In September of 2022, two members of the ZenSource product team were selected for a coveted industry honor: Jacob Bell, Chief Architect from ZenSource, and I were chosen to speak at DrupalCon, a premier international gathering for those who use, develop, design and support the Drupal platform.
Held this year in Prague, DrupalCon 2022 explored the latest trends, emerging work and the future of the platform. The ZenSource team’s topic was best practices for companies in selecting a Drupal partner and platform through their RFP process.
Throughout the weeklong conference, which included a keynote from Drupal founder Dries Buytaert, we gained considerable insight into how other Drupal agencies and users are using the platform to elevate their clients’ web experiences. Here are the highlights:
A focus on security and enterprise scale
Perhaps the takeaway that resonated with us the most was the emphasis on Drupal at scale. Specifically, topics like data security, multi-site management, headless Drupal, accessibility and upgrades. Our own clients have recently expressed interest in these areas, as well as the concept of migrating from proprietary platforms to open source.
Other Drupal platforms and agencies are also putting their effort into the types of features that large enterprise web applications require. That includes an emphasis on keeping data safe. But since Drupal is open source, it also includes keeping data in the hands of its owners, versus some other proprietary platform.
Other keynotes focused on the Drupal community’s commitment to accessible web apps and Drupal’s own authoring. With the Drupal 7 end of life approaching, and Drupal 10 upgrades right around the corner, it’s increasingly important that the Drupal community makes upgrade paths simple and easy for our clients.
Here at ZenSource, we’ve implemented smooth transitions for our clients from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 and expect similar ease in upgrading to version 10. Many of the panels at DrupalCon discussed the hard work that went into making sure the 3rd party software for Drupal 10 (such as CKEditor) will continue to work with content created in Drupal 9.
UX, creative and content play nice
A number of agencies discussed their approach to collaboration across departments and how they’re creating efficiencies for their development lifecycles.
The concept of a shared design system was a consistent theme and something we practice here at ZenSource. Key focus areas included creating shared and reusable patterns, leveraging tools like Figma for alignment between designers and developers, and adapting process to identify and implement new patterns.
Various methods were explored for leveraging Drupal to accelerate design and development while also optimizing timelines and budgets.
One of our favorite parts of the conference was receiving feedback from our presentation’s attendees. Conversations went way beyond our scheduled Q&A session, as we spoke with agency owners to client-side marketing directors.
We shared feedback on best practices during an engagement. A favorite theme was the importance of requirements and roadmaps. When planned correctly, the initial project with a Drupal vendor should just be the beginning, with an emphasis on allocating ample requirement gathering for future phases.
We heard from experts around the globe who have tackled this within their own projects. There was wide agreement that the first project with your partner should serve as a foundation. Whether it’s achieving content scale, or developing future apps and integrations on top of that platform, a well-planned Drupal roadmap can be a key success driver.