Over the past few months the open source content management system Drupal has celebrated two milestones. On January 15, Drupal turned 13 and many groups celebrated this event. Additionally, in early March the Drupal Association made an announcement that Drupal powers more than a million sites. So with these two milestones, I thought it was important to reflect on how far the project has come.
Drupal Then and Now
In January I created and presented the below Prezi at the Central NJ Drupal Meetup. This is meant to be a quick journey through the various versions of Drupal, as well as some of the significant community events to see how far the project has come.
This year, probably more than any in recent Drupal history, will be a huge transition for the project. Sometime this year Drupal 8 will be released on the world and the maturity of the project will be known far and wide. I for one can not wait for the release, although I’m sure we will have to wait sometime for contrib modules and themes to get caught up, we should now be able to build rather complex sites without adding other modules.
One Million Websites
While one million sounds like a large number, and it certainly is a milestone, one really shouldn’t get that excited for two simple reasons. First, that number is under reported, so the milestone is an artificial one based on Drupal’s update manager module being turned on. For all intents and purposes Drupal powers many more than one million sites. The number we should all be focused on is the percentage of the web using Drupal. Currently that number is about 2-3%. My hope is that with Drupal 8 we will see Drupal in the double digits before the release of Drupal 9.
Secondly, if we look at who that one million is, we see that it is largely a CMS that has not been adopted by the masses. While neither Drupal nor WordPress is a household name, WordPress has an advantage on Drupal in terms of ease of use and adoption. Now, Drupal 8 goes a long way to address these concerns, but if, and this is a very hypothetical if, Drupal wants to be part of the double digit web, then it will take the people who build these sites, the Drupal community, more than anything else to champion its use. Personally, I find that there is a stigma to Drupal in the professional web developer/designer circles I am in. It is often called complicated and hard to use, thus we must shift this narrative and public view to Drupal’s flexibility and especially with developers it’s shift from everything being “built here” prior to Drupal 8 to its new found inclusiveness of external tools.
While Drupal has come a long way in its 13 year history there is certainly much more to do. We must promote Drupal as a powerful tool built by an enthusiastic and open community in order to continue its growth. By doing this we can ensure that 13 years from now we will look back and see that Drupal contributed to making the world a better place through.