Dries Buytaert's Vision for Drupal: DrupalCon Lille 2023

Credit: Paolo Mainardi CTO SparkFabrik

The visionary Drupal founder, Dries Buytaert, unveiled his much-anticipated "Driesnote" keynote session at DrupalCon Lille on October 17, 2023. This keynote provided a unique glimpse into Drupal's path forward and the exciting transformations that await the Drupal community.

Dries opened his keynote with a fascinating anecdote from a previous visit to Lille, where he stumbled upon a book that bore an uncanny resemblance to Drupal. The book consisted of two chapters, "Drupal's Search" and "Lifting the Clouds," which served as the foundation for his narrative.

Chapter 1: Drupal's Search

In "Drupal's Search," Dries painted a vivid picture of Drupal's power and flexibility. He described Drupal as a shapeshifter, capable of adapting to people's diverse needs and desires. In the heart of Drupal's village, ambitious homes were constructed, each with its unique superpower. These homes seamlessly blended form and function, allowing villagers boundless freedom.

Photo Credit: Paolo Mainardi CTO SparkFabrik

Dries summarized the essence of Drupal's village with eight words: Creativity, Flexibility, Scalability, Accessibility, Collaboration, Empowerment, Security, and Freedom. However, it wasn't all perfection; building these extraordinary homes was a complex task with confusing tools, leaving villagers perplexed.

Curiosity led Dries to explore neighbouring villages, where he discovered "Reactopia," a place where villagers blindly embraced ever-changing trends despite the manual labour and lack of modern conveniences in their homes. Subsequent villages, "ConTentville" and "Squarix," presented their own unique attributes but also revealed flaws.

Lastly, Dries visited "Edoby Heights," a grandiose gated community, where luxury came at a high cost and left residents financially drained. Reflecting on the various villages, Dries found strengths and flaws in each, understanding their appeal to the young builder.

In a moment of profound revelation, Dries laid out a vision for Drupal's future: to make the builder experience exceptional, with a focus on simplicity, user-friendliness, and reduced manual upkeep. Initiatives like "Project Browser" and innovations targeting Drupal 10.3 will pave the way for Drupal's evolution.

Chapter 2: Lifting the Clouds

Here, Drupal faced the ominous presence of proponents of Closed Webs, with issues like data misuse, proprietary software, centralization, walled gardens, and vendor lock-in casting dark clouds over its community. Restless and saddened, Drupal was visited by a fairy godfather, none other than Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web. Tim emphasized Drupal's mission as the champion of an open world and urged it not to waver.

In response, Drupal authored the "Open Web Manifesto," a declaration of unwavering commitment to an open and accessible web for all. This document, re-released after DrupalCon Pittsburgh, represents a promise that Drupal will always stand for Freedom, Decentralization, Inclusion, Participation, and Empowerment.

Photo Credit: The Drop Times

Dries elucidated that Drupal had made two promises in the manifesto: "Builder Experience Improvements" and "Open Web Champions." Despite these commitments, the dark cloud of the closed web seemed impenetrable, discouraging new residents from moving in.

Photo Credit: The Drop Times

An idea emerged during Drupal's journeys to other villages - the notion of "The Sorcerers" with the power to dispel these dark clouds. Dries invited three marketing committee members: Lynne Capozzi, former CMO of Acquia, Suzanne Dergacheva, one of the founders of Evolving Web, and Nikhil Deshpande, Chief Digital Officer of Georgia. They discussed the need for a marketing committee to promote Drupal and shared a timeline for marketing plans.

Photo Credit: The Drop Times

Now, Drupal's third promise is "Marketing Investment," reflecting a commitment to building not just on the technical side but also on the marketing front. With the clouds pushed back, Drupal village has become an exciting place for ambitious villagers.

Final Note:

Dries concluded the keynote by inviting the community to write the next chapters together, urging them to contribute in their unique ways. For site builders, there are numerous sessions to attend, marking the beginning of the next exciting chapters in Drupal's journey. Additionally, for marketers, the opportunity to contribute abounds - submit case studies, contribute marketing materials, and participate in Drupal.org usability testing, all aimed at shaping Drupal's bright and user-friendly future.

To delve deeper into the keynote session and its details, please visit the session recording on YouTube


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