Dries Buytaert: State of Drupal Keynote

Dries Buytaert: State of Drupal Keynote

DrupalCon Portland 2013 attracted more than 3,300 attendees, including a mix of developers, designers, IT managers, agencies and other enthusiasts. Dries Buytaert, fearless Drupal leader, took the stage in Portland to officially kick off the event.

Opening things up, Dries shared an anecdote describing the tremendous growth of the event since it began 8 years ago. He notes how "half of DrupalCon" once comfortably congregated in a single hotel room. Now, both the event and CMS have reached an exciting turning point, ready to turn the corner and pave the way for a revolutionized Internet experience.

Presenting his State of Drupal keynote, the Belgian pioneer reveals current and upcoming developments for Drupal 8, occasionally expressing a level of dissatisfaction with the current state of the web. First, Macon Phillips, Director of Digital Strategy at the White House, made an exciting appearance in a pre-recorded clip. The clip served as a powerful commentary on the success of Drupal in government.

The web is truly at a pinnacle, with Dries giving mention to the 25,000 We the People petitions to the government for construction of a Death Star in early 2013. Unfortunately, the request was promptly declined, but the indications remain transcendental. It's difficult to deny that today digital lies at the core of our daily lives.

With "Digital at the heart of every business", Dries alluded to the lasting impact Drupal will have on this movement. By leveraging context, consumers and businesses are able to grab the right content, at the right place and the right time. Personalized experiences play into this strategy in a big way; Amazon and Netflix are good examples of companies that leverage personal experiences online in a compelling manner (through cross-selling, recommendations, etc).

Businesses actively seek tools to attract, analyze and convert visitors beyond a CMS. Integration is the key to this success. A number of companies were surveyed towards this goal. The results shed light on areas needing improvement, which Drupal 8 is aiming to address:

• 70% say providing an optimal experience across all screens and devices is a major challenge
• 11% believe they are currently "mobile-first organizations"
• 33% choose "responsive design" as a desired feature for their CMS
• 43% chose ease-of-use and content authoring capabilities as priority

Combining these elements into one best-of-breed platform is an increasing desire across industries. Known by a number of buzzwords, Dries discussed a 'Web Experience Management' (WEM) - the need to integrate a complete digital solution for the Internet. By utilizing Ecosystem Integrations across a marketing technology landscape, fine-tuning existing integrations and building for specific needs, this dream is indeed coming closer. Dries transitioned into how Drupal 8 is working towards satisfying this growing desire as well as the potential for phasing out proprietary solutions.

Key new features for Drupal 8 were revealed. For starters, installation has been completely rebranded, with more intuitive menus and cleaned up styles. Built-in modules, themes, among other additions, were made possible from nearly 1,200 individuals. A few of the highlights include:

Content Authoring: A new content creation page with two column layout will be prominently featured, along with WYSIWYG in core. Also included will be a drag & drop file upload feature for images and/or copy from Word (preserved markup). Optimized workflow is the name of the game; boasting true previews of all edits, plus in-place editing of nodes/blocks.

Multilingual: Translate Drupal in a single UI, Import Interface translations and automatic updates. Configure blocks by language and display blocks for one language, while hiding others.

Views: For months, the anticipation of Views in core has been the subject of Drupal 8 talks. Integrated and responsive, the front page will now be a view, with customized admin lists, and the ability to export as JSON or XML. Changes may be directly sent to a Drupal app, where users may manage listing of content and more. Once complete, content automatically updates on the live site.

Configuration management: Configuration is now in files, with the ability to seamlessly push changes from staging to production with a simple drag, drop, and sync.

Mobile: Customizable menus, all-responsive, move menus horizontal or vertical with one-click. Labels collapse to icons on mobile, making it a pleasure to edit on-the-go. Tables will also be responsive, with previews for viewing of device display from desktops.

With a looming Code Freeze set for July 1, Drupal 8 is indeed on the horizon. An Alpha release is coming over the next few days, with the final release of Drupal 8 tentatively set for later this year or early 2014. Drupal 8 will be a big step forward for Drupal and more broadly represent a disruptive force in the CMS industry. This open-source solution continues to excite and dazzle, bringing a powerful tool "to the masses" while embracing the future of the web.

For the complete recording of Dries' keynote, and live streams of upcoming keynotes, visit the Official DrupalCon Website.