Dries Buytaert

State of Drupal presentation (May 2024)

DrupalCon North America 2024 DriesNote presentation

This week, approximately 1,400 Drupal enthusiasts came together for DrupalCon North America in Portland, Oregon. As a matter of tradition, I delivered my State of Drupal keynote, often referred to as "DriesNote". In case you missed it, you can watch the video or download my slides (385 MB).

This year's keynote was inspired by President John F. Kennedy's famous "Moonshot" speech. After being global leaders, the U.S. had fallen behind in the Space Race. Challenged by the Soviet cosmonaut program, President Kennedy rallied Americans around the ambitious goal of landing on the moon before the decade was out.

Drupal Starshot, a new version of Drupal

Drupal has always been known for its low-code capabilities. However, many competitors now offer similar features, and in some areas, they even surpass what Drupal provides. While Drupal is celebrated for its robustness, it can be challenging for newcomers, especially those with limited technical expertise. So in my keynote, I was excited to introduce Drupal Starshot, our "Moonshot" to make Drupal more accessible and easier to use.

Twenty-three years after Drupal's inception, we are preparing to launch a second official version of Drupal. For the time being, we're calling this second version "Drupal CMS". It will be built on top of Drupal Core and common contributed modules, and available as a separate download alongside Drupal Core.

Wireframe for Drupal download page displaying two options: "Drupal CMS" for general use and "Drupal Core" for custom CMS development.
Wireframe of the Drupal.org download page featuring two options: Drupal CMS (Drupal Starshot) and Drupal Core, with Drupal CMS being promoted as the preferred starting point for most.

Drupal Starshot will be designed to have a great out-of-the-box experience. It will enable Ambitious Site Builders without Drupal experience to easily create a new Drupal site and extend it with pre-packaged recipes, all using their browser.

The vision for Drupal Starshot is the outcome of highly productive brainstorming sessions with Drupal Core Committers, the Drupal Association, colleagues at Acquia, various Drupal agencies, and others.

From an implementation standpoint, it will primarily rely on the Project Browser and Recipes initiatives, while also incorporating the Experience Builder initiative. We actually started prototyping Drupal Starshot a few weeks ago and showcased our progress at DrupalCon. Our goal is to launch a first version of Drupal Starshot within 8 months.

At DrupalCon, hundreds of people pledged to get involved, and we had two "super BoFs" with over 50 people each. If you're interested in getting involved with Drupal Starshot, you can register your interest at https://drupal.org/starshot. Additionally, join the conversation in the #Starshot channel on Drupal Slack.

Drupal Starshot pledge stickers with example pledges like "Tester", "Marketer", and "Documentation".

Drupal's brand refresh and marketing strategy

Alongside our technical efforts, we've launched a bold marketing strategy. At DrupalCon Lille, I discussed the need for a fresh marketing approach. Since then, we've made tremendous progress.

I introduced a Drupal brand refresh, which includes updated brand guidelines to ensure a consistent and modern visual identity. This refresh aims to invigorate our brand – making it more vibrant and appealing to newcomers, while still honoring our history and representing our diverse, global community.

I couldn't cover all the details around the brand refresh in my keynote, so I'm expanding on them in this blog post. For a detailed explanation of Drupal's refreshed brand, check out this video by Shawn Perritt: Drupal 2024 brand refresh explained.

Our efforts went beyond just a brand refresh. The Marketing Committee has also guided the community in developing a comprehensive marketing toolkit, which includes messaging guides, pitch decks, and more. All these resources will be available at https://www.drupal.org/marketing.

Let's reach for the stars

A Drupal astronaut on the moon with a laptop and a Drupal flag.

As we advance with Drupal Starshot, I recall President Kennedy's famous words:

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.

Embracing the Drupal Starshot initiative reflects a similar ethos; we're not choosing the easy path, but the one that tests our strength, creativity, and ability to do hard things. The success of Drupal Starshot will be a testament to the incredible collective power of the Drupal community. It's a challenge we are also unwilling to postpone, and intend to win.

Drupal Starshot is more than a technological leap; it represents a shift in how we think, innovate, and collaborate. It's about reaching for the stars and making the Open Web accessible to everyone.

Thank you for being part of this journey. I can't wait to see where it takes us together. The feedback from the last two days at DrupalCon has been overwhelmingly positive. I am more committed than ever and excited to pledge a significant amount of my time to this mission, and to the future of Drupal.

— Dries Buytaert