In the opening keynote for DrupalCon 2011, Drupal founder Dries Buytaert laid out what they’ve learned from Drupal 7, and his initial plans for Drupal 8.
Drupal 7 was a huge endeavor. The release took three years and had 1,000 contributors, with 30 people being responsible for 50% of the improvements. In discussions with the community, Buytaert feels that the things they did well were:
- Test-driven development
- Updating the development documentation as patches were accepted
- Having a usability team
- Taking development snapshots, especially at the code freeze stage
- Having an accessibility team
On the other hand, there were things they could do better. Buytaert identified the following areas where he’d like to improve during the cycle for Drupal 8:
- Many people wanted to work on a feature or a bug but weren’t sure if they’d be accepted
- Some felt the release cycle was too short, and some too long — the main complaint was that no one knew when it would be ready
- Lack of high-bandwidth communication
- Better and stronger priorities, rather than letting them get muddy at the end
- Too many critical bugs, there were 400-500 in the code freeze
- Performance seemed like an afterthought
The development branch for Drupal 8 opens today. People will work on their code in a Git sandbox, and it will have to pass through a number of gates before it’s accepted into the main tree. These gates will mostly involve the main priorities (which he’s dubbed initiatives) for the next version:
- No critical bugs
Rather than having a single co-maintainer, Buytaert will appoint an owner for each of the initiatives. This move, he hopes, will increase the project’s bandwidth and communication internally. Other focuses for Drupal 8 will include:
- Publishing to any device, which means being more flexible in the types of code Drupal 8 can output
- Pulling information from any source
- Social features and the individual experience
Initiatives he’s identified for multi-device publishing include web services, contexts, CSS3, HTML 5 and mark-up free core. For dealing with any information, they’ll focus on interoperability, such as clean APIs and standards-based connectors. And to provide a “delightful experience,” the push for usability will continue.
To help large-scale Drupal users, there are two more important features Drupal 8 needs to address:
- Configuration management
- Content staging
Finally, Buytaert discussed the need to have a strong ecosystem around Drupal, as that is how the top players in techology today are driving adoption. To that end, they’ll be focusing on further improvements to Drupal.org and initiatives such as the Git migration.
This isn’t a short or simple list. To get started, he says they’ll focus on web services, HTM L5, UUIDs and configuration management.
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