Color photo of Dries Buytaert giving his Driesnote speech at DrupalCon Lille 2023

Driesnote Lille 2023: Recapping the Tale of Drupal

October 17, 2023 5 minute read
The much anticipated Driesnote of every DrupalCon recapped here for Lille 2023
Color photo of Dries Buytaert giving his Driesnote speech at DrupalCon Lille 2023

Once upon a time, in a large, near-capacity auditorium in the quaint Flemish city of Lille in northern France, a rapt audience heard the tale of Drupal and the Drupal Village, a happy place full of ambitious homes and the villagers who built them. As with every DrupalCon, Dries Buytaert, Creator and Project Lead of Drupal and Acquia’s Cofounder, Chief Technology Officer, and Chief Strategy Officer, took the stage to deliver the opening Driesnote — but this time around, he decided to read the opening chapters of this mystical story to tell of the quests Drupal went through and where it’s going. I’ll recap a bit of the story now.

Quest 1: The new neighbors

While the Drupal villagers were building their dream homes, they found the process a challenging feat. Upkeep was not much easier, either. So, as villager complaints grew louder and demands for an easier way to build and maintain their homes increased, Drupal began to feel “not enough” and began his quest on a search to determine if the new villages cropping up nearby were as promising as they appeared. On his first quest, Drupal encountered four neighboring towns:

  • The town of Reactopia, where its inhabitants, the Reactionaries, embraced everything that was in fashion. While their homes were impressive on the outside, inside, they were sparse and lacked modern conveniences, many of which were already solved for in Drupal Village.
  • The encampment of ConTentville, where the landlord, Lord Contentless, lured villagers in with the promise of simplicity, with easy-to-use tools and starter kits for easy construction. However, when Lord Contentless raised rent, the inhabitants couldn’t leave. 
  • The town of Squarix, where the homes came fully furnished and all had a square appearance, as though they followed the same pattern, went to the same design store, and selected the same finishes. Despite the sameness, this town’s magical maintenance fairies made upkeep seamless.
  • The gated community Edoby Heights, where the grand homes offered luxuries but cost a small fortune. Not to mention, it took forever to build these homes, and many weren’t even complete.

Taking lessons from what Drupal learned on his quest through these other villages (in case the thinly veiled disguises were too opaque, we’re really talking about React, Contentful, Squarespace/Wix, and Adobe), Dries recounted Drupal’s mission to make the builder experience better by:

  • Making it easier to get started with Project Browser, which is targeted for release with Drupal 10.3 in summer 2024
  • Creating easy-to-use tools, including making content modeling (Field UI) easier to use via modals
  • Making Drupal’s administrative navigation easier to use with a new toolbar, which is targeted for inclusion in Drupal 10.3
  • Responding to the census of villagers that revealed their building needs by launching a new strategic initiative to launch the next-generation page builder
  • Reducing manual upkeep and maintenance with its own magical maintenance fairies, which includes the already completed new release and innovation model and automatic code fixes, as well as the upcoming Automatic Updates, again targeted for Drupal 10.3.

Quest 2: The dark clouds of the closed web

Drupal felt the presence of shadowy figures on the outskirts of the Drupal villages: the proponents of the closed web. While initially feeling helpless, Drupal reminded himself of his role as a champion of the open web and recommitted himself to defending it. In The Open Web Manifesto, Drupal declared its unwavering commitment to an open and accessible web for all. However, the dark clouds lingered over the Drupal Village, obscuring it from sight, meaning few people knew of it and even fewer people were moving in.

But legend tells of sorcerers who could lift the dark clouds. In a live Q&A with these sorcerers from the Drupal Marketing Committee (Lynne Capozzi, former CMO of Acquia; Suzanne Dergacheva, Cofounder, Strategist, and Drupal Practice Lead at Evolving Web; and Nikhil Deshpande, Chief Digital Officer for the State of Georgia), Dries explained the plan to shine a brighter light on Drupal and how to make it visible to the entire world, especially now that more people need the full DXP capabilities of Drupal.

Color photo of Drupal Marketing Committee panelists at DrupalCon Lille 2023
From left to right, panelists Lynne Capozzi, Suzanne Dergacheva, and Nikhil Deshpande at DrupalCon Lille

Drupal agencies are already doing a lot of this work on their own already, but a concerted effort will be much more powerful than everyone doing it on their own, and the increased marketing investment in Drupal will shine a bright light on all of the Drupal villagers’ work and amplify its impact on the world.

Quest 3 and beyond

Dries wrapped up by teasing chapter three at a future DrupalCon and reminded us that we’re all writing it together, starting today. We have this opportunity over the course of the remaining days at DrupalCon Lille, he said, to shape the bright, promising future of Drupal Village. For site builders, it means attending sessions and contribution events; for marketers, it means submitting case studies, contributing marketing materials, or participating in usability testing. 

As long as Drupal focuses on its three promises of builder experience improvements, becoming open web champions, and investing in marketing, the story will continue. Will it be a happily ever after? 

Stay tuned for more updates on DrupalCon throughout the week and follow along on social media.