That’s why when I saw the new Horizons track in the DrupalCon NOLA program this year, I was stoked. The creation of the interdisciplinary Horizons track represents a shift in the Drupal community towards supporting and adopting and learning from technologies that are changing the way we build websites. It’s a way for the community to “get off the island” and see what’s going on in other areas of our industry.
The best part of these sessions was that the presenters resisted the temptation to dogmatically bash Drupal, avoiding terms that have become low-grade insults like “monolithic” and “tightly coupled.” Instead, they showed that other frameworks, tools, and techniques can pick up the slack when Drupal falls short—Ember, React, Angular, Elm, and even GraphQL can have a place in the Drupal ecosystem.
Having worked with Drupal since 2010, I’ve had the opportunity to see it grow and evolve over the years. From my humble beginnings integrating with SOAP services (remember those?), to implementing complex SPAs (Single Page Applications) with Backbone.js and RESTful webservices with Node.js, my work with Drupal has always happened at the “messy edges,” as the DrupalCon program put it so aptly. But I’ve come to find that the most exciting work happens in the “messy edges.” When you begin pushing a piece of software to its limits, you know you’re building something exciting; it’s part of what makes web development interesting.
So, I have high hopes for the Drupal project. The Drupal community is self-reflective enough to see the flaws in the project and brave enough to reinvent itself. We’ve seen that with Drupal 8. Is there work to be done? Yes. But based on the sessions I saw and the discussions I heard at DrupalCon, I believe this community has what it takes to not only survive, but thrive.