Drupal's Innovation & Future: 2024 and Beyond—Part 2 | Industry Experts' Perspective

Have you ever found yourself pondering the future of Drupal? It's a question that naturally springs to mind. With technology constantly changing, it's only natural to wonder how Drupal will adapt and thrive in the years ahead. These questions may have crossed your mind at some point. As technology continues to evolve, understanding how Drupal will navigate the years to come becomes increasingly important.  

In this article, we'll be taking a closer look at the thoughts and predictions of Drupal experts: Carlos Rincon Sanchez, Oscar Loria, Stella Power, Krishna R P, and Sinduri Guntupalli. Drawing from our previous discussion, we aim to examine what might lie ahead for this resilient platform.

Drupal, known for its flexibility and robustness, has weathered many technological shifts in the past. However, challenges such as increasing competition from other content management systems and the need to keep pace with changing user expectations are factors that cannot be overlooked. Within this context, we seek to explore the potential trajectories of Drupal's future.

Carlos Rincón Sánchez

Carlos, a Full-stack developer at Omitsis, emphasized the future of Drupal, stating that the bottleneck of Drupal is not its features but rather its usability and marketing. He highlighted the importance of making Drupal more usable and aesthetically pleasing, effectively showcasing its capabilities to the world.

He also noted his vision for Drupal's future, addressing challenges the community faces, stating,

Carlos Rincón Sánchez

The main challenge is not knowing how to transmit the value that Drupal already has. I know it's something that has been in the works for a long time, but it should be a top priority. 

Another important challenge is the integrations with other products. External services evaluate what to integrate with and always prioritize the ones that can give them more value, and Drupal is usually among the last ones. It is very common to see integrations with Wordpress but not with Drupal. 

I think it would be a good idea to 'subsidize' these integrations in some way, until the external services themselves find it profitable to do it 100% on their own, starting, of course, with the most popular services

Carlos underscored the significance of considering that certain modules within Drupal might be abandoned or possess inadequate integration with services, potentially leading to disillusionment among newcomers to the platform. He also noted that while building a simple website with a professional aesthetic should ideally be as efficient in Drupal as in WordPress, this parity is not always achieved. This discrepancy is primarily attributed to the broader availability of professional themes in WordPress, a resource not as readily accessible within the Drupal ecosystem.

Regarding barriers to entry for new Drupal talent, Carlos highlighted the importance of good documentation. He emphasized the need to renew the documentation interface, making it more usable and providing examples on all documentation pages using user-curated AI. Carlos stressed that this is crucial as new users often find the lack of comprehensive documentation frustrating, which can deter them from engaging with Drupal.

Moreover, on how PHP and Drupal can stay relevant and innovate in an AI-driven world, Carlos suggested enabling the creation of websites with Drupal by interacting with AI to specify desired website features and functionalities.

Oscar Loria

Oscar Loria, a dedicated software professional and the CEO of Decimo Technology, shared his insights on the exciting possibilities for Drupal's future and a significant change that would boost its adoption. He emphasized the need to simplify the learning curve and create more user-friendly tools, stating,

         Oscar Loria

"The learning curve needs to be simplified. Create more user-friendly tools. The idea that Drupal is very difficult to learn and manage should be abandoned (while this is true, it should not be the first impression that people have of Drupal)."

Oscar identified the technical barrier as the biggest barrier to entry for new Drupal talent. He emphasized the importance of making Drupal easy to install, create, and maintain, catering to both beginners and those diving into its code. He likened Drupal to chess, where beginners can start playing and gradually learn while masters continue to deepen their knowledge.

Furthermore, Oscar discussed the perception of the existing community, stating, 

"Although it may not seem like it, this barrier is even more difficult to overcome than the previous one (the previous one is not easy, I know, but Dries and his team of genius developers can solve it). Changing people's perceptions is something much more complicated. 

I will expand on this later, but for now, let's just say that any product or service in which its users pride themselves on being something 'hard to access and not for everyone' is doomed to die. Drupal must welcome new users and new generations, it must forget that archaic thinking of 'it's very difficult, you wouldn't understand' or 'WordPress is for designers and Drupal is for developers'. Drupal should be for everyone, from those who are just starting out in the web world to those who have been in the community since Drupal 7."

He also highlighted the importance of communicating each new version of Drupal as the best in history, ensuring that every person who enters the community feels they've arrived at the right time to start with Drupal.

Reflecting on his journey with Drupal, he recalled encountering exclusionary paradigms that portrayed Drupal as overly difficult to learn and manage. However, he chose to challenge these perceptions and became an active member of the community, working on Drupal projects and mentoring newcomers. He emphasized eliminating such exclusionary paradigms and making Drupal more inviting to a broader audience.

In a world increasingly shaped by AI tools and technologies, Oscar stressed the importance of providing personalized services and creating unique products. He highlighted the irreplaceable role of human critical-creative thinking in identifying opportunities and understanding human needs. Oscar suggested that for PHP and Drupal to stay relevant, software tools should empower users without requiring extensive learning curves, enabling them to harness the power of AI while maintaining the flexibility and accessibility of platforms like Drupal.

Krishna R P

Krishna R.P., Project Manager at Zyxware Technologies, believes that Envisioning Drupal in 2024 involves a strategic focus on innovation, community engagement, and aligning with emerging technology trends. To enhance its appeal and usability, Drupal aims to address its reputation for complexity by prioritizing user experience and accessibility, making it more inviting for newcomers, and fostering increased contributions.

Krishna R.P.

"In terms of innovation, Drupal envisions the development of an improved learning platform tailored for newcomers. This platform will offer comprehensive course materials with modular content, facilitating a smoother learning curve for grasping the core concepts of Drupal.

Furthermore, a key innovation lies in the creation of an advanced Landing Page Builder. Recognizing feedback from long-term users about the platform's complexity, particularly for those not in the development field, Drupal aims to bridge this gap. The Landing Page Builder will be designed to cater to non-developers, providing a user-friendly interface with intuitive configurations. This includes features allowing easy updates to colours, fonts, and components, making the process of creating appealing landing pages more accessible."

She stated that through these innovations, Drupal aspires to not only retain its existing community but also attract a broader user base. By prioritizing usability, user-friendly interfaces, and embracing evolving technology trends, Drupal endeavours to position itself as a leading and inclusive platform in 2024.

Stella Power

Stella Power, the founder and managing director at Annertech, emphasizes the need for greater momentum and adoption of Drupal to position it as an intriguing and compelling platform with which to engage. While acknowledging the progress of a new marketing initiative, she underscores that there is still a considerable distance to cover.

Stella Power

"We’ve also seen some interesting developments, such as LocalGov Drupal, and the take-up there has been excellentDrupal is now the most popular CMS among councils in Ireland and the UK, so that’s exhilarating. It's a fantastic example of how the community came together to address a common need. The Drupal community epitomizes an open collaborative spirit, and I’m eager to witness its continued growth and flourishing."

Sinduri Guntupalli

Sinduri Guntupalli, a Product Manager at Drunomics, envisions Drupal in 2024 utilizing enhanced AI functionalities, simplifying the implementation of decoupled architectures, and enhancing overall performance.

Sinduri Guntupalli

"The establishment of the Open Website Alliance, which is dedicated to the advancement of open source initiatives, is a commendable step towards fostering collaboration and the building of a better web. 

Moreover, I hope that the Drupal community will pave the way for women in less developed countries to gain awareness regarding Drupal and offer them easy access to free courses coupled with mentorship opportunities."

As we continue to explore Drupal's future, it's evident that industry leaders bring invaluable perspectives to the table. Their perspectives on innovation, community engagement, and technological advancements provide valuable guidance for Drupal's journey. With a focus on enhancing user experience, fostering inclusivity, and promoting collaboration, Drupal is positioned to thrive in the evolving world of web development. Embracing emerging trends and empowering users worldwide, Drupal stands at the forefront of shaping the future of digital experiences. 

Stay tuned for more insights from Drupal experts as we continue exploring the possibilities within the ecosystem.

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