Q. What role does the Drupal Association play and why was it formed?
A. Drupal powers the best of the web. The Drupal Association unites a global open source community to build and promote Drupal. That means that we work within the community to grow Drupal adoption, grow and support the developer base for Drupal, and help the community learn and share with each other. So in short, the Association exists for one purpose - more Drupal!
At the Association, we work to achieve this through our programs, the most visible of which are the DrupalCons. However, we also run important programs like Community Cultivation Grants (https://association.drupal.org/grants) that provide seed funding to new Drupal community projects around the globe and Global Training Days (https://drupal.org/learn-drupal) which train thousands of new Drupal developers each year.
Q. What are the major contributions from the community in making Drupal a better CMS than other competing CMSs?
A. Contribution is definitely the key word. What I love about the Open Source community is the “Scratch Your Itch” principle. It’s an English phrase that means that if you run across something you don’t like, you fix it yourself. Drupalers do this all the time. Need a new way to handle forms? Write that module! Find a bug in the code? You can write the patch to fix it! Because Drupal is built on the model of community contribution, it is a very extensible platform - much more than a CMS. Finally, I would add that Open Source projects benefit from having thousands of QA engineers day in and day out, finding and fixing problems. This helps raise the quality of the product overall.
Q. Is Drupal the best Open Source CMS?
A. Of course it is! :) Though I wouldn’t stop at just the Open Source CMS examples. I could write a long list of the features of Drupal that I think make it better, but the most important reason Drupal is the best CMS is the Drupal Community. We definitely have a huge, diverse community of Drupal developers, site builders, designers, and end-users who really value contribution and helping others. So when you get stuck, someone will be there to help you move forward. And when you have a problem, you are going to get solutions from a variety of perspectives. And of course, the Drupal Community knows how to have fun. That’s the icing on the cake.
Q. What are the key benefits of being a Drupal Association member?
A. Association members get lots of great discounts (https://association.drupal.org/membership/benefits), and they get cool badges to display on their Drupal.org profiles, blogs, or web sites (https://association.drupal.org/taxonomy/term/524). And, members who contribute at a high enough amount also get cool Drupal swag, like a BPA free Drupal coffee mug. Most importantly though, Association members get the great satisfaction of funding the work that the Association does with the community—improvements to Drupal.org, global grants, training and more.
What are the major drupal.org improvements planned for the next 3 years?
Our work at the Association in 2013 was to create a framework that would allow us to work with the community to create more change on Drupal.org and to do that faster. Last year, we launched Drupal.org Working Groups (https://association.drupal.org/node/18033) and the Association board passed a budget and leadership plan for 2014 (https://association.drupal.org/node/18858) that invests USD 1.4 million in Drupal.org. So now we have a process for making decisions and a budget to implement those decisions - a huge step forward, that is allowing us to pay off a lot of technical debt on the site.
Our next step with the working groups will be to create a vision and roadmap for Drupal.org that looks further into the future. The one plan that is already on the books for the next couple of years is a reinvention of Drupal.org (https://association.drupal.org/content/reinventing-drupalorg). We are conducting research this year and plan to start iteratively implementing changes in 2015 that will allow us to better serve our key audiences.
Q. What has been Drupal 8's development road map so far? Should the community expect any surprises?
A. Well, as I’m sure you know, the one thing the Association does NOT do is influence core, so we learn what’s coming at the same time as the rest of the community. Sadly, I do not have any spoilers for you. That said, the Association is definitely gearing up to work with the community on a big launch when it is ready. We did launch a new page on Drupal.org to help everyone keep up to date with the latest Drupal 8 news (https://drupal.org/drupal-8.0). It’s already getting a ton of traffic, so we know this is going to be a great release.
Share your thoughts on future of Open Source Content Management Systems.
Well, the great news at this point is that Open Source Content Management Systems are increasingly mainstream. As adoption increases, I think that Open Source will become more generally accepted and we’ll see more Open Source innovation and adoption in related tool sets like marketing automation, email services, etc. I see Open Source Content Management Systems leading an overall adoption of Open Source tools in the enterprise. We’re the vanguard, if you will.
Q. Any plans for setting up an online store to sell official Drupal gear? We love Drupal swag!
A. Funny you should ask! We’ve just been putting the final touches on a store because the DrupalCon on-site stores are so popular. We’ll be soft launching in May, so keep your eyes peeled.