Editor's Pick | Vol. 1 | Issue. 5

The Rising Age of the Developers

Cross section of a tree trunk that shows the annual growth rings
20 February 2023

Starting a newsletter with a rant about ageism is not my intent. I am not against developers gaining age or aged developers building things. I respect them. 

Last week, TheDropTimes (TDT) published a few interviews, which the larger Drupal Community read. In one of those interviews, I remarked on a question pointed towards Mike Herchel that 'the mean age of Drupal developers is increasing.' 

Mike carefully avoided confronting me on the veracity of my claim so that I wouldn't feel intimidated. I am thankful for that. I do not have any data to prove the statement or to disprove it. It remains an unconfirmed allegation until we have the numbers to substantiate it. 

But this is my perception of the Drupal community and almost all Free, Libre, and Open-Source Software communities. The leaders I see in the communities I once frequented are all in the 35-55 age bracket or even older. 

Some newer technologies have many takers, some of which are JS frameworks. They might still be FLOSS. What I am saying is about established technologies that have not entirely lost their sheen. 

Down the lane, these new technologies might turn legacy, and they, too, would face a similar drag in the influx of new developers. I think of it as a bane of the commons. 

For the sake of argument, consider this averment at face value. The engine to drive the enthusiasm to sustain a project and attract newbies shouldn't be the freshness of something. It should be the ideal tooling that makes everyone comfortable, gradually reducing the learning curve through the years and nurturing an accepting and receptive community that would reward the efforts. 

In the Interview with Mike Herchel, a community at large member of the Drupal Association's board of directors, he responds that 'most newer developers flock to the JavaScript-based ecosystem because of better developer tooling and marketing.' He also points out that 'many smart people are actively working on better developer tooling within Drupal core.' And the 'Association has many plans to do a better job marketing Drupal.' As a vibrant community, we must be thankful for that. TDT is also an independent attempt to build strong muscle in marketing Drupal to the world. And we say it with utmost responsibility. We say marketing Drupal, which includes the whole ecosystem, including the companies and developers working in the realm. 

That is why we chose to interview Jurriaan Roelofs, the founder and senior product manager at DXPR, a company known for its SaaS offering with which one could build Drupal websites without knowing how to code. It is a detailed interview about the development of Drupal Layout Builder, one of the best drag-and-drop experiences available in Drupal. 

We continued our interviews with the organizers and speakers of the recently concluded Florida DrupalCamp. Aubrey Sambor, a senior Front-end Developer at Lullabot, speaks about her work in web accessibility following her dad becoming a quadriplegic. Mark Shropshire, Senior Director of Development at Mediacurrent, reflects on the regulatory and standards requirements at organizations that fostered his interest in security, eventually ensuring the creation of Guardr. He also talks about Cypress testing framework for functional testings of Drupal and related headless front-ends, the subject of his session. In his interview with Alethia Braganza, Jonathan Daggerhart weighs the strengths and weaknesses of Drupal and WordPress. He talks about 'sustainable web development practice' and explains 'transparency,' a cultural pillar around which he built his company: these interviews and the interview with Mike Herchel were part of our FLDC series. 

Last week, TDT published a listicle with 12 email marketing apps integrated with Drupal and its modules. Add these tools to your MarTech quiver.

We routinely report on awards and accolades. An article published about the German Splash Awards had discrepancies that someone pointed out through our contact form. We have since taken down the report and will republish it with the corrected info. In Vol.01, Issue 04 of the newsletter published on February 13, 2023, the nutgraf had a significant mistake altering the sentence's meaning. Instead of revered, which means respected (the past tense of the word revere), we wrongly wrote rever, which means 'the upper part of some upper garments that folds back at or near the neck to give the appearance of a collar.' By the time we noticed it, the newsletter was already gone. We regret such mistakes and will strive to correct them as far as possible. If you see any such shortcomings, please get in touch with us immediately. 

Last week, we reported on Promet Source winning the Web Excellence Award, Joe Shindelar of Drupalize.me updating the Drupal User Guide for D10, Drupal Academy's video tutorial on passing variables into twig templates, Drupal Partner's case study on NIFTEP, an institute under Georgia State University, reducing spam signups on their website, Patti Cardiff's article in Promet Source's blog about why and how to measure web performance, Russel Jones video tutorial on Style Headers in Drupal with CXX Flex and Tailwind CSS, Magic Logix's blog post on benefits of Drupal Development Servies, an update on the upcoming DrupalCamp NJ, call for speakers in OpenSource North, the opening of registrations for DrupalCon Pittsburgh, Early Bird discount for DrupalCamp Ruhr,  Drupal 10 Masterclass book by Adam Bergstein, the announcement of DrupalSouth 2023deadline of feedbacks for Project Browser Initiative, Lullabot's webinar on structured content, and other stories. 

This is for the week. Happy reading. 

Sebin A. Jacob