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    Hook 42: GovCon 2018 Takeways

    17 hours 35 minutes ago

    We recently returned from Drupal GovCon and have some standout items we want to share. Overall, the experience was a lot of fun. It was exciting to get to watch Adam give the keynote on how to make an impact in the community. At Hook 42 we love giving back to the community, and it was a great reminder of how everyone who wants to give back, can contribute.

    Drupal blog: State of Drupal presentation (September 2018)

    21 hours 6 minutes ago

    This blog has been re-posted and edited with permission from Dries Buytaert's blog. Please leave your comments on the original post.

    Last week, nearly 1,000 Drupalists gathered in Darmstadt, Germany for Drupal Europe. In good tradition, I presented my State of Drupal keynote. You can watch a recording of my keynote (starting at 4:38) or download a copy of my slides (37 MB).

    Drupal 8 continues to mature

    I started my keynote by highlighting this month's Drupal 8.6.0 release. Drupal 8.6 marks the sixth consecutive Drupal 8 release that has been delivered on time. Compared to one year ago, we have 46 percent more stable Drupal 8 modules. We also have 10 percent more contributors are working on Drupal 8 Core in comparison to last year. All of these milestones indicate that the Drupal 8 is healthy and growing.

    Next, I gave an update on our strategic initiatives:

    Make Drupal better for content creators

    © Paul Johnson

    The expectations of content creators are changing. For Drupal to be successful, we have to continue to deliver on their needs by providing more powerful content management tools, in addition to delivering simplicity though drag-and-drop functionality, WYSIWYG, and more.

    With the release of Drupal 8.6, we have added new functionality for content creators by making improvements to the Media, Workflow, Layout and Out-of-the-Box initiatives. I showed a demo video to demonstrate how all of these new features not only make content authoring easier, but more powerful:

    We also need to improve the content authoring experience through a modern administration user interface. We have been working on a new administration UI using React. I showed a video of our latest prototype:

    Extended security coverage for Drupal 8 minor releases

    I announced an update to Drupal 8's security policy. To date, site owners had one month after a new minor Drupal 8 release to upgrade their sites before losing their security updates. Going forward, Drupal 8 site owners have 6 months to upgrade between minor releases. This extra time should give site owners flexibility to plan, prepare and test minor security updates. For more information, check out my recent blog post.

    Make Drupal better for evaluators

    One of the most significant updates since DrupalCon Nashville is Drupal's improved evaluator experience. The time required to get a Drupal site up and running has decreased from more than 15 minutes to less than two minutes and from 20 clicks to 3. This is a big accomplishment. You can read more about it in my recent blog post.

    Promote Drupal

    After launching Promote Drupal at DrupalCon Nashville, we hit the ground running with this initiative and successfully published a community press release for the release of Drupal 8.6, which was also translated into multiple languages. Much more is underway, including building a brand book, marketing collaboration space on Drupal.org, and a Drupal pitch deck.

    The Drupal 9 roadmap and a plan to end-of-life Drupal 7 and Drupal 8

    To keep Drupal modern, maintainable, and performant, we need to stay on secure, supported versions of Drupal 8's third-party dependencies. This means we need to end-of-life Drupal 8 with Symfony 3's end-of-life. As a result, I announced that:

    1. Drupal 8 will be end-of-life by November 2021.
    2. Drupal 9 will be released in 2020, and it will be an easy upgrade.

    Historically, our policy has been to only support two major versions of Drupal; Drupal 7 would ordinarily reach end of life when Drupal 9 is released. Because a large number of sites might still be using Drupal 7 by 2020, we have decided to extend support of Drupal 7 until November 2021.

    For those interested, I published a blog post that further explains this.

    Adopt GitLab on Drupal.org

    Finally, the Drupal Association is working to integrate GitLab with Drupal.org. GitLab will provide support for "merge requests", which means contributing to Drupal will feel more familiar to the broader audience of open source contributors who learned their skills in the post-patch era. Some of GitLab's tools, such as inline editing and web-based code review, will also lower the barrier to contribution, and should help us grow both the number of contributions and contributors on Drupal.org.

    To see an exciting preview of Drupal.org's gitlab integration, watch the video below:

    Thank you

    Our community has a lot to be proud of, and this progress is the result of thousands of people collaborating and working together. It's pretty amazing! The power of our community isn't just visible in minor releases or a number of stable modules. It was also felt at this very conference, as many volunteers gave their weekends and evenings to help organize Drupal Europe in the absence of a DrupalCon Europe organized by the Drupal Association. From code to community, the Drupal project is making an incredible impact. I look forward to celebrating our community's work and friendships at future Drupal conferences.

    OSTraining: We Have Answers to Questions About Drupal 7, 8, and 9

    22 hours 4 minutes ago

    Let me give credit where credit is due. The Drupal community have transformed the way it works in 2018.

    In years gone by, Drupal was not a very well-organized project. Everything was done in a stereotypically "open source" way with loose roadmaps and vague planning. The apex of this was the development of Drupal 8 which dragged on for over 5 years.

    About 18 months ago, I wrote a post "When is Drupal 7 End-of-Life?" Unfortunately, no-one knew the answer. The deeper I looked, the more messy and confusing Drupal's plans became. The release cycles for Drupal 7, 8 and 9 were all vague and undefined.

    Dries Buytaert: State of Drupal presentation (September 2018)

    1 day 8 hours ago

    Last week, nearly 1,000 Drupalists gathered in Darmstadt, Germany for Drupal Europe. In good tradition, I presented my State of Drupal keynote. You can watch a recording of my keynote (starting at 4:38) or download a copy of my slides (37 MB).



    Drupal 8 continues to mature

    I started my keynote by highlighting this month's Drupal 8.6.0 release. Drupal 8.6 marks the sixth consecutive Drupal 8 release that has been delivered on time. Compared to one year ago, we have 46 percent more stable Drupal 8 modules. We also have 10 percent more contributors are working on Drupal 8 Core in comparison to last year. All of these milestones indicate that the Drupal 8 is healthy and growing.

    Next, I gave an update on our strategic initiatives:

    Make Drupal better for content creators © Paul Johnson

    The expectations of content creators are changing. For Drupal to be successful, we have to continue to deliver on their needs by providing more powerful content management tools, in addition to delivering simplicity though drag-and-drop functionality, WYSIWYG, and more.

    With the release of Drupal 8.6, we have added new functionality for content creators by making improvements to the Media, Workflow, Layout and Out-of-the-Box initiatives. I showed a demo video to demonstrate how all of these new features not only make content authoring easier, but more powerful:



    We also need to improve the content authoring experience through a modern administration user interface. We have been working on a new administration UI using React. I showed a video of our latest prototype:





    Extended security coverage for Drupal 8 minor releases

    I announced an update to Drupal 8's security policy. To date, site owners had one month after a new minor Drupal 8 release to upgrade their sites before losing their security updates. Going forward, Drupal 8 site owners have 6 months to upgrade between minor releases. This extra time should give site owners flexibility to plan, prepare and test minor security updates. For more information, check out my recent blog post.

    Make Drupal better for evaluators

    One of the most significant updates since DrupalCon Nashville is Drupal's improved evaluator experience. The time required to get a Drupal site up and running has decreased from more than 15 minutes to less than two minutes and from 20 clicks to 3. This is a big accomplishment. You can read more about it in my recent blog post.



    Promote Drupal

    After launching Promote Drupal at DrupalCon Nashville, we hit the ground running with this initiative and successfully published a community press release for the release of Drupal 8.6, which was also translated into multiple languages. Much more is underway, including building a brand book, marketing collaboration space on Drupal.org, and a Drupal pitch deck.

    The Drupal 9 roadmap and a plan to end-of-life Drupal 7 and Drupal 8

    To keep Drupal modern, maintainable, and performant, we need to stay on secure, supported versions of Drupal 8's third-party dependencies. This means we need to end-of-life Drupal 8 with Symfony 3's end-of-life. As a result, I announced that:

    1. Drupal 8 will be end-of-life by November 2021.
    2. Drupal 9 will be released in 2020, and it will be an easy upgrade.

    Historically, our policy has been to only support two major versions of Drupal; Drupal 7 would ordinarily reach end of life when Drupal 9 is released. Because a large number of sites might still be using Drupal 7 by 2020, we have decided to extend support of Drupal 7 until November 2021.

    For those interested, I published a blog post that further explains this.

    Adopt GitLab on Drupal.org

    Finally, the Drupal Association is working to integrate GitLab with Drupal.org. GitLab will provide support for "merge requests", which means contributing to Drupal will feel more familiar to the broader audience of open source contributors who learned their skills in the post-patch era. Some of GitLab's tools, such as inline editing and web-based code review, will also lower the barrier to contribution, and should help us grow both the number of contributions and contributors on Drupal.org.

    To see an exciting preview of Drupal.org's gitlab integration, watch the video below:

    Thank you

    Our community has a lot to be proud of, and this progress is the result of thousands of people collaborating and working together. It's pretty amazing! The power of our community isn't just visible in minor releases or a number of stable modules. It was also felt at this very conference, as many volunteers gave their weekends and evenings to help organize Drupal Europe in the absence of a DrupalCon Europe organized by the Drupal Association. From code to community, the Drupal project is making an incredible impact. I look forward to continuing to celebrate our European community's work and friendships at future Drupal conferences.

    Amazee Labs: This was Drupal Europe 2018

    1 day 9 hours ago
    This was Drupal Europe 2018

    So here we are, post-Drupal Europe 2018. Talks have been given, BOFs attended, way too much coffee and cake have been consumed, and now I’m tasked with summarizing the whole thing.

    Blaize Kaye Mon, 09/17/2018 - 09:13

    The problem faced by anyone attempting to wrap up the whole of an event as momentous as Drupal Europe is that you have two options. On the one hand, you can give a fairly anemic bullet-point summary of what happened and when. The advantage of approaching a summary like this is that everyone who was at Drupal Europe 2018 can look at the list and agree that, “yes, this is indeed what happened”.
    Fair enough. Maybe that would be a better blog?

    But that’s not quite what I’m going to be doing since (as you’ll find in the links below) my colleagues have done a stellar job of actually covering each day of Drupal Europe in their own blogs. What I’m going to do, rather, is tell you about my Drupal Europe. And my Drupal Europe was far less about talks and BOFs (and coffee and cake) than it was about the people in the Amazee Group and the Drupal community in general.

    Reasons to get off the Island

    For background, I live in a smallish town (we have a mall and everything) down here on the South of the North Island in New Zealand. Getting myself to Darmstadt involved nearly 30 hours in those metal torture tubes we commonly call “airplanes”. Under most circumstances I’d avoid this kind of travel, but Drupal Europe was an exception because it presented me with the one opportunity I had this year to spend time with and around my teammates in Amazee Labs Global Maintenance specifically, and the rest of the Amazees at the conference in general.

    I came to Drupal Europe in order to have the kind of high-bandwidth conversations that (very) remote work almost never allows. It allowed me to meet some of my colleagues in person for the first time, in some cases people who I’ve been speaking and interacting with online for more than a year. Outside of the hours of strategic meetings we all had, it was a joy spending time sharing screens IRL and looking at code, eating kebab (so much kebab), and (wherever we could) doing a bit of real work in-between.

    And while my reason to get off my island was really my colleagues at Amazee -- being present, alongside, and with them -- the importance of the wider Drupal community is not lost on me and attending Drupal Europe highlighted to me, once again, just how special that community is.

    We’re hiring, by the way.

    In her deeply moving talk about her journey from being a freelancer to being the Head of Operations for ALGM, Inky mentioned the principle of Ubuntu. This ethical and metaphysical principle is often rendered in English as “I am because we are”. In one interpretation, at least, it suggests that our existence as individuals is inextricably intertwined with the existence of others. I think that something like Ubuntu is true of both Amazee and the wider Drupal community.

    What makes Amazee special is the remarkable individuals that comprise it, indeed, I doubt I would’ve been as enthusiastic as I was to travel so far if they weren’t remarkable individuals. But I have to wonder whether those individuals would shine quite as brightly in any other company? Amazee gives us the space to be the best we can be and whatever shine we have as individuals makes Amazee glow that much brighter.
    Zooming out a little, Amazee, as an organization, would not exist as it does without the wider Drupal community. And the Drupal community would be poorer, at least in my opinion, without the work that Amazee does.

    It’s circles within circles within circles, each strengthening the other.

    Showing your work.

    This was a theme in the Amazee talks at Drupal Europe. Stew and Fran, in their discussion of Handy modules for building and maintaining sites ended things off with a note encouraging everyone who manages to solve a Drupal problem to consider how they might contribute it to the wider community. Indeed, Basti made this the theme of his entire talk, discussing the benefits of open sourcing your work and the material advantages the IO team has experienced by open sourcing their platform, Lagoon. And in terms of open sourcing code, Stew’s talk on Paragraphs has already lead to the creation of a brand new Drupal.org module from an internal Amazee project. Is this an example of upcycling, hmm, Joseph?

    Stew and Inky, showing their work.We’re off the Island now, time to go farther.

    Speaking of circles, in some respects the move in the Drupal community in the past few years has been to expand our circles even further into the wider programming communities. Drupal 8 adopted much “external” code from the supporting PHP communities. But to some extent, we’re moving even further away from the Drupal island than simply playing-nicely with the PHP community. Decoupling Drupal, a major research topic right now, is at least in part about getting Drupal to be less monolithic, for it to serve content to systems and in contexts that aren’t necessarily Drupal specific. It’s no exaggeration to say that Amazee is ahead on the curve on this, as was evidenced by Michael and Philipps' talks. Michael discussed the “implications, risks, and changes” that come from adopting a decoupled approach, while Philipp simply dazzled a packed room with his demonstration of staged decoupling with GraphQL integration into Twig.

    This was Drupal Europe.

    This was Drupal Europe. Not just talks, or coffee, or BOFs, or the (delicious) lunches. Rather, it was the opportunity to really dive in, experience, and behold the interlocking circles of individuals, friends, companies, and community that holds this sprawling structure we call the Drupal ecosystem in place. To get a sense where we are and where we’re going.

     

    Previous Drupal Europe Blogs

     

    Aegir Dispatch: These are the people in your Drupalverse...

    1 day 16 hours ago
    In honor of DrupalEurope and all the earlier DrupalCon’s we’ve thrown together a quick Drupal 8 site that tracks all the songs covered in the DrupalCon prenote! sessions. Thanks to all those who came to the stage to wake us up before the Driesnotes. Come and sing along at DrupalSongs.org.

    Lucius Digital: 19 Cool Drupal modules | September 2018

    2 days 7 hours ago
    'There's a module for that', this applies to many use cases with Drupal. What is not possible with modules we develop tailor-made instead. But because customization is costly, it is good to keep abreast of the available modules.

    Community: Drupal Community Working Group Annual Report: 2017-2018

    2 days 19 hours ago
    Who Are We?

    The Drupal Community Working Group (CWG) is responsible for promoting and upholding the Drupal Code of Conduct and maintaining a friendly and welcoming community for the Drupal project.

    The CWG is an independent group chartered directly by Dries Buytaert in his capacity as project lead. The original members of the CWG were appointed by Dries in March of 2013. Since then, new CWG members have been selected by the group from the Drupal community, and then approved by Dries. The CWG is made up entirely of community volunteers, and does not currently have any funding, staff, legal representation, or outside resources.

    The CWG’s current active membership is:

    • George DeMet (United States): Joined CWG in March 2013, chair since March, 2016.
    • Michael Anello (United States): Joined CWG in December 2015.
    • Jordana Fung (Suriname): Joined CWG in May 2017.

    Rachel Lawson (United Kingdom) was a member of the CWG from May through December 2017, when she started a new position as the Drupal Association’s Community Liaison.

    Emma Karayiannis (United Kingdom) and Adam Hill (United Kingdom) have informed the CWG of their intention to formally step down from the CWG once replacements can be found for them; we are currently engaged in a search process to identify new members to fill their positions.

    The CWG is also building a network of volunteer subject matter experts who we can reach out to for advice in situations that require specific expertise; e.g., cultural, legal, or mental health issues.

    What Do We Do?

    The CWG is tasked with maintaining a friendly and welcoming contributor community for the Drupal project. In addition to maintaining and upholding the Drupal Code of Conduct and working with other responsible entities within the Drupal ecosystem to ensure its enforcement, the CWG also helps community members resolve conflicts through an established process, acting as a point of escalation, mediation, and/or final arbitration for the Drupal community in case of intractable conflicts. We also provide resources, consultation and advice to community members upon request.

    Other activities the CWG has engaged in in the past year include:

    • Sharing experiences and best practices with representatives from other open source projects, both in a one-on-one setting and at various open source community events.
    • Recognizing community leadership through the Aaron Winborn Award, which is presented annually to an individual who demonstrates personal integrity, kindness, and above-and-beyond commitment to the Drupal community.
    • Helping to ensure the community’s voice is represented in the governance process. While the CWG’s charter does not allow it to make community-wide governance decisions, the CWG did work with other interested members of the community to help organize and facilitate a series of community governance meetings in the fall of 2017 following the results of a survey conducted by the Drupal Association. Results and takeaways from these meetings were also shared with the community-at-large.
    • Organizing a Teamwork and Leadership Workshop at DrupalCon Nashville to explore teamwork, leadership, and followership in the context of the Drupal community. Our goal was to expand the base of people who can step into leadership positions in the Drupal community, and to help those who may already be in those positions be more effective. Takeaways from this event were also shared with the community-at-large.
    • With input from the community, drafting and adopting a Code of Ethics for CWG members that clearly defines expectations for members around subjects such as confidentiality and conflicts of interest.
    Incident Reports

    The CWG receives incident reports from Drupal community members via its incident report form or via email.

    • In 2017, the CWG received 43 official incident reports submitted.
    • From January 1 through September 14, 2018, the CWG has received 33 official incident reports.

    In addition, we regularly receive informal reports from community members, which are not included in the totals above. With informal reports, we often encourage the community member to file an official report as well to establish a written record of the incident and to ensure that they have as much agency as possible over how the issue is addressed.

    The types of issues that the CWG has received in the last year include:

    • Community members being disrespectful and rude in issue queues.
    • Technical disagreements and frustrations that turn into personal attacks.
    • Abusive language and harassment in Drupal Slack and IRC.
    • Appeals of bans made by Drupal Slack moderators.
    • Inappropriate language and content at community events.
    • Harassment and trolling of community members on social media .
    • Physical harassment of community members (both in and outside of community spaces).
    • Ongoing issues involving specific community members with established patterns of behavior that are disruptive to others.
    • Drupal trademark questions and issues (these are referred to Dries Buytaert, who is responsible for enforcing the Drupal trademark and logo policy).

    The CWG also chose not to act on several reports it felt were being made in bad faith and/or in an attempt to harass or intimidate other community members. As per its charter, the CWG also does not respond to requests to take specific punitive action against members of the community. Our goal is to help people understand and take responsibility for the impact that their words and actions have on others.

    The CWG relies primarily on its established conflict resolution process to address incident reports. Depending on the situation, this may involve one or more CWG members providing mediation between the parties in conflict or suggesting ways that they can resolve the issue themselves. For matters that may take an unusually long time to resolve, we provide all involved parties with regular status reports so they know that their issue is still being worked on.

    In cases of a clear Code of Conduct violation, the CWG will take immediate steps as necessary to ensure the safety of others in the community up to and including recommending permanent or temporary bans from various Drupal community spaces, such as Slack, IRC, Drupal.org, or DrupalCon and other Drupal events.

    Other outcomes may include:

    • Discussion of the issue with involved parties to try to find a mutually acceptable and beneficial outcome.
    • Asking one or more of the involved parties to apologize and/or take other actions to address the consequences of their behavior.
    • Discussion of the issue with the involved parties, after which someone may choose to leave the community voluntarily.
    • Asking someone to leave the community if they are not willing or able to address the consequences of their behavior.
    • Recommending bans from various community spaces, including virtual spaces

    In some cases, we may receive an after-the-fact report about a situation that has already been resolved, or where the person making the report has asked for no action to be taken. In those cases, we review the incident, decide whether further action is necessary, and keep it on file for reference in case something similar happens in the future.

    While the CWG has in the past directly acted as code of conduct enforcement contacts for DrupalCon (which is run by the Drupal Association and has its own code of conduct distinct from that of the community), as of November 2017 those duties have been assumed by DrupalCon staff. The CWG and DrupalCon staff continue to coordinate with each other to ensure that reports are handled by the appropriate responsible body.

    Sharing With the Community

    The CWG publishes anonymized versions of its weekly minutes that are shared with the community via our public Google Drive folder. These minutes are also promoted via the CWG’s Twitter account @drupalcommunity.

    In addition to the public minutes, the CWG also occasionally issues public statements regarding issues of importance to the broader community and beyond:

    The CWG also maintains a public issue queue on Drupal.org. Following a series of community discussions in the spring of 2017, the CWG filed a series of issues in this queue to clarify points of confusion and address outstanding concerns about its role in the community.

    The CWG also presents sessions at DrupalCon, as well as other camps and events. Sessions presented at DrupalCon in the last year include:

    In addition, CWG members have also organized, spoken, and/or participated in Q&A sessions about the CWG at the following events:

    • MidCamp (Chicago, IL)
    • DrupalCamp Asheville (Asheville, NC)
    • Twin Cities DrupalCamp (Minneapolis, MN)
    • DrupalCamp Colorado (Denver, CO)
    • FOSS Backstage (Munich, Germany)
    • Community Leadership Summit (Portland, OR)
    • Edinburgh Drupal User Group (Edinburgh, Scotland)
    • Open Source North East (Newcastle upon Tyne, England)
    • All Things Open (Raleigh, NC) - Upcoming

    The CWG is also exploring ways it can make itself available more often to the community via real-time virtual channels such as Slack, Google Meet, or Zoom.

    New Challenges Online Harassment

    The number of incidents that the CWG handles relating to online harassment, particularly on social media, has increased significantly in the last couple of years. Because this harassment is often perpetrated by individuals or groups of people posting from behind anonymous accounts, it is sometimes difficult for the CWG to positively identify those responsible and hold them accountable for their actions. This is compounded by the apparent lack of interest from leading social media companies in taking action against abusive accounts or addressing harassment that occurs on their platforms in any effective or meaningful way.

    The Drupal community’s switch from IRC to Slack for much of its real-time communication has also provided another vector for harassment, particularly targeting people who participate in communities of interest that focus on topics such as diversity, inclusion, and women in Drupal. While it is possible to ban individual Slack accounts, it is fairly easy for perpetrators to create new ones, and because they are not always tied to Drupal.org IDs, it is sometimes difficult to identify who is responsible for them.

    Sexual Harassment and Abuse

    Following reports last year relating to sexual harassment in the Drupal community, the CWG understands that there are likely additional incidents that have occurred in the past that have gone unaddressed because we are unaware of them. While our code of conduct is clear that we do not tolerate abuse or harassment in our community, we also know that people don’t always feel safe reporting incidents or discussing their concerns openly. As a consequence, nothing is done about them, which undermines the effectiveness of our code of conduct and in turn leads to fewer reports and more incidents that go unaddressed.

    It is our opinion as a group that open source communities across the board need better mechanisms and procedures for handling reports of sexual abuse, harassment, and/or assault. We also need to keep better records of incidents that have occurred, so that we can more quickly identify patterns of conduct and abuse, and better ways to recognize and address incidents across projects so that people who have engaged in harassment and abuse in one community aren’t able to repeat that behavior in another community.

    Staffing and Resources

    We need to ensure that the CWG is adequately staffed to assist with the increasing number of incident reports we receive each year. While several members have pursued relevant professional development and training opportunities at their own expense, the CWG currently has no direct access to funds or resources to pursue them as a group. As a volunteer community group chartered by the project lead, the CWG also currently operates without the benefit of legal protection or insurance coverage.

    Initiatives for 2018/2019 Governance Changes

    While the CWG is not allowed to make changes to its own charter, in early 2017 we explored a number of potential changes that we had intended to propose to Dries to help make our group more effective and better positioned to proactively address the needs of the Drupal community.

    That work was put on hold following a series of community discussions that occurred in the spring of 2017.  Those conversations surfaced questions, suggestions, and concerns about the accountability, escalation points, and overall role of the CWG, many of which we documented and addressed in our public issue queue. While we were able to address many of the issues that were raised, some can only be addressed with changes to the CWG’s charter.

    We fully support and appreciate the ongoing work of the Governance Task Force to update and reform Drupal community governance. While we understand that additional changes may occur pending the outcome of the overall governance reform process, we also feel that there are some changes related to the CWG that need to be made as soon as possible. These proposed changes are currently under review both internally as well as with Dries and other involved stakeholders, and will be shared with the community for review and comment prior to adoption.

    Updating the Community’s Code of Conduct

    The current Drupal community code of conduct was published in 2010 and is based on the Ubuntu code of conduct.  As per its charter, the CWG is responsible for “maintain[ing] the Conflict Resolution Process (CRP) and related documentation, including the Drupal Code of Conduct”. The CWG has made several changes to the code of conduct over the years, the most significant of which was the addition of the conflict resolution policy in 2014, much of which was inspired by work done within the Django community.

    While Drupal was one of the first open source projects to adopt a code of conduct, many others have done so since, and there are a variety of models and best practices for open source community codes of conduct. Based on feedback that we have received over the past year, the CWG is working on an initiative to review and update Drupal’s community code of conduct with input and involvement from both the community-at-large as well as outside experts with code of conduct experience from other projects. Our goal is to introduce this initiative before the end of 2018.

    Dealing with Banned Individuals

    Some local event organizers have asked the CWG for better tools to ensure that they weren’t inadvertently providing a platform to people who have been banned from speaking at or attending other events due to code of conduct violations.  While the number of people who have been banned from attending DrupalCon and other Drupal events is very small, a comprehensive list of the identities of those individuals is currently known only to the CWG and the Drupal Association.

    While the CWG does not generally publish the names of individuals who have been asked not to attend Drupal events, we do reserve the right to publish their names and the reasons for their ban if they do not abide by it.  While we believe that this is effective at deterring individuals from attending events they have been banned from, we also understand that it does not always provide other attendees and/or conference organizers with the tools they need to ensure a safe environment at their events.

    Members of the CWG have discussed this issue with their counterparts in other communities, and it does not appear that there are consistently established best practices for handling these kinds of situations, particularly in communities as decentralized as Drupal. With the input of the community, we would like to establish clear and consistent guidelines for local event organizers.  

    Community Workshops and Training

    In 2016, the CWG conducted a survey and interviews of Drupal core contributors to identify sources of frustration during the Drupal 8 development cycle. One of our recommendations was for the project to focus more on developing skills like creative problem solving, conflict resolution, effective advocacy, and visioning in order to broaden understanding of Drupal’s community, its assets and its challenges.

    Following the success of the teamwork and leadership workshop that the CWG led in collaboration with the Drupal Association at DrupalCon Nashville in 2018, the CWG is exploring opportunities for additional workshops and training at DrupalCon Seattle and other events.

    Summary

    Over the past few years, the Drupal project and community has grown rapidly, bringing a series of new and evolving challenges. Not only has the project grown progressively more complex with each major release, but the time between releases has increased and more is being asked of the developer community by customers and end-users.

    We believe this is a significant contributing factor in the increase in the number of documented incidents of negative conflict, which left unaddressed may result in a decline in contributor productivity and morale. The work of the Community Working Group seeks not only to mitigate the impact of negative conflict, but also to provide the community with the tools and resources it needs to make the Drupal project a safer, more welcoming, and inclusive place.

    OpenSense Labs: Building the Drupal Core Strong with The Values

    3 days 11 hours ago
    Building the Drupal Core Strong with The Values Akshita Sat, 09/15/2018 - 10:00

    “You don’t get to control everything that happens to you, but how you *respond* is a matter of choice.”

    That response is based on our values. Call it a belief your parents or society pushed you to pursue or something that you learned with life. Our values condition our responses. 

    But how different are the values that we follow in our personal life from the values that build organizations or for that matter a community?

    When it comes to the craft of building Drupal and the community we, as a part, need to recognize the art of building software and website, first. 

    We share some common values both at OpenSense Labs and at Drupal Community. Let’s talk about these core values and practices that support us. 

    “The Drupal Values and Principles describe the culture and behaviors expected of members of the Drupal community to uphold.” The Road to Software Needs to be Strong

    In order to build and later maintain a community, it is important that the core values are strong. When building a website or a software it is important we have certain written or unwritten codes of values that we abide by. 

    Ensuring the community has the best of what is being offered is done by building a product that doesn’t exclude anyone. This ensures that the features we add are accessible by everyone. 

    A clear communication in the community is also important to ensure that the people using that software understand the process of it.  

    Impacting the digital landscape that the Drupal community has, we cannot afford to be careless.

    Evan Bottcher, ThoughtWorks, explains some core values and practices to build a software. The diagram below is a part of it.  

    Each of the eight core practices (in the outer circle) support one or more of those core values. These practices are the actions as an organization and community we need to perform, and it depends a lot on the methods or approaches that we apply. 

    Core Values To Build a Software:
    1. Ensuring Quality with Fast Feedback: Quality is not the sole responsibility of the QA. Follow whatever method, if the person building the software doesn’t take the responsibility for the product, nothing will work. 

      It is important that as a software agency we value being able to find out whether a change has been successful in moments not days. The lesser the time we take, the better it is. 
       
    2. Repeatability: Confidence and predictability comes from eliminating the tasks that introduce weird inconsistencies. We also want to spend time on activities that are more important than troubleshooting something that should have just worked.
       
    3. Simple and Elegant: Softwares that contain complexity than what is needed are of no use. Sounds rude? Well, it is the truth. 

      What use will it be if people outside the organization can not work on it? 

      This also brings with it the idea to future-proof the content. While we build for what we need now, and not what we think might be coming there should be enough scope to meet the future requirements. 
       
    4. Clean Code: Talking of making the software future proof means people outside the immediate team can work on it. This requires the code to be clean, which allows the third developer to make relevant changes. 
    Values That Build Drupal and Organizations
    • Making Impact

    With a community as large as Drupal’ the circumference to affect the number of people increases. But this just doesn’t restrict to people who are working on the core, issues, credits, or documentation. This includes those as well who interact with a Drupal-powered website. 

    This is where the idea to impact the lives of people makes more sense. The Article 26 Backpack for Syrian refugees a platform to helps Syrian Refugees secure and share their educational credentials. 

    Similarly, as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility, we are open to helping Non profits from a web development and digital strategy perspective. If you are or know a non-profit looking to get a website overhaul or planning digital transformation, please get in touch at hello@opensenselabs.com

    We derive meaning from our contributions when our work creates more value for others than it does for us.

    • United We Stand, Divided We Fall

    The community ensures the environment remains as transparent as possible, with decisions being collaborative and not authoritative. The community elections are important and equally transparent where everyone can contribute. 

    Asking questions or sharing ideas can be difficult, especially if the questions or ideas are not fully formed or if the individual is new to the community. Drupal groups and forums are the places where people can openly ask questions and put their thoughts among the community members. 

    At OpenSense Labs, we are also committed to maintaining a transparent environment which includes not only discussing organizational goals but individual goals as well. This enables every member to participate, learn, and grow. Creating an environment where individual goals are taken care of ensures that the team grows. Not only in numbers but with their output as well. 

    We also value the behavior of feedback. The product, after all, belongs to all and not just to a few. This brings in the sense of ownership which helps grow us manifold. We learned this from the Drupal community. Each feature people work relentlessly to improve the state of Drupal. 

    Teamwork can empower every contributor. Throughout the history of the Drupal community, many individual contributors have made a significant impact on the project. Helping one person get involved could be game-changing for the Drupal project.

    • Give Respect and Get Respect

    Every person is important. For the organization and the community. Just as the community our team is equally diverse. This requires building an environment that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion. Not because it is the right thing to do but because it is essential to the health and success of the project. 

    Prioritizing accessibility and internationalization is an important part of this commitment.

    • Work Hard, Party Harder

    Working is good, but be sure to have fun. It is important to feel empowered and help others but it is equally important to enjoy and share the company of those you work most of the time with. 

    We believe in the concept of work hard and party harder. 


    Our values and principles need to be robust as well as flexible to ensure we don’t end up being too rigid. This, of course, involves discussing them regularly with the team and community. 

    Check out Drupal Values and Principles

    blog banner blog image Blog Type Articles Is it a good read ? On

    Ashday's Digital Ecosystem and Development Tips: Optimizing Drupal for SEO

    3 days 19 hours ago

     

    Drupal has a bunch of great SEO tools. Here are several tips and suggested modules for fine tuning SEO within Drupal. Easy SEO wins can be achieved through configuring metatags and URLs. Don’t forget to setup an XML sitemap of your site and submit to major search engines. SEO isn’t a once and done effort, make sure to constantly research and update with search trends.

    Yes, but is it good for SEO? This is a question we hear all the time when we mention all of the wonderful capabilities of a Drupal site. First off, let's dispel the myth that there is a CMS that automatically does magical SEO and makes all of your pages rank higher in search. If you want good SEO, the most important thing that you can do is write good and unique content that humans actually want to read. The CMS or web software has nothing to do with it. So let's assume that you already have great content and semantically perfect markup, there are tons of other little things that you can do to further boost your content in the eyes of search engines and Drupal is a great tool for implementing them.

    Amazee Labs: Drupal Europe: Day four Highlights

    4 days 4 hours ago
    Drupal Europe: Day four Highlights

    Vijay tells us about the fourth day's highlights in Darmstadt, Germany.

    Vijay Dubb Fri, 09/14/2018 - 13:25 Keynote

    The 4th day of Drupal Europe began with a discussion by a panel made up of Dries Buytaert, Barb Palser, Heather Burns, Hurley Mautic, and Timothy Lehnen, about the future of the open web and open source. Some interesting points were made, especially how we have the responsibility of making open source better, and how we can better protect the four software freedoms principles.

    Decoupled Drupal: Implications, risks and changes from a business perspective

    Next up was our very own Michael, who gave a presentation on Decoupled Drupal. Some interesting points were made in this presentation. As a developer I love the fact we can experiment with technology, however, I never really gave a second thought about how this can have an impact, both for the company and potential clients. Decoupling for sure has success and failures that we all are going to experience. For example, time to train the team to be up to date with the latest technology and with this come cost. In the end, however, it is an investment. One clear message from this presentation that I took was we should expect failure, and we should not get discouraged by it, but rather learn from it. We should also celebrate the success.

    JavaScript Modernisation Initiative

    The third presentation I went to was the JavaScript Modernisation Initiative, presented by Lauri Eskola, Matthew Grill, Cristina Chumillas, Daniel Wehner, and Sally Young. As a contributor to this initiative, it was great to hear how this idea came about as this was something I didn't really know. I came to learn that it all began at DrupalCon Vienna, where the idea of how to create a decoupled backend, with a redesigned, and modern administration experience in Drupal came up. As of now, the product is clearly in the prototype stage, with plans to remove the current implementation of Material UI and update using the design created by Christina, which is in the early stages of concept. If you would like to get involved in this initiative, you can find out more on the Drupal website.

    Improving the Editor Experience: Paragraphs FTW

    After lunch, it was time for Stew to give his second presentation of the week, this time on his own. His presentation was all about paragraphs, a beginners overview of using paragraphs to make the editors experience more fun. Stew went on to explain how to give more control over content layout, and the pros and cons of some of the contrib modules that support paragraphs. Even though this presentation was about Paragraphs, Stew did mention that there were other alternatives to this great module. Way to go Stew, two presentations in one week.

    Decoupling Drupal with GraphQL & Twig

    The final presentation I attended was by Philipp. He explained what GraphQL is and what it is not, and how much more it can do, such as Search API indexing, and feed Twig templates. One exciting part of this session was the reuse of fragments, meaning you can write one query and reuse it across many templates. It is clear to see why GraphQL is very popular, however, one interesting point that was brought up was that it isn't the same as injecting SQL into Twig. Phillip responded by saying a GraphQL query is not something that is executed, it is a definition of requirements, which you request from the implemented backend. Phillip also thanked Sebastian Siemssen, who happens to be both a core maintainer of the GraphQL module and an ex amazee.

    Closing

    After the conference, we headed back to the hostel to refresh and then headed out to eat for our final night in Darmstadt. After that we headed back to the venue for trivia night, this was my first time at trivia night, and it was full of fun, great people, atmosphere, food and drink, and great questions. After six rounds of questions, lots of laughter, and a small hiccup with their Google doc, the scores were tallied, and team 16 had won first prize, of which included Stew and Mostfa.

    You could also say that Day 4 was pretty “Amazee-ing” with lots happening with our team. Congratulations to all from everyone at Amazee, both at the conference and those left behind.

    I would also personally like to thank the Drupal Association for giving me a diversity ticket without which I would not have been able to attend this great conference and have a week of both excellent presentations and being able to continue to contribute to great initiatives.

    Drupal blog: We made Drupal a lot easier to evaluate

    4 days 5 hours ago

    This blog has been re-posted and edited with permission from Dries Buytaert's blog. Please leave your comments on the original post.

    Seven months ago, Matthew Grasmick published an article describing how hard it is to install Drupal. His article included the following measurements for creating a new application on his local machine, across four different PHP frameworks:

    Platform Clicks Time Drupal 20+ 15:00+ Symfony 3 1:55 WordPress 7 7:51 Laravel 3 17:28

    The results from Matthew's blog were clear: Drupal is too hard to install. It required more than 15 minutes and 20 clicks to create a simple site.

    Seeing these results prompted me to launch a number of initiatives to improve the evaluator experience at DrupalCon Nashville. Here is the slide from my DrupalCon Nashville presentation:

    A lot has happened between then and now:

    • We improved the download page to improve the discovery experience on drupal.org
    • We added an Evaluator Guide to Drupal.org
    • We added a quick-start command to Drupal 8.6
    • We added the Umami demo profile to Drupal 8.6
    • We started working on a more modern administration experience (in progress)

    You can see the result of that work in this video:

    Thanks to this progress, here is the updated table:

    Platform Clicks Time Drupal 3 1:27 Symfony 3 1:55 WordPress 7 7:51 Laravel 3 17:28

    Drupal now requires the least time and is tied for least clicks! You can now install Drupal in less than two minutes. Moreover, the Drupal site that gets created isn't an "empty canvas" anymore; it's a beautifully designed and fully functional application with demo content.

    Copy-paste the following commands in a terminal window if you want to try it yourself:

    mkdir drupal && cd drupal && curl -sSL https://www.drupal.org/download-latest/tar.gz | tar -xz --strip-components=1 php core/scripts/drupal quick-start demo_umami

    For more detailed information on how we achieved these improvements, read Matthew's latest blog post: The New Drupal Evaluator Experience, by the numbers.

    A big thank you to Matthew Grasmick (Acquia) for spearheading this initiative!

    Dries Buytaert: We made Drupal a lot easier to evaluate

    4 days 9 hours ago

    Seven months ago, Matthew Grasmick published an article describing how hard it is to install Drupal. His article included the following measurements for creating a new application on his local machine, across four different PHP frameworks:

    Platform Clicks Time Drupal 20+ 15:00+ Symfony 3 1:55 WordPress 7 7:51 Laravel 3 17:28

    The results from Matthew's blog were clear: Drupal is too hard to install. It required more than 15 minutes and 20 clicks to create a simple site.




    Seeing these results prompted me to launch a number of initiatives to improve the evaluator experience at DrupalCon Nashville. Here is the slide from my DrupalCon Nashville presentation:

    A lot has happened between then and now:

    • We improved the download page to improve the discovery experience on drupal.org
    • We added an Evaluator Guide to Drupal.org
    • We added a quick-start command to Drupal 8.6
    • We added the Umami demo profile to Drupal 8.6
    • We started working on a more modern administration experience (in progress)

    You can see the result of that work in this video:




    Thanks to this progress, here is the updated table:

    Platform Clicks Time Drupal 3 1:27 Symfony 3 1:55 WordPress 7 7:51 Laravel 3 17:28

    Drupal now requires the least time and is tied for least clicks! You can now install Drupal in less than two minutes. Moreover, the Drupal site that gets created isn't an "empty canvas" anymore; it's a beautifully designed and fully functional application with demo content.

    Copy-paste the following commands in a terminal window if you want to try it yourself:

    mkdir drupal && cd drupal && curl -sSL https://www.drupal.org/download-latest/tar.gz | tar -xz --strip-components=1 php core/scripts/drupal quick-start demo_umami />

    For more detailed information on how we achieved these improvements, read Matthew's latest blog post: The New Drupal Evaluator Experience, by the numbers.

    A big thank you to Matthew Grasmick (Acquia) for spearheading this initiative!

    Bay Area Drupal Camp: The BADCamp Schedule is Out

    4 days 22 hours ago
    The BADCamp Schedule is Out Drupal Planet rob.thorne Thu, 09/13/2018 - 17:53 Sessions Schedule Now Posted!

    Ready yourselves, fellow adventurers -- this year’s session and speaker lineup has been revealed! Over 60 sessions spanning the worlds of development, design, strategy, project management, technology communities and everything in between.

    View Session Schedule

    A few seats left in BADCamp Training Workshops

    For two full days on Wednesday and Thursday, BADCamp offers world-class training from some of the best Drupal instructors — for far less than you will pay elsewhere, $20 for a full day session. There are only a few seats left in some of our classes, so sign up soon to reserve your spot! Register today!

    Sign-up for BADCamp Drupal Summits

    Summits allow people in specific industries or with specific skills to dive deep into the issues that matter and collaborate freely. Registration is open and while attendance is free, signing up will ensure you receive summit specific information for the event.
     

    Related Events

    If BADCamp itself was not enough, there are also other events you may want to participate in before the fun starts in Berkeley.

    • What goes together with BADCamp better than Drupal Surfcamp? After a successful few days last summer in Ericeira, Portugal over the summer, Drupal Surfcamp is coming to Santa Cruz, California.  What could be better? October 20-23.
    • Our friends from the CiviCRM community are hold a Bay Area Meetup just before BADCamp starts, on Tuesday October 23rd. A good place to find out what CiviCRM is all about.
       
    Do you think BADCamp is awesome?

    Would you have been willing to pay for your ticket?  If so, then you can give back to the camp by purchasing an individual sponsorship at the level most comfortable for you. As our thanks, we will be handing out some awesome BADCamp swag as our thanks.
     

    We need your help!

    BADCamp is 100% volunteer driven and we need your hands! We need stout hearts to volunteer and help set up, tear down, give directions and so much more!  If you are local and can help us, please contact Val at info@badcamp.net or sign up on our  Volunteer Form.

    Thanks to Our Sponsors

    A BIG thanks Platform.sh, Pantheon & DDEV and all our sponsors. Without them this magical event wouldn’t be possible. Interested in sponsoring BADCamp? Contact matt@badcamp.net or anne@badcamp.net

    Would you have been willing to pay for your ticket?  If so, then you can give back to the camp by purchasing an individual sponsorship at the level most comfortable for you. 

     


    See you in Berkeley!
     

     

     

    Mediacurrent: The Marketer’s Guide to Drupal 8: How to Get the Most out of your SEO in Drupal

    4 days 22 hours ago

    The marketing landscape is vastly different than it was when Drupal 7 was released in 2011. Since then, there has been a shift, placing the marketing team in the driver’s seat more often and almost always involved in the CMS decision. In this post, we’ll outline some of the ways you can up your SEO game with Drupal 8.

    Traditional SEO is dead.

    No longer will well-placed keywords alone get you to the top of the SERP ranks. Content is still King in the world of marketing and it’s what helps you improve your SEO.

    Every algorithm change Google has made has one thing in common: it aims to provide the best content based on what it "thinks" the user is trying to find. In other words, - what is the users intent. If you want your rankings to stick past the next update, don't try to cheat the system. Attract your prospects with informative, entertaining pieces that they can use to take action. And avoid no value posts that are keyword stuffed with your industry and the word "best" 100 times. Google can see through it and so can all of your users.

    That said, there are a few other factors that are critical to keeping your rankings high that can’t be ignored including quick load times and mobile-friendliness. Drupal 8 is built with several of these factors in mind to help us make needed improvements quickly and effectively.

    Mobile First Mentality

    Drupal 8 is created with responsive design capabilities built in, so you can begin to address any problems immediately. That’s not to say all of your responsive problems will be solved. Content editors will still need to think through their content and imagery, themers will still need to do configuration to establish things like breakpoints, etc. but Drupal 8 will set you on the right path, giving you and your team many of the tools you need.

    You’ll also have the option to choose different images and content for desktop and mobile versions right from the WYSIWYG editor, making it easier to see the differences for every piece of content when you add it and before you publish. This means a solid visual of both versions in real-time for faster publishing and peace of mind knowing exactly what your users experience on any device. 

    The Need for Speed

    Another big factor that could affect your rankings is speed on both desktop and mobile. Google places such high importance that they’ve given you a PageSpeed Insights test to show where and how your website is slowing visitors down. Drupal 8 is “smart” in that it caches all entities and doesn’t load JavaScript unless it has to. This means the same content won’t be reloaded over and over and instead can be loaded quickly from the cache.

    Drupal 8 also uses industry-leading caching technology to allow updated content to be served fresh to a client, while preserving the cache on content that hasn’t changed. So, after your visitors come to your website once, they won’t have to wait for all content to load each time, making load times much faster.
    Another way Drupal 8 improves speed is through feature velocity. Because so much new functionality is built into Drupal 8 core, creating and publishing new dynamic content experiences is significantly faster than in Drupal 7. A blog post that features dynamically updated data, relevant to and powered by your content can be built in the UI in Drupal 8, something that in Drupal 7 would have taken custom development and several modules.

    Responsive design is a must-have in today’s digital landscape and speeding up your website on both desktop and mobile is a surprisingly effective way to contribute to your SEO efforts. In short, if you’re marketing team is focused (as you should be) on top rankings, Drupal 8 provides many of the tools to make that happen. 

    Accessibility = Key for Search

    The release of D8 marked a big push toward improving web accessibility, including: 

    • Overall community commitment to accessibility 
    • Technical features for improved accessibility like controlled tab order and aural alerts 
    • All features conform with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) guidelines

    This is important because, as we know, the relationship between web accessibility and SEO is closely intertwined.

    Drupal 8 SEO Modules

    Here are some top Drupal 8 SEO Modules to use when optimizing your site. 

    1. Pathauto - helps save you time from manually having to create URL path/aliases.
    2. Metatag - allows you to automatically provide structured metadata, aka "meta tags", about a website.
    3. Sitemap - provides a site map that gives visitors an overview of your site. It can also display the RSS feeds for all blogs and categories.
    4. Redirect - Almost every new site needs to incorporate 301 redirects for old page URLs. This gives site admins an easy interface for creating those redirects in Drupal.
    5. Google Analytics - This simple module allows site admins the ability to easily configure Google Analytics in Drupal.
    6. Easy Breadcrumbs - uses the current URL (path alias) and the current page's title to automatically extract the breadcrumb's segments and its respective links. 
    7. SEO Checklist - uses best practices to check your website for proper search engine optimization. It eliminates guesswork by creating a functional to-do list of modules and tasks that remain. 
    Conclusion

    Drupal’s content management system is perfectly structured for search optimization and its core features support many of the critical SEO elements. But, SEO is only part of the story. In the next post, we’ll explore some of the do’s and don’ts and things to keep in mind once you’re on Drupal 8. 

    Xeno Media: When Should You Redesign Your Website?

    5 days ago

    Website redesigns are a common occurrence in growing businesses, but many people get confused as to when they’re supposed to do one. Your website is a window for the world to get a look at your company. It’s a very important part of your business' marketing efforts. It’s critical to get the timing right.

    While there’s certainly space between a redesign being a nice “want-to-have” and it being a “need-to-do,” here are some signs that will tell you when it’s time for a refresh.

    Mobile Unfriendliness

    Over half of all internet traffic is now coming from a mobile device. If your website is not formatted effectively to be viewed and used on a wide variety of screen sizes, then the redesign should come much sooner rather than later. Having a design that makes the content illegible on a mobile device will send your user elsewhere.

    Responsive layouts, navigation links that break up into big, tap-friendly menus, data plan-friendly image optimization, and other considerations for mobile users are what constitutes a mobile-friendly design. Google provides a Mobile-Friendly test tool you can use to check your own website.

    Mobile Versions or Responsive Design?

    One approach to address this is to develop two versions of your website, one for mobile and the other for desktop users. The web server detects the device that your visitor is using and routes them to the correct version. The advantage of this system is that the mobile version can be optimized to be lightweight in data and speedy to load, specifically for mobile users. That means you can sideline any non-applicable considerations in your design. The biggest disadvantage is that you need to then maintain twice as many web pages: your mobile site and your desktop site.

    We recommend responsive web design for our clients, instead. It's just more efficient.

    Rather than developing both a desktop and a mobile version, you should have one website that will adjust its layout and navigation based on screen size. Skilled web developers can deliver fast websites to both platforms by optimizing and compressing images, using minified code (which means to strip out all unnecessary code), and other speed improvements.

    By setting 'breakpoints' in the layouts, you can also have different layouts and navigation for different screen sizes. A giant drop down animated menu that looks great and is super useful on a desktop is gonna drive your mobile users bonkers.

    Via breakpoints, you can set the navigation menu to collapse into a simpler menu with big finger-friendly buttons when it's served to someone on a phone.

    Unprofessional Design

    Your website is the first impression your company makes on a user, and you want that impression to be a good one. Customers are qualifying companies as much as companies are qualifying customers. They use channels like social media, company websites, and online reputation platforms to see if the company is a good fit for their needs. Compare your website to that of your competitors. Have coworkers critique the website. Look at websites in your industry that you enjoy visiting. Does your website stack up?

    Trends shift in web design, as they do in fashion - what looked great in the past can be jarring or cringe-inducing now. Showing up to a pitch meeting in dated business attire projects the impression that you either don’t care about or are ignorant of modern clothing trends. When a visitor lands on your website, dated design projects that same impression.

    Web design can look unprofessional if its inconsistent with your brand. Your website needs to clearly call out your company's value statements to your visitors. Unappealing fonts, low-quality icons, slapdash layouts, and thoughtless color palettes confuse and build mistrust in your visitors

    User Experience and Design

    Good design is about more than just the visuals of your website. It considers the users' needs and their experience while navigating and using your site.

    Intuitive navigation needs to tell the user where they are, how they got there, how near their destination is, and how they get there. Thoughtful categorization of content complements your design. By grouping things in a way that makes sense to your visitor, you make it easy for them to solve their problems or satisfy their needs. 

    High Bounce Rate

    Bounce rate is a metric describing the percentage of your visitors that leave your website within moments of arriving from a search results page. Either they were sent away by a technical problem or something about your website compelled them to leave of their own volition.  You can see your bounce rate in analytics suites, like Google Analytics, assuming you have the code installed.

    If you DON’T have this software installed, you have no way of knowing how effective or ineffective your website is. Bounce rates are considered to be great if they're in the 20's to the 30's (percentage-wise) and acceptable in the 40's and mid-50's. Upper 50's and up, is considered to be a high bounce rate.

    There are two important things to note here. First is that these classifications are generalizations across a broad swathe of industries. Websites in some industries have a lower bounce rate since their content is more engaging. Second is that you should only be worried about human visitors to your website when it comes to bounce rate.

    In your web analytics software, it's important to filter out bots and crawlers from your data. Moz has a great explanation and guide to filter out bots from Google Analytics

    A high bounce rate means that your website is not serving its basic function in some fundamental way. This is a major problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. There are a number of reasons that visitors could be bouncing from your website, but some major ones are:

    Slow loading pages

    When a visitor arrives on your site, they expect the content to load nearly instantly. High load times (or latency) could be caused by bloated code (an inexperienced developer used way more code to achieve a result that a more experienced developer could have done with less). It could also be due to an inefficient system of fetching and displaying content or it might simply be large images that aren't optimized for the web.

    The longer the loading time, the greater the chance that your visitor is going to head back to the search results and try the next option. Since your site likely appeared in their search results because you offer something they were looking for, this means your visitors went to a competitor.

    Confusing Titles or Meta Descriptions

    The page title (as denoted in your website by the tag) appears in search results. It's read by search engine robots and used to categorize your website in their indexes. Meta descriptions (which appear in tags) are brief summaries of the content of the page (By default, this will be filled with the first few lines of text if you leave it blank). 

    While search robots don't pay much attention to meta descriptions, visitors do. They read it and the title tag to decide if the answer to their problems lie on your page. If they arrive on your page and the content doesn't match the title or meta descriptions, they're really likely to head back and try another result.

    Technical Errors

    For some visitors, they could land on your website and not find the content they're looking for. The URL they clicked on leads to a page that does not exist. There's no reason to stay, so the visitor heads back to the search results. Or they arrive and are redirected to a redirect in a  permanent loop until they give up and try a different result.

    Errors like 404 (Page not Found) or 301 (Permanent Redirect) loops are a very poor experience for the visitor and they can contribute to a high bounce rate.

    Frustrating Content Administrator Experience

    Administrator experience is a term that describes the ease of use of the website for normal operations. Updating copy, adding new articles, adding products to an online store are some everyday tasks for your webmasters and content editors. They need to be straightforward and simple to accomplish. If you need a professional web developer to make content changes or updates, you’re in dire need of a redesign. A good solution might be switching to a content management system like Drupal or WordPress. They excel at making life easier for website administrators who are not developers. This is particularly true if you have multiple people adding content to the website.

    One of the simplest ways to improve an administrator experience is to review permissions for each user and limit them based on needs. A content administrator can focus on just the tasks they need to accomplish, making it easier to familiarize themselves with the interface.

    Drupal has pretty granular permission systems in place right out of the box, letting you choose what each user can do. WordPress' permissions are role-based, meaning you assign a person to a category (Administrator, Editor, Author, etc) and they inherit all the permissions of that role. WordPress can be extended with plugins to grant more permission setting ability.

    Outdated Code

    Even the best website will eventually need to be refreshed. Web technology evolves and improves constantly. New versions of programming languages like PHP, Ruby on Rails, and Java (to name a few) are released in updates. Eventually, much older versions of software stop being regularly updated.

    This is a problem. The outdated code is a big security weakness, making it one of the first targets for malicious hackers. When support ends for older versions of software, it becomes more difficult and more expensive to maintain that website (since any fixes and updates have to be custom development). This becomes even more of a problem when the outdated software has dependencies or other software that requires it.

    A redesign can be a good opportunity to refresh all of the software at once, bringing your site’s code up to the latest versions in one fell swoop.

    Is it time to redesign your website?

    Trends in web design, user experience, and digital marketing shift relatively rapidly. You can expect to redesign your website every 3-5 years if you want to stay current. For companies, this means that what visitors to your site will both expect and accept also changes. If your site doesn't meet the expectations of your customers, they'll leave. On the Internet, they're not starved for choice.

    Send us a message if you'd like to talk about redesigning your website. We'd be happy to do a free site review!

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    State of Drupal presentation (September 2018)

    1 day 8 hours ago

    Last week, nearly 1,000 Drupalists gathered in Darmstadt, Germany for Drupal Europe. In good tradition, I presented my State of Drupal keynote. You can watch a recording of my keynote (starting at 4:38) or download a copy of my slides (37 MB).



    Drupal 8 continues to mature

    I started my keynote by highlighting this month's Drupal 8.6.0 release. Drupal 8.6 marks the sixth consecutive Drupal 8 release that has been delivered on time. Compared to one year ago, we have 46 percent more stable Drupal 8 modules. We also have 10 percent more contributors are working on Drupal 8 Core in comparison to last year. All of these milestones indicate that the Drupal 8 is healthy and growing.

    Next, I gave an update on our strategic initiatives:

    Make Drupal better for content creators © Paul Johnson

    The expectations of content creators are changing. For Drupal to be successful, we have to continue to deliver on their needs by providing more powerful content management tools, in addition to delivering simplicity though drag-and-drop functionality, WYSIWYG, and more.

    With the release of Drupal 8.6, we have added new functionality for content creators by making improvements to the Media, Workflow, Layout and Out-of-the-Box initiatives. I showed a demo video to demonstrate how all of these new features not only make content authoring easier, but more powerful:



    We also need to improve the content authoring experience through a modern administration user interface. We have been working on a new administration UI using React. I showed a video of our latest prototype:





    Extended security coverage for Drupal 8 minor releases

    I announced an update to Drupal 8's security policy. To date, site owners had one month after a new minor Drupal 8 release to upgrade their sites before losing their security updates. Going forward, Drupal 8 site owners have 6 months to upgrade between minor releases. This extra time should give site owners flexibility to plan, prepare and test minor security updates. For more information, check out my recent blog post.

    Make Drupal better for evaluators

    One of the most significant updates since DrupalCon Nashville is Drupal's improved evaluator experience. The time required to get a Drupal site up and running has decreased from more than 15 minutes to less than two minutes and from 20 clicks to 3. This is a big accomplishment. You can read more about it in my recent blog post.



    Promote Drupal

    After launching Promote Drupal at DrupalCon Nashville, we hit the ground running with this initiative and successfully published a community press release for the release of Drupal 8.6, which was also translated into multiple languages. Much more is underway, including building a brand book, marketing collaboration space on Drupal.org, and a Drupal pitch deck.

    The Drupal 9 roadmap and a plan to end-of-life Drupal 7 and Drupal 8

    To keep Drupal modern, maintainable, and performant, we need to stay on secure, supported versions of Drupal 8's third-party dependencies. This means we need to end-of-life Drupal 8 with Symfony 3's end-of-life. As a result, I announced that:

    1. Drupal 8 will be end-of-life by November 2021.
    2. Drupal 9 will be released in 2020, and it will be an easy upgrade.

    Historically, our policy has been to only support two major versions of Drupal; Drupal 7 would ordinarily reach end of life when Drupal 9 is released. Because a large number of sites might still be using Drupal 7 by 2020, we have decided to extend support of Drupal 7 until November 2021.

    For those interested, I published a blog post that further explains this.

    Adopt GitLab on Drupal.org

    Finally, the Drupal Association is working to integrate GitLab with Drupal.org. GitLab will provide support for "merge requests", which means contributing to Drupal will feel more familiar to the broader audience of open source contributors who learned their skills in the post-patch era. Some of GitLab's tools, such as inline editing and web-based code review, will also lower the barrier to contribution, and should help us grow both the number of contributions and contributors on Drupal.org.

    To see an exciting preview of Drupal.org's gitlab integration, watch the video below:

    Thank you

    Our community has a lot to be proud of, and this progress is the result of thousands of people collaborating and working together. It's pretty amazing! The power of our community isn't just visible in minor releases or a number of stable modules. It was also felt at this very conference, as many volunteers gave their weekends and evenings to help organize Drupal Europe in the absence of a DrupalCon Europe organized by the Drupal Association. From code to community, the Drupal project is making an incredible impact. I look forward to celebrating our community's work and friendships at future Drupal conferences.

    Dries

    We made Drupal a lot easier to evaluate

    4 days 9 hours ago

    Seven months ago, Matthew Grasmick published an article describing how hard it is to install Drupal. His article included the following measurements for creating a new application on his local machine, across four different PHP frameworks:

    Platform Clicks Time Drupal 20+ 15:00+ Symfony 3 1:55 WordPress 7 7:51 Laravel 3 17:28

    The results from Matthew's blog were clear: Drupal is too hard to install. It required more than 15 minutes and 20 clicks to create a simple site.




    Seeing these results prompted me to launch a number of initiatives to improve the evaluator experience at DrupalCon Nashville. Here is the slide from my DrupalCon Nashville presentation:

    A lot has happened between then and now:

    • We improved the download page to improve the discovery experience on drupal.org
    • We added an Evaluator Guide to Drupal.org
    • We added a quick-start command to Drupal 8.6
    • We added the Umami demo profile to Drupal 8.6
    • We started working on a more modern administration experience (in progress)

    You can see the result of that work in this video:




    Thanks to this progress, here is the updated table:

    Platform Clicks Time Drupal 3 1:27 Symfony 3 1:55 WordPress 7 7:51 Laravel 3 17:28

    Drupal now requires the least time and is tied for least clicks! You can now install Drupal in less than two minutes. Moreover, the Drupal site that gets created isn't an "empty canvas" anymore; it's a beautifully designed and fully functional application with demo content.

    Copy-paste the following commands in a terminal window if you want to try it yourself:

    mkdir drupal && cd drupal && curl -sSL https://www.drupal.org/download-latest/tar.gz | tar -xz --strip-components=1 php core/scripts/drupal quick-start demo_umami

    For more detailed information on how we achieved these improvements, read Matthew's latest blog post: The New Drupal Evaluator Experience, by the numbers.

    A big thank you to Matthew Grasmick (Acquia) for spearheading this initiative!

    Dries

    Extended security coverage for Drupal 8 minor releases

    5 days 9 hours ago

    Since the launch of Drupal 8.0, we have successfully launched a new minor release on schedule every six months. I'm very proud of the community for this achievement. Prior to Drupal 8, most significant new features were only added in major releases like Drupal 6 or Drupal 7. Thanks to our new release cadence we now consistently and predictably ship great new features twice a year in minor releases (e.g. Drupal 8.6 comes with many new features).

    However, only the most recent minor release has been actively supported for both bug fixes and security coverage. With the release of each new minor version, we gave a one-month window to upgrade to the new minor. In order to give site owners time to upgrade, we would not disclose security issues with the previous minor release during that one-month window.

    Illustration of the security policy since the launch of Drupal 8.0 for minor releases, demonstrating that previous minor releases receive one month of security coverage. Source: Drupal.org issue #2909665: Extend security support to cover the previous minor version of Drupal and Drupal Europe DriesNote.

    Over the past three years, we have learned that users find it challenging to update to the latest minor in one month. Drupal's minor updates can include dependency updates, internal API changes, or features being transitioned from contributed modules to core. It takes time for site owners to prepare and test these types of changes, and a window of one month to upgrade isn't always enough.

    At DrupalCon Nashville we declared that we wanted to extend security coverage for minor releases. Throughout 2018, Drupal 8 release managers quietly conducted a trial. You may have noticed that we had several security releases against previous minor releases this year. This trial helped us understand the impact to the release process and learn what additional work remained ahead. You can read about the results of the trial at #2909665: Extend security support to cover the previous minor version of Drupal.

    I'm pleased to share that the trial was a success! As a result, we have extended the security coverage of minor releases to six months. Instead of one month, site owners now have six months to upgrade between minor releases. It gives teams time to plan, prepare and test updates. Releases will have six months of normal bug fix support followed by six months of security coverage, for a total lifetime of one year. This is a huge win for Drupal site owners.

    Illustration of the new security policy for minor releases, demonstrating that the security coverage for minor releases is extended to six months. Source: Drupal.org issue #2909665: Extend security support to cover the previous minor version of Drupal and the Drupal Europe DriesNote.

    It's important to note that this new policy only applies to Drupal 8 core starting with Drupal 8.5, and only applies to security issues. Non-security bug fixes will still only be committed to the actively supported release.

    While the new policy will provide extended security coverage for Drupal 8.5.x, site owners will need to update to an upcoming release of Drupal 8.5 to be correctly notified about their security coverage.

    Next steps

    We still have some user experience issues we'd like to address around how site owners are alerted of a security update. We have not yet handled all of the potential edge cases, and we want to be very clear about the potential actions to take when updating.

    We also know module developers may need to declare that a release of their project only works against specific versions of Drupal core. Resolving outstanding issues around semantic versioning support for contrib and module version dependency definitions will help developers of contributed projects better support this policy. If you'd like to get involved in the remaining work, the policy and roadmap issue on Drupal.org is a great place to find related issues and see what work is remaining.

    Special thanks to Jess and Jeff Beeman for co-authoring this post.

    Dries

    Drupal 7, 8 and 9

    6 days 12 hours ago

    We just released Drupal 8.6.0. With six minor releases behind us, it is time to talk about the long-term future of Drupal 8 (and therefore Drupal 7 and Drupal 9). I've written about when to release Drupal 9 in the past, but this time, I'm ready to provide further details.

    The plan outlined in this blog has been discussed with the Drupal 7 Core Committers, the Drupal 8 Core Committers and the Drupal Security Team. While we feel good about this plan, we can't plan for every eventuality and we may continue to make adjustments.

    Drupal 8 will be end-of-life by November 2021

    Drupal 8's innovation model depends on introducing new functionality in minor versions while maintaining backwards compatibility. This approach is working so well that some people have suggested we institute minor releases forever, and never release Drupal 9 at all.

    However that approach is not feasible. We need to periodically remove deprecated functionality to keep Drupal modern, maintainable, and performant, and we need to stay on secure, supported versions of Drupal 8's third-party dependencies. As Nathaniel Catchpole explained in his post "The Long Road to Drupal 9", our use of various third party libraries such as Symfony, Twig, and Guzzle means that we need to be in sync with their release timelines.

    Our biggest dependency in Drupal 8 is Symfony 3, and according to Symfony's roadmap, Symfony 3 has an end-of-life date in November 2021. This means that after November 2021, security bugs in Symfony 3 will not get fixed. To keep your Drupal sites secure, Drupal must adopt Symfony 4 or Symfony 5 before Symfony 3 goes end-of-life. A major Symfony upgrade will require us to release Drupal 9 (we don't want to fork Symfony 3 and have to backport Symfony 4 or Symfony 5 bug fixes). This means we have to end-of-life Drupal 8 no later than November 2021.

    Drupal 9 will be released in 2020, and it will be an easy upgrade

    If Drupal 8 will be end-of-life on November 2021, we have to release Drupal 9 before that. Working backwards from November 2021, we'd like to give site owners one year to upgrade from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9.

    If November 2020 is the latest we could release Drupal 9, what is the earliest we could release Drupal 9?

    We certainly can't release Drupal 9 next week or even next month. Preparing for Drupal 9 takes a lot of work: we need to adopt Symfony 4 and/or Symfony 5, we need to remove deprecated code, we need to allow modules and themes to declare compatibility with more than one major version, and possibly more. The Drupal 8 Core Committers believe we need more than one year to prepare for Drupal 9.

    Therefore, our current plan is to release Drupal 9 in 2020. Because we still need to figure out important details, we can't be more specific at this time.

    If we release Drupal 9 in 2020, it means we'll certainly have Drupal 8.7 and 8.8 releases.

    Wait, I will only have one year to migrate from Drupal 8 to 9?

    Yes, but fortunately moving from Drupal 8 to 9 will be far easier than previous major version upgrades. The first release of Drupal 9 will be very similar to the last minor release of Drupal 8, as the primary goal of the Drupal 9.0.0 release will be to remove deprecated code and update third-party dependencies. By keeping your Drupal 8 sites up to date, you should be well prepared for Drupal 9.

    And what about contributed modules? The compatibility of contributed modules is historically one of the biggest blockers to upgrading, so we will also make it possible for contributed modules to be compatible with Drupal 8 and Drupal 9 at the same time. As long as contributed modules do not use deprecated APIs, they should work with Drupal 9 while still being compatible with Drupal 8.

    Drupal 7 will be supported until November 2021

    Historically, our policy has been to only support two major versions of Drupal; Drupal 7 would ordinarily reach end of life when Drupal 9 is released. Because a large number of sites might still be using Drupal 7 by 2020, we have decided to extend support of Drupal 7 until November 2021. Drupal 7 will receive community support for three whole more years.

    We'll launch a Drupal 7 commercial Long Term Support program

    In the past, commercial vendors have extended Drupal's security support. In 2015, a Drupal 6 commercial Long Term Support program was launched and continues to run to this day. We plan a similar paid program for Drupal 7 to extend support beyond November 2021. The Drupal Security Team will announce the Drupal 7 commercial LTS program information by mid-2019. Just like with the Drupal 6 LTS program, there will be an application for vendors.

    We'll update Drupal 7 to support newer versions of PHP

    The PHP team will stop supporting PHP 5.x on December 31st, 2018 (in 3 months), PHP 7.0 on December 3rd, 2018 (in 2 months), PHP 7.1 on December 1st, 2019 (in 1 year and 3 months) and PHP 7.2 on November 30th, 2020 (in 2 years and 2 months).

    Drupal will drop official support for unsupported PHP versions along the way and Drupal 7 site owners may have to upgrade their PHP version. The details will be provided later.

    We plan on updating Drupal 7 to support newer versions of PHP in line with their support schedule. Drupal 7 doesn't fully support PHP 7.2 yet as there have been some backwards-incompatible changes since PHP 7.1. We will release a version of Drupal 7 that supports PHP 7.2. Contributed modules and custom modules will have to be updated too, if not already.

    Conclusion

    If you are still using Drupal 7 and are wondering what to do, you currently have two options:

    1. Stay on Drupal 7 while also updating your PHP version. If you stay on Drupal 7 until after 2021, you can either engage a vendor for a long term support contract, or migrate to Drupal 9.
    2. Migrate to Drupal 8 by 2020, so that it's easier to update to Drupal 9 when it is released.

    The announcements in this blog post made option (1) a lot more viable and/or hopefully helps you better evaluate option (2).

    If you are on Drupal 8, you just have to keep your Drupal 8 site up-to-date and you'll be ready for Drupal 9.

    We plan to have more specifics by April 2019 (DrupalCon Seattle).

    Thanks for the Drupal 7 Core Committers, the Drupal 8 Core Committers and the Drupal Security Team for their contributions to this blog post.

    Dries

    Who sponsors Drupal development? (2017-2018 edition)

    1 week ago

    For the past two years, I've examined Drupal.org's commit data to understand who develops Drupal, how much of that work is sponsored, and where that sponsorship comes from.

    I have now reported on this data for three years in a row, which means I can start to better compare year-over-year data. Understanding how an open-source project works is important because it establishes a benchmark for project health and scalability.

    I would also recommend taking a look at the 2016 report or the 2017 report. Each report looks at data collected in the 12-month period between July 1st and June 30th.

    This year's report affirms that Drupal has a large and diverse community of contributors. In the 12-month period between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, 7,287 different individuals and 1,002 different organizations contributed code to Drupal.org. This include contributions to Drupal core and all contributed projects on Drupal.org.

    In comparison to last year's report, both the number of contributors and contributions has increased. Our community of contributors (including both individuals and organizations) is also becoming more diverse. This is an important area of growth, but there is still work to do.

    For this report, we looked at all of the issues marked "closed" or "fixed" in our ticketing system in the 12-month period from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. This includes Drupal core and all of the contributed projects on Drupal.org, across all major versions of Drupal. This year, 24,447 issues were marked "closed" or "fixed", a 5% increase from the 23,238 issues in the 2016-2017 period. This averages out to 67 feature improvements or bug fixes a day.

    In total, we captured 49,793 issue credits across all 24,447 issues. This marks a 17% increase from the 42,449 issue credits recorded in the previous year. Of the 49,793 issue credits reported this year, 18% (8,822 credits) were for Drupal core, while 82% (40,971 credits) went to contributed projects.

    "Closed" or "fixed" issues are often the result of multiple people working on the issue. We try to capture who contributes through Drupal.org's unique credit system. We used the data from the credit system for this analysis. There are a few limitations with this approach, which we'll address at the end of this report.

    What is the Drupal.org credit system?

    In the spring of 2015, after proposing ideas for giving credit and discussing various approaches at length, Drupal.org added the ability for people to attribute their work to an organization or customer in the Drupal.org issue queues. Maintainers of Drupal modules, themes, and distributions can award issue credits to people who help resolve issues with code, translations, documentation, design and more.

    A screenshot of an issue comment on Drupal.org. You can see that jamadar worked on this patch as a volunteer, but also as part of his day job working for TATA Consultancy Services on behalf of their customer, Pfizer.

    Credits are a powerful motivator for both individuals and organizations. Accumulating credits provides individuals with a way to showcase their expertise. Organizations can utilize credits to help recruit developers, to increase their visibility within the Drupal.org marketplace, or to showcase their Drupal expertise.

    Who is working on Drupal?

    In the 12-month period between July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, 24,447, Drupal.org received code contributions from 7,287 different individuals and 1,002 different organizations.

    While the number of individual contributors rose, a relatively small number of individuals still do the majority of the work. Approximately 48% of individual contributors received just one credit. Meanwhile, the top 30 contributors (the top 0.4%) account for more than 24% of the total credits. These individuals put an incredible amount of time and effort in developing Drupal and its contributed projects:

    RankUsernameIssues1RenatoG8512RajabNatshah7453jrockowitz7004adriancid5295bojanz5156Berdir4327alexpott4148mglaman4149Wim Leers39510larowlan36011DamienMcKenna35312dawehner34013catch33914heddn32715xjm30316pifagor28417quietone26118borisson_25519adci_contributor25520volkswagenchick25421drunken monkey23122amateescu22523joachim19924mkalkbrenner19525chr.fritsch18526gaurav.kapoor17827phenaproxima17728mikeytown217329joelpittet17030timmillwood169

    Out of the top 30 contributors featured, 15 were also recognized as top contributors in our 2017 report. These Drupalists' dedication and continued contribution to the project has been crucial to Drupal's development. It's also exciting to see 15 new names on the list. This mobility is a testament to the community's evolution and growth. It's also important to recognize that a majority of the 15 repeat top contributors are at least partially sponsored by an organization. We value the organizations that sponsor these remarkable individuals, because without their support, it could be more challenging to be in the top 30 year over year.

    How diverse is Drupal?

    Next, we looked at both the gender and geographic diversity of Drupal.org code contributors. While these are only two examples of diversity, this is the only available data that contributors can currently choose to share on their Drupal.org profiles. The reported data shows that only 7% of the recorded contributions were made by contributors that do not identify as male, which continues to indicates a steep gender gap. This is a one percent increase compared to last year. The gender imbalance in Drupal is profound and underscores the need to continue fostering diversity and inclusion in our community.

    To address this gender gap, in addition to advancing representation across various demographics, the Drupal community is supporting two important initiatives. The first is to adopt more inclusive user demographic forms on Drupal.org. Adopting Open Demographics on Drupal.org will also allow us to improve reporting on diversity and inclusion, which in turn will help us better support initiatives that advance diversity and inclusion. The second initiative is supporting the Drupal Diversity and Inclusion Contribution Team, which works to better include underrepresented groups to increase code and community contributions. The DDI Contribution Team recruits team members from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented groups, and provides support and mentorship to help them contribute to Drupal.

    It's important to reiterate that supporting diversity and inclusion within Drupal is essential to the health and success of the project. The people who work on Drupal should reflect the diversity of people who use and work with the software. While there is still a lot of work to do, I'm excited about the impact these various initiatives will have on future reports.

    When measuring geographic diversity, we saw individual contributors from 6 different continents and 123 different countries:

    The top 20 countries from which contributions originate. The data is compiled by aggregating the countries of all individual contributors behind each commit. Note that the geographical location of contributors doesn't always correspond with the origin of their sponsorship. Wim Leers, for example, works from Belgium, but his funding comes from Acquia, which has the majority of its customers in North America.

    123 different countries is seven more compared to the 2017 report. The new countries include Rwanda, Namibia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Swaziland, Zambia. Seeing contributions from more African countries is certainly a highlight.

    How much of the work is sponsored?

    Issue credits can be marked as "volunteer" and "sponsored" simultaneously (shown in jamadar's screenshot near the top of this post). This could be the case when a contributor does the minimum required work to satisfy the customer's need, in addition to using their spare time to add extra functionality.

    While Drupal started out as a 100% volunteer-driven project, today the majority of the code on Drupal.org is sponsored by organizations. Only 12% of the commit credits that we examined in 2017-2018 were "purely volunteer" credits (6,007 credits), in stark contrast to the 49% that were "purely sponsored". In other words, there were four times as many "purely sponsored" credits as "purely volunteer" credits.

    A few comparisons between the 2017-2018 and the 2016-2017 data:

    • The credit system is being used more frequently. In total, we captured 49,793 issue credits across all 24,447 issues in the 2017-2018 period. This marks a 17% increase from the 42,449 issue credits recorded in the previous year. Between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017, 28% of all credits had no attribution while in the period between July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, only 25% of credits lacked attribution. More people have become aware of the credit system, the attribution options, and their benefits.
    • Sponsored credits are growing faster than volunteer credits. Both "purely volunteer" and "purely sponsored" credits grew, but "purely sponsored" credits grew faster. There are two reasons why this could be the case: (1) more contributions are sponsored and (2) organizations are more likely to use the credit system compared to volunteers.

    No data is perfect, but it feels safe to conclude that most of the work on Drupal is sponsored. At the same time, the data shows that volunteer contribution remains very important to Drupal. Maybe most importantly, while the number of volunteers and sponsors has grown year over year in absolute terms, sponsored contributions appear to be growing faster than volunteer contributions. This is consistent with how open source projects grow and scale.

    Who is sponsoring the work?

    Now that we've established a majority of contributions to Drupal are sponsored, we want to study which organizations contribute to Drupal. While 1,002 different organizations contributed to Drupal, approximately 50% of them received four credits or less. The top 30 organizations (roughly the top 3%) account for approximately 48% of the total credits, which implies that the top 30 companies play a crucial role in the health of the Drupal project. The graph below shows the top 30 organizations and the number of credits they received between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018:

    The top 30 contributing organizations based on the number of Drupal.org commit credits.

    While not immediately obvious from the graph above, a variety of different types of companies are active in Drupal's ecosystem:

    Category Description Traditional Drupal businesses Small-to-medium-sized professional services companies that primarily make money using Drupal. They typically employ fewer than 100 employees, and because they specialize in Drupal, many of these professional services companies contribute frequently and are a huge part of our community. Examples are Chapter Three and Lullabot (both shown on graph). Digital marketing agencies Larger full-service agencies that have marketing-led practices using a variety of tools, typically including Drupal, Adobe Experience Manager, Sitecore, WordPress, etc. They tend to be larger, with the larger agencies employing thousands of people. Examples are Wunderman and Mirum. System integrators Larger companies that specialize in bringing together different technologies into one solution. Example system agencies are Accenture, TATA Consultancy Services, Capgemini and CI&T (shown on graph). Technology and infrastructure companies Examples are Acquia (shown on graph), Lingotek, BlackMesh, Rackspace, Pantheon and Platform.sh. End-users Examples are Pfizer (shown on graph) or NBCUniversal.

    A few observations:

    • Almost all of the sponsors in the top 30 are traditional Drupal businesses. Companies like MD Systems (12 employees), Valuebound (58 employees), Chapter Three (33 employees), Commerce Guys (13 employees) and PreviousNext (22 employees) are, despite their size, critical to Drupal's success.
    • Compared to these traditional Drupal businesses, Acquia has nearly 800 employees and at least ten full-time Drupal contributors. Acquia works to resolve some of the most complex issues on Drupal.org, many of which are not recognized by the credit system (e.g. release management, communication, sprint organizing, and project coordination). Acquia added several full-time contributors compared to last year, however, I believe that Acquia should contribute even more due to its comparative size.
    • No digital marketing agencies show up in the top 30, though some of them are starting to contribute. It's exciting that an increasing number of digital marketing agencies are delivering beautiful experiences using Drupal. As a community, we need to work to ensure that each of these firms are contributing back to the project with the same commitment that we see from firms like Commerce Guys, CI&T or Acro Media. Compared to last year, we have not made meaningful progress on growing contributions from digital marketing agencies. It would be interesting to see what would happen if more large organizations mandated contributions from their partners. Pfizer, for example, only works with agencies and vendors that contribute back to Drupal, and requires that its agency partners contribute to open source. If more organizations took this stance, it could have a big impact on the number of digital agencies that contribute to Drupal
    • The only system integrator in the top 30 is CI&T, which ranked 3rd with 959 credits. As far as system integrators are concerned, CI&T is a smaller player with approximately 2,500 employees. However, we do see various system integrators outside of the top 30, including Globant, Capgemini, Sapient and TATA Consultancy Services. Each of these system integrators reported 30 to 85 credits in the past year. The top contributor is TATA with 85 credits.
    • Infrastructure and software companies also play an important role in our community, yet only Acquia appears in the top 30. While Acquia has a professional services division, more than 75% of the contributions come from the product organization. Other infrastructure companies include Pantheon and Platform.sh, which are both venture-backed, platform-as-a-service companies that were born from the Drupal community. Pantheon has 6 credits and Platform.sh has 47 credits. Amazee Labs, a company that is building an infrastructure business, reported 40 credits. Compared to last year, Acquia and Rackspace have slightly more credits, while Pantheon, Platform.sh and Amazee contributed less. Lingotek, a vendor that offers cloud-based translation management software has 84 credits.
    • We also saw three end-users in the top 30 as corporate sponsors: Pfizer (491 credits, up from 251 credits the year before), Thunder (432 credits), and the German company, bio.logis (319 credits, up from 212 credits the year before). Other notable customers outside of the top 30, include Workday, Wolters Kluwer, Burda Media, YMCA and OpenY, CARD.com and NBCUniversal. We also saw contributions from many universities, including University of Colorado Boulder, University of Waterloo, Princeton University, University of Adelaide, University of Sydney, University of Edinburgh, McGill University and more.

    We can conclude that technology and infrastructure companies, digital marketing agencies, system integrators and end-users are not making significant code contributions to Drupal.org today. How can we explain this disparity in comparison to the traditional Drupal businesses that contribute the most? We believe the biggest reasons are:

    1. Drupal's strategic importance. A variety of the traditional Drupal agencies almost entirely depend on Drupal to support their businesses. Given both their expertise and dependence on Drupal, they are most likely to look after Drupal's development and well-being. Contrast this with most of the digital marketing agencies and system integrators who work with a diversified portfolio of content management platforms. Their well-being is less dependent on Drupal's success.
    2. The level of experience with Drupal and open source. Drupal aside, many organizations have little or no experience with open source, so it is important that we motivate and teach them to contribute.
    3. Legal reservations. We recognize that some organizations are not legally permitted to contribute, let alone attribute their customers. We hope that will change as open source continues to get adopted.
    4. Tools barriers. Drupal contribution still involves a patch-based workflow on Drupal.org's unique issue queue system. This presents a fairly steep learning curve to most developers, who primarily work with more modern and common tools such as GitHub. We hope to lower some of these barriers through our collaboration with GitLab.
    5. Process barriers. Getting code changes accepted into a Drupal project — especially Drupal core — is hard work. Peer reviews, gates such as automated testing and documentation, required sign-offs from maintainers and committers, knowledge of best practices and other community norms are a few of the challenges a contributor must face to get code accepted into Drupal. Collaborating with thousands of people on a project as large and widely-used as Drupal requires such processes, but new contributors often don't know that these processes exist, or don't understand why they exist.
    We should do more to entice contribution

    Drupal is used by more than one million websites. Everyone who uses Drupal benefits from work that thousands of other individuals and organizations have contributed. Drupal is great because it is continuously improved by a diverse community of contributors who are enthusiastic to give back.

    However, the vast majority of the individuals and organizations behind these Drupal websites never participate in the development of the project. They might use the software as it is or don't feel the need to help drive its development. We have to provide more incentive for these individuals and organizations to contribute back to the project.

    Consequently, this data shows that the Drupal community can do more to entice companies to contribute code to Drupal.org. The Drupal community has a long tradition of encouraging organizations to share code rather than keep it behind firewalls. While the spirit of the Drupal project cannot be reduced to any single ideology — not every organization can or will share their code — we would like to see organizations continue to prioritize collaboration over individual ownership.

    We understand and respect that some can give more than others and that some might not be able to give back at all. Our goal is not to foster an environment that demands what and how others should give back. Our aim is not to criticize those who do not contribute, but rather to help foster an environment worthy of contribution. This is clearly laid out in Drupal's Values and Principles.

    Given the vast amount of Drupal users, we believe continuing to encourage organizations and end-users to contribute is still a big opportunity. From my own conversations, it's clear that organizations still need need education, training and help. They ask questions like: "Where can we contribute?", "How can we convince our legal department?", and more.

    There are substantial benefits and business drivers for organizations that contribute: (1) it improves their ability to sell and win deals and (2) it improves their ability to hire. Companies that contribute to Drupal tend to promote their contributions in RFPs and sales pitches. Contributing to Drupal also results in being recognized as a great place to work for Drupal experts.

    What projects have sponsors?

    To understand where the organizations sponsoring Drupal put their money, I've listed the top 20 most sponsored projects:

    RankProject nameIssues1Drupal core59192Webform9053Drupal Commerce6074Varbase: The Ultimate Drupal 8 CMS Starter Kit (Bootstrap Ready)5515Commerce Point of Sale (POS)3246Views3187Commerce Migrate3078JSON API3049Paragraphs27210Open Social22211Search API Solr Search21212Drupal Connector for Janrain Identity Cloud19713Drupal.org security advisory coverage applications18914Facets17115Open Y16216Metatag16217Web Page Archive15418Drupal core - JavaScript Modernization Initiative14519Thunder14420XML sitemap120
    Who is sponsoring the top 30 contributors? Rank Username Issues Volunteer Sponsored Not specified Sponsors 1 RenatoG 851 0% 100% 0% CI&T (850), Johnson & Johnson (23) 2 RajabNatshah 745 14% 100% 0% Vardot (653), Webship (90) 3 jrockowitz 700 94% 97% 1% The Big Blue House (680), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (7), Rosewood Marketing (2), Kennesaw State University (1) 4 adriancid 529 99% 19% 0% Ville de Montréal (98) 5 bojanz 515 0% 98% 2% Commerce Guys (503), Torchbox (17), Adapt (6), Acro Media (4), Bluespark (1) 6 Berdir 432 0% 92% 8% MD Systems (396), Translations.com (10), Acquia (2) 7 alexpott 414 13% 84% 10% Chapter Three (123), Thunder (120), Acro Media (103) 8 mglaman 414 5% 96% 1% Commerce Guys (393), Impactiv (17), Circle Web Foundry (16), Rosewood Marketing (14), LivePerson (13), Bluespark (4), Acro Media (4), Gaggle.net (3), Thinkbean (2), Matsmart (2) 9 Wim Leers 395 8% 94% 0% Acquia (371) 10 larowlan 360 13% 97% 1% PreviousNext (350), University of Technology, Sydney (24), Charles Darwin University (10), Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) (1), Department of Justice & Regulation, Victoria (1) 11 DamienMcKenna 353 1% 95% 5% Mediacurrent (334) 12 dawehner 340 48% 86% 4% Chapter Three (279), Torchbox (10), Drupal Association (5), Tag1 Consulting (3), Acquia (2), TES Global (1) 13 catch 339 1% 97% 3% Third and Grove (320), Tag1 Consulting (8) 14 heddn 327 2% 99% 1% MTech (325) 15 xjm 303 0% 97% 3% Acquia (293) 16 pifagor 284 32% 99% 1% GOLEMS GABB (423), Drupal Ukraine Community (73) 17 quietone 261 48% 55% 5% Acro Media (143) 18 borisson_ 255 93% 55% 3% Dazzle (136), Intracto digital agency (1), Acquia (1), DUG BE vzw (Drupal User Group Belgium) (1) 19 adci_contributor 255 0% 100% 0% ADCI Solutions (255) 20 volkswagenchick 254 1% 100% 0% Hook 42 (253) 21 drunken monkey 231 91% 22% 0% DBC (24), Vizala (20), Sunlime Web Innovations GmbH (4), Wunder Group (1), epiqo (1), Zebralog (1) 22 amateescu 225 3% 95% 3% Pfizer (211), Drupal Association (1), Chapter Three (1) 23 joachim 199 56% 44% 19% Torchbox (88) 24 mkalkbrenner 195 0% 99% 1% bio.logis (193), OSCE: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (119) 25 chr.fritsch 185 0% 99% 1% Thunder (183) 26 gaurav.kapoor 178 0% 81% 19% OpenSense Labs (144), DrupalFit (55) 27 phenaproxima 177 0% 99% 1% Acquia (176) 28 mikeytown2 173 0% 0% 100% 29 joelpittet 170 28% 74% 16% The University of British Columbia (125) 30 timmillwood 169 1% 100% 0% Pfizer (169), Appnovation (163), Millwood Online (6)

    We observe that the top 30 contributors are sponsored by 58 organizations. This kind of diversity is aligned with our desire to make sure that Drupal is not controlled by a single organization. These top contributors and organizations are from many different parts of the world, and work with customers large and small. Nonetheless, we will continue to benefit from an increased distribution of contribution.

    Limitations of the credit system and the data

    While the benefits are evident, it is important to note a few of the limitations in Drupal.org's current credit system:

    • Contributing to issues on Drupal.org is not the only way to contribute. Other activities, such as sponsoring events, promoting Drupal, and providing help and mentorship are also important to the long-term health of the Drupal project. Many of these activities are not currently captured by the credit system. For this post, we chose to only look at code contributions.
    • We acknowledge that parts of Drupal are developed on GitHub and therefore aren't fully credited on Drupal.org. The actual number of contributions and contributors could be significantly higher than what we report. The Drupal Association is working to integrate GitLab with Drupal.org. GitLab will provide support for "merge requests", which means contributing to Drupal will feel more familiar to the broader audience of open source contributors who learned their skills in the post-patch era. Some of GitLab's tools, such as inline editing and web-based code review, will also lower the barrier to contribution, and should help us grow both the number of contributions and contributors on Drupal.org.
    • Even when development is done on Drupal.org, the credit system is not used consistently. As using the credit system is optional, a lot of code committed on Drupal.org has no or incomplete contribution credits.
    • Not all code credits are the same. We currently don't have a way to account for the complexity and quality of contributions; one person might have worked several weeks for just one credit, while another person might receive a credit for ten minutes of work. In the future, we should consider issuing credit data in conjunction with issue priority, patch size, etc. This could help incentivize people to work on larger and more important problems and save coding standards improvements for new contributor sprints. Implementing a scoring system that ranks the complexity of an issue would also allow us to develop more accurate reports of contributed work.

    Like Drupal itself, the Drupal.org credit system needs to continue to evolve. Ultimately, the credit system will only be useful when the community uses it, understands its shortcomings, and suggests constructive improvements.

    Conclusion

    Our data confirms that Drupal is a vibrant community full of contributors who are constantly evolving and improving the software. While we have amazing geographic diversity, we still need greater gender diversity, in addition to better representation across various demographic groups. Our analysis of the Drupal.org credit data concludes that most contributions to Drupal are sponsored. At the same time, the data shows that volunteer contribution remains very important to Drupal.

    As a community, we need to understand that a healthy open source ecosystem includes more than the traditional Drupal businesses that contribute the most. We still don't see a lot of contribution from the larger digital marketing agencies, system integrators, technology companies, or end-users of Drupal — we believe that might come as these organizations build out their Drupal practices and Drupal becomes more strategic for them.

    To grow and sustain Drupal, we should support those that contribute to Drupal and find ways to get those that are not contributing involved in our community. We invite you to help us continue to strengthen our ecosystem.

    Dries

    Drupal 8.6.0 released

    1 week 5 days ago

    Last night, we shipped Drupal 8.6.0! I firmly believe this is the most significant Drupal 8 release to date. It is significant because we made a lot of progress on all twelve of Drupal 8 core's strategic initiatives. As a result, Drupal 8.6 delivers a large number of improvements for content authors, evaluators, site builders and developers.

    What is new for content authors?

    For content authors, Drupal 8.6 adds support for "remote media types". This means you can now easily embed YouTube or Vimeo videos in your content.

    The Media Library in Drupal 8.6

    Content authors want Drupal to be easy to use. We made incredible progress on a variety of features that will help to achieve that: we've delivered an experimental media library, added the Workspaces module as experimental, providing sophisticated content staging capabilities, and made great strides on the upcoming Layout Builder. The Layout Builder is shaping up to be a very powerful tool that solves a lot of authoring challenges, and is something many are looking forward to.

    The Workspaces module in Drupal 8.6

    Each initiative related to content authoring is making disciplined and steady progress. These features not only solve for the most requested authoring improvements, but provide a solid foundation on which we can continue to innovate. This means we can provide better compatibility and upgradability for contributed modules.

    The top 10 requested features for content creators according to the 2016 State of Drupal survey.What is new for evaluators?

    Evaluators want an out-of-the-box experience that allows them to install and test drive Drupal in minutes. With Drupal 8.6, we have finally delivered on this need.

    Prior to Drupal 8.6, downloading and installing Drupal was a complex and lengthy process that ended with an underwhelming "blank slate".

    Now, you can install Drupal with the new "Umami demo profile". The Umami demo profile showcases some of Drupal's most powerful capabilities by providing a beautiful website filled with content right out of the box. A demo profile will not only help to onboard new users, but it can also be used by Drupal professionals and digital agencies to showcase Drupal to potential customers.

    The new Umami demo profile together with the Layout Builder.

    In addition to a new installation profile, we added a "quick-start" command that allows you to launch a Drupal site in one command using only one dependency, PHP. If you want to try Drupal, you no longer have to setup a webserver, a database, containers, etc.

    Last but not least, the download experience and evaluator documentation on Drupal.org has been vastly improved.

    With Drupal 8.6, you can download and install a fully functional Drupal demo application in less than two minutes. That is something to be very excited about.

    What is new for developers?

    You can now upgrade a single-language Drupal 6 or Drupal 7 site to Drupal 8 using the built-in user interface. While we saw good progress on multilingual migrations, they will remain experimental as we work on the final gaps.

    I recently wrote about our progress in making Drupal an API-first platform, including an overview of REST improvements in Drupal 8.6, an update on JSON API, and the reasons why JSON API didn't make it into this release. I'm looking forward to JSON API being added in Drupal 8.7. Other decoupled efforts, including a React-based administration application and GraphQL support are still under heavy development, but making rapid progress.

    We also converted almost all of our tests from SimpleTest to PHPUnit; and we've added Nightwatch.js and Prettier for JavaScript developers. While Drupal 8 has extensive back-end test coverage, using PHPUnit and Nightwatch.js provides a more modern platform that will make Drupal more familiar to PHP and JavaScript developers.

    Drupal 8 continues to hit its stride

    These are just some of the highlights that I'm most excited about. If you'd like to read more about Drupal 8.6.0, check out the official release announcement and important update information from the release notes. The next couple of months, I will write up more detailed progress reports on initiatives that I didn't touch upon in this blog post.

    In my Drupal 8.5.0 announcement, I talked about how Drupal is hitting its stride, consistently delivering improvements and new features:

    In future releases, we plan to add a media library, support for remote media types like YouTube videos, support for content staging, a layout builder, JSON API support, GraphQL support, a React-based administration application and a better out-of-the-box experience for evaluators.

    As you can see from this blog post, Drupal 8.6 delivered on a number of these plans and made meaningful progress on many others.

    In future releases we plan to:

    • Stabilize more of the features targeting content authors
    • Add JSON API, allowing developers to more easily and rapidly create decoupled applications
    • Provide stable multilingual migrations
    • Make big improvements for developers with Composer and configuration management changes
    • Continually improve the evaluator experience
    • Iterate towards an entirely new decoupled administrative experience
    • ... and more

    Releases like Drupal 8.6.0 only happen with the help of hundreds of contributors and organizations. Thank you to everyone that contributed to this release. Whether you filed issues, wrote code, tested patches, funded a contributor, tested pre-release versions, or cheered for the team from the sidelines, you made this release happen. Thank you!

    Dries

    My re-entry from vacation

    2 weeks ago

    Today is the first day back from my two-week vacation. We started our vacation in Maine, and we ended our vacation with a few days in Italy.  

    While I did some work on vacation, it was my first two-week vacation since starting Acquia 11 years ago.

    This morning when the alarm went off I thought: "Why is my alarm going off in the middle of the night?". A few moments later, reality struck. It's time to go back to work.  

    Going on vacation is like going to space. Lots of work before take-off, followed by serenity and peaceful floating around in space, eventually abrupted by an insane re-entry process into the earth's atmosphere.

    I got up early this morning to work on my "re-entry" and prioritize what I have to do this week. It's a lot!

    Drupal Europe is only one week away and I have to make a lot of progress on my keynote presentation and prepare for other sessions and meetings. Between now and Drupal Europe, I also have two analyst meetings (Forrester and Gartner), three board meetings, and dozens of meetings to catch up with co-workers, projects, partners and customers.  Plus, I would love to write about the upcoming Drupal 8.6.0 release and publish my annual "Who sponsors Drupal development?" report. Lots to do this week, but all things I'm excited about.

    If you're expecting to hear from me, know that it might take me several weeks to dig out.

    Dries

    Farewell Megan, but not goodbye

    2 weeks 3 days ago

    As you might have read on the Drupal Association blog, Megan Sanicki, the Executive Director of the Drupal Association, has decided to move on.

    Megan has been part of the Drupal Association for almost 8 years. She began as our very first employee responsible for DrupalCon Chicago sponsorship sales in 2011, and progressed to be our Executive Director, in charge of the Drupal Association.

    It's easy to forget how far we've come in those years. When Megan started, the Drupal Association had little to no funding. During her tenure, the Drupal Association grew from one full-time employee to the 17 full-time employees, and from $1.8 million in annual revenues to $4 million today. We have matured into a nonprofit that can support and promote the mission of the Drupal project.

    Megan led the way. She helped grow, mature and professionalize every aspect of the Drupal Association. The last two years in her role as Executive Director she was the glue for our staff and the driving force for expanding the Drupal Association's reach and impact. She understood how important it is to diversify the community, and include more stakeholders such as content creators, marketers, and commercial organizations.

    I'm very grateful for all of this and more, including the many less visible contributions that it takes to make a global organization run each day, respond to challenges, and, ultimately, to thrive. Her work impacted everyone involved with Drupal.

    It's sad to see Megan go, both professionally and personally. I enjoyed working with Megan from our weekly calls, to our strategy sessions as well as our email and text messages about the latest industry developments, fun stories taking place in our community, and even the occasional frustration. Open source stewardship can be hard and I'm glad we could lean on each other. I'll miss our collaboration and her support but I also understand it is time for Megan to move on. I'm excited to see her continue her open source adventure at Google.

    It will be hard to fill Megan's shoes, but we have a really great story to tell. The Drupal community and the Drupal Association are doing well. Drupal continues to be a role model in the Open Source world and impacts millions of people around the world. I'm confident we can find excellent candidates.

    Megan's last day is September 21st. We have activated our succession plan: putting in place a transition team and readying for a formal search for a new Executive Director. An important part of this plan is naming Tim Lehnen Interim Executive Director, elevating him from Director, Engineering. I'm committed to find a new Executive Director who can take the Drupal Association to the next level. With the help of Tim and the staff, our volunteers, sponsors and the Board of Directors, the Drupal Association is in good hands.

    Dries

    Our vacation at Acadia National Park

    2 weeks 6 days ago

    For our 2018 family vacation, we wanted to explore one of America's National Parks. We decided to take advantage of one of the national parks closest to us: Acadia National Park in Maine.

    Day 1: Driving around Mount Desert Island An aerial photo of our rental house near Bar Harbor, Maine.

    We rented a house on the water near Bar Harbor. So on our first morning we explored the beach area around the house. In good tradition, the boys collected some sticks to practice their ninja moves and ninja sword fighting. Both also enjoyed throwing their "ninja stars" (rocks) into what they called "fudge" (dried up piles of seaweed). The ninja stars landed with a nice, soggy "plop".

    When not being pretend ninjas, Axl's favorite part of exploring the beach was finding sea life in the tidal pools. For Stan it was collecting various crab shells in hopes to glue them all together to make a whole crab.

    Next up, we drove around Mount Desert Island, stopped for lunch, visited Bass Harbor Lighthouse and explored the rocks. On the way, we saw multiple deer, which triggered a memory for Stan that he saw a "man deer".

    Stan: I saw a man deer once!
    Vanessa: What? A man deer? You mean like a half man and half deer?
    Stan: Yes.
    Vanessa: LOL! Like a mythical creature?
    Stan: Yes.
    Dries: You saw a deer that was half man and half deer in real life?
    Stan: Yes, you know a deer that is a man.
    Laughter erupted in the car
    Everyone: Oh, you mean a male deer!?
    Stan: Yes.

    Descending the steep stairs to the rocks near Bass Harbor Lighthouse.Stan standing on one of the many rock formations at Acadia National Park.

    Acadia's rocky landscape dates back to more than 500 million years ago. It's the result of continents colliding, volcanoes erupting, and glaciers scraping the bedrock. It all sounds very dramatic, and I'm sure it was. Sand, mud and volcanic ash piled up in thick layers, and over millions of years, was compressed into sedimentary rock. As tectonic plates shifted, this newly formed rock was pushed to the surface of the earth. The end result? One of the most stunning islands in the United States.

    Day 2: Hiking on Acadia Mountain

    This beautiful landscape is perfect for hiking so on the second day of our vacation, we decided to take our first hike: Acadia Mountain Trail. The forested trail quickly makes its ascent up Acadia Mountain, with a few sections of relatively steep rock formations that require a bit of scrambling. Once at the top, the trail took us along the ridge of the mountain with great views into Somes Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.

    The stunning view from Acadia Mountain Trail.

    Coming down was harder than going up; the trail down is steep. Vanessa and I often had to sit down and hop off the rocks. Axl and Stan, on the other hand, hopped down the rocks like the elves in The Hobbit. We were happily surprised how much they loved hiking. Axl even declared he enjoyed hiking much more than walking, because "walking is exhausting" to him.

    Descending Acadia Mountain Trail was harder than expected.

    After our hike we went to Echo Lake for a swim and picnic. It is a gorgeous fresh water lake in a spectacular setting. Imagine a beautiful mountain lake, next to 800 foot (250 meter) steep rocks. We even saw two bald eagles flying by when swimming. Pretty magical!

    Day 3: Watching the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain

    We woke up at 4am to the glaring noise of our alarm clock. There are few sounds worse than the blaring of an alarm clock, especially on vacation.

    I feel tired, but also excited. We drank a quick cup of coffee, and hit the road. By 5am we were up at the top of Cadillac Mountain, a different part of Acadia National Park. Cadillac Mountain is famously the first spot in the United States to see the sunrise.

    The view from the top of Cadillac Mountain minutes before sunrise.

    For the photographer in me, it also meant that I got to see the park in its most beautiful light. As the sun started to peek through, the colors first turned purple and blue, and then slowly yellow, until the morning sun covered everything in golden hues.

    The view from the top of Cadillac Mountain minutes after sunrise.

    To watch the sunrise from the top of a mountain is an experience worth getting up early for.

    Day 4: Rain day

    Raining today! In the morning, Vanessa made cornmeal griddle cakes with fresh Maine wild blueberries. Stan gave them a 10 on 10, and while Axl liked them a lot but he indicated he prefers it when the blueberries are still whole (hadn't popped during the cooking process) … our little food critics! :)

    We played a variety of board games throughout the day. It's fun to watch the boys start to think more strategically. In between games, Vanessa taught Stan how to make chocolate peanut butter chip cookies, and Axl how to make pasta bolognese. Both of the boys wrote down their recipes so they can make them again — we can't wait to try these!

    Playing a game of Pente.

    We also love our long dinner conversations about life. Axl said he has a great business idea. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing it here but it's a "self-charging smartphone". He is determined to sell his idea to Apple for $3.5 million dollars. This prompted a long conversation about how it's not enough to have a great idea, but how it takes a lot of determination and team work to bring such an idea to life. In that conversation, we covered a range of topics from working hard, to wealth, giving back, and what really matters in life to be happy.

    Day 5: Out on the water

    We started the day with a Kubb tournament (a lawn game that involves throwing wooden batons), where Stan and I won the first game, and then Stan gave the second game away to Vanessa and Axl. Nonetheless it was a lot of fun!

    After lunch we made our way into Bar Harbor and then boarded a boat to explore the Acadia coastline. On the boat tour we learned more about the animals indigenous to the area, the history of the park and how Bar Harbor came to be. On our trip we saw grey seals, Egg Rock Lighthouse and another bald eagle.

    Egg Rock Lighthouse in the distance.

    It wouldn't be a vacation in Maine without lobster and chowder. When we got back on land, we went to a lobster shack where we were able to pick out our lobsters, and then they were boiled in custom fishermen's nets in large pots filled with seawater outside over fires fed with local wood. The lobsters were cooked to perfection! Stan was in heaven as he had been craving lobster for weeks.

    Lobsters cooking in large pots filled with seawater.Day 6: Exploring Pemetic Mountain

    After a quick work call in the morning, we're off for a hike. We hiked Pemetic Mountain today; roughly 4 miles (6.5 kilometer) and 1,200 feet (365 meter) of elevation. Getting to the top involves some steep and strenuous uphill hiking, but the views of the ocean, surrounding forests, lakes and other mountains make it worth it. The appeal is not just in communing with nature, but also connecting with the boys.

    After our hike we grabbed lunch at Sweet Pea's Cafe. The name is misleading; it's not really a cafe, but a farm to table restaurant, and one were you are literally eating at the farm. All the food was fresh and delicious, and we all agreed to come back at a future trip (which is why I decided to capture the name in my blog).

    My favorite part of the day was undeniably the dance party we had in the kitchen just before dinner. No, there are not pictures of it. The party climaxed with Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline which involved us dancing and singing along. More than Neil Diamond, I love that we can dance and sing together without caution or reservation, and just being our true selves.

    Day 7: Hiking Bubble Rock

    We're kicking off the day with Axl and Stan doing some homework; math, reading, writing, reading the clock, etc. The entire month of August, we've been doing homework for about one hour a day. As it is often the case, it's frustrating me. I continue to be surprised how many mistakes they make or why they still don't seem to understand basic concepts. We'll keep practicing though!

    In the afternoon, we decided to hike Bubble Rock, named after one of the most famous boulders in Maine. Bubble Rock is a huge boulder that was placed into this unique position, teetering on the edge of a cliff, millions of years ago by a glacier. It makes you wonder how it remained in place for all these years. Of course, we tried to push it off, and failed.

    Giving the famous Bubble Rock at Acadia National Park a little push.Day 8: Chilling in the backyard

    The last day of our vacation, we just hung around the house. We played Spikeball (also called Roundnet), soccer, made pizza on the grill, collected shells on the beach, caught up on some work, and relaxed in the hammock. At home, we live in a condominium so we don't have a backyard or a large grill — just a small electric one. So playing games in the backyard and grilling actually makes for a wonderful experience. And with that last relaxing day, the Maine part of our vacation came to an end. We're headed back to the Boston suburbs, because the next day, we have a flight to Europe to catch. By the time you're reading this, we'll probably be in Europe.

    Vanessa making pizza on the grill, which has become a summer vacation tradition.

    Some photos were taken with my Nikon DSLR, some with my iPhone X and some with my DJI Mavic Pro. I wish I could have taken my Nikon on all our hikes, but they were often too strenuous to bring it along.

    Dries
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