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Jan 28, 2016
This will be a momentus year for Drupal.
Some people may be predicting a year of security vulnerabilities. I believe we have a year of innovation ahead of us.
Drupal’s ecosystem of contributed modules is playing catch-up since the release of version 8. It has been years since CCK and Views were just experiments in the contrib module space. They are now established as foundation of Drupal core. Contrib (the wider community of Drupal developers) can now get back to innovating.
“Get back to innovating” isn’t much of a prediction. I thought about it some more and came up with three things I think are likely to happen in 2016…
The era of the monolythic, does-it-all, CMS is coming to an end. The Drupal community talk a lot about progressive decoupling  . But, the idea of a fully decoupled backend is becoming established in other areas. Services like Contentful already provide a fully decoupled, headless CMS.
Systems become decoupled, we move to a microservice architecture, and evaluate server-less options. It is conceivable that a Content API could become part of the infrastructure. Amazon are the leading Infrastructure-as-a-Service provider. A Content API (or CMS-as-a-Service) would fit in their suite of cloud computing services.
I did an experiment recently where I put Amazon’s API Gateway in front of an EC2 instance running Drupal. This gives a more robust API on top of Drupal 8’s Rest support. Monitoring, traffic management, and flexible security controls are standard. This approach offers several advantages, including: Swagger support; CloudFront caching for performance; and input/output translation with data models defined with JSON schema.
Going public was always on the cards for Acquia, but they said they are in no rush to IPO. This could be the year. Adoption of D8 will being changes to the user base and continued adoption at the enterprise level.
This will be accompanied by more consolidation in the Drupal world. One of the biggest risks I see is with Drupal companies taking on bigger projects. A single client becomes a large contributer to their revenue, in some cases I’ve heard as much as 70%. This is a risky situation to be in, if you rely on one client for a majority of your business. The solution is for Drupal companies to come together to form larger entities.
This is just a continuation of an existing trend. Wunderkraut, was the most high-profile merger in the community. Followed by many more, involving companies such as FFW, MediaCurrent, Phase2, and i-Kos.
Composer support in Drupal needs some work. There are some big wins to be had by embracing the Composer (and Packagist) workflow.
Commerce Guys are leading the way with Drupal Commerce. They have been factoring out components into separate libraries. Other PHP projects beyond Drupal are making use of them, and contributing to their development. Expect more contrib projects to factor out separate PHP packages of re-usable code. Then Drupal modules become just a thin layer of glue.
There has been a trend for PHP Frameworks to decouple their core components. The Symfony Components split from the full stack framework has meant much wider adoption. They are used in many PHP projects, including Drupal.
PHP-FIG exists to promote interoperability between frameworks. This year will see further initiatives to clean up Drupal’s code. Such as, removal of anti-patterns like service locator. The eventual aim will be to decoupling components from Drupal core.
Can you imagine using Views on a non-drupal project?