DrupalCon Munich Update

About 1,800 people met in Munich for DrupalCon Munich, the largest European event so far. It was a huge success, by any standard. The venue and food were great, the turnout was amazing, the code sprint on Friday might have had the most people I have ever seen coding in one room.

Lullabot was there. We had a number of presentations.

In addition, the Drupalize.me team provided training to people who want to learn how to contribute to core, and we worked on various core initiatives. Shameless plug, I'm trying to get some momentum behind adding more of Date into core.

There were announcements of upcoming DrupalCons. The first DrupalCon in the southern hemisphere will take place in December in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in February will be DrupalCon Sydney, Australia, in May there is DrupalCon Portland, Oregon, and the next European DrupalCon will be in Prague, Czech Republic, next summer.

Another big announcement at DrupalCon Munich was that several European Drupal shops (NodeOne, Krimson, Mearra and Wunderkrau) have merged into a new company that will use the name 'Wunderkraut'. The new company has 140 Drupal professionals with offices in ten countries. See http://wunderkraut.net/en/blog/wunderkraut-merger for the announcement. Last DrupalCon, in Denver, we had another big merger (Phase II and Treehouse). A number of people at DrupalCon also remembered the Blue Marine Synergistics 'merger' announced on April 1 as an April Fool's joke as another big announcement in the last year. So there is lots of merger activity in Drupal, and most of it is actually genuine.

In his keynote Dries gave a video demonstration of some of the new functionality that is already, or will soon be, available in Drupal 8. The big topics he focused on were mobile, authoring, web services, layouts, multilingual, views, and configuration management. He showed a video of these new features (some finished, some not) which you can see in the video of the keynote at http://munich2012.drupal.org/speakers/keynote/dries-buytaert (the keynote itself starts about 20 minutes in).

Some of the Drupal 8 highlights included:

  • The core Bartik theme is now responsive and has been designed to work well on a small mobile screen.
  • There is work going on to create a new mobile administration theme that uses pull-out menus and a new icon toolbar that should look better on a mobile device.
  • The code will be HTML5-compliant out of the box.
  • The node administration page is being redesigned.
  • The Spark project is working on adding in features like inline editing.
  • Services functionality is being added to core to better integrate with third party services, and make it easier to do things like build mobile apps on top of Drupal and do Drupal-to-Drupal communication.
  • Tools are being added to create responsive layouts using the UI.
  • There are numerous improvements to the multilingual system.
  • There is an initiative to get Views into core.
  • There is better separation between configuration and data, and configuration is now saved in files so it can be more reliably deployed to other sites.

Dries reiterated that the feature freeze will be in December and he has no plans to push that back, so any new features for Drupal 8 must be finished soon. The code freeze will be in February, and the release of Drupal 8 is targeted for next August, about the time of the next European DrupalCon.

There was a common thread among the core conversations we heard from all the major D8 initiatives. All have made good progress toward their goals and most have at least some early patches in core now, but every initiative leader talked about how much more they have to do and that they really need help. Over and over they said they hope that shops and clients using Drupal will consider contributing resources to get these initiatives finished and polished. Especially since many of them are going to be huge improvements in deployment, user experience, translation, and mobile compatibility. You can see more about the status of the initiatives and how to help at http://drupal.org/community-initiatives/drupal-core.

All in all, it was a great DrupalCon. If you missed it, I hope you'll make the next one. In addition to being a good place to learn how to use Drupal, DrupalCon is a great opportunity to meet the people that make Drupal work and help shape its future direction.

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