DrupalCon London Keynote by Dries

I’m sitting in the main concert hall at Fairfield Halls in Croydon, UK waiting for the beginning of the 1st keynote. The hall is getting full and there’s obviously a ton of geek energy in the air….
Dries is on the stage now …
1750 attendees – totally sold out. (largest European Drupal ever)

The State of Drupal

  • Media and entertainment: Pretty much all the major advertising companies in NY are using Drupal … Sony, Universal, NBC, Turner are all standardizing on Drupal as a platform.
  • Education: 39% of .edu domains run Drupal.
  • Finance: Euronext and NY Stock Exchange. are using Drupal.
  • Government: data.gov.uk, london.gov.uk
  • Tech: Twitter developer website

Time to 100,000 sites:

  • 12 months for Drupal 6
  • 6 months for Drupal 7

3 Important Modules for 7:

  • Workbench: workflow
  • Media: media galleries
  • Commerce:ecommerce

The State of Drupal Survey – 2011

  • 281 Beginner – Drupal is a hobby
  • 2,113 Proficient – Drupal provides a portion of their income
  • 413 Experts – Drupal is their living
  • 44% Western Europe
  • 41% US

(Drupal is probably growing faster in Europe than North America)

Drupal in one word: Flexible, Awesome, Powerful, Complex, Community.

Biggest Opportunities

Replace legacy platforms, Mobile, IT Cost Reduction.

A lot of organizations are realizing that they can standardize on one platform – Drupal. Imagine simplifying your internal teams around one platform instead of 10 …

Drupal is uniquely positioned to fill this – it has reach, flexibility and scalability to become the platform for almost all websites.

Who does Drupal compete with?

  • WordPress (1220 responses)
  • Joomla (496 responses)
  • Sharepoint (75 responses)
  • Typo3 (70 responses)
  • Very few mentioned legacy systems

The issue is not to compete with WordPress – the issue is to complete the vision…

Biggest Challenges

  • Usability and ease of use: 10%
  • Configuration management: 9%
  • Determining which modules to use: 8%


Complexity goes up as power is increased… the iPhone breaks that paradigm … amazing tech + easy to use = market leadership. That’s what Drupal needs to find. We need to embrace the tension of usability and functionality.

How do we increase adoption? Survey respondents were overwhelmingly developers:

  • Marketing 15%
  • Training – 27%
  • Better product – 58%

Interesting – Drupal 7 hasn’t changed the minds of many about how easy Drupal is to use. Definitely a marketing issue – Dries shoed the WP showcase site vs. drupal showcase site.

Bottom Line: expect a ton of Drupal marketing in 2011/2012.

Drupal needs: technically strong, easy to use, well marketed = Apple.

The State of Drupal 8

  • Initiatives: Web Services, HTML5, Design, Config Management, Internationalization
  • Each patch now needs to pass 5 gates – performance, accessibility, usability, documentation, testing
  • Focus for Drupal 8 – less than 15 critical bugs at any given time to keep the process going
  • In the 6 months since DrupalCon Chicago – a lot of progress has been made – but not enough
  • Usability is the #1 challenge.
  • Embracing HTML5 and CSS3 is the #1 requests from developers
  • User Requests: better media, mobile, editing (wysiwyg editors)

Here is the state of the Drupal 8 initiatives:

  1. HTML5/CSS3 – on track.
  2. Media/asset handling – not started. The aim is to manage files through browser and provide better audio/video support. Every WordPress and Joomla user would be shocked that’s not already in place in Drupal.
  3. Usability/ease of use – started – but focus needed
  4. Mobile Support – partially covered by #1 and the design initiative.
  5. WYSIWYG – not started. Aim is to make it native, preconfigured
  6. Better APIs – not started. Partially covered by web services.
  7. Configuration Management – on track
  8. Content import/export – partially covered by web services
  9. Content Staging – partially covered by config.

Bottom Line: if those 9 things can be accomplished, Drupal 8 will be pretty awesome.

Questions and Answer Session for Dries

Who is using Drupal 7?

  • Examiner.com
  • U.S. House of Representatives

Keynote Recap

And that was it. Dries received a huge round of applause as you would expect. The keynote was pretty much what I anticipated after attending DrupalCon Chicago. He spent more time on the path for Drupal as a movement than the actual CMS – but very informative. The survey results seem to indicate that Drupal is still mostly Geek territory… (duh!). The marketers and salespeople that use/know Drupal are almost non-existent.

I heard a fair bit of chatter after the keynote that was negative toward the marketing issues that Dries suggested. I agree with Dries – he said during the keynote that Drupal developers need to “get over themselves” to some degree … this is a huge business that needs to start acting more like one in my opinion.

I would expect some significant movement in the Drupal world to take over Joomla as the #2 CMS within a year or two… will be an interesting time


  • 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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