Hallway to the Future: Reflections of a Drupal Enthusiast

Molly Byrnes, Account Director
#Drupal | Posted

Before we go to the future, a little detour to the past...

Enjoy the view from the top of the center of knowledge and mysticism of the Incas, facilitated by the incredible #DrupalPicchu.


Seven years ago, I decided to go in a new direction. I left the non-profit I’d been working for, which focused on my exact academic interests, to join an entertainment company. There, I would be a part of  a team building and using an internet system covered in nodes, blocks, exposed integers and pagers that run on computer time: Drupal.

As I looked into the future, this modular open source “content holder software” seemed poised to be a springboard for a lot of smart, kind, passionate people to come together and build something greater than themselves.

Community is Key

Fueled by meetups, the community has a very involved distributed culture and communication network in which people form alliances around ideas.  There were a lot of aspects reminiscent of some of the indigenous communities funded by the NGO where I'd previously worked. The center of both was "the community" or in Spanish "la communidad."  Even in a big company, the community is a major part of the story when open source is involved.

[caption id="attachment_8579" align="aligncenter" width="616"]Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 11.09.45 AM Some Sony connected Drupalers at DC Chicago. Photo credit: Thomas Turnbull[/caption]

About 2.5 years ago, I started a new chapter at Phase2, continuing along the path that I had started when I decided to see what all the Drupal fuss was about.

[caption id="attachment_8580" align="aligncenter" width="512"]Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 11.10.46 AM Phase2 orange related sign I saw in a cornfield.[/caption]

As one of the leaders in open source and big Drupal, Phase2 has a high concentration of smart, talented and passionate people in addition to the amazing clients we work with to build amazing open source web systems.

[caption id="attachment_7374" align="aligncenter" width="491"]DSCF1631 Phase2 team at DC Austin[/caption]

It’s All Happening.

Seven years later, we stand on the cusp of a very interesting time for open source. Drupal powers a key segment of the web, and its societal power to influence culture is outstanding. You can petition the president, donate to poverty fighting in NYC, buy a bicycle, keep up to date with latest science news or local news,  watch college sports, discuss servers and what software lives on them, coordinate the large amount of information on a humanitarian crisis, catch the latest music video, decide what to major in at your University, visualize a social movement, hear about the latest in international crowd funding,  and launch your own indigenous digital asset management library.

Drupal is not only the enterprise system of record for open source, but it is growing in leaps and bounds throughout the world, supported by its sophisticated multi-lingual underpinning. Over the last year, I've had the incredible opportunity to get to know the international community even more through attending and speaking at several amazing camps in South and Central America: Drupal Summit Loja, Drupal Camp Costa Rica, Drupal Picchu & Drupal Camp Mexico City.

[caption id="attachment_8581" align="aligncenter" width="494"]Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 11.14.45 AM Drupal Picchu group shot via Cristian Torres[/caption]

Right now, Drupal powers academic institutions, Fortune 500 platforms, and global non-profits. This is Drupal. This is what we have to start from! Not to mention Drupal's greatest asset: the incredible community of people that develop its core, use it to get their content to the world, make it easy to host, consult on strategies, and share approaches with others.

Looking to the Future of Open Source...

Just imagine - if all of the above has happened in the last seven years, what will the next 11 bring?

While the technical advances in Drupal 8 are amazing, it’s the implications for the communities around Drupal which I feel most connected to.

  • We are becoming more accessible to non-English languages through the #D8MI (Drupal Multilingual headed up by Gábor Hojtsy). This will allow Drupal to become more globalized than it already is, opening up our ability to interact with even more communities around the world.

  • We are becoming more technically accessible as well accessible. By Drupal adopting HTML5, we make it easier to create responsive, and accessible websites for a greater range of abilities and technical capacities.

  • Through the ideas in the Drupal as a RESTful data store it will become even easier for us to integrate with other software projects, making us more collaborative, and creating a more positive and open world.

As Drupal continues to evolve in the open source space and expand globally, I hope to see more inspiring stories like this one of a community using open source technology to build and operate their own cellular networks in rural Mexico.

I look forward to continuing to engage and be a part of this awesome community, and I’d like to hear your story as well. How did you get involved in our eclectic and awesome community? In what ways are you most excited to see Drupal evolve in the future?

If you are in the Bay Area this week, check out the Bay Area Drupal Camp (BADCamp) November 6th-9th.  This completely free, volunteer run 4 day conference is yet another example of the power of open source community.  Join me at the BADCamp non profit summit tomorrow to learn how nonprofits are leveraging Drupal to further their organization's missions and ultimately contribute to our shared global community.

And for those international adventurers and folks in Latin - the first DrupalCon Latin America is February in Bogota, Colombia #vamosalfuturo.

Molly Byrnes

Account Director