Montreal Welcomes Evolve Drupal: A Premier Event Shaping the Future of Web Development

Industry Leaders to Share Insights on WebOps, Large-Scale Migrations, and User-Friendly Tools at Evolve Drupal 2024
Evolve Drupal Montreal: Key Insights from Featured Speakers on Migration, Tool Integration, and WebOps

Montreal is set to host Evolve Drupal tomorrow, a premier event dedicated to the ever-evolving world of Drupal. With over 30 talks spread across three tracks—Digital, Tech, and Design Summits—attendees will have the opportunity to delve into the future of web development, gain wisdom from past projects, expand their professional networks, and grow as a vibrant community of professionals.

Whether you're a developer, designer, project manager, or a professional from the public or private sector, Evolve Drupal eagerly welcomes your attendance. Kazima Abbas, a sub-editor at The Drop Times, had the privilege of connecting with a few featured speakers from the event, who shared their insights on upcoming sessions.

Josh Koenig, Co-founder of Pantheon, will discuss how WebOps specifically empowers the integration of Drupal with diverse tools for social media, email, and customer data. Joe Kwan, Manager of Web Development at the University of Waterloo, will address the significant challenge of migrating over 1000 Drupal 7 sites to Drupal 9/10, sharing practical solutions and lessons from this massive undertaking. Mike Herchel, Senior Front-end Developer at Agileana, will explore the potential of the upcoming XB tool to simplify the creation of complex components and layouts, making it accessible for non-coders, and the benefits of using Recipes and Project Browser for enhancing site-building efficiency. 

Let’s delve into the detailed insights from their sessions and discover the full scope of their expertise and experiences.

Josh Koenig

TDT[1]: Could you delve into how WebOps specifically empowers the integration of Drupal with diverse tools for social media, email, and customer data, as outlined in your session? Furthermore, how do you address the challenge of balancing standardisation and customisation to ensure an agile yet unified digital strategy within organisations?

Josh Koenig
Josh Koenig

Josh Koenig: WebOps helps organizations realize the full potential of Drupal by shifting them from a "build, launch, maintain" implementation into one of continuous agile improvement. When Drupal can be actively used for innovation on an ongoing basis, its value as an active point of integration with other business systems is significantly increased. The requirements of a modern martech stack are never static, and all too often, people work around the website (e.g. piling on more and more tags) rather than leveraging it directly.

When it comes to standardization vs customization, the biggest challenge facing larger organizations is the inherent limitation of any monolithic implementation. When too many stakeholders share a single instance of Drupal, bottlenecks and competing priorities develop. Complexity balloons. It's far better to establish a distributed model where a core team centrally maintains a standard Drupal implementation — very much like the idea of Drupal distributions — but can grant anyone who needs it the ability to unlock the full potential of Open Source and Drupal with their own WebOps pipeline for their specific site. This concept of "Freedom Within a Framework" gives big organizations a best-of-both-worlds approach to governance that leaves those traditional tensions behind.

Mike Herchel

TDT[2]: Considering the ambitious scope of the Starshot initiative unveiled at DrupalCon Portland 2024, could you provide insights into how each sub-initiative contributes to the vision of creating a more user-friendly Drupal experience? Additionally, what implications might this transformation hold for both larger and smaller websites, and how can attendees contribute to this pioneering initiative?

Mike Herchel: I’m personally most excited about Experience Builder (XB) and Recipes. 

Mike Herchel
Mike Herchel

XB will make it easy to assemble complex components, layouts, and pages through the user interface and enable non-coders to create elaborate visual experiences in the browser!

Recipes, along with Project Browser, will allow site builders and developers to download and install complex workflows, components, and configurations to rapidly apply functionality to their sites with sample content!

This, alongside Automatic Updates, will dramatically lower the cost of development for both small and large Drupal sites and allow us to effectively compete with newer CMS systems that are challenging Drupal, which will lead to greater market share and the recapturing of the smaller website market that is so crucial for Drupal’s developer pipeline.

Joe Kwan

TDT[3]: Could you share some insights into the pivotal challenges faced during the migration of over 1000 Drupal 7 sites to Drupal 9/10, as outlined in your session? Particularly, how did your team manage the associated change management process while training a diverse range of site managers with varying technical skills?

Joe Kwan
Joe Kwan

Joe Kwan: Great question; I think we actually created one of the biggest challenges ourselves by trying to bundle a lot of related initiatives together with migration and not fully understanding the impact that would have. Together with migration, we were also consolidating themes, implementing a pattern library and layout builder, moving to a PaaS hosting vendor, and more. At that time, we did not understand how important it would be to keep the migration work 'sacred' given our scale and complexity.

While the outcomes have been positive, the extended migration timeline has meant our team has needed to work very closely with site managers. Projected dates for site migrations and user training have been a moving target, meaning change management has been critical to ensuring our users still feel engaged and tasks like training are timed appropriately, particularly for less experienced users.


With its vibrant tech community and innovative spirit, Montreal is the perfect backdrop for Evolve Drupal. As the event unfolds, attendees can look forward to gaining new knowledge and experiencing Montreal's rich culture and dynamism. Stay tuned for more insights from the featured speakers as we bring you their complete answers and in-depth discussions on the future of web development.

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

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