The State of Drupal 2013

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  • Drupal Association--nonprofit body that supports the Drupal community; helps
  • Backdrop CMS
    • fork of Drupal announced ~3 months ago, aim of taking Drupal 7 and taking it in a different direction that reflects what the developers' vision of "simple" is.
    • they got about 10-15% of the funding they were looking for; haven't seen any commits in the github repository in the last month or so, seems like it's fizzling out
    • Drupal Association isn't taking a real stand on it yet; wait and see
    • It did nudge Drupal core development; Angie spent a lot of time on developer experience; Drupal 8 changes all sorts of things, how can they make that work out okay for developers?
  • Thinking of a different versioning scheme for Drupal 8, semantic versioning; e.g. releases 8, 9, 10 are big, API-breaking releases; 8.1 and 8.2 can have some new features and could change a bit more than they've done in the past. Then bug fix releases are 8.0.1, 8.0.2, without ever breaking anything. It's still being debated, but the idea is to do more, quick, smaller releases.
  • Question: Why do the big version releases break the API?
    • Big thing in Drupal 7 was the Field API, fields used to be done with modules but are now in Drupal core.
    • Drupal 8: Drupal now built on top of a framework called Symfony, brings in more common libraries that other PHP projects use; it'll be easier for someone who's familiar with the Symfony framework to come in and start working with Drupal. That's swapping out a lot of the core code.
  • Question: when is Drupal 8 being released?
    • When it's ready! Best guess: June or July. Alpha releases will start earlier, may have been one yesterday.
  • Question: will it be easier to go from Drupal 7 to 8 than it is to go from Drupal 6 to 7? D6>D7 migrations are painful!
    • Migrate module coming into core; it acts like everything is a migration, not an upgrade, regardless of whether it's Drupal or not.
    • They're targeting both Drupal 6 and 7 with the work on Migrate; lots of momentum, very promising project.
    • For Drupal.org upgrade, they used update.php first, hacked it a bit to make it faster/avoid using the API; also used Migrate to move all the D.o project data out of custom tables and into fields.
  • Security
    • Big architectural change in D8--if Symfony or Twig (new templating framework) have security releases, Drupal will need to as well.

(went to bathroom, missed notes here!)

  • Discussion of nonprofits' challenges with Drupal:
    • Find capacity to keep up with the online stuff
    • Integrated with CiviCRM
    • Resources are slim!
    • (I talked about how the upgrade path can be really prohibitive, how the API breaking is hard for organizations with small budgets, etc.)
    • In Drupal 8, more functionality is being pulled into core
    • Views will be in core instead of contrib; it will have a better upgrade path, will be supported
    • You'll be able to do more with Drupal without extra modules
    • Comment: but then core will become more heavy and upgrades will be harder.
    • Configuration management will be improved in Drupal 8; puts the configuration into the file system, easier to deploy sites, track configuration in version control systems.
    • General theme: want to make Drupal more powerful, but doing that causes pain.
  • Question: anything in D8 geared towards responsive?
    • A lot of effort is being put into the mobile initiative
    • Mobile out of the box: responsive themes, images, breakpoints out of the box. Also includes more mobile-friendly admin.
    • Templating library is Twig, a different syntax with putting in variables; it helps with security because you can do less with it than with PHP; the syntax is less scary
  • CiviCRM
    • CiviCRM and D8: contemplating switching from Smarty to Twig, using Symfony, switching database layer from PEAR to Doctrine; will probably support D6-D7-D8
    • Civi is encouraging folks to build customizations as platform-neutral extensions rather than Drupal modules
  • Developer ecosystem? Drupal Association questions?
    • If you're a developer and want to contribute back, there are things in the community to support
    • Is the Drupal Association growing significantly from year to year, meeting its goals?
      • Could do a lot better with Drupal.org, spent 1.5yr upgrading to D7, now that that's out of the way they're freed up to do more; there are three developers now, but they're hiring a CTO, a DevOps person, and another developer.
      • Funding: some comes from memberships; trying to diversify the revenue; in the past DrupalCons were really profitable, but they cost a lot! Don't want that to be where the DA gets all their profit. Should have more sources of revenue. Figure out more ways to monetize D8 (ask for donations?)
      • Technology Partner Program -- currently companies like the folks who run PHPStorm, Microsoft, LingoTek--not Drupal-focused businesses (also, not organizations with big use of Drupal.)
  • Who is the audience for Drupal 8? Who is it catering to? Is it nonprofits/small organizations/small budgets?
    • Drupal Association try to stay out of those conversations; we're not the developers of Drupal itself, we support the community, whoever that is. Those decisions are left to the core developers.
    • Big conversations going on and changes being made to governance; different teams working on Drupal.org, which is part of the Drupal Association.
    • On the Drupal side, governance committees: a technical working group where technical questions about what to do get escalated to if they can't be solved in the issue queue. Also a community working group, deals with folks who are violating the code of conduct. Documentation and security teams are being formalized. These teams answer to Dries. All volunteers. Members are appointed by Dries.
    • Looking at it philosophically--who should have input into the direction of the development of the software? (CiviCRM is asking similar questions.)

(Conversation I was too engaged in to take good notes about how governance, decision making, direction of Drupal is determined, etc.)