I think most peoples' part about attending DrupalCon is learning about the latest developments in the Drupal community and the exciting features that will be included in future releases of Drupal. What follows is a synopsis of the things that are exciting to us right now.
For content editors
In recent years, Drupal's development efforts have centred on improving its content editing capabilities. With the release of Drupal 8, the included WYSIWYG editor (CKEditor 4) will be upgraded to CKEditor 5. The tools for making and revising material are more refined in this new release. Some of these features are the option to convert to PDF, intelligent text predictions, and the ability to track changes and revision history. The latest version of CKEditor (CKEditor 5) is currently stable in Drupal 9.5 and is undergoing testing in preparation for its release with Drupal 10.
Localize.Drupal.org has also seen significant enhancements from the Drupal community. To improve the user experience for those who edit Drupal in languages other than English, this website provides a method of introducing languages into Drupal Core and promises to better translate the Drupal admin UI.
There is additional work being done to improve the Drupal toolbar for use by content editors. Current toolbar is excessively wide in vertical orientation and lacks drop-down menus for sub-menu navigation. By modernising the UI navigation pattern, modifying the information architecture, and providing the option to incorporate various menus that are tailored to the demands of different types of users, we want to make the toolbar more user-friendly and accessible for content editors and site builders alike.
The Drupal distribution and recipe movement both had announcements to make at DrupalCon Prague. Recipes are another tool that promises to streamline the process of developing a website; they provide a finer-grained approach to incorporating settings into your site and permit a degree of customisation that is unavailable when working with distributions.
Improve distribution discovery; usage of numerous distributions on a single project; installation at any point in a project's life cycle; simplified updates; distributions shipping demo material; these are all current aims of the Distribution and Recipes Project. A patch is available that can apply other recipes, generate and change settings, and install modules. Visit https://drupal.org/project/distributions recipes for further reading.
The new project browser tool being developed is another intriguing new endeavour for site builders. This will make it simpler for site builders to look for donated modules using Drupal's administration user interface. There are already more than 55 types of modules available on Drupal.org, which may be somewhat daunting for site builders. The new browser will streamline this process with fewer categories (ideas for which were discussed at DrupalCon) and helpful data to aid in the selection of modules that are a suitable match for individual projects.
At DrupalCon Prague, GitLab was officially introduced as the de facto standard tool for developers to utilise in order to manage code and track changes. Because of this, the development tools available on Drupal.org are replaced with a more comprehensive collection of tools (including simplified merge request processes) and a whole product. Drupal already has GitLab connectivity, and now all modules are getting the same treatment.
One of the most talked-about topics at both DrupalCon Portland and DrupalCon Prague this year was the feasibility of automatic updates for Drupal Core. There was extensive beta testing of the new update system at the Portland event, bringing this crucial feature closer to completion and suitable for inclusion in Drupal 10. It's one of the most desired additions to Drupal, and it'll make sure all Drupal sites are safe for their entire existence.
The future of CMS
One talk from Suzanne Dergacheva at DrupalCon Prague discussed where the industry is headed and how Drupal can help get you there faster than any other CMS. It serves this purpose still, but it also serves as a digital experience platform and an optimised content strategy platform, the latter of which excels because of the ease with which functionality can be layered on top of content in a way that is seamless.
Suzanne talked about how Drupal's ability to adapt to your content strategy and provide structured material that fits your needs is one of the platform's greatest assets. Consequently, you will be able to develop a solid plan and construct a Drupal platform to back it up. Additionally, Drupal's openness to integrating with other data sources and marketing tools gives you the freedom to pick and choose the technologies and solutions that make up your marketing and advertising stack.
Finally, she argued that Drupal is the best open-source option for creating engaging digital experiences. Better outcomes may be achieved in terms of content structure and the functionality, technology, and marketing stack built atop it by placing an emphasis on content strategy first. She also argued that maintaining your content strategy while utilising Drupal requires a solid content governance approach.
Drupal's future plans, including D10
When it comes to what's next in the Drupal project, the twice-yearly Driesnotes that are delivered at each DrupalCon are a good place to look. During his September keynote address at DrupalCon Prague, Drupal creator Dries Buytaert voiced some displeasure that Drupal itself doesn't get the publicity it deserves. He began by expressing his distaste for closed platforms like social networking and other proprietary software and praising Drupal as a hero of the open web because of the control it gives its users over their own data and the ability to modify it as they see fit.
During his keynote, Dries elaborated on the numerous ongoing efforts within the Drupal project, including the launch of GitLab, which he hailed as a significant step toward easing the burden of contributing to the Drupal platform for members of the Drupal community. At the end of 2022, he said, Drupal would release Drupal 10, which will provide stability for Olivero and CKEditor 5, an update to Symfony 6, and a reduction in the size of Drupal Core.
While neither the project browser nor the automatic updates were expected to be complete in time for Drupal 10, Dries still highlighted them as key undertakings that would likely be included in Drupal 10.2 and beyond. These, he explained, are what pull in the masses to Drupal and the wide web (and will facilitate the move to Drupal 10). By increasing visibility, these enhancements help bring the excellent work of Drupal's developers to the attention of the wider Drupal community.