Drupal retrospective 2014

It's that time again. Time to look back at 2014, and to look forward to 2015. For Drupal in 2014, it was all about Drupal 8. As Drupal 8's development enters its fourth (and hopefully, final) year of development, it's a good time to reflect on all the work achieved by the Drupal 8 team so far, and to talk about Drupal 8's momentum heading into the final stretch to the release.

Drupal 8 will have 200 new features. Among the larger features that I'm excited about are the responsive design, HTML5 support, the native web service support, the much improved multilingual support, the configuration management system, a built-in WYSIWYG editor, in-place editing, streamlined content editing, the improved entity system, and more. The list of improvements is long!

My favorite part of Drupal 8 is that it will make building all types of Drupal sites — both big and small — much easier than with Drupal 7.

Key accomplishments in 2014 include:

Drupal 8 beta 1 released

October 1, 2014, amidst the fanfare at DrupalCon Amsterdam, we released Drupal 8 beta 1. This was an important milestone in the project, marking the finalization of major APIs, which enables contributed modules to begin porting in earnest.

Total number of Drupal 8 contributors surpasses 2,500

Our 2,500th core contributor was Tasya Rukmana (tadityar), a high-school student participating in Google Code-in 2014! Awesome.

Kick-starting contributed modules in Drupal 8

Drupal 8's new object-oriented API represents a significant paradigm shift for developers (there are many benefits to this). To help Drupal 7 pros make the jump to Drupal 8, Acquia funded the Drupal Module Upgrader project. This project will not only scan a Drupal 7 module and generate a report pointing off to the appropriate documentation on how to port it, there is even a mode that automatically re-writes much of your module's code to Drupal 8 to eliminate a huge chunk of the work.

Sprints, sprints and more sprints!

We organized dozens of sprints all around the world, and together hundreds of people came together in "real life" to help get Drupal 8 released. Sprints are a key part of momentum-building in Drupal, by laser-focusing on a specific goal, or by pairing both new and experienced contributors together for mentorship. Not only do sprints make solving tough issues easier, they also provide opportunities for building relationships and "leveling up" your skills.

Drupal 8 accelerate fund

Though it was launched just a month ago, the Drupal Association's Drupal 8 Accelerate Fund is already helping to add velocity to Drupal 8, by paying key contributors to help fix particularly onerous critical issues.

What is in store for 2015?

Getting the Drupal 8 release done

Our current focus is resolving the Drupal 8 upgrade path issues, which will allow early adopters of Drupal 8 to upgrade their site data between beta releases, and should result in a further uptick to Drupal 8 development velocity.

Once we reach zero critical issues, we begin the release candidate phase. Among the areas left to polish up after the Drupal 8 upgrade path issues are bringing external libraries up to date, finalizing documentation, and performance.

Continuous improvements after Drupal 8

Unlike prior versions of Drupal, Drupal 8 has adopted a new release cycle that will provide backwards-compatible "feature" releases every 6 months. I'm extremely excited about this change, as it means we can innovate on the core platform for years to come after release, versus holding all of the new goodies until Drupal 9.

Getting more organizations to contribute

We're now one of the largest Open Source projects in terms of active contributors, if not the largest. That growth requires us to evolve how we work. Over the years, we've grown from a 100% volunteer-driven model to a model where there is a mix of volunteers, contributors who are partially funded by their customers or employers, and contributors who are paid full-time to work on Drupal.

While this shift has big benefits in making Drupal more sustainable, it also means there is increasingly more corporate participation and influence. One of our biggest challenges for 2015 is to figure out how we can get more commercial organizations to step up to take on more of the shared maintenance of Drupal, while at the same time respecting the needs and desires of our entire community.

Improving our governance model

There has also been a lot of talk about optimizing the way in which we work, to make it more explicit who is responsible for what, how decisions are made, and so on. This year I plan to work with others in the community to revamp Drupal core's governance model to bring more transparency and appoint additional leadership.

Conclusion

Overall, I'm thrilled with the progress that the Drupal core contributors have made in 2014, and want to extend an enormous thanks to each and every one of our 2,500 contributors who have brought us this far. I'm feeling very positive about our momentum going into 2015.

Drupal 8 will set a new standard for ease of use, power and flexibility, and will have something for everyone to love. Without a doubt, Drupal 8 will take our community to new heights. Let's do this!

Comments

David Rothstein (not verified):


Unlike prior versions of Drupal, Drupal 8 has adopted a new release cycle that will provide backwards-compatible "feature" releases every 6 months. I'm extremely excited about this change, as it means we can innovate on the core platform for years to come after release, versus holding all of the new goodies until Drupal 9.

Please note that Drupal 7 is also open for new features and has been since webchick's post in early 2012. The policy for which features can be accepted into Drupal 7 is the same policy that will be used for Drupal 8. So you don't have to hold all the goodies until Drupal 8 either, if it's something that can be added to Drupal 7 core in a backwards-compatible way :)

Some interesting features have gotten in over the years, though there's certainly room for more; it is unfortunately a common misconception that Drupal 7 is not open for new features.

6 month "feature releases" are new for Drupal 8, although there's an open discussion about whether that should be adopted for Drupal 7 too. However, we're going to wait until Drupal 8 is closer to release to pick that up again (to avoid the possible confusion of starting it for Drupal 7 before it starts in Drupal 8).

W.M. (not verified):

The time is 6 years ago: I visited a webpage listing Drupal along with two other CMS's. I knew nothing about any of them and that was the first day I heard of the abbreviation CMS. My arbitrary choice was to download Drupal and start building. I must tell you, I have not regretted that choice for a moment since. Thanks Dries, thank you all.