All this week I am in Denver attending the 2012 Drupalcon, and I am doing my best to blog about all that I learn. The core of drupal is of course the open source of knowledge.
To start things off Dries (he who invented Drupal) gave his annual keynote, with a focus this year on "winning hearts and minds through innovation". Dries emphasiseed that in order for products/companies to thrive the need to continuously innovate, or face death in the market place. A great insight that I totally agree with, in order to stay relevant and competitive, you cannot focus on what people want today, but look towards (and build) what they will want tomorrow.
Since Drupal is a single product how does it innovate? Well as Dries covered in his keynote it is through improving four key aspects of drupal (with focus on Drupal 8). the focus is on improving and working with Drupals strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Drupal has many strengths, but the best is by far its community. The Drupal community is huge (around 3,000 attendees at Drupalcon this year) and by fostering growth and talent in Drupal it can thrive in the CMS/framework marketplace.
Like everything Drupal has some weakpoints, places where it could use some improvements. Looking at the current weaknesses and addressing them with the development of Drupal 8, we can make drupal more innovative.
Rudimentary authoring. More and more content editors (those who will be working with a drupal site day-to-day) are involved with choosing their CMS solution. By adding more powerful/easy to use authoring tools into drupal 8's core it can be come an easier and better solution for authors. Some of these improvements (that are being worked on for drupal 8) are inline editing, better media support and easier layout building tools.
An aging framework. Since Drupals inception it has been built on again and again, making it something that once was an easy platform for hobbiests and new developers to pickup and develop with. But now, it has become very complex that it can be a bit daunting for new comers to Drupal (as well as more experienced developers). The solution, Symphony. Drupal 8 is going to be adopting parts of the symphony framework into its core to make Drupal development easier, faster and more reusable. Direes also talked about working on plans for developing drupal SDK's and distributions to make it easier to develop/share.
A focus on mobile. the mobile market is ever increasing (a stat stated by Dries is that mobile browsing experience is expected to grow 25x in the next 5 years). to stay innovative and great for users Drupal needs a better focus on mobile. In all aspects, easier to developemobile drupal applications (both native and mobile browsers), easier for visitors to view drupal applications on mobile (Drupal 8 with use HTML5 and have a RESTful api within its core) and easier for content editors to maintain their aplication from a mobile stand point.
Finally Dires laid out a rough timeline for the next innovation of Drupal, Drupal 8. an expected feature freeze in December and a code freeze in February. Drupal 8 is expected to be released by August of 2013. Only 18 short months away!
The time for my first coffee break is up, onto my first session. Based on the awesome opening keynote I'm looking forward to what Drupal has in store for me this year.