Dries Buytaert’s Keynote from DrupalCon Denver

img 3581

This week Drupal fans gathered in Colorado for DrupalCon Denver.

Dries Buytaert gave the keynote address. He talked about the mobile web and the plans for Drupal 8.

There were just over 3000 people at DrupalCon this year and most of them were in the huge auditorium at the Colorado Convention Center.

img 3581

Keypoints of the Keynote

  • Drupal will be adopting Symfony for large parts of its framework.
  • Drupal needs to improve its content creation experience.
  • Mobile, mobile, mobile, mobile, mobile, mobile, mobile!

Video of the Keynote


Yesterday’s innovators no longer lead today. Drupal needs to keep taking risks, innovating and moving forward.

  • Drupal 6 is on the down curve.
  • Drupal 7 grew twice as fast as D6 in terms of adoption. Drupal 7 is approaching maturity and finally has passed D6 in terms of the number of installs.
  • Drupal 8 is in the development phase.

Companies fail because they stop innovating. Kodak is a great example. They invented digital photography but weren’t bold enough to disrupt their own existing business.

Drupal needs to keep embracing big jumps forward.

img 0013

A SWOT Analysis of Drupal

Dries jumps into a SWOT analysis of Drupal today:

SWOT Analysis: Strengths

  • Strong community and ecosystem.
  • New York Stock Exchange: “We had our first site out and in production in 30 days”.

SWOT Analysis: Weaknesses

  • Shortage of talent.
  • Mobile still an after-thought.
  • Not easy enough for authors and editors yet. CMSs are chosen by users rather than IT staff now. People’s expectations of usability have changed.
  • Aging web development framework.

SWOT Analysis: Opportunities

We are now in the 5th major tech cycle of the last 50 years: mobile. There are 1.5 million Drupal sites and from this point forward there are three big opportunities for growth

  • Drupal runs on 6.7% of CMS sites and one opportunity is to take over that CMS market.
  • Only 30% of websites use a CMS so that’s another opportunity.
  • Mobile growth might be 25x over the next 5 years. We only have one shot to get it right: Drupal 8.

SWOT Analysis: Threats

  • Being unable to innovate as well as others.

Looking Forward

Time to kick ass with D8. Focus will be on three audiences: developers, site visitors, authors.

1) Developers

They spent months thinking on how to update the framework. Their conclusion was to leverage Symfony much more than expected: “we found out we wanted to use more of it than we expected”. It’s a huge decision. It’s similar to the decision to use JQuery for the backend. He hopes that sing more Symfony will help attract more devs.

2) Site Visitors

Needs to be great mobile experience. In 2010, only 3% mobile. The prediction is that the vast majority of traffic will be mobile by 2015. That traffic will consist of two types: apps and browsers. We need to address both.

  • Apps: RESTful web services, SDKs. Drupal should consider maintaining SDKs.
  • Mobile: HTML5 and responsive. HTML5 will be default output in D8.

Need to embrace a mobile culture. Need to do it before everyone else.

3) Authors

Drupal wins on technical strength but loses on authoring which he defines as layout, media, content staging, workflow, in-line-editing, layouts, localization, mobile authoring.

To address this:

  • Drupal 8 will have more in-line editing, better media, better page and layout building.
  • Drupal will embrace distributions. Still needs to figure out the revenue model. Support for distrubutiions was added to Drupal.org and they’re now featured on the drupal.org homepage.

img 3577

What’s the Plan?

Two big questions:

  • What is good UX?
  • What belongs in the core? (this aroused a bit of reaction on Twitter. Wasn’t the core meant to get smaller?)

Here’s the schedule for Drupal 8:

  • December 1st 2012: feature freeze. 8 months away.
  • February 1st 2013: code freeze.
  • August 2013: release.

Time is short for authoring improvements. Here’s the schedule for UI improvements:

  • April to May 2012: Analysis.
  • June to August 2012: Design.
  • September to December 2012: Implementation.

Drupal initiatives are going well on the design but not on the implementation yet. Here’s a detailed overview of the iniatives. Needs help. Here’s where they are today:


Click here to read our live blog of Dries’ keynote at DrupalCon London last year.


  • Steve Burge

    Steve is the founder of OSTraining. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. Steve's work straddles the line between teaching and web development.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kevin Morse
Kevin Morse
12 years ago

Audio is VERY quiet.

8 years ago

August 2013? So close! . . . #nostalgiaFTW

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x