Commercial Progression presents Hooked on Drupal, “Episode 16: Drupal is Dead - Long Live Drupal". In this episode of the Hooked on Drupal podcast we dare to cover the most controversial of Drupal news, including the Dave Hall blog post signaling the imminent decline of Drupal. Could it be true? Tune in and find out if Drupal 8 is already dead or just getting ready to take off. We also cover the takeaways from the latest Driesnote at the 2017 DrupalCon in Baltimore. If that is not enough, you should tune in just to meet Garrett Miller, the latest Front-end Developer to join Commercial Progression. 

Drupal, We Need to Talk - Dave Hall Blog Post

Dave Hall, a Drupal consultant from Australia, published a provocative blog post leading up to DrupalCon Baltimore. The "Drupal, We Need to Talk" blog post sparked considerable interest online as Dave laid out his very real concerns around the slow adoption of Drupal 8 and the future of the Drupal project overall. The Hooked on Drupal podcast team present and debate the arguments of the post.

DrupalCon Baltimore 2017 Driesnote Review

DrupalCon Baltimore occurred this past April, and in typical fashion Dries Buytaert delivered the State of Drupal presentation, also know as the Driesnote. For sure, this year's Driesnote was met with anticipation and anxiety. Dries directly addressed the ongoing controversy that had gripped the Drupal community leading up to the event. He also presented many interesting facts about the adoption of Drupal 8 and the bright future of the platform. We break down the highlights of the Driesnote presentation with typical Hooked on Drupal banter.

Garrett Miller

Garrett Miller Front-end Drupal Developer at Commercial ProgressionGarrett is a Front-end Web Developer who draws from his diverse background to develop responsive websites with the Commercial Progression team. He studied Comparative Cultures and Politics at Michigan State University and completed a full-time Front-End Bootcamp through Grand Circus in Detroit Michigan. He spent the last year traveling America and immersing himself in the all things tech, because... why not? His interests include: biking, chess, history, music, and much more. He doesn't have a dog, but if he did he'd call it "Chompers" after Noam Chomsky.


Hooked on Drupal Content Team

BRAD CZERNIAK - Developer 


RUSTY MARTIN - Developer

GARRETT MILLER - Front-end Developer



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Hooked on Drupal podcast, Drupal 8 adoption and DrupalCon discussions



00:12 Shane: Good morning everybody. Today is a Friday, May 5th, 2017, and this is Hooked on Drupal, brought to you by Commercial Progression, a Symmetri company. And we are joined today by Rusty, Garrett, Hillary, and perhaps at some point Brad is gonna walk in. Is that...

00:32 Hillary: I hope so. I hope he arrives at work.

00:33 Shane: That's what we're assuming, anyway. Audio check. You guys... We need to introduce and I need to get audio levels on the new people. Well, Rusty, you were in the last podcast.

00:47 Rusty: Yeah...

00:47 Hillary: Yeah. Rusty was here before us, so...

00:48 Shane: It's the Garrett Show today.

00:49 Hillary: The Garrett Show.

00:50 Garrett Miller: 1, 2...

00:50 Shane: Today's the Garrett Miller Show. Could you give me a 1, 2 check...

00:53 Garrett: 1, 2. Check 1, 2. 1, 2.

00:55 Shane: Oh, coming through great. [chuckle] And from here on out, what Garrett said he wanted to do right off the bat was a technical breakdown of Drupal 9.


01:09 Garrett: I already have it all mapped out. Yeah.

01:11 Shane: Yeah. I thought you had some really great insights on that. I'd love to just open up the floor.

01:16 Garrett: I think the teleportation features are gonna be out of this world. [chuckle] It's really... [chuckle]

01:23 Shane: Yeah, who would've thought to bake that in along with everything else and... Good point, Garrett.

01:29 Garrett: Yeah.


01:33 Shane: Weren't some of those features, didn't they steal some of that from the Windows 97 code?

01:38 Garrett: Yeah, I think so, yeah. They're really just revamping 97, Windows 97 [chuckle] and adding a few things and bringing it to the modern era, yeah.

01:47 Shane: Yeah, Yeah. Well, I'm glad that, 'cause I thought that was [chuckle] a particular release of the Windows OS that was overlooked. So I'm glad that the Drupal community recognized that and brought it back. Anyway, we digress. So, I think I did introduce everyone. People know Rusty from the last podcast. They know Hillary from most of the podcasts and...

02:13 Hillary: Not most. Most of the ones from last year.

02:16 Shane: At least, okay.


02:19 Garrett: Some podcasts.

02:19 Hillary: A couple of podcasts...

02:21 Shane: A couple...

02:21 Hillary: This might be my fifth or sixth.

02:23 Shane: That's pretty good...

02:24 Garrett: That's a lot...

02:25 Hillary: But you have 14 episodes, right?

02:27 Shane: Okay, okay.

02:28 Garrett: This is my first.

02:28 Shane: And unfortunately I'm on all of the greatest hits...


02:33 Hillary: Fortunately.

02:34 Shane: Yeah.

02:34 Rusty: I would say fortunately.

02:35 Shane: Fortunately.

02:36 Hillary: You know where to add the crickets?

02:37 Shane: Yeah. I can say things and if we don't have things to say, the crickets will be inserted and we previewed that.

02:43 Garrett: Yeah, we did. We were testing the crickets sound.

02:45 Shane: Yeah, so for sound check, room silence...

[cricket noise]

02:52 Shane: Crickets will be inserted right there.


02:56 Hillary: No, no.

03:00 Shane: But Garrett is the newest. Well not the newest anymore, Hubert is...

03:04 Hillary: Yes, Hubert is the newest.

03:05 Shane: The newest addition to the team here.

03:07 Hillary: For talking devs Garrett's the newest.

03:09 Rusty: Yeah.

03:09 Shane: Okay. And front end development specifically.

03:14 Rusty: Yeah, front end specialist for Drupal, so...

03:19 Hillary: We got him site building though, he got to site build the Drupal 8 site, so that was a nice learning experience.

03:26 Garrett: It was, yeah.

03:28 Hillary: Yeah.

03:28 Garrett: Everything has been a learning experience [chuckle] but that was a very nice learning experience. Yeah.

03:33 Hillary: Yeah, site building is a different thing and it's usually pretty quick, so people don't specialize in it.

03:40 Shane: Maybe a couple of shout-outs to the hiring process. How did we find you?

03:48 Garrett: So I was doing front end boot camp at Grand Circus in Detroit, which is like a two-month program, and we did a demo day where we broke up into little groups and built our own projects. We build some things like to help you find a good place to study, holding Yelp coffee shops, and then you could rate them based on criteria that would be good for studying outlets and good for groups and that kind of stuff. And Chris and Alex were at the demo day, so I talked to them a little bit then, had a couple of follow-up calls over Christmas break. Interviewed in January a couple of times and then the great journey began on February 6th, yeah. [chuckle]

04:33 Shane: [04:33] ____ It is, you're here.

04:35 Garrett: And now I'm here. Yeah.

04:35 Rusty: You only forgot to mention one very specific thing.

04:39 Garrett: What is that?

04:40 Rusty: The magnificent beard you possess.

04:44 Garrett: Yeah...

04:44 Hillary: Yes, you're right. Yeah. As soon as Chris and Alex saw the beard they were like, [laughter], "That looks gonna round out the dev team perfectly."


04:50 Shane: We had some conversations about that, yeah.

04:52 Hillary: It's like, "There's one candidate who's got an amazing beard." [laughter] He's pretty good front end, but the beard.

05:00 Garrett: That's where I keep my brains.


05:04 Shane: Right up front.

05:05 Garrett: Where I sort of learn things.

05:06 Hillary: You can't get rid of it.

05:06 Garrett: Yeah, it's my mind palace and my beard.

05:07 Shane: Well it does streamline the hiring process quite a bit, [chuckle] the first 30 seconds of visual [05:15] ____ you could tell this person is gonna fit or not.

05:19 Garrett: When we hired Hubert I think it was... Well for that month afterwards I think he's changed a little bit now. But when we hired Hubert he was the only guy in the office without a beard actually, so I think it was a prereq of working here.

05:34 Shane: I've talked to him about that.

05:37 Garrett: Yeah. [chuckle] He had one for a week, I think. He started to grow it out for like a week and...

05:40 Hillary: Yeah I know. He brings his own sense of style though. His first day he wore pink pants, which is, that was a stretch but he pulled it off.

05:50 Shane: No, he's definitely...

05:51 Hillary: He's very stylish.

05:52 Shane: Upgrading our general style. I'll speak for myself, I try to wear the same Charlie Brown outfit, [laughter] most days. And yeah, Hubert, definitely we wanna lead with him on presentation.

06:09 Hillary: Yes.

06:10 Shane: When people come in, just... See? Look how grown-up we are.

06:14 Shane: Yeah.

06:16 Shane: Look how coordinated...

06:17 Hillary: Don't look in the death cave.

06:18 Rusty: Speaking of grown-up, I couldn't let this pass, something you said. It was very quiet, and it was tossed in there. But you mentioned that your beard is your mind palace.

06:27 Garrett: Yeah, yeah.


06:31 Rusty: That's pretty fantastic.


06:32 Rusty: I couldn't let it go, so I just had to throw that in there.

06:36 Garrett: Every strand is its own little... [chuckle]

06:38 Rusty: Yeah, yeah. No, I dig it.


06:43 Shane: Thank you for pointing that out.

06:44 Rusty: Absolutely.

06:45 Shane: I totally overlooked that.

06:48 Rusty: Absolutely.

06:48 Shane: And I think with that, we've pretty much covered the content for today's podcast episode. We can handle some of the general housekeeping. There was a DrupalCon, I think, recently. Where was it? Was it Baltimore?

07:08 Rusty: Baltimore, yeah.

07:08 Shane: Which I'm familiar with, 'cause I've been watching The Wire. Recently, I just started watching. So I know all about how the crime syndicates work there. [chuckle] But apparently it's a good place to host a DrupalCon as well. So we had a couple of talking points about DrupalCon, and the Driesnote, and some community news. And some of it's a little bit touchy, we'll see if we can get into it. I don't know if we're ready for... Oh, look at that...

07:41 Hillary: Oh. Speak of the devil.

07:43 Shane: Oh we have a special guest, special guest.

07:46 Hillary: Were someone's ears burning? [chuckle]

07:52 Shane: Let's present Hubert, and his fashion for today. Oh, he's sporting... Oh is that a Carhartt? Oh could you give us a spin?


08:01 Shane: He just walked right by. I think Hubert, today I was presenting...

08:05 Hillary: Yeah, the camera's over here. You have to come into this area.

08:07 Shane: This is a Carhartt book bag. What color is Carhartt?


08:18 Hillary: It's like a tan...

08:18 Rusty: It's Carhartt color.

08:18 Shane: Tan?

08:18 Hillary: Tan is a good color, I mean...

08:20 Shane: He's using a tan Carhartt [chuckle] book bag, and a tweed... Is that a tweed jacket?

08:26 Hillary: I don't know.

08:28 Shane: No? Speckled tweed?

08:29 Hillary: Speckled tweed. [chuckle]

08:30 Rusty: Over the hoodie though, [08:31] ____ for flats. That's casual, I like it.

08:34 Shane: So just evidence to our previous statement. Hubert brings all competency to wardrobe and fashion. [chuckle] And he's trying to elevate... The best I can do, is I now wear my symmetry Patagonia vest. [chuckle] And...

08:54 Shane: Targe?


08:57 Shane: Targe, yeah.


09:01 Shane: But otherwise we do have some wardrobe challenges that Hubert's helping us with.

09:07 Hillary: Yes.


09:11 Shane: But we were getting ready to talk about BDSM, right? [chuckle] Did I say that? I didn't mean to...


09:19 Hillary: I think we're gonna stay clear of that one.

09:21 Shane: We're gonna just totally side-step that one?

09:23 Hillary: Yes.

09:23 Rusty: Yeah.

09:24 Shane: It was kind of controversial, and it's caused some trouble in the community. We don't wanna cause any trouble. Let's just move right past that. But there was a DrupalCon...

09:32 Rusty: Yeah, Baltimore.

09:34 Shane: And there was a Driesnote. And then we also came across the... Or actually in the community, there was kind of some commenting around this. Was it Adam Hall? Who's the guy that...

09:45 Rusty: Dave Hall.

09:46 Shane: Dave Hall. I can't remember... [chuckle] So Dave Hall, blog post. In my summary of it, it was kind of like 'Drupal is Dead, Long Live Drupal'. But maybe that's not accurate. So you can guys can help me.

10:02 Hillary: That's the extreme takeaway from this. I don't think we have to go that far.

10:06 Shane: Okay. Help me out.

10:07 Rusty: No. I would say that the gist of what he was trying to say, is that, adoption of Drupal 8 seems to be relatively slow, in comparison to adoption of previous Drupal versions. And really he's just expressing concern as to, how do we fix it? How do we make sure that Drupal doesn't... How does it not die off? Right? We don't want that.

10:35 Garrett: And I think what he was trying to highlight, too, as one of the larger causes of that decline in use, was the preference for like more modular entire systems. Having just known JS, and then just a front end framework, and separating things out more, which I thought was interesting. From my takeaway, it seems like Drupal 8 has gone, made steps to move in that direction as well, so I thought that was an interesting take on it.

11:06 Hillary: Yeah. And he did mention in there that, it's more than just decoupled Drupal, that we need to strive towards.

11:13 Shane: Yeah.

11:15 Rusty: Something I thought was interesting, when they were talking about the keynote. And I appreciated the article, but I'm not so sure how I feel about some of the things that were said. I don't have any stats as far as differences in adoption, but just thinking about the differences in adoption rates, if those are factual. Why? Why is Drupal 7 so different than Drupal 8? And I think a lot of that is, there's a big learning curve difference for people, both already existing Drupal developer site, site builders, themers, and all that kind of stuff. Right?

12:00 Shane: Well I think... I'm gonna interrupt you.

12:01 Rusty: That's fine.


12:03 Shane: So, and I've told my story too many times, but site builder is where I started in. And like Drupal was still something that was pretty approachable as a site builder to mass populace, right? Anyone can get in there and start checking boxes and start to see a site emerge, whereas once you start building a toolset that really is geared towards development teams, it excludes a lot of the one-man shop web designers that are just gonna pick up Drupal on the side, which Drupal 7 you can do still, right? I mean you could...

12:45 Rusty: And I think you still can with Drupal 8, right?

12:47 Hillary: I think you can.

12:48 Rusty: I don't think that that's gone away. I think the difference is like for front-end guys, girls, anybody, we switch from PHP template to Twig. Right? There's a big difference between the two. And there's a lot of layers underneath of that when you start looking at the back-end and the Symfony framework, it's a lot different than Drupal 7, right? There's a lot of similarities because the concepts are the same, but in practice, development is just different, and there's a steeper learning curve to get in there. So I think probably a lot of shops are just working through that learning curve, and I think the adoption rates are probably gonna pick up. And thinking about that, and when I saw the... I didn't see the trees, no, but the slides and stuff, one of the things he mentioned is that... I think it's that last month being April, there were 15,000 brand new sites that launched on Drupal 8. And it's like, yeah, I don't have a solid comparison between the two, but, I mean it does seem like it's picking up and I think we're seeing a lot more stuff. Internally here, we're seeing a lot more Drupal 8. So...

14:03 Garrett: Yeah. It seems like they are updating a lot of core modules and they are... Yeah, Drupal 8, from 8 to 8.3, there's already been significant improvements [14:12] ____ that's due, so more people are adopting them like there's less bugs. And as newbies take on it as well, since I was not familiar with any of these Drupal systems before I started too, I keep hearing that Drupal 8 has a steeper learning curve, and I'm sure it does 'cause it's Twig and PHP and all of that, but having like... I was learning Drupal 7 for the first time on the first sites, and then Drupal 8 on the next site that I did and I honestly found Drupal 8 syntax and Twig templates and all that, almost even easier to work with than the PHP templates. So I think there is a big learning curve, but it's just a learning curve to get into it rather than continue on using it is how it feels to me.

15:00 Rusty: Yeah. I guess I would say like... I think my sentiment is more coming from Drupal 7 going to Drupal 8, the learning curve because you're used to the way that Drupal 7 did a lot of stuff.

15:13 Shane: Yeah.

15:14 Shane: And it was around for... It was the Drupal CMS for how many years? Like...

15:19 Rusty: Seven?

15:19 Hillary: Seven. Something like that, yeah.

15:21 Shane: That's quite... I mean people's entire careers rise and fall and...

15:24 Hillary: Oh yeah. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, and I think that's one of the things that they wanted to get better in Drupal 8 was new adoption periods. So, it's good that they were able to get closer to that, with Drupal 8 it's...

15:39 Rusty: Yeah. I think the other thing, and you said you saw the Driesnote, so correct me if I'm wrong.

15:43 Shane: I will.


15:45 Rusty: Thank you.

15:46 Shane: So far so good.

15:48 Rusty: He was talking about module updates, and they mentioned, I think we're at a point now where the top 50 modules are all ported from 7 to 8 now, so there are stable eight releases, and...

16:03 Hillary: I'm seeing a lot more.

16:04 Rusty: Yeah, and obviously lots of stuff in Core that wasn't in Core in 7, so...

16:10 Shane: So, that sounds accurate.

16:11 Hillary: Yeah, internally we had to wait awhile for contributed modules to catch up so that we could build some Drupal 8 sites. I think our first Drupal 8 site launched last month.

16:23 Shane: Right. Yeah, I mean it was a slower burn on getting people acquainted and yeah, the whole community has to rally around all the contrib updates and all that kinda stuff. And we were waiting for the upgrade package and, for a couple of years we had that sponsorship thing out there with OS Training, and we had a conversation going with them. And finally in 8.3, there's something to document about upgrading from 7 to 8 with a legitimate path, but it took better than, what, a year and a half to build that.

17:03 Rusty: Yeah.

17:03 Hillary: Yeah.

17:04 Shane: And Dries did have a couple of notes around that, basically there's a million Drupal 7 sites that are probably starting to think about, should they upgrade and when? And what's that gonna look like? And now there actually is a path out there to do it.

17:21 Rusty: Yeah.

17:21 Hillary: Yeah.

17:26 Shane: So... So anything else on the Adam Hall?

17:30 Rusty: Dave Hall.

17:30 Hillary: Dave Hall.

17:32 Shane: Dangit, that's twice.


17:33 Garrett: Darrell Hall?


17:35 Shane: Doogie?


17:40 Shane: There were some comments that came in. It seemed like it generated a lot of conversation.

17:45 Hillary: Yeah. One of the big takeaways that I took from that was just the way in which websites are changing. Now people are going towards Laravel and those types of site setups and we no longer have to shoehorn a site into a CMS if that's not the correct solution for it. And so it just got us thinking, internally, where that dividing line is between, do we put it in the Drupal CMS, or do we try to build it with something like Jekyll? Because it's a very simple site.

18:17 Shane: And does Drupal 8 with all of its IPA... No, not IPA, that's what we drink on Fridays. API.


18:27 Shane: What it's build like...

18:28 Hillary: I don't drink IPAs on Fridays, they're gross. [laughter]

18:31 Shane: Drupal should've included an IPA, I think that would have made it a lot more popular. But, they're pushing this API first, right? But not API only was kind of a statement. Does that make it still a central meeting place for all these other technologies like a Jekyll or these other tools...

18:52 Hillary: It can help with it. That's another thing that Dave Hall touched on was that...

18:56 Shane: Adam.

18:57 Hillary: Adam Hall, [chuckle] sorry... Was that Drupal does content management really well, so we can use it Headless Drupal for content management. We can use it as an API for the content management so that our front-end can be something like no JS, but that's where we should focus the future of Drupal is, we do content management really well. We should be like a Unix-based approach, do something right and do it well.

19:30 Shane: Pick one thing. Kinda like Brad.

19:34 Hillary: Yeah. Speak of the devil.

19:35 Rusty: Speaking of Brad.


19:36 Brad: Who told you?

19:37 Hillary: [chuckle] Well there's a pool skimmer, come on in.

19:40 Shane: Pool boy.

19:41 Shane: Did he get a pool at his new house?

19:43 Shane: Yes.


19:45 Shane: Your new job is a pool boy.

19:47 Hillary: Yes.


[background conversation]

19:54 Shane: We got the whole crew out here. Waiting for Andy to walk through the door.

19:58 Hillary: Yeah. [chuckle]

20:01 Garrett: One thing on the article, too, I don't know, he... Also a newbie perspective again, like being new to it. Drupal is amazingly powerful and I really can't see it... Just there's so much potential to do with it and with Headless... We built our first Headless site as well. And it seems like the options are unlimited and what you really want to do with it. I agree with what Rusty said a while ago. Well I think we're gonna start to see more people use Drupal 8, and I think the issues that we had in switching over to it, just waiting for things to catch up, make sure core is secure and contrib modules were there. It just takes just a little bit of time and the transition period there. Hopefully, we do see more and more usage to Drupal 8 now that those things have become more stable. But we built our first Headless one and like to get into API first, not API-only in the future, and more progressive Headless in the future. I think all those options, all the critiques that he brought up in the article, there's solutions for in Drupal.

21:19 Shane: Yeah. And I’m new to the community, but some of my vantage point is observing the community. I think some of his feedback is like, just, I don't know, the swell of support for Drupal might be different in the future and at first it's disheartening that, again, it's not like such a populous available technology. And so you're worried like, "Oh, there's not as many people chatting about it on Google." But the people that are, are working on really impressive sites. So there might be a smaller community compared to what the initial versions of Drupal were able to accommodate, just because it's a more advanced technology, right? I mean how many... And so my [22:14] ____ recently I'm doing this blog series on WordPress vs Drupal. And that's one of the big things that you just have... Yeah, you have millions of WordPress users out there because you can pop up a site in five minutes and start blogging and you're done, if that's all you wanna do. But there's different technologies that are gonna cater to different communities that might be small.

22:37 Rusty: Yeah.

22:38 Hillary: Yup.

22:39 Rusty: I think that's a pretty good parable, the Drupal versus WordPress. They're different use cases, right? They're just not meant to do the same thing and I think to some degree Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 are diverging in that same way, right? Where we're getting the Headless Drupal available, where that APIs and things like that. We can use different front-ends and all that kind of stuff. And it's just an entirely different use case. I think people are probably still exploring, "How can we implement Drupal 8? What are these new things we can do? How can we take to somewhere else?" I think all of those things are gonna end up with Drupal 8 be in a really good place. I don't think it's a...

23:37 Shane: And it's still the beginning, it's very...

[overlapping conversation]

23:38 Hillary: Oh yeah.

23:39 Rusty: Exactly.

23:39 Shane: Yeah.

23:40 Brad: The point of process.

23:40 Shane: Oh, who is this is guy?

23:42 Brad: Hi. Isn't it inherently weird that the most popular platform for making stuff on the web is a blogging platform. Everyone talks about how blogging is dying, but people are making way tons and tons of WordPress sites, so there's not that blogging groundswell that you would've seen in the [24:04] ____ OTTs. I don't know if there is anything relevant there to say, and it's weird.

24:10 Rusty: I always thought that it was weird that WordPress was set up to make blogs. That's what I feel like its default, what it does, but seems like majority of the people I know that make WordPress sites it's not really a blog. They're not really managing a blog. They're putting posts on it. It's like an actual just site for small business or something.

24:31 Brad: Well, there's this analogy, I guess, with Drupal in 5 and 6 and, I guess 7 you weren't gonna make anything without views. So you had to get Drupal, then get views and put it all together. With WordPress now, yeah, if you're not publishing a blog-blog, then you have to install stuff that does all the fielding and all the other things in order to even just get started. It just seems they have to have a pivot at some point to realize that it's not RSS-driven anymore.

25:10 Shane: The world has changed.

25:11 Hillary: Yes.

25:12 Shane: We have like a minute left, if that... Did we cover... We covered everything important. I'm sure we got that out of the way in the first five minutes.

25:21 Hillary: Yes.

25:21 Rusty: Yeah.

25:23 Shane: Anything else? I hate to go out on a down-note, just saying it's the end. That might be the end of the podcast right there.


25:34 Hillary: I wouldn't call that a down-note.

25:35 Shane: No, that was really good.

25:36 Garrett: It was a good podcast.

25:37 Hillary: Yeah.

25:37 Garrett: It was a good 30 minutes. We had a good 30 minutes.

25:39 Rusty: It was solid.

25:40 Shane: That was a summary statement. It's over.


25:42 Hillary: It's done. Go home.

[overlapping conversation]

25:44 Rusty: We should end with silence and crickets.


25:46 Shane: Yeah, cue crickets.



25:50 Rusty: Or vibrating phones.


25:54 Hillary: You're ruining it!


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