Drupal Droid - The Custom Drupal GPT by Michael Miles

robot handshake human background, futuristic digital age
rawpixel.com / Freepik

ChatGPT, a creation of Open AI, is a large, sophisticated language model designed to understand and generate human-like text based on the input it receives. If you have any questions, need assistance, or even just want to have a conversation, lately, ChatGPT is one of our go-to companions. Sure, occasionally, it serves us with a never-ending string of "evolving landscapes thrilled to unveil," but accept it or not, AI is here to stay!

It has only been a few months since Open AI introduced Custom GPTs (Generative Pre-trained Transformers), where users with access to ChatGPT 4+ can create custom versions of ChatGPT that combine instructions, extra knowledge, and any combination of skills. It would have been unreasonable for the Drupal Community to not leverage this opportunity to create a custom GPT for Drupal and that's how Drupal Droid was born!

Drupal Droid interface
The Drupal Droid Interface | Users will need access to ChatGPT 4+ to chat with The Drupal Droid (Please excuse me, I do not have one.)

The Drupal Droid is a customized version of ChatGPT that is specific for assisting with Drupal 9+ site building and development. Michael Miles is the brain behind Drupal Droid, and he was generous enough to respond to The DropTimes' curious questions. 

Michael Miles
Michael Miles

"I've created the Drupal Droid, I thought it'd be beneficial for the Drupal Community to use. It's tailored to help with building Drupal websites, writing code for Drupal websites, and general configuration."

says Michael in his Drupal Droid presentation on the Talking Drupal YouTube channel.

Several perceptions surround Artificial Intelligence looming around us; some share admiration for its benefits and possibilities, some are bothered about its potential threat and uncertainties, while some reckon AI is a necessary evil. Anyway, Michael Miles, without giving into the initial scare which is surrounding any latest technology, has seized the bull by the horns.

"My perspective on AI is that it has already, and will continue to prove itself as a useful tool in many industries and applications. Any new technology is scary at the onset, especially ones that can cause much disruption. I believe that, rather quickly, we'll all figure out ways to utilize AI tools in our everyday activities and workflows."

Asking Drupal Droid about how to render all site images using the Webp format.

From a developer's perspective, Michael thinks of generative AI tools (such as the Drupal Droid), as a higher level of programming, and higher level interpreters. He perceives these AI tools as the next step in programming evolution. They empower individuals to use direct human language to instruct a computer on what to do, and he envision the system completing tasks almost precisely as instructed.

"Think about 50+ years ago, before the emergence of higher-level programming languages such as PHP and Python, where developers had to know the nitty-gritty of memory allocation and machine logic. The higher-level programming languages abstracted the need for that deep knowledge, which in turn opened programming up to more people."

Now, Drupal Droid is dedicated to assisting with Drupal 9+ site building and development, including module and theme development, site configuration, performance optimization, and module recommendations. It sets itself apart from vanilla ChatGPT by always confirming the user's prompt before providing an answer. This confirmation step ensures that the AI accurately understands the user's intent. In scenarios where the prompt does not involve code writing, a focus is assumed on offering solutions through the Drupal Admin, catering to non-technical site builders.

"When asked about programming, the Drupal Droid will assume to provide code examples that follow the Drupal coding standards."

Asking Drupal Droid, how to alter the node edit form for a specific content type.

Michael created the Drupal Droid on OpenAI's GPT editor. It is a web interface that allows anyone (with a paid OpenAI account) to configure the ChatGPT 4 LLM to respond to prompts in a specific way.

"When configuring The Drupal Droid, I added instructions for how the AI should respond to user prompts. Some of the prompt instructions include:

  • Assume all prompts are related to working with the Drupal framework, version 9 or higher.
  • Always repeat back what you understood from the user's prompt and ask for confirmation before providing an answer.
  • Always assume the user wants to accomplish a task using the Drupal admin.
  • When asked about programming or coding, provide all answers and code examples using the Drupal coding standards.

There can be obvious concerns about whether Drupal Droid has the latest codes of Drupal and if it will help a Drupal developer to create a Drupal 10 solution. The answer is yes! OpenAI's ChatGPT 4 has been trained with public information available as of April 2023, including information available online regarding Drupal 10.

 "In addition, The Drupal Droid does have web browsing access, so if it does not know an answer, it can look it up."

Asking Drupal Droid about optimizing a Drupal 10 site.

The Drupal Droid can also support questions on upgrading from Drupal 9 to Drupal 10 or Drupal 7 to Drupal 10, provided that information was publically available online as of April 2023.

Asking Drupal Droid about upgrading from Drupal 7 to Drupal 10.

Generative AIs are infamous for providing incorrect answers with such confidence, Drupal Droid being built on Open AIs ChatGPT 4 can browse the web for information or answers it does not know. However,

"As with all Generative AI tools, there is always the possibility of hallucinations (made-up answers). The benefits of using ChatGPT as the backend is that the models are progressively getting better and not providing incorrect answers."

Asking Drupal Droid about a site error message.
Asking Drupal Droid about setting up DDEV

The Drupal Droid will hopefully be available in the open AI GPT store when that goes live in the next few weeks, but until then, you should be able to find it using the link: https://chat.openai.com/g/g-rNIZzTk3G-the-drupal-droid.

Michael Miles has provided a brief introduction and demo of Drupal Droid in a presentation on the Talking Drupal YouTube channel.


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