From Journalist to Drupalist: José Sánchez de la Peña

As part of Acquia's Drupal Stories series, José Sánchez de la Peña shares his experiences as a journalist and web developer in Mexico.


Acquia looks forward to sharing a series of stories from a valuable audience: Drupalists. We are observing massive progress as more people harness the power of Drupal to create rich digital experiences, changing businesses, communities and lives. We could not be more proud of your work, and we thank you for continuing to share it with us.

Our most recent Drupal Story centers on José Sánchez de la Peña, who, in the fall of 2016, left a successful career as a journalist at a leading newspaper in Mexico to become a freelance web developer.

Born in Chicago, Sánchez de la Peña moved with his family to Mexico in 1968, where he continues to live today. After graduating with a degree in field biology, he became a journalist for Mexico’s main newspaper, reporting on the environment and technology, eventually becoming part of the local and financial news desks.

He describes his path to web development as threaded with family: “Well, my family owns a small non-profit mountain lodging facility, and I knew at the time we needed a web page. Since we couldn’t afford one — really, I asked for quotes and one was a year of my wages — I learned HTML. That first, tiny website ( quickly become several. Then I found CMSs, and with it my first paid website, to which I still give maintenance and enhancements,”

That was in 1999. In 2007, he discovered Drupal, opened an account, and began creating projects for friends and family. He describes himself as “essentially a non-coder, yet extremely inquisitive, though.”

Inquisitive and ingenuous, Sánchez de la Peña eventually created a news publishing web page for a group of publishing entrepreneurs from Mexico’s northeast region. He wrote, “This project,, was created to help editors with ease of story creation (solved it with paragraphs), hierarchization (taxonomy is my friend here); and list making (views, of course). I have two expertises: as a former journalist I know what an editor needs, and as a Drupalist, I know how to build it.”

When asked what he wished he had known when launching his website, he exclaimed, “Drush and Composer, hands down!” Today, Composer is the functionality that most helps him in his day-to-day work when updating his sites.

As to what excites him the most about the future of technology and the digital experience space, he said that while it is always hard to tell the future, he has his eyes set on customer experience. Sánchez de la Peña continued, “I see AI assistants helping out customers, especially in online stores with tens of thousands of products, and probably, this will eventually lead to some sort of hyperpersonalization.”

As a Chicagoan turned Mexican journalist and now Drupalist, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for this truly remarkable member of the Drupal community.


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