Keynote: the State of Drupal (founder Dries Buytaert)

session information: Keynote: the State of Drupal

Short version: Drupal Rocks!

a brief history of Drupal

  • 10 years ago, Dries was involved with the Linux WLAN project, developed what was then called Dorp as a way to coordinate work on the network
  • moved project to drop.org (unintentional bilingual pun), renamed Drupal
  • people made lots of suggestions, so he made the project open-source
  • Drupal 1.0.0 released January 15, 2001
  • major geek sites such as kerneltrap.org started abandoning PHPNuke for Drupal in 2002
  • first DrupalCon in Antwerp in 2005 with just 25 or so people
  • legitimization of Drupal in business has invalidated Dries's theory on the growth of average facial hair among Drupalers
  • first Drupal book by Robert Douglas has improved Drupal's legitimacy
  • code & documentation sprints started in 2007 to improve drupal.org site
  • redesigned http://drupal.org site will debut by next week, features AJAX search, drag-&-drop dashboard, custom tabs
  • http://drupal.com has been just a landing page for years; Development Seed has created a sales site
  • trademark costs are getting expensive; hope to cover costs with ads
  • The Big Server Meltdown of 2005
    • needed new server, put up a PayPal button and raised $10K in 48 hours.
    • Open source institutions, Sun offered free server and services
    • booth at OScon Portland led to the founding of the Drupal Association
  • Drupal 4 had drastic usability improvements
  • Drupal 5 got auto installer
  • DrupalCon Brussels 2007 had 150 people; Sunnyvale 2007 had 300, DrupalCon Boston had 900
  • today there are 1400 at DrupalCon plus waiting lists and branch locations for those who couldn't get in
  • each year has seen a doubling of downloads, contributed projects, and unique hits to drupal.org
  • [examples of Drupal in pop culture -- many slides]
  • "Built by everyone, controlled by no one, and it actually magically works: Drupal is like the Internet"
  • "replace planning with coordination" -- like meeting up with people after vs. before cell phones

So where are we now, and what will be the big improvements in Drupal 7?

  • Drupal 7 development opened February 2008, when Drupal 6 was released
  • code freeze will happen September 1, 2009, 7.0 will be released "when it's ready"
  • When will it be ready?  When critical issues count reaches 0
  • Usability is most important change for D7
    • two installs provided: minimal and default with most common modules and dummy data
    • Usability Team has been doing formal testing since last year
  • better file API allows better media & document handling
  • Fields API replaces CCK and Profile modules - migration paths have not yet been worked out
    • raises question: should avatars, taxonomy, polls be applied to users as well as nodes?
    • field storage model is still being worked on
  • code testing is another priority... roughly 10,000 tests already written, covering more than 78% of code, and all currently pass!
  • database abstraction layer is retooled to support newer functionality, SQLite, and tests
  • important to imagine the future of the Web
    • start thinking of the Internet as one big machine: web apps, cloud computing
    • steps of development: linking machines, linking pages, linking data, linking things in the real world

Drupal is a movement, so what is its mission?

  • short-term: usability, great programming platform
  • long-term: help bootstrap the future of the Web
  • There is a difference between telling people what to do and creating a movement.
  • A movement needs a healthy ecosystem, many leaders and contributors (not just lurkers)

Knight Drupal Initiative grant winners

  • Knight Foundation asked for help last year identifying best Drupal projects to lower barriers to entry, provide powerful tools for digital publication
  • winners will receive a total of $485,380
  • Addison Berry will provide clear instrutions, run doc sprints
  • Bill Fitzgerald will create free publishing system
  • Dave Cohen wil allow anyone to create a one-click online news site integrated into Facebook for distribution
  • Nick Vidal will develop personalized news distribution system
  • Rob Loach  will create Drupal module for micro-blogging and cross-site aggregators for micro-blogging
  • Development Seed will create mapping tools for geotagging and news aggregator
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