Earlier this week I returned from DrupalCon Asia, which took place at IIT Bombay, one of India's premier engineering universities. I wish I could have bottled up all the energy and excitement to take home with me. From dancing on stage, to posing for what felt like a million selfies, to a motorcycle giveaway, this DrupalCon was unlike any I've seen before.

Drupalcon group photo
A little over 1,000 people attended the first DrupalCon in India. For 82% of the attendees, it was their first DrupalCon. There was also much better gender diversity than at other DrupalCons.

The excitement and interest around Drupal has been growing fast since I last visited in 2011. DrupalCamp attendance in both Delhi and Mumbai has exceeded 500 participants. There have also been DrupalCamps held in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune, Ahmedabad Jaipur, Srinagar, Kerala and other areas.

Indian Drupal companies like QED42, Axelerant, Srijan and ValueBound have made meaningful contributions to Drupal 8. The reason? Visibility on Drupal.org through the credit system helps them win deals and hire the best talent. ValueBound said it best when I spoke to them: "With our visibility on drupal.org, we no longer have to explain why we are a great place to work and that we are experts in Drupal.".

Also present were the large System Integrators (Wipro, TATA Consultancy Services, CapGemini, Accenture, MindTree, etc). TATA Consultancy Services has 400+ Drupalists in India, well ahead of the others who have between 100 and 200 Drupalists each. Large digital agencies such as Mirum and AKQA also sent people to DrupalCon. They are all expanding their Drupal teams in India to service the needs of growing sales in other offices around the world. The biggest challenge across the board? Finding Drupal talent. I was told that TATA Consultancy Services allows many of its developers to contribute back to Drupal, which is why they have been able to hire faster. More evidence that the credit system is working in India.

The government is quickly adopting Drupal. MyGov.in is one of many great examples; this portal was established by India's central government to promote citizen participation in government affairs. The site reached nearly two million registered users in less than a year. The government's shifting attitude toward open source is a big deal because historically, the Indian government has pushed back against open source because large organizations like Microsoft were funding many of the educational programs in India. The tide changed in 2015 when the Indian government announced that open source software should be preferred over proprietary software for all e-government projects. Needless to say, this is great news for Drupal.

Another initiative that stood out was the Drupal Campus Ambassador Program. The aim of this program is to appoint Drupal ambassadors in every university in India to introduce more students to Drupal and help them with their job search. It is early days for the program, but I recommend we pay attention to it, and consider scaling it out globally if successful.

Last but not least there was FOSSEE (Free and Open Source Software for Education), a government-funded program that promotes open source software in academic institutions, along with its sister project, Spoken Tutorial. To date, 2,500 colleges participate in the program and more than 1 million students have been trained on open source software. With the spoken part of their videos translated into 22 local languages, students gain the ability to self-study and foster their education outside of the classroom. I was excited to hear that FOSSEE plans to add a Spoken Tutorial series on Drupal course to its offerings. There is a strong demand for affordable Drupal training and certifications throughout India's technical colleges, so the idea of encouraging millions of Indian students to take a free Drupal course is very exciting -- even if only 1% of them decides to contribute back this could be a total game changer.

Open source makes a lot of sense for India's thriving tech community. It is difficult to grasp the size of the opportunity for Drupal in India and how fast its adoption has been growing. I have a feeling I will be back in India more than once to help support this growing commitment to Drupal and open source.


Dinesh Bhatia (not verified):

Hi Dries
It was so nice to have you here. You will always be welcome. Sadly I could not attend the event as by the time I found out about the event the registrations were closed. I read 'increased by 500 participants' , I am sure it would have increased to more than 5000 participants if the event organisers would kept ticket cost a little lesser.


Sarath Kumar M (not verified):

Would love to see more DrupalCons in India and in Asian countries.
Would love to have DrupalCon and Dries again back to India.

Jaideep Singh … (not verified):

India is a land of opportunities. Plus, having a government with positive attitude towards Open Source makes it best for Drupal to grow here. It has one of the largest pool of techies in the world. Nowadays, new students prefer self-learning rather than opting for any proprietary course, which makes PHP, and thus Drupal, very easy to understand. Besides from the actual population, India also has one of the largest Internet population (users, and many of them are techies).

Here in India, it's in our Bl00d(Jugaad!!) to have a know-how of things around us, and if something goes wrong, rather than going for customer support directly, we first try to fix it by ourselves. This habit since ages has been responsible for India having great number of engineers.

I myself came to know about Drupal in 2014 (D7). It's early 2016 (now D8), and I'm again feeling like a beginner. :P But, the enthusiasm has grown. No doubt about it. Drupal exists as a pioneer in modern Web. India will be a great place for Drupal to move ahead (even faster).

Thank you!

Chetan (not verified):

Thank you Dries for sharing your insights on DrupaCon Asia. It was one of the best events for exhibitors and attendees as well. There were multiple sessions which added value to beginner, intermediate and advance Drupal enthusiasts. We being an Indian company (MilesWeb) were proud to be a Bronze sponsor for this event and it was a great experience overall.

Anil Sharma (not verified):


Good to hear that you have taken back good memories from India. I suggest you make a program to teach Drupal in colleges and universities; we need to provide a better platform to interns. In the coming years demand for Drupal developers will be very high in India, and we need to outsource developers if we fail to educate people about Drupal technology and push them to learn Drupal.

I urge you to plan some courses and platform for interns for the development of Drupal.

phdhiren (not verified):


It nice to have you here. It was great DrupalCon.
Definitely credit system helps expanding horizon of Drupal as Open source, thank you for spreading the news. webchick's live commit session was really inspiring.

- Hiren

Juhi Gupte (not verified):

Dries, it was a unique experience to hear you live at IIT Bombay. Good networking platform for a technology community. Looking forward to the next global/local conferences.

Ujval Joshi (not verified):

I agree with you. Amount of engineering students India producing each year it can create lot of change open source system. Only thing is needed is opportunity for them to get good training. It can get more students and recent graduates involve in Drupal. And ultimately making better community and software.

Ashish Jain (not verified):

Hi Dries, glad to know that you enjoyed DrupalCon, it was indeed a phenomenal experience, Indians are definitely rising up in the drupal community by leaps and bounds and we hope to continue to grow at this pace and contribute to the community as much as possible, hope you'll be back in India soon.

Prakash Singh (not verified):

Dear Mr. Dries,

Its really fascinating to see the growth of Drupal in India specially in Government sector. I, myself, work closely with Central Government of India and here we are in a process of creating a Drupal distribution which can provide effective reuse in Govt sites at various ministries, states, districts & local-bodies; like Australian Govt.

Great to see the enthu of the community too....

Titto Jose (not verified):

It was a great experience attending the DrupalCon. This was my first DrupalCon and happened to learn a lot. Had a wonderful opportunity to meet some drupalers from around the globe in person, whom I have know for years only by usernames and names.

The keynote from Dries gave insight on how Drupal has grown in India, during the past couple of years. And it is good to see the Drupal community growing in India. Looking forward to attend the next DrupalCon. :)

Titto Jose