First Drupal Starshot Session Engages Over 200 Participants; Outlines Vision and Next Steps

First Drupal Starshot Session Engages Over 200 Participants, Outlines Vision and Next Steps

The first session following the announcement of Drupal Starshot, led by Drupal Project Lead Dries Buytaert on May 31, 2024, attracted over 200 participants. This session primarily focused on discussing participation, funding, governance, and community engagement to drive the new initiative forward.

Announced at DrupalCon Portland 2024, Drupal Starshot is pretty much the talk of the entire Drupal Community. From one-on-one interactions to local meetups to DrupalCamps, no conversation about Drupal is complete without Starshot. Needless to say, when a Zoom call to discuss the Starshot initiative was announced, more than 200 participants worldwide participated.

"I don't know what to call this; it's not a BoF, but rather some sort of "Super Zoom"

The Birds of Feather sessions dealing with Starshot came to be regarded as Super BoFs due to its attendance.

Drupal Starshot meeting
Screenshot from the zoom call to discuss Starshot Initiative. 

Drupal Starshot aims to build a new default download of Drupal, incorporating features from the contributed project ecosystem to enhance user experience. It will enable site builders with little to no Drupal experience to easily create and extend Drupal sites using pre-packaged recipes, guiding them from installation to launch quickly.

The session commenced with a casual interaction, during which participants shared their locations and feelings about Starshot, fostering a sense of global community. Dries highlighted the positive reception of Starshot at DrupalCon and the community's numerous pledges and blog posts. He emphasized the importance of community engagement and announced a series of interactive Zoom calls over the next few months to provide updates and facilitate contributions. 

The next meeting is scheduled for June 6, 2024, from 15:00 to 16:00 GMT. Lauri Eskola will present an update and the next steps for the Experience Builder initiative. The session will cover the initiative's value and current status, include a demo, provide a roadmap presentation, and offer guidance on how to get started with contributions.

One of the key topics was funding, particularly the Drupal Certified Partners program. Dries presented packages for agency owners to contribute to the Starshots initiative through staff resources or financial contributions. There will be two types of financial contributions: endowments and an innovation fund. Endowment contributions will fund full-time roles, such as hiring a documentation specialist for 18 months to improve Drupal's documentation, including specific Star Shots documentation. The innovation fund contributions will support various Star Shots-related projects. In return, contributors will receive marketing benefits and credits within the credit system, enhancing their visibility in the marketplace. These ideas were presented to agency leaders and received positive feedback, though further refinement is needed. 

Throughout the session, Dries skimmed through the messages that popped out and took time to answer a few. Ben Peter Mathew, Community Manager of The DropTimes [TDT] put forth the question of the importance of content marketing in the overall marketing strategy. Dries responded by acknowledging the importance of marketing as it tied back to contribution and potentially Certified Partner Contribution as well.

"Marketing is as important as having a great product. Six months ago, we created a Marketing Working Group at the Drupal Association and developed a marketing plan. Now, the Drupal Association is hiring a Head of Marketing to help with Drupal's marketing. This person will likely take on an organizing role to support many people in their marketing efforts."

added Dries.

He emphasized the crucial role of marketing in the Drupal Starshot initiative, highlighting that Drupal agencies' extensive experience in marketing is invaluable. Marketing efforts will encompass content creation, branding, positioning, messaging, and event organization. Specific attention will be given to expanding outreach beyond the current audience, including content marketers. Dries mentioned plans to have a Drupal booth at major content marketing conferences, aiming to broaden Drupal's visibility and explain Starshot's benefits compared to competitors. Organizing these efforts will be key to effectively promoting the initiative and engaging a wider audience.

Dries Buytaert
Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal. 

The governance model for Starshot was also outlined, focusing on a fast and effective decision-making process. A small core leadership team, supported by an advisory board, will oversee the project, tentatively called the Starshot Council. This council will include end users, certified Drupal partners, core committers, Drupal Association board members, and staff to ensure broad representation and collaboration.

Dries shared details about the engagement plan, which includes a series of Zoom calls covering various aspects of the project, such as Recipes, Project Browser, and Automatic Updates. These sessions aim to provide updates, showcase progress, and help community members get involved.

The initial leadership team was also introduced, with an official announcement scheduled for next week. This team will drive the project's initial phases and work towards defining Starshot's scope and objectives. 

The session concluded with an open Q&A, addressing various questions from the community, including the involvement of smaller agencies, engagement with universities, and the importance of accessibility in Starshot.

During a Q&A session, Dries discussed the vision for Star Shots, emphasizing that unlike Umami, which is a demo of Drupal's core capabilities, Star Shots will leverage contributed modules through the Project Browser, offering more features and serving as a production-ready tool for building sites. He highlighted the initiative's aim to streamline the Drupal installation process by integrating Recipes and Project Browser, making it easier to use and reducing the cost and complexity of building with Drupal. Although there are no formal plans to engage universities, the out-of-the-box experience provided by Star Shots could significantly benefit educational institutions and other organizations by simplifying the setup and development process.

Addressing an accessibility question,

"I'm proud of the fact that we continue to work hard on making Drupal more accessible. I'd love to see the accessibility of Drupal extend into the official recipes promoted by Starshots. While we don't have the exact details yet, accessibility is really important and aligned with our values as a project."

concluded Dries Buyteart.

This meeting marked a successful start to the Drupal Starshot initiative, setting the stage for active community involvement and significant advancements in the ecosystem. The next steps include more detailed planning sessions and ongoing updates to ensure transparent and inclusive progress towards the project's ambitious goals. The recording and summary of the session can be expected to come out this week, along with the Starshot Leadership announcement.

Disclosure: This content is produced with the assistance of AI.

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