Every strategic initiative begins with a vision. Drupal’s success as an opensource project substantially thrives on its vision for strategic initiatives. The adoption of continuous innovation and strategic initiatives since Drupal 7 is what distinguishes it from the rest. With successful past initiatives like the Configuration Management initiative (CMI), the Web services initiative, Layout initiative, Media initiative and more, the Drupal community is all charged up to be working on many more initiatives as you are reading this. 

But what exactly are strategic initiatives? What initiatives are Drupal working on? Who makes them? Why should you care? Read on to find answers to these burning questions.

Drupal Strategic Initiatives

What are Strategic Initiatives?

Thomas Edison – the man who garnered over 1000 patents - had once said in an interview – “I have not failed 10,000 times but have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work”. Success comes when you embrace changes that can lead you to your end goal. The day you stop evolving is the day you stop growing. Strategic initiatives are typically sparked from a need for a change that guides an organization towards its future goals. It fuels growth and development of a product or organization.

How are Drupal’s Core Strategic Initiatives formulated?

As a continuously evolving opensource project, its strategic initiatives must always result in a breakthrough for Drupal. But how does Drupal’s project lead - Dries Buytaert – come up with these initiatives? 

  • They are backed by solid data. Regular surveys and usability studies are conducted to help build this data. This is usually done after every major Drupal release.
  • Fueled by a vision to build superlative digital experiences focusing mainly on non-technical content authors and site builders.
  • Market relevancy and competitor research is performed to ensure improvements on editorial, developer and customer experiences are delivered.
  • The initiative ideas are validated via community collaboration and discussions.

Initiative Stages

Proposed Stage: This is the beginning stage of the initiative where the initiative is recommended by Dries or the Drupal community members.

Planned Stage: This is when the initiative is nurtured with detailed plans. A strong team of initiative contributors is created who set goals and plans for the initiative.

Active Stage: This stage is where the real work happens, and the initiative comes alive.

What are the current initiatives Drupal is working on?

At DrupalCon North America 2021, the audience witnessed a first-of-its-kind “Initiative days” program where each day was dedicated to one initiative. Here the initiatives were introduced, discussed, and contribution sprints were also held at the end the program. 

  • Decoupled Menus Initiative

This initiative was proposed by Dries during his DrupalCon Global 2020 keynote speech. The goal of this initiative is to build APIs and documentation that can enable JavaScript frontend developers to integrate Drupal menus to the frontend in the best way possible. It also aims at offering content editors and site builders with an easy and intuitive way to build menus on Drupal with very less to no code. However, the broader goal of this initiative is to create a pattern that can be replicated to build various decoupled components, thus making Drupal the best decoupled CMS in the market.

  • Easy Out of The Box Initiative

During a user survey at a DrupalCon in 2019, it was gathered that many users preferred Drupal over other CMSs’ but only after a while of using it. Simply put, Drupal wasn’t as much of a CMS choice of a beginner user as much it was of an expert Drupal user. Which meant that Drupal needed to be more acceptable even at the beginner level. The goal of the Easy Out Of The Box (EOOTB) initiative is to make Drupal easy right out of the box for non-technical users as well. It bundles the three initiatives together – Layout, Media and Claro – to offer unmatched and simplified user experiences.

  • Automated Updates Initiative

Automated updates was one of the highest requested Drupal features in a survey conducted in 2020. The vision of this initiative is to address the challenges faced by small to midsized businesses in updating their Drupal sites manually. It aims at ensuring the website is safe to update and verify updates with package signing. Updates applied should also be able to be rolled back in case of any errors. 

  • Drupal 10 Readiness Initiative

Similar to the success of the Drupal 9 readiness initiative that ensured a smooth and on-time release of Drupal 9 by June 2020, the Drupal 10 readiness initiative aims at guaranteeing a timely release of Drupal 10 by June 2022. Along with an on-time release, the goals are also to get Drupal 10 compatible with the latest versions of the dependencies like PHP, Symfony, jQuery, Guzzle and more. Older modules, themes and other dependencies will also need to be deprecated.

  • New Front-end Theme (Olivero) Initiative

The goal of this initiative is to build a fresh new front-end theme with many improvements than what we had previously in Bartik. Olivero is going to be a modern theme with a positive and powerful look and feel. It aims at offering functionality that can support new features like the layout builder, embedded media and more. It will also be WCAG AA conformant ensuring the theme passes Drupal’s accessibility standards.

  • Project Browser Initiative

The Project browser initiative is at its very early stages – the planning stage. The initiative was proposed by Dries during DrupalCon North America 2021. The vision is to build a project browser that makes it easy for users to find and install modules without using command line. It aims at making module discovery and installation easy and fast.

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