Stepping back into the Drupal world this year at the DrupalCon Pittsburgh in person was an incredible experience. More than 1500 came together to innovate, collaborate, and celebrate. It was wonderful to immerse ourselves in the vibrant Drupal community, and we are eager to share our firsthand account of the conference.
The unwavering spirit of the community is what sets Drupal apart. We witnessed the power of a thriving environment where passion, knowledge, and ideas fuel Drupal’s growth and reinforce its prowess as an open-source management platform.
We attended a few enlightening BOFs, presentations, and initiatives that left us inspired and confident about the future of Drupal. The Drupal Association has published all sessions on its YouTube channel so that no vital information is missed.
Here are some important highlights from DrupalCon Pittsburgh, and our take on them.
DriesNote: The state of Drupal!
DriesNote highlighted innovation and progress with the motto - Innovate or be left behind! He emphasized the importance of prioritizing and supporting product innovation. He spoke about innovation S-curves, where initially it is a slow progress followed by rapid innovations and stagnation, and then a leap to the next curve.
He explained how Drupal has been jumping S-curves over the years by having a strong vision and purpose, a supportive environment, and the time for ideas to flourish.
He encouraged the Drupal community to embrace transformative changes and create an environment to support and nurture organic experiments. Calling it "Letting 1000 Flowers Bloom", he stressed the need to foster grassroots ideas and ongoing innovation.
Following this, Dries introduced the Drupal Pitch-Burgh innovation contest, which invited the community to pitch innovative ideas and funding requests. Out of the 7 finalists, 5 won the contest, and more than $100,000 (a combination of initial funding and spontaneous crowdfunding) was raised to fund remarkable proposals.
Keynotes, sessions, and lightning talks
Building a community of practice for digital standards compliance
Joyce Peralta spoke about how McGill University revised its digital standards in 2019 by compiling its web policies and best practices in an organized and concise document that now serves as the governance framework for the university. She spoke on how building a community of practice for digital standards compliance can govern and guide web practices and cross-departmental collaborations in the higher education landscape.
1000 battles, 1000 victories
Kevin Paxman's lightning talk on how the University of Waterloo moved 1000+ sites out of Drupal 7 to the current Drupal version was inspiring. He discussed the challenges of moving to the cloud and finding replacements for contrib modules that work differently or are not updated in modern Drupal. He explained how modern Drupal is more flexible and empowers users to create content without compromising visual standards or accessibility.
Leveraging AI in Drupal 10 with OpenAI and ChatGPT
Kevin Quillen spoke on the hot topic of this year – OpenAI and ChatGPT! He explained how integrating OpenAI in Drupal can revolutionize content creation and user experiences. A demo played at the session showed how ChatGPT can help compose an idea for a page of content in CKEditor5 quickly with simple steps and prompts. The module is available and usable in Drupal 10. OpenAI and Drupal result in powerful tools that accelerate content creation and management.
Highlights of DrupalCon Pittsburgh
Drupal 7 EOL
Drupal 7 official end-of-life is scheduled on Jan 5, 2025. There will be no further extensions and no vendor support after EOL. The Drupal Association is also working to certify migration partners (partners and contributors) to help D7 users migrate.
Though a minor release, Drupal 10.1.0, scheduled to release on June 21, 2023, comes filled with new features and innovations.
The "Organize Locally, Contribute Globally" summit showcased various efforts to encourage contribution, such as creating an Events Platform for organizers to build websites and the Contribution Credit System to recognize the work of organizers, sponsors, speakers, and volunteers.
We look forward to nurturing the local Drupal community in our next Drupal Camp this year in Pune, India. Submissions for session proposals are open until 25 June 2023.
Project Browser Initiatives
Project Browser is on the Beta 4 version, and the initiative is working towards getting an MVP. The team is working on UI for Drupal 11, which would be a significant change for user experiences. While Chris Wells and Leslie Glynn have implemented a basic UX for the PB initiative, our QED42 team members are working on a UX audit for the same.
Drupal: Building tomorrow, today!
DrupalCon Pittsburgh was an exciting event where the community came together to create something unique. The atmosphere was filled with innovation, synergy, and inspiration.
We are proud to be a part of Drupal’s success. Seeing how it has grown and its impact on the digital world is truly inspiring, and this event reminded us why Drupal is a driving force in the industry.
The community's energy reignited our sense of Drupal’s purpose - “Nobody can stop anyone from using Drupal (Non- Exclusive), and one person using Drupal won’t prevent someone else from using Drupal (Non-Rivalrous).”
We all shared a vision of embracing change, pushing boundaries, and shaping the digital landscape for the better. The conference left us feeling motivated and ready to take on any challenges.
The connections we made, the knowledge we gained, and the inspiration we received will guide us toward a brighter digital future. Together, we have the power to make a lasting impact, and we at QED42 are thrilled to continue on this wonderful journey.