Surviving - and thriving - during the transition to Drupal 8

Jan 21, 2016 · By Darren Mothersele


This is my proposal for a session at the upcoming Drupal Camp in London.

Drupal is going through some big changes. And, so is the world. Now may be an unsettled period, but, times of disturbance can also be times of great opportunity.

I will share my experiences with Drupal and my research into how the web and society are transforming. This will include my personal manifesto and ideas about Drupal’s role in the future of the web.

The Drupal community helped me transform in many ways. I have had the opportunity to work on some of the biggest, flagship Drupal websites, and in teams of all sizes. I’ve grown and advanced as a developer and a human.

There have also been difficult times. These have included my own personal challenges, and stories I have heard from others. In my work at Ideation Networks I sit with clients as they weigh up the pros and cons of Drupal. Many organisations feel they have been burnt by Drupal. And, for some, PHP (and by association Drupal) is just not cool.

But, on the whole, these are exciting times for Drupal.

Drupal 8 is the biggest achievement of our community to date. The latest version has been completely rewritten to use modern object-oriented PHP. We refer to this process as “getting off the island”. It means dropping the “not invented here” philosophy, and embracing the wider PHP community.

Drupal as a product, a community, and a movement, is our co-creation.

We have all played a part in Drupal’s success: Dries and the core development team; the wider community of contributors; the attendees of Drupal camps and conferences; people who talk about Drupal; and the developers, agencies, companies and users that drive Drupal’s adoption.

In this session I will attempt to answer these questions:

What have we gained, and what have we sacrificed along the way?

NGOs, charities, smaller organisations, and hobbyists made up Drupal’s traditional user-base. Have we shunned them as we’ve chased the enterprise client and big budget projects? Or, does Drupal 8 bring more of these users back into the fold?

Now that we’ve got this amazing platform, what do we do with it?

The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 is just one example of the web enabling real change in the world. How does Drupal fit into the bigger picture? How can we empower more positive change in the world?

Where do we go next? How can Drupal continue to transform and grow?

Everyone is talking about front-end frameworks, progressive decoupling, big pipe, micro-services. Innovation is more than just jumping on bandwagons. Considered from a deeper place, what do these trends tell us about the real changes that are happening? How does Drupal embrace these changes?

I’m excited. There are some tensions to resolve, and some challenges ahead, but also big opportunities.

Join me for this session. Let’s explore transformation of our world, the web, Drupal, and ourselves.

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Darren Mothersele

Darren is a software developer who builds simple, creative, and independent technology. Read more »