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Thoughts on the DrupalCon Portland Keynote

Today was the official start of my first DrupalCon. As a newbie, it was a fun experience to see 3,300 Drupalists all in one room, anxious to hear from Dries, the original developer of Drupal.

DrupalCon Portland Crowd

Here are some of my thoughts from today’s keynote:

Do Well. Do Good. Change the World.

Dries kicked off the keynote with a video from the head of Drupal for whitehouse.gov. After the video, Dries spend some time talking about their citizen engagement application called “We the People”. “We the People” is an application that allows citizens to directly petition the government, one of the constitutional rights of US citizens. This Drupal site has been used to create tens of thousands of petitions, and when they receive enough interest, the US government offers an official response.

Dries shared a story of one petition for the government to create a “Death Star”. This petition received enough votes to require a formal response, and thankfully, it was decided that building a Death Star was simply too expensive and risky. Lest we forget that a single X-Wing fighter can take down a Death Star.

Dries put it best: “Drupal Saved the Universe”.

Drupal is Where Digital Experiences Begin

Digital is transforming every business and government. Dries reviewed two examples of digital disruption: Amazon and Netflix. Both companies completely disrupted their industries by being better at digital than their legacy peers - in particular, personalization. Or as Dries called it in the keynote, “contextualization”.

Dries walked through a simple example of contexualization by looking at how two airlines presented experiences to users who came to their site via a search query for “Flights to London”. Iceland Air provided a fully contextualized experience. The imagery was relevant to London. The booking engine was pre-filled with both origination and destination. Contrast this with a competitor’s site that was in no way relevant to the customers stated intent of flying to London. Noting was presented in context.

The opportunity for Drupal is to become more context-aware, and able to deliver the right content to the right user at the right time in the right channel. This requires Drupal to become better integrated with all of the other technologies that help deliver a context-aware experience e.g. CRM, email marketing, marketing automation, web analytics, etc.

Drupal 8 is Going to be Great

The most exciting part of the presentation for most of the audience was an update on the state of Drupal 8. Drupal 8 has been in development for quite some time, and it’s nearing the finish line. Here were some of the highlights covered by Dries:

  • In-line editing of blocks and views in Drupal is going to make content editing radically simpler. And fun. Huge leap forward for Drupal. Massive applausive from the audience.
  • Best mobile support. Drupal 8 brings new features for responsive web design and mobile authoring.
  • Drupal content is now available in a natively RESTful way. Great for developers

I thought Dries did a great job with the presentation. He clearly puts a lot of work into these keynotes, and the audience seemed excited about his vision for the future of Drupal.

What did you think of the keynote? Let me know in the comments.

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