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Yesterday, I shared my State of Drupal presentation at DrupalCon Vienna. In addition to sharing my slides, I wanted to provide some more detail on how Drupal is evolving, who Drupal is for, and what I believe we should focus on.

Drupal is growing and changing

I started my keynote by explaining that Drupal is growing. Over the past year, we've witnessed a rise in community engagement, which has strengthened Drupal 8 adoption.

This is supported by the 2017 Drupal Business Survey; after surveying 239 executives from Drupal agencies, we can see that Drupal 8 has become the defacto release for them and that most of the Drupal businesses report to be growing.

While the transition from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 is not complete, Drupal 8's innovation continues to accelerate. We've seen the contributed modules ecosystem mature; in the past year, the number of stable modules has more than doubled. Additionally, there are over 4,000 modules in development.

In addition to growth, both the vendor and technology landscapes around Drupal are changing. In my keynote, I noted three primary shifts in the vendor landscape. Single blogs, portfolio sites and brochure sites, which represent the low end of the market, are best served by SaaS tools. On the other side of the spectrum, a majority of enterprise vendors are moving beyond content management into larger marketing suites. Finally, the headless CMS market segment is growing rapidly, with some vendors growing at a rate of 500% year over year.

There are also significant changes in the technology landscape surrounding Drupal, as a rising number of Drupal agencies have also started using modern JavaScript technologies. For example, more than 50% of Drupal agencies are also using Node.js to support the needs of their customers.

While evolving vendor and technology landscapes present many opportunities for Drupal, it can also introduce uncertainty. After listening to many people in the Drupal community, it's clear that all these market and technology trends, combined with the long development and adoption cycle of Drupal 8, has left some wondering what this all means for Drupal, and by extension also for them.

Drupal is no longer for simple sites

Over the past year, I've explained why I believe Drupal is for ambitious digital experiences, in both my DrupalCon Baltimore keynote and on my blog. However, I think it would be valuable to provide more detail on what I mean by "ambitious digital experiences". It's important that we all understand who Drupal is for, because it drives our strategy, which in turn allows us to focus our efforts.

Today, I believe that Drupal is no longer for simple sites. Instead, Drupal's sweetspot is sites or digital experiences that require a certain level of customization or flexibility — something I refer to as "richness".

Ambitious is much more than just enterprise

This distinction is important because I often find that the term "ambitious" becomes conflated with "enterprise". While I agree that Drupal is a great fit for the enterprise, I personally never loved that categorization. It's not just large organizations that use Drupal. Individuals, small startups, universities, museums and nonprofits can be equally ambitious in what they'd like to accomplish and Drupal can be an incredible solution for them.

An example of this could be a small business that manages 50 rental properties. While they don't have a lot of traffic (reach), they require integrations with an e-commerce system, a booking system, and a customer support tool to support their business. Their allotted budget is $50,000 or less. This company would not be considered an enterprise business; however, Drupal would be a great fit for this use case. In many ways, the "non-enterprise ambitious digital experiences" represent the majority of the Drupal ecosystem. As I made clear in my presentation, we don't want to leave those behind.

Addressing the needs of smaller organizations

The Drupal ecosystem majority are organizations with sites that require medium-to-high richness, which SaaS builders cannot support. However, they also don't need to scale at the level of enterprise companies. As the Drupal community continues to consider how we can best support this majority, a lot of smaller Drupal agencies and end-users have pointed out that they would benefit from the following two things:

  1. Powerful site building tools. They want easy-to-use site building tools that are simple to learn, and don't require dozens of contributed modules to be installed and configured. They would also prefer to avoid writing a lot of custom code because their clients have smaller budgets. Great examples of tools that would improve site building are Drupal's upcoming layout builder, workspaces and media library. To make some of Drupal's own administrative UIs more powerful and easier to use, I proposed that we add a modern JavaScript to core.
  2. Easier updates and maintenance. While each Drupal 8 site benefits from continuous innovation, it also needs to be updated more often. The new Drupal 8 release cycle has monthly patch releases and 6-month minor releases. In addition, organizations have to juggle ad-hoc updates from contributed modules. In addition, site updates has often become more complex because our dependency on third-party libraries and because not everyone can use Composer. Many smaller users and agencies would benefit tremendously from auto-updates because maintaining and updating their Drupal 8 sites can be too manual, too complex and too expensive.

The good news is that we have made progress in both improving site builder tools and simplifying updates and maintenance. Keep an eye on future blog posts about these topics. In the meantime, you can watch a recording of my keynote (starting at 22:10), or you can download a copy of my slides (56 MB).

PlanetDrupal.org a starter kit for newcomers christophe Wed, 27/09/2017 - 00:42 Today, building a website in Drupal 8 is faster than ever, even for a beginner. Or let’s rephrase this: it can be fast when you have the right information at your fingertips. The seed of this idea was sown during the session of Dave Hall given in the DrupalCamp Antwerp on September 2017. Just have a look at what follows, it describes the adoption process of Drupal compared to other solutions like Contentful.

If you've been hearing a lot about decoupled, or headless Drupal, but have been wondering when and how to start figuring it out, we have good news: the time is now, and the how is watching this DrupalCon presentation by Preston So.

Tags: acquia drupal planet
September 2017

... that counts. Results matter. What results are important for you? What are you trying to accomplish with your website?

What matters for one organization may be irrelevant to another. What is the overarching biggest need you are trying to solve with your website? Here are a few we've seen:

  • Sell more products
  • Establish credibility, be a trusted authority
  • Inspire interest in working for the company, recruiting
  • Persuade people to donate to a cause
  • Get people to sign up for a membership
  • Connect with other people in a neighborhood
  • Increase registrations for a class, program, session
  • Streamline online payments, make it easy for existing customers to self-register and pay
  • Reduce support costs, provide online chat and ticketing
  • Drive more traffic to support advertising
  • Provide a communications channel to a particular group
  • Unify information coming from a bunch of different sources into a single dashboard

You might have two or three goals for a website, but the more you try to do with it, the harder it is to make it fully effective.

We have so many tools at our disposal to measure things today. But there's a trap -- sometimes we all get focused on measuring things that don't matter at all, simply because they are easy to measure. Does the number of Twitter followers you have matter, if nearly all of them are bots who are never going to come to your site? Does the amount of traffic you get matter if nobody ever buys from you? Does the number of contact form submissions matter if it's all spam? Perhaps... but probably not.

There are definitely a few key metrics that are broadly useful, at least to see overall trends. Pretty much every site cares about unique visitors, number of page views, and bounce rate. Beyond that, though, there is a huge amount of variation around what metrics you should care about, and that depends far more on what challenges your business or organization currently has. Are you looking for new customers? Are you trying to increase engagement with your current customers? Are you trying to reduce costs? Are you trying to create something new? Are you trying to increase satisfaction? There's going to be some way to measure your effectiveness -- and what you pay attention to is generally where you'll get results.

Introducing the Freelock Vision Plan

We're applying this same concept to our own business, with this key question: How do we help our clients drive better results through their websites? And our answer is to develop automated tools that cover the basic needs across all sites, look at a single topic each month across our entire portfolio, and leave a little time to  focus on what makes your site unique.

We start with a site assessment, asking about your goals for the site and your organizational challenges, and then go through your site and rate it across some key areas: Effectiveness, Security, Performance, Scalability, Maintainability, Accessibility, Ease of Change, and Expected Lifespan. As part of this assessment, we uncover parts of your site that might cause problems when doing any work on the site, as well as providing independent feedback about what might be improved to make the site better accomplish its goals.

Once we have your site fully set up with analytics and an understanding of your key metrics, our vision plan delivers 3 things each month:

  1. Month-over-month changes on your key metrics, with some analysis to identify what looks to be working, and what's not so much.
  2. Topic of the month, and how your site stacks up. Example topics include: mobile performance, website accessibility, data security, SEO/SEM best practices.
  3. Recommendations. Each month we look for 2 or 3 improvements to make on your site, which we feel will help the site accomplish its goals, lower potential risks, or reduce costs.

Paying attention to your site can make a huge difference in how well it works for you. And we would love to partner with you to help drive results! We're currently pricing this at $799/month.

Introductory Special - $2400 value!

To kick off our new offering, we are offering 3 months of our Vision plan free, for the first 5 customers who sign up with a Site Assessment before October 15, 2017! Contact us if you would like to be one of them!

We have a confession to make. Frankly, we’re becoming kind of shopaholics ;) After the release of Drupal Commerce 2.0, our passion for discussing and building cool Drupal 8 online stores keeps growing. But, considering the awesome modules for e-commerce in Drupal 8, it makes perfect sense!

Read more
Decoupled Drupal at DrupalCamp Bristol 2017Adam Browne Tue, 26/09/2017 - 13:11 In July this year, Louis and I were invited to give a presentation at DrupalCamp Bristol on Decoupled (or Headless) Drupal. We talked about a few case studies, what the goals were, how we achieved those and what we had to take into consideration in doing so.
Pictures worth a 1000 words, also at #DrupalConEUR

This is my wrap up of, Monday September 25,  the day before #DrupalConEUR started. DrupalCon officially starts tomorrow, and even without sessions, the Amazee Team’s day was really busy!

Mostfa Ben Ellefi Tue, 09/26/2017 - 12:01

We started out by setting up our lounge, which doubles as a RECHARGE STATION. This means you can recharge your feet by sitting down, stow your stuff (lock it away safely), and have a chocolate on us. In addition, you can recharge your gear, as we also provide plug-in power points.

Once the lounge was set up and almost everyone arrived in Vienna, we enjoyed meeting friends and sharing looooong hugs. This was unique for me, as I haven’t ever actually seen most of the Amazee Team in person.

In the evening we were treated to the Amazee “Best of Vienna” Tour, which had us split up into three groups with three official guides, who told us the best and most thrilling stories of this amazing city, Vienna. I will let the following pictures tell you the rest of the story...

 

The first Amazee day in the “city of art” was amazing! With a lot of history and hugs.

With all the eyes turned towards DrupalCon Vienna, we have one promise to fulfil. Our client adviser Ales Kohek is currently in the capital city of Austria, but we still need to share with you his experiences from his first ever Drupal Camp, DrupalCamp Antwerp. Ales, what are the first impressions, coming from DrupalCamp Antwerp? Positive, very positive. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect, but after a couple of days hanging around with people from Drupal community, I felt welcomed. Some of the things were quite new to me, so I needed some assistance at further explaining me that. I… READ MORE

We released Drupal Commerce 2.0-beta1 at DrupalCon Dublin one year ago. Over the next 9 months we tagged 6 more beta releases comprising over 500 commits by 70 different contributors working for at least 10 different companies. Now, just in time for DrupalCon Vienna, we have tagged the full 2.0 release, celebrating the achievement with Drupal contributors around the world on September 20th and 21st.


Celebrating Commerce 2.0 with Circle WF in Pancevo, Serbia.

Our release candidate phase was refreshingly uneventful (as you want it to be), giving us confidence to recommend developers begin using Drupal 8 and Commerce 2.x more broadly to develop their new eCommerce sites. Our team has contributed to a dozen projects directly, including architectural consulting and development. We also continue to see more case studies demonstrating how the new version is performing well at scale, making development teams more productive.

Additionally, not only has Commerce 2.x eliminated the need for half of the top 60 contributed modules in Commerce 1.x, many of the major contributed modules still required have seen their own releases or very active development to address important use cases. For example, we released a third beta of Commerce Shipping for Drupal 8 to support stores selling physical products with multiple shipments, flat rate, calculated rates and more. We continue to work on those feature modules ourselves (e.g. Commerce License / Recurring) and in partnership with other Drupal contributors (e.g. Commerce Stock) to make Commerce 2.x ready for more and more use cases.


Drupal Commerce deserves cake!

We're believe in Dries Buytaert's vision for Drupal as empowering ambitious digital experiences. For us that means continuing to improve Drupal Commerce to better support any company aspiring to grow their online sales. While our work on the project will never be "done", at this milestone, we couldn't help but pause to celebrate with a bit of cake.

If you'd like to join us in celebrating this achievement, we're hosting a release party with our whole team and our friends from Commerce Guys by Actualys on Tuesday, September 26th, at DrupalCon Vienna a short walk away from the venue. We've timed it for dinner between the opening reception at the venue and the party later in the evening, with drinks and food on us until the tab dries up. Stop by our booth to get your ticket / directions, and come find the dozens of contributors here at DrupalCon to share your Drupal Commerce story with them in turn.

New features of Simple XML sitemap Version 2.10 of Simple XML sitemap is mainly a feature release with only a few minor bugs fixed. The new features are the implementation of the changefreq parameter the ability to set an interval at which to regenerate the sitemap the ability to customize XML output the ability to add arbitrary links to the sitemap image indexation See the 8.x-2.10 release page for details.

Although the most likely cause of the massive Equifax data breach was the firm’s own failure to patch a two-month-old bug, the inherent security of open source software has become a trending topic in tech news.

Mediacurrent’s resident expert, Open Source Security Lead Mark Shropshire, is well-informed to join the conversation. We asked him a few questions to get his take on recent events.
 

These results and analysis were initially presented at the DrupalCon Vienna community summit on September 25, 2017.

Following numerous blog posts, official statements, community discussions, social media interactions, and Slack and IRC conversations over the last few months, there is a clear consensus that it is time for Drupal's community governance to evolve. We need to not only define what governance means to us as a community, but also clarify the roles and responsibilities of those within our community leadership and governance structures. We also need to draw clearer distinctions between the different forms of community, project, and technical governance, and make sure that everyone understands how they interact with and support each other.

Ultimately, this will need to be a collaborative process that involves all stakeholders, including Dries and the Drupal Association (especially where matters of legal and financial responsibility are concerned), but the first step is to create a framework so that the community can participate productively in the process. The question that remains to be answered is what that process will look like.

Results of the Governance Summit Survey

The Drupal Association, with help from Whitney Hess, conducted a Community Governance Summit survey in an effort to gain insight into how the community would like to proceed. 568 people responded to the survey, with most questions receiving between 200-250 responses. The Community Working Group (CWG) was given access to the raw results, which it in turn shared with David Hernandez, Nikki Stevens, and Adam Bergstein, who assisted with the writing of this blog post. We all agreed to keep any personally identifiable information from respondents confidential.

While none of the authors of this blog post were responsible for developing the survey or are trained statisticians, we did our best to analyze the results, which reflected a wide range of opinions and feelings about how the Drupal project and community is governed. While we did not feel the survey results pointed to any clear and actionable next steps, they were consistent with the feedback from the community discussions that were held this spring, which was that the process, in whatever form it takes, needs to be driven by the community.

To that end, we have worked with the Drupal Association to publish the survey data and, most importantly, make this call to action for a truly community-driven process. We are also making a sanitized version of the raw data available for download in OpenDocument format for anyone else to review and perform their own analysis. All comments and other free responses have been removed.

Selected Survey Highlights
  • 62% agreed that a governance summit is needed. Only 8% said definitely “no.”

  • 63% want the summit to be held online, so that members from all regions of our global community could participate.

  • 59% believe the summit should be overseen or facilitated by a professional governance expert, with the majority of write-ins requesting a neutral third-party facilitator not affiliated with the Drupal project or community.

  • Nearly 80% wanted the Drupal Association to provide financial support for the summit, with 36% indicating they would contribute to a crowdfunding campaign to help fund the summit.

  • About ¾ said that clarification of leadership roles and separation of project versus community governance roles should be prioritized at the summit. All of the options listed received the support of more than half of those who provided a response to this question:

    1. Clarification of leadership roles in the Drupal project (76%)

    2. Separation of project vs. community governance roles (73%)

    3. Update codes of conduct (63%)

    4. Overall community management (63%)

    5. More community-elected leadership positions throughout Drupal (60%)

    6. Clarify and update Community Working Group processes and policies (56%)

    7. Create core values statement (53%)

Percentages listed are of those who provided a response to that question, not of the total number of people who responded to the survey.

What’s Next: Getting Involved

Now is the time for people to get involved and drive the next steps in the process. We feel that as an open-source project, the governance of our community should be designed and implemented by members of that community in the most transparent and fair manner possible.

To that end, we feel that the best path forward is to create a volunteer working group that is representative of our global community, and for that group to take the lead in the process of evolving Drupal community governance, rather than any existing group or individual. While the Drupal Association, Community Working Group, and others in the project’s current governance structure are committed to providing whatever support they can to ensure the success of this working group, we feel that the community itself needs to own the process as much as possible.

We, the authors of this blog post, are not the leaders of the process, but as members of the community with interest and experience in various aspects of community governance, we are willing and able to help provide a framework for the group to self-organize and begin work to help improve the governance of our community. We stand ready to participate and help as needed, understanding that while this work will not be quick or easy, it is important and necessary for the long term sustainability of our project and community.

The next step for this is for you to get involved. Here's how to get started:

  • Join the #governance channel on Drupal Slack.

  • Attend a governance meeting in the #governance channel. Once a schedule has been determined we will publicize that information and pin it to the Slack channel. Each of the authors of this post will host at least one meeting and the entire meeting transcript will be made available after the meeting.

    • The goals of these meetings are to connect people who are interested in governance with each other, provide a forum for people to share their thoughts, and empower the community to determine the next steps.

    • We are committed to this being a community-driven process and will be present to facilitate, but not to dictate.

    • If there is interest, we can also host meetings in other forums. (IRC, video chat, etc.)

Other ways to get involved:

  • Write a blog post and share your ideas.

  • We know that people don’t always feel safe sharing their comments and feedback and we don’t yet have a long-term solution for this. In the interim, feel free to directly contact any of the writers of this post, or any member of the Community Working Group to share your thoughts.

We are at a unique inflection point in the history of the Drupal community. We have the opportunity to (once again) provide a shining example to other open source communities demonstrating our forward thinking; not only in technical decisions, but also community ones. Please join us.

Authors (listed alphabetically by Drupal.org username)

File attachments:  GovernanceSummitSanitized.ods

If you’ve been following the Acro Media blog, you probably know that the digital agency (and Acquia partner), based in Kelowna, BC, Canada, has a special interest in Drupal Commerce.

So with the recent launch of Drupal Commerce 2.0, it made sense to check in with them.

Tags: acquia drupal planet
Slovenian Drupal community celebrated the release of Commerce 2.0 slashrsm Mon, 25.09.2017 - 15:59

As you may already know the Commerce Guys team released the first stable Drupal 8 version of the truly flexible eCommerce suite last week. In order to celebrate this important event many parties were held all around the globe. Slovenian Drupal community definitely didn't want to miss that.

We gathered at the sprintaj.si headquarters in Izola, Slovenija. Sprintaj.si is not a classical "Drupal" business; they are a digital print shop. They are also a happy Drupal Commerce user and this was their way to show appreciation and give back to the community. Sprintaj.si was also one of the most interesting eCommerce projects I've been involved with. They support many different printed matters and their prices are always calculated on the fly based on the customer's needs. Their killer feature are custom formats and If you ever worked on an eCommerce project you can imagine that this results in some pretty hefty pricing rules.

At the party we had two sessions:

After the more educational part the more fun side of the event continued. Our hosts prepared a bunch of super tasty burgers and sponsored a small barrel of beer. OMG, we could easily repeat that!

Photos by: Aleš Rebec and Ben Rajnović

We would like to congratulate the Commerce team for this important milestone. You rock!

The story of how we recovered from a mysterious performance meltdown related to file organization.

25 Sep 2017 Core roadmap overview @ Drupalcon Vienna Business Summit

From organic to deliberate

At the Drupalcon Vienna Business Summit on monday I presented a quick overview of how the roadmap for Drupal core comes together. A short bit of context and then on to how the new 6-month release cycle creates room to evolve the core product faster.

Drupal 8.4 is done and just about to be released. Here’s the roadmap for Drupal 8.5 core the product management team put together. In short:

  1. Migrate
  2. Media
  3. API-First
  4. Layouts
  5. Workflow
  6. Outside-In
  7. Out-of-the-Box

Of course no talk is complete without a section about how you, yes you can help make it all happen:

  1. Help inform the roadmap priorities: share survey data, usability testing results, client feedback
  2. Help validate the roadmap: are we working on the right things? Does it help fill actual gaps?
  3. Help build, because process does not replace people: sponsor development by providing time, money, space for getting things done.
Drupal-core-roadmap-20170925.pdf Tags drupalplanet
Essential Things To Know About Varbase Dmitrii Susloparov Mon, 09/25/2017 - 15:20 Introduction

Varbase is a custom Drupal 8 base distribution developed by Vardot, a leading Drupal solution provider headquartered in Amman, Jordan with regional offices in Santa Clara, USA, and Cairo, Egypt. It is a software product embodying years of experience from building Drupal-based websites for high profile customers such as Al Jazeera, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

 

Why Varbase?

Drupal is an industry-leading website building platform, renowned for its rich feature set and the ability for users to customize and extend core functionalities to satisfy their unique requirements. Its flexibility is due to its modular design, that is, Drupal functionalities are implemented in a large number of relatively small core and contributed modules, rather than in a single enormous blob object. One key element for a successful Drupal project is to start it off in the right way: namely, select and configure the best modules to do what you want, or as close to what you want in order to minimize the customization work. This can be a daunting task to most Drupal newcomers. For developers who have done this before, the task can quickly become a repetitive chore, as the same procedure is required at the beginning of each project.

 

Varbase offers Drupal site builders the important benefit of time saving. As a Drupal base distribution, Varbase makes available, in a single download, Drupal core modules as well as best-of-breed contributed modules, themes, and pre-defined configurations. Instead of starting from scratch, Varbase site builders leverage pre-installed and pre-configured industry-proven tools and modules. In addition to using the best modules that others had written, Vardot also contributed its own optimized modules to the distribution, for instance, Varbase SEO and Varbase Media. From now on you can start building and customizing your website right away, instead of wasting valuable resources in 'reinventing the wheel'.

 

The new distribution was the direct result after many hours of interaction between Vardot developers and web editors, specifically to find out how to make the editor's job easier and more efficient. Varbase users benefit from that editorial experience as the knowledge was subsequently codified into the design of Varbase modules.

 

Committing to a base distribution and a website building platform is a long-term investment by user organizations. To protect their investment, users look for a base distribution that is being actively developed and supported long-term by a quality organization. Varbase as a product is fully backed by Vardot, an award-winning enterprise web solution provider. Since 2011, Vardot has been applying its Drupal expertise to build enterprise websites spanning many industries, including corporate, non-profit, news/media, and higher education vertical industries. You can view the past history and the future roadmap of Varbase on-line. In addition to this, we've created a Slack channel where you can quickly get any information regarding the distribution or get our support in a timely manner.

 

 

Features Mobile ready

If a mobile visitor browses your website, only to find web pages served up using an oversized desktop resolution, it is very likely that the visitor (and potential customer) will bounce off and never return. Varbase prevents this event from happening by prepackaging custom responsive themes built using the industry-standard Bootstrap framework. The use of the carefully selected responsive themes guarantee that visitors will experience your website in a screen resolution that best fits the actual devices. The distribution also provides site editors with the ability to preview web pages on their mobile phones. As a result, editors can examine a page using the same screen resolution before releasing it to the target mobile user base.

High scalability

As your website gains readership over time, user experience of the site must not degrade because of the additional load on your Drupal platform. Specifically, the page load time must remain fast during peak hours in web traffic and also when your website experiences temporary spikes in traffic. Varbase is designed to be highly scalable in order to deliver the performance required to withstand a steady climb as well as a spike in web traffic.

Easy media management

 

The distribution offers optimized HTML5-compliant media management via the Varbase Media module. Support is built-in to upload, via drag-and-drop, photos, images, videos, and even documents to an on-line media library. Uploaded images and videos in the library can be assembled into sliders or carousels and displayed on your website. Varbase Media is designed to enhance both the aesthetic and the SEO performance of your media resources.

SEO ready

With a built-in SEO modules, search engine optimization is no longer hit-and-miss. Varbase provides a powerful SEO engine to grade the SEO readiness of your website, and to recommend on-page areas for improvement based on its vast SEO knowledge. Varbase enables the specification of metatags and markups to describe your web contents. Furthermore, to further increase the visibility of your web pages, Varbase supports the generation of XML sitemaps. If you are migrating your website to Drupal 8, Varbase can import all web pages from your legacy website, and set up page redirects from the old URLs to the new ones on the Drupal 8 platform.

Social media savvy

If visitors like your web content, you want to gently encourage them to share it with their social media contacts, essentially creating a viral effect. Varbase makes the integration of social media within your website as easy as just choosing the target social networks, which automatically enables the corresponding social media plugins. In addition, Varbase enables you to syndicate selected web contents to various social media networks, thereby maximizing their exposure and reach.

 

 

Summary & Conclusion

 

Varbase embodies the principle and practice of Don't Repeat Yourself (or DRY). It is a shortcut to developing your Drupal 8 website using out-of-the-box, best-of-breed modules, themes, and tools. Varbase is made available to the general Drupal community as a free and open-sourced software. Varbase users can download and modify the base software without incurring any licensing cost. For organizations that require professional services, note that Vardot offers full-cycle Drupal services ranging from implementation, customization, support, training, to hosted management. Please don’t hesitate to contact Vardot if you have any questions regarding our work!

Annertechies coming to DrupalCon Vienna DrupalCon Vienna is starting this week and, as usual, most of the Annertechies will be there in force. This year we are once again delighted to be presenting five sessions at DrupalCon. Here's a quick roundup of our talks and why you won't want to miss them.

The Drupal Business Survey 2017 shows that Drupal has a steady position in the market, and Drupal 8 has secured its role as the most popular version for new Drupal projects. Further, Drupal is often becoming part of a larger set of solutions.

The Drupal Business Survey is an annual survey that aims to give insights into the key issues that Drupal agency owners and company leaders worldwide face. The survey is an initiative of Exove, One Shoe and the Drupal Association and has been carried out this year for the second time. It covers topics about Drupal business in general, Drupal projects and talent needs. This article summarizes the most important findings along with commentary and insights from a total of 239 respondents.

Drupal is growing steadily

The Drupal Business Survey gleaned its data for 2017 from 239 respondents in CEO/COO/CTO/founder role (87%), director role (4.6%) or management role (4.6%), working at Drupal companies with a total of 300 offices spread around the globe. The most popular office location (30.1%) was USA. The second most popular with 12.1% was UK, and after that Germany, Netherlands, India, Canada and France. There were respondents from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Oceania.

Analysis of the data made immediately clear that Drupal is a healthy business:

Drupal project pipeline grows

For almost half of the respondents (48.5%) the Drupal project pipeline grew within the last year. For 28.9% it stayed roughly the same, and for 22.6% the pipeline shrank.

Size of Drupal projects grows

For a majority (52.3%) of the respondents the average size of Drupal project deals grew. For about one third (31.4%) the Drupal deal size stayed roughly the same, and for only 16.3% the size of deals shrank.

Drupal’s project win rate stays roughly the same

Despite the increasing competition in the CMS market, for many (46.4%) of the companies their Drupal project win rate has stayed on the same level over the last year, and about a third (34.7%) have managed to grow their win rate. For less than a fifth of the companies (18.8%) the win rate had decreased.

Drupal’s position as a high-demand service platform is steady, especially for projects in the Charities and Non-Profit sector, which is catered to by two thirds (64.9%) of the respondents. Other popular industries that use Drupal are Government & Public Administration (56.1%) and Healthcare & Medicine (49.4%). There are no major differences in industries served by Drupal companies compared to the 2016 survey results.  

Choosing Drupal

When choosing the right platform, Drupal clients trust the technical provider’s expertise: Drupal is often chosen by the clients as a result of the provider’s recommendation. In some cases the client’s previous experience or familiarity with Drupal is the definitive factor.

Besides Drupal being open-source and free of licensing fees, the definitive reasons for choosing Drupal are that Drupal is a reliable and flexible CMS choice with a strong reputation:

Without -most often than not- being able to precisely explain the reasons for which they prefer Drupal, those who do, sense that it is a better solution for their business; we shall imagine that this is due to the image of the CMS, which evokes a more robust, and serious CMS than the others.

Can do anything. Secure.

Choosing the company

When Drupal itself is less the dominating factor for the client, other unique aspects are often key factor for clients choosing a supplier, agency, or partner. The respondents mentioned that trust, commitment, quality, level of service, full service proposition, technical expertise, good reputation, and references were important factors for client decision making.

Drupal 8 has a strong place in the market

Drupal 8, the newest version of the CMS, seems to have taken a strong place in the market. The respondents’ new Drupal projects were most commonly (38.1%) built on Drupal 8. One fourth of the respondents stated that they build mostly with both Drupal 8 and some with Drupal 7. For 18% of the respondents most new project were built with Drupal 7 and some with Drupal 8. A few (6.7%) of the respondents said their new projects are equally often built with Drupal 7 and Drupal 8. 12.1% still built all of their new projects with Drupal 7.

Drupal companies broaden their services, skill-sets, techniques and expertise

Remarkably, despite the popularity of Drupal, the survey shows that a lot of Drupal companies have changed their business model over the last year to widen their services and respond to the demand.  

The most common way of changing the business model was by expanding services beyond building Drupal websites (35,1%). The data shows that companies start to offer more services, expand their technology stack and work with multiple CMS platforms.

The main reasons behind the changes were changing market conditions (40,0%) or to willingness to grow the pipeline better or faster (49,4%). A respondent explains: “Drupal is too restricted to cover all the market's needs; furthermore, adding other services allows us to expand our clientele and thus revenues.”

More services

In addition to pure web development – coding the sites – most of the companies provide services such as support, system integration, user experience design, visual design, hosting, and mobile development.

Changing the technology stack

The companies also found adding other technologies as a useful way of expanding the technology stack.

More than half of the respondents’ companies used also Node.js, while Angular (43.5%), Symfony (42.3%) and React.js (33.9%) were also commonly used technologies within the respondents. Some used also Laravel (17.2%), Vue.js (9.6%) and Django (5.9%).

Expanding their services by adding other services and CMS platforms to their toolkit

Almost half of the companies (45.2%) have added other CMS platforms to expand their services and getting variety to projects. WordPress is the most usual (54.67%) addition to the toolkit, serving particularly smaller projects, with Magento eCommerce platform and Grav CMS following. For most respondents (69.6%), the reason for using more than one CMS tool is being able to use the tool best suited for the project. For almost the half (40.2%) the reason arose from the client's’ wishes on the tool.

“WordPress is more popular, and customers want it because of the user experience.”

“There's still a battle out there between Drupal and WordPress. Clients are not enough informed about the differences, so their opinion is often based on information and visions by previous suppliers”

“We’re adding Adobe and wordpress. Looking into JS frameworks.”  

Drupal in a landscape of solutions

Drupal is widely considered as one of the most popular options in the CMS landscape. However, while digital solutions have become more complex, Drupal increasingly often serves as a part of a larger set of solutions. The survey data shows that Drupal companies do this in the belief that the company sells solutions rather than technology.  

There’s a broad range of options available for companies to build platforms. Every Drupal organization seeks different combinations of software products and programming languages that they seem most important for their projects. There are endless options that excel in their own right.

Our clients rarely come asking for Drupal (10% of the time ). But our technical prowess is a big part of their choice. That skill just happens to be in Drupal due to our own choice of platforms.

[Our Drupal expertise is the most definitive factor] when clients approach us for Drupal projects, if Drupal is not the main reason to approach us (the most common case) then Drupal expertise is irrelevant.

When it is a Drupal project the expertise is important but we no longer sell Drupal as a major part of projects. We just use it. We now sell the solution.

I sell solutions to digital problems, not solutions to Drupal problems.

The study made it clear that there are often other definitive factors than Drupal expertise affecting the client’s decision of choosing agencies. The clients reportedly value vendor’s portfolio and references of previous projects, reputation, communication, and services that differentiate the agency from its peers.

The Drupal talent factor

According to the survey, Drupal talent is hard to find and takes a lot of work. Only fraction (10.9%) of the companies say that they find Drupal talent easily. Compared to last year, the demand for Drupal talent at responding companies seems to be split between decreasing (23.4%) and increasing (25.5%) demand, with demand staying about the same at 36.8%.

With Drupal 8 gaining more and more popularity, most respondents say that Drupal 8 skills are somewhat in demand (38.1%) or high demand (33.5%). 15.9% say that Drupal 8 skills are not in demand.

Most respondents ranked the number of skilled Drupal 8 developers as average (40.2%). The responses indicate that more Drupal talent is needed, especially skilled Drupal 8 developers, due to the fact that Drupal 8 is more complex than its predecessors:

2016/17 and D8 has been a big shakeout for talent in Drupal. A lot of people who could operate in commercial Drupal delivery in 2012-2015 (with demand outstripping supply markedly) simply will not be viable candidates for Drupal work in 2018. There is no 'easy" work left and many people who came in during the good times will not be able to sustain careers in the new world.

The evolution of the CMS marketplace to favor more comprehensive and thus also more complex solutions is favoring bigger companies with stronger competences through number of experts in specific fields. This can be a struggle for small vendors, as mastering clients’ needs requires more expertise than is available on their staff:

Demand, as a whole, for Drupal seems to be significantly dropping as the increased complexity of each major release of Drupal cuts off greater and greater numbers of the ‘do-it-themselves’ business owning client/builder types. These types are prime candidates for initially using Drupal and then later turning their Drupal site over to a professional company.

Conclusion

Based on the study results, it is safe to say that Drupal has a steady position in the market, and Drupal 8 has secured its role as the most popular version for new Drupal projects.

The content management market is shifting towards more comprehensive and also complex solutions. Drupal agencies are well positioned to respond to this trend due to modern Drupal 8 architecture and also by combining Drupal into larger solutions. This drives Drupal business into larger deals and allows more long-term partnerships with the clients, thus giving financial stability to the companies and also to the community.

On the other end of the market, Drupal also faces competition from low-end solutions such as Wordpress. Some of the agencies now offering other content management solutions, Wordpress included.

The market might be challenging for smaller companies with only one CMS in their toolkit. Companies that can react to changing market conditions and provide a variety of solutions are going to succeed. Additiionally, companies that are able to distinguish themselves from other vendors through a good set of services, specialisation, or excellent customer service will flourish. This is all part of a natural evolution of any digital platform marketplace and it should be seen as a good juncture to raise the Drupal agencies to the next level.

Talent finding challenges indicate that there will be a need for multi-skilled developers with very good technical expertise.

Want to go in-depth?

More detailed results of the survey will be published at the DrupalCon Vienna CEO Dinner on Wednesday, September 27th. The presentation will become available for download afterwards.

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For more information, please contact Janne Kalliola (janne@exove.fi) or Michel van Velde (michel.vanvelde@oneshoe.com)

About Exove

Exove delivers digital growth. We help our clients to grow their digital business by designing and building solutions with agile manner, service design methodologies, and open technologies. Our clients include Sanoma, Fiskars, Neste, Informa, Trimble, and Finnlines. We serve also start-up companies, unions and public sector. Exove has offices in Helsinki, Oulu and Tampere, Finland; Tallinn, Estonia; and London, United Kingdom. For more information, please visit www.exove.com.

About One Shoe

One Shoe is an integrated advertising and digital agency with more than 10 years experience in Drupal. With more than 40 specialists, One Shoe combines strategy, UX, design, advertising, web and mobile development to deliver unique results for international clients like DHL, Shell, Sanofi, LeasePlan, MedaPharma and many more. For more information, please visit www.oneshoe.com.

About the Drupal Association

The Drupal Association is a non-profit organization headquartered in Portland, OR, USA. It helps the Drupal project and community thrive with funding, infrastructure, and events. Its vision is to help create spaces where anyone, anywhere, can use Drupal to build ambitious digital experiences. For more information, please visit drupal.org/association.

Appnovator Spotlight: Tim Kirby Who are you? What's your story? I'm Tim Kirby, I come from a creative arts background, and started in multimedia and web site builds in 1996. I worked full time in Macromedia's Director for a couple of years, before moving to hardware and software design a few years later - building interactive digital signage systems that would respond to the touch...

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