DrupalCon Prague Keynote with Dries Buytaert

DrupalCon Prague

I’m currently in Prague, Czech Republic attending the largest European Drupalcon ever, with over 1,700 attendees.

Drupalcon Prague 2013 is being held in the gorgeous Prague Convention Center.

It’s the first keynote and Dries welcomed us with a brief thought about how Drupal is changing the world through open source.

Video of the keynote

Dries starts talking at around 20 minutes:

{snippet drupalconpraguedries}

We are changing the world

Drupal 8 initiatives

Dries started with an overview of the 6 main initiatives for Drupal 8:

  • Configuration Management
  • Mobile
  • Blocks
  • Multilingual
  • Views
  • Web Services

(View the initiatives at Drupal.org)

Drupal 8: Over 200 new features

  • One vision: Search engines will become answer engines with the adoption of schema.org
  • The new theme system based on TWIG – no more php in the theme layer.
  • Semantic HTML5 fields (like telephone and date for mobile devices)
  • Redesigned the administration pages (far better content editing pages)

What’s in it for you?

Some personas:

  • Small Site owner – “Drupal 7 is really hard.” – all the basics are installed, there is context sensitive help, finding things is quick, editing is a lot easier with inline editing, site creation is easier and a lot more drag and drop.
  • Front-end Developer – “I want to use more modern techniques” – the markup is much much cleaner, adopted html5, standard interactions like modal and drop buttons, better libraries, natively responsive and themers don’t need to know php.
  • Marketing Managers – “We want multiple languages, multiple channels” – multilingual built in, REST support (for integrations), structured content that is SEO friendly (schema.org), effortless authoring and responsive preview. (this represents a shift in who makes decisions re: CMS – now the CMO)
  • Engineering Director – “struggle to find drupal experts, config is mixed with content in the database, scalability and security concerns” – Adopting other libraries that people are using, OOP, scalability, unit testability, configuration is now in files, more versatile framework with symphony

Drupal 8 will be a great shift for everyone. “We’ve really up’d our game – these features are on the money to keep Drupal competitive.”

BUT – there’s a lot of work left to be done.

What’s left to do

  • Make it faster
  • Fix the Developer Learning Curve
    • Simplify API’s
    • make code less verbose
    • write documentation
  • Fix then simplify the upgrade path


Right now the focus is on cleaning up the API’s and provide early API feedback

Early 2014 may be Release Candiate 1. Start upgrading contributed themes and modules and start testing the upgrade path.

Finally – in repeating his tweet from a few weeks ago – “We’ll release Drupal 8 when its ready”. “We’ll take the time to get it right.”


  • 1,600 people have contributed to Drupal 8 so far. (patches) – almost double the number from Drupal 7
  • more recurring contributors
  • more new contributors

Dries highlighted the work of about 10 of the major contributors to Drupal 8.


  1. Will it be easier to migrate from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8? Migration from 7 to 8 – is still going to be hard to do. Stick with the best practices and well know modules. “We’re committed to innovation, but we’re also committed to making the migration path as easy as possible”.
  2. What can we, the Drupal community, learn from the Backdrop fork? (for the background to this question: read Jen Lampton’s blog post). He hasn’t talked to the people behind it! (I may have mis-heard that – but unbelievable if true). All forks are collaborative in nature, and that’s fine – sometimes there are philosophical and sometimes its the best solution – I don’t like that – we should listen and talk and we should reach out and see if we can draw them back in. This is his first time he’s spoken out about it. He’s taking a sit back and wait – but he’s not afraid of the conversation. In the long run, it might even be better if there can’t be a reconciliation – (talking like its a divorce)… Dries talked about some of the commitments (Github and developer experience), but Drupal is committed to moving forward to keep up with innovation – this is all difficult but we’ll get through it. He really believes Drupal 8 is on the right path.
  3. Can we use Drupal 8 to enter new markets? Yes, D8 is more powerful than D7. We’ve evolved the platform to deliver content on different platforms.
  4. Drupal has been growing in Europe and North America – any lessons from where Drupal has grown for other parts in the world? – What’s most valuable is our community, not the technology. It boils down to great leadership at the local level. Drupal is trying to grow the local communities – even through the community leadership summit here in Prague.
  5. Any plans for a Drupal Academy? One way of measuring success of any project is to see young people join. Dries noted he would love to see more in this area.


  • Rod Martin

    Rod holds two masters degrees and has been training people how to do "things" for over 25 years. Originally from Australia, he grew up in Canada and now resides just outside Cincinnati, Ohio. He has worked in both the non-profit and for-profit worlds, in small companies and large corporations. His extensive open source experience includes WordPress, Joomla and Drupal and he really knows how to help you get the most out of the system you chose. Rod plays ice hockey a couple of times a week and rides his Goldwing motorcycle pretty much everywhere he can.

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10 years ago

multilingual and mobile: Joomla already has those done and dusted 🙂

10 years ago
Reply to  vdrover

That is one of the major downsides to a 3+ year release cycle.
Responsive design wasn’t even a thing when Drupal 7 came out.

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