The open source Drupal content management has a plan to expand its technology footprint even further than it has already. Drupal today is used by organizations big and small and counts the White House website among its over 1 million sites.
At the Drupalcon conference this week, Drupal founder Dries Buytaert outlined the road ahead and what the open source project needs to do to move forward.
“Drupal is built on passion,” Buytaert said.
It’s a passion that is helping to fuel a process of continuous innovation that is the key to the long term success of Drupal. Buytaert noted that the way that Drupal innovates is by making each version of Drupal better than the previous version and adding more cool features.
Buytaert stressed that it is community that leads to innovation. The community of users and developers also provides lots flexibility as people are taking Drupal and extending it to build any type of website.
“We’re going from a world where people used to develop websites by writing code to a world where people can actually assemble a web site,” Buytaert said. “It’s the vision of the assembled web and it’s a direct result of having a vibrant and active community.”
Though Drupal has enjoyed success, it’s not without flaws. Buytaert admitted that Drupal currently only has what he referred to as a rudimentary authoring experience. Moving forward, he stressed that Drupal needs to put more emphasis on the authoring experience.
Another weakness is the fact that there is only a relatively small talent pool of Drupal developers.
“Demand for Drupal experts is bigger than the supply and it’s holding us back,” Buytaert said.
The plan to fix the talent pool issue is now in motion, as Drupal will be embracing the Symfony PHP framework for the Drupal 8 release. Symfony is a popular framework that Buytaert hopes will make it easier for developers to develop for and with Drupal.
Drupal is also going to open up to embrace the world of mobile app world too.
“The web is changing from web to web plus apps and as Drupal we have to embrace that change,” Buytaert said.
To that end, Drupal will add RESTful web services to their next generation Drupal 8 release as a way to extend content. Going a step further, Buytaert announced that HTML5 will be the default output for Drupal 8, making it more flexible for both desktop and mobile use.
Drupal 8 is currently in development with a feature freeze set for December of this year and code freeze by February of 2013. The final release of Drupal 8 is expected to be available in August of 2013.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.