, know that it might take me several weeks to dig out.

Farewell Megan, but not goodbye

As you might have read on the Drupal Association blog, Megan Sanicki, the Executive Director of the Drupal Association, has decided to move on.

Megan has been part of the Drupal Association for almost 8 years. She began as our very first employee responsible for DrupalCon Chicago sponsorship sales in 2011, and progressed to be our Executive Director, in charge of the Drupal Association.

It's easy to forget how far we've come in those years. When Megan started, the Drupal Association had little to no funding. During her tenure, the Drupal Association grew from one full-time employee to the 17 full-time employees, and from $1.8 million in annual revenues to $4 million today. We have matured into a nonprofit that can support and promote the mission of the Drupal project.

Megan led the way. She helped grow, mature and professionalize every aspect of the Drupal Association. The last two years in her role as Executive Director she was the glue for our staff and the driving force for expanding the Drupal Association's reach and impact. She understood how important it is to diversify the community, and include more stakeholders such as content creators, marketers, and commercial organizations.

I'm very grateful for all of this and more, including the many less visible contributions that it takes to make a global organization run each day, respond to challenges, and, ultimately, to thrive. Her work impacted everyone involved with Drupal.

It's sad to see Megan go, both professionally and personally. I enjoyed working with Megan from our weekly calls, to our strategy sessions as well as our email and text messages about the latest industry developments, fun stories taking place in our community, and even the occasional frustration. Open source stewardship can be hard and I'm glad we could lean on each other. I'll miss our collaboration and her support but I also understand it is time for Megan to move on. I'm excited to see her continue her open source adventure at Google.

It will be hard to fill Megan's shoes, but we have a really great story to tell. The Drupal community and the Drupal Association are doing well. Drupal continues to be a role model in the Open Source world and impacts millions of people around the world. I'm confident we can find excellent candidates.

Megan's last day is September 21st. We have activated our succession plan: putting in place a transition team and readying for a formal search for a new Executive Director. An important part of this plan is naming Tim Lehnen Interim Executive Director, elevating him from Director, Engineering. I'm committed to find a new Executive Director who can take the Drupal Association to the next level. With the help of Tim and the staff, our volunteers, sponsors and the Board of Directors, the Drupal Association is in good hands.

Our vacation at Acadia National Park

For our 2018 family vacation, we wanted to explore one of America's National Parks. We decided to take advantage of one of the national parks closest to us: Acadia National Park in Maine.

Day 1: Driving around Mount Desert Island

An aerial photo of our rental property
An aerial photo of our rental house near Bar Harbor, Maine.

We rented a house on the water near Bar Harbor. So on our first morning we explored the beach area around the house. In good tradition, the boys collected some sticks to practice their ninja moves and ninja sword fighting. Both also enjoyed throwing their "ninja stars" (rocks) into what they called "fudge" (dried up piles of seaweed). The ninja stars landed with a nice, soggy "plop".

When not being pretend ninjas, Axl's favorite part of exploring the beach was finding sea life in the tidal pools. For Stan it was collecting various crab shells in hopes to glue them all together to make a whole crab.

Next up, we drove around Mount Desert Island, stopped for lunch, visited Bass Harbor Lighthouse and explored the rocks. On the way, we saw multiple deer, which triggered a memory for Stan that he saw a "man deer".

Stan: I saw a man deer once!
Vanessa: What? A man deer? You mean like a half man and half deer?
Stan: Yes.
Vanessa: LOL! Like a mythical creature?
Stan: Yes.
Dries: You saw a deer that was half man and half deer in real life?
Stan: Yes, you know a deer that is a man.
Laughter erupted in the car
Everyone: Oh, you mean a male deer!?
Stan: Yes.

Stairs to the rocks near Bass Harbor Lighthouse
Descending the steep stairs to the rocks near Bass Harbor Lighthouse.
Stan on the rocks at Acadia National Park
Stan standing on one of the many rock formations at Acadia National Park.

Acadia's rocky landscape dates back to more than 500 million years ago. It's the result of continents colliding, volcanoes erupting, and glaciers scraping the bedrock. It all sounds very dramatic, and I'm sure it was. Sand, mud and volcanic ash piled up in thick layers, and over millions of years, was compressed into sedimentary rock. As tectonic plates shifted, this newly formed rock was pushed to the surface of the earth. The end result? One of the most stunning islands in the United States.

Day 2: Hiking on Acadia Mountain

This beautiful landscape is perfect for hiking so on the second day of our vacation, we decided to take our first hike: Acadia Mountain Trail. The forested trail quickly makes its ascent up Acadia Mountain, with a few sections of relatively steep rock formations that require a bit of scrambling. Once at the top, the trail took us along the ridge of the mountain with great views into Somes Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.

Acadia Mountain Trail
The stunning view from Acadia Mountain Trail.

Coming down was harder than going up; the trail down is steep. Vanessa and I often had to sit down and hop off the rocks. Axl and Stan, on the other hand, hopped down the rocks like the elves in The Hobbit. We were happily surprised how much they loved hiking. Axl even declared he enjoyed hiking much more than walking, because "walking is exhausting" to him.

Acadia Mountain Trail
Descending Acadia Mountain Trail was harder than expected.

After our hike we went to Echo Lake for a swim and picnic. It is a gorgeous fresh water lake in a spectacular setting. Imagine a beautiful mountain lake, next to 800 foot (250 meter) steep rocks. We even saw two bald eagles flying by when swimming. Pretty magical!

Day 3: Watching the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain

We woke up at 4am to the glaring noise of our alarm clock. There are few sounds worse than the blaring of an alarm clock, especially on vacation.

I feel tired, but also excited. We drank a quick cup of coffee, and hit the road. By 5am we were up at the top of Cadillac Mountain, a different part of Acadia National Park. Cadillac Mountain is famously the first spot in the United States to see the sunrise.

Cadillac Mountain at sunrise
The view from the top of Cadillac Mountain minutes before sunrise.

For the photographer in me, it also meant that I got to see the park in its most beautiful light. As the sun started to peek through, the colors first turned purple and blue, and then slowly yellow, until the morning sun covered everything in golden hues.

Cadillac Mountain at sunrise
The view from the top of Cadillac Mountain minutes after sunrise.

To watch the sunrise from the top of a mountain is an experience worth getting up early for.

Day 4: Rain day

Raining today! In the morning, Vanessa made cornmeal griddle cakes with fresh Maine wild blueberries. Stan gave them a 10 on 10, and while Axl liked them a lot but he indicated he prefers it when the blueberries are still whole (hadn't popped during the cooking process) … our little food critics! :)

We played a variety of board games throughout the day. It's fun to watch the boys start to think more strategically. In between games, Vanessa taught Stan how to make chocolate peanut butter chip cookies, and Axl how to make pasta bolognese. Both of the boys wrote down their recipes so they can make them again — we can't wait to try these!

Axl making pasta
Playing a game of Pente
Playing a game of Pente.

We also love our long dinner conversations about life. Axl said he has a great business idea. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing it here but it's a "self-charging smartphone". He is determined to sell his idea to Apple for $3.5 million dollars. This prompted a long conversation about how it's not enough to have a great idea, but how it takes a lot of determination and team work to bring such an idea to life. In that conversation, we covered a range of topics from working hard, to wealth, giving back, and what really matters in life to be happy.

Day 5: Out on the water

We started the day with a Kubb tournament (a lawn game that involves throwing wooden batons), where Stan and I won the first game, and then Stan gave the second game away to Vanessa and Axl. Nonetheless it was a lot of fun!

After lunch we made our way into Bar Harbor and then boarded a boat to explore the Acadia coastline. On the boat tour we learned more about the animals indigenous to the area, the history of the park and how Bar Harbor came to be. On our trip we saw grey seals, Egg Rock Lighthouse and another bald eagle.

Egg Rock Lighthouse
Egg Rock Lighthouse in the distance.

It wouldn't be a vacation in Maine without lobster and chowder. When we got back on land, we went to a lobster shack where we were able to pick out our lobsters, and then they were boiled in custom fishermen's nets in large pots filled with seawater outside over fires fed with local wood. The lobsters were cooked to perfection! Stan was in heaven as he had been craving lobster for weeks.

Lobsters cooking in large pots
Lobsters cooking in large pots filled with seawater.

Day 6: Exploring Pemetic Mountain

After a quick work call in the morning, we're off for a hike. We hiked Pemetic Mountain today; roughly 4 miles (6.5 kilometer) and 1,200 feet (365 meter) of elevation. Getting to the top involves some steep and strenuous uphill hiking, but the views of the ocean, surrounding forests, lakes and other mountains make it worth it. The appeal is not just in communing with nature, but also connecting with the boys.

After our hike we grabbed lunch at Sweet Pea's Cafe. The name is misleading; it's not really a cafe, but a farm to table restaurant, and one were you are literally eating at the farm. All the food was fresh and delicious, and we all agreed to come back at a future trip (which is why I decided to capture the name in my blog).

My favorite part of the day was undeniably the dance party we had in the kitchen just before dinner. No, there are not pictures of it. The party climaxed with Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline which involved us dancing and singing along. More than Neil Diamond, I love that we can dance and sing together without caution or reservation, and just being our true selves.

Day 7: Hiking Bubble Rock

We're kicking off the day with Axl and Stan doing some homework; math, reading, writing, reading the clock, etc. The entire month of August, we've been doing homework for about one hour a day. As it is often the case, it's frustrating me. I continue to be surprised how many mistakes they make or why they still don't seem to understand basic concepts. We'll keep practicing though!

In the afternoon, we decided to hike Bubble Rock, named after one of the most famous boulders in Maine. Bubble Rock is a huge boulder that was placed into this unique position, teetering on the edge of a cliff, millions of years ago by a glacier. It makes you wonder how it remained in place for all these years. Of course, we tried to push it off, and failed.

Bubble Rock at Acadia National Park
Giving the famous Bubble Rock at Acadia National Park a little push.

Day 8: Chilling in the backyard

The last day of our vacation, we just hung around the house. We played Spikeball (also called Roundnet), soccer, made pizza on the grill, collected shells on the beach, caught up on some work, and relaxed in the hammock. At home, we live in a condominium so we don't have a backyard or a large grill — just a small electric one. So playing games in the backyard and grilling actually makes for a wonderful experience. And with that last relaxing day, the Maine part of our vacation came to an end. We're headed back to the Boston suburbs, because the next day, we have a flight to Europe to catch. By the time you're reading this, we'll probably be in Europe.

Vanessa making pizza on the grill
Vanessa making pizza on the grill, which has become a summer vacation tradition.

Some photos were taken with my Nikon DSLR, some with my iPhone X and some with my DJI Mavic Pro. I wish I could have taken my Nikon on all our hikes, but they were often too strenuous to bring it along.

Acquia recognized among Inc 5000 fastest growing companies

Acquia was once again included the Inc 5000 listing of fast-growing private U.S. companies. It's a nice milestone for us because it is the seventh year in a row that Acquia has been included. We first appeared on the list in 2012, when Acquia was ranked the eighth fastest growing private company in the United States. It's easy to grow fast when you get started, but as you grow, it's increasingly more challenging to sustain high growth rates. While there may be 4,700 companies ahead of us, we have kept a solid track record of growth ever since our debut seven years ago. I continue to be proud of the entire Acquia team who are relentless in making these achievements possible. Kapow!