Dries Buytaert

State of Drupal presentation (September 2022)

DrupalCon Europe 2022 DriesNote presentation

Last week, over 1,200 Drupalists gathered in Prague for DrupalCon Europe. It was great to see everyone together in person.

In good tradition, I delivered my State of Drupal keynote. You can watch the video of my keynote or download my slides (380 MB).

Text on slide reads "We have to do everything we can to protect the Open Web".

Why the Open Web should win

Today the web is ingrained in every aspect of our daily lives. We use it for work, to socialize, to pay our bills, get healthcare, and gain access to information.

As more transactions, collaborations and interactions are taking place online, there is now a greater responsibility to ensure that the web is inclusive of every person, and accounts for everyone's safety.

When people are excluded from being able to access online experiences, they are also excluded from rewarding careers, independent lifestyles, and the social interactions and friendships that bring people together.

For those reasons, we need to do everything we can to protect and grow the Open Web.

Text on slide reads "Caring about Drupal equals caring about the Open Web".

Caring about Drupal is caring about the Open Web

In my keynote, I made the point that Drupal is an important player in the preservation and growth of the Open Web.

I kicked off my keynote talking about some of my personal reasons for using Drupal, most of which have to do with the future of the Open Web.

After all these years, I continue to upload my photos to my website, despite there being plenty of simpler alternatives (e.g. Facebook or Instagram). I do this for a number of reasons.

First, my photos are precious to me, and I don't want them to get lost. I look at news stories about MySpace and Facebook losing users' content. I like that I'm in control of my own data, including my backups.

Second, I don't like how proprietary platforms limit my creative freedom. Pages and templates within a closed platform tend to look the same. It's hard to stand out, or even just express yourself the way you want to. With Drupal, I'm unrestricted in how I share my photos.

Third, I don't like how these platforms treat my friends and family. Many of them use invasive tracking. For that reason, I don't use trackers or ads on my website. My site aspires to the privacy of a printed book.

All of these are reasons why I want both Drupal and the Open Web to win. We don't want to live in a world where proprietary platforms reign supreme. We need more "Good Software". Software that is open, flexible, secure, accessible, and pro-privacy.

Making security, privacy, accessibility, multilingual capabilities, usability, and ease of maintenance top priorities is hard work work, but it's worth it. Caring about Drupal is the same as caring about the Open Web.

Drupal's growth and influence

Text reads "Drupal is a powerful platform for ambitious site builders".

The good news is that Drupal has grown into a powerful platform for ambitious site builders. Drupal empowers millions of ambitious site builders to create Open Web experiences.

However, we have to get better at promoting what we're good at to ensure more people understand how powerful and influential Drupal is. That influence becomes really clear when you look at Drupal's end users.

Making Drupal's high bar easier to achieve

Because of Drupal's impact on the digital landscape, we keep a high bar with regards to stability, reliability, accessibility, security, backwards compatibility, and more. With great impact comes great responsibility.

This high bar can make contribution difficult and slow, and is sometimes what keeps people from contributing back more to Drupal.

Unfortunately, we can't lower the bar. However, we can make it easier to achieve our high bar. That's why we are moving from Drupal's homegrown collaboration tools to GitLab.

GitLab streamlines and automates various steps of the contribution process. Check out the Drupal.org GitLab video from the Drupal Association for an update.

Welcoming more people to Drupal 10

Another way to accelerate innovation is to grow our capacity and attract more people to Drupal.

The best way to attract new people to our community is by making easy-to-use software that solves real world problems.

Since my previous DrupalCon keynote, I'm happy to report that we've made a lot of progress on our key initiatives. A few key highlights:

  • Olivero became stable/default
  • CKEditor5 became stable/default
  • We're almost PHP 8.2 ready
  • We upgraded to Symfony 6
  • And we made Drupal Core smaller

Each of these initiatives is significant because they make Drupal and the Open Web more approachable.

In addition, the Project Browser initiative and Automatic Updates initiative saw tremendous progress. Videos below.

To learn more about Drupal's strategic initiatives, you can watch the Drupal Core Initiative Leads keynote. Highly recommended for those that want to contribute.

Upgrading to Drupal 10

Drupal 10 is scheduled to be released in mid-December. And after the Drupal 10 release, users will have 11 months to upgrade from Drupal 9 to Drupal 10. Drupal 10 will require PHP 8.1, something to plan for as well.

A timeline that shows the Drupal 10 release date and the Drupal 9 end-of-life date.
Drupal 10 will be released on December 14, 2022. This gives site owners until November 2023 to update from Drupal 9 to Drupal 10.

Luckily, the upgrade path has never been easier. In the video below, we compare the upgrade path from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 to the upgrade from Drupal 9 to Drupal 10. As you can see, the Drupal 9 to 10 upgrade is much more automated. It will be the easiest yet!

The update to Drupal 10 is required because some of Drupal 9's third-party dependencies will reach end-of-life. If you don't upgrade within 11 months, you will be running a site with unmaintained third-party dependencies.

A pie chart that shows that many modules are ready, or close to ready, for Drupal 10.
We recently released the first Drupal 10 beta release. At the time we released Drupal 10 beta-1, 3 times as many modules were ready compared to when we released Drupal 9 beta-1. More than a 1,000 modules are already ready for Drupal 10!
A bell curve chart that shows Drupal getting easier to use and maintain. Drupal 9 and Drupal 10 are easier than Drupal 8.
Thanks to various focused initiatives, Drupal is starting to get easier. Drupal 8 was peak difficulty.

Thank you

I hope we can all find ways to care about building the web we want to see for the future. Making Drupal better means making the Open Web better.

I'd like to thank everyone that was involved in making DrupalCon Prague, Drupal 10, and the key initiatives described above a resounding success.

Last but not least, I'd like to encourage even more people to get involved. It might not always be easy, but it's well worth it.

— Dries Buytaert