In this article, we break down some of the key areas of skills to cultivate in the new highly digitalized reality.
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We are happy to now announce that Donna has completed the provisional period of her membership and is now a full member of the team. During the provisional period, Donna had limited access to CWG archives, and was able to assist on CWG issues, not lead them. In addition, we periodically spent time during our weekly meetings talking about past issues, with a focus on the lessons learned, in an effort to transfer as much knowledge as possible. Emphasis was placed on process and collaboration more so than the individual issues revisited.
Having had the opportunity to pressure-test the new on-boarding process in addition to the Community Health Team involvement requirement, we now believe that it is essential to providing a gentler on-ramp for new Conflict Resolution Team members, and adds value to those we aim to serve.
Looking ahead, our team will need to continue to grow to ensure effective and timely responses to needs of our community. As this is a slow process, we have already begun looking for the next member of the team. Regardless of if you’re a current member of the Community Health Team, or just a Drupal community member with a passion for community health, we’d love to talk to you about what being on the Conflict Resolution Team involves – please reach out to us at drupal-cwg at drupal.org.
All members of the Community Working Group must adhere to our Code of Ethics.
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Like all great things, Drupal 8’s end of life date is nearing. Basically, when a version of Drupal reaches its end of life, the Drupal Community stops all the operations around it, that is, simply put, stops working on it and doesn’t provide free support. And, the core development comes to a halt where no new features are added and no bugs get fixed. So, we definitely have more than just a few questions to ponder over and make business critical decisions. Let’s jump on them right away.
On this day, Drupal 8 will be marked an end of life product before the release of Drupal 9.3.0. Drupal 8’s largest third party dependency is Symfony 3 which is going to be termed end of life in November 2021. Moving to Symfony 4 is not an option here since that would break the backward compatibility with previous versions of Drupal 8.
Simply put, upgrading from Drupal 8 to 9 is a cakewalk in comparison to upgrading from Drupal 7 to 8/9. Therefore, Drupal 7 end of life has been extended and will get community-based security coverage till November 28, 2022 so that Drupal 7 site owners will get ample amount of time to upgrade. Drupal 7 will also get vendor extended support till November 2025.
Your website will still function normally, but only for a certain period of time. With Drupal Community no longer releasing security updates for Drupal 8, and the symfony communities not updating the code your site depends upon, something or the other will break after a while and there will definitely be security vulnerabilities discovered.
That’s a big NO. You will simply not get a grace period. You travel to a place, make memories and everything seems like a fairytale until you need to bid goodbyes. Like everything else in life, you have to confront the end of a beautiful time spent and move on to the next chapter.
There is no vendor extended support for Drupal 8 after its end of life.
If you are still on Drupal 8, upgrade to Drupal 9.2 before November 2, 2021 to keep your website safe and secure as the Drupal 9.1 security coverage will end right after the Drupal 8 end of life. More on this ultimate guide to Drupal 9.
While previous major version upgrades like Drupal 7 to 8 had a bigger architectural change, migrating from Drupal 8 to 9 is more similar to a minor version of Drupal core except for the removal of long-planned deprecations.
While using the admin UI or updating content, you won’t see any difference between Drupal 8.9 and Drupal 9.0 as they have the same features. The underlying technology stack that Drupal relies upon has been updated thereby making your site more safe and secure.
Migrating from Drupal 8 to 9 is only a matter of update.php if your codebase is not using deprecated APIs anymore. Drupal 9 upgrade tools can further help in recognising and solving the deprecated APIs in your codebase. Working on Drupal.org with the maintainers of contributed projects and themes can be helpful to make those projects Drupal 9 compatible.
Learn more on Drupal 9 upgrade here:
Symfony 4, which Drupal 9 currently uses, will reach its end of life in November 2023, and that will spell the end of life for Drupal 9 too. With the new minor release schedule in place, upgrades to new major releases of Drupal isn’t a hurdle anymore. Much like Drupal 8 to 9 migration, Drupal 9 to 10 and future major version upgrades will continue to be a no-big-deal affair.
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Roughly two weeks after the alpha release, the first beta release will be created. All the restrictions of the alpha release apply to beta releases as well. The release of the first beta is a firm deadline for all feature and API additions. Even if an issue is pending in the Reviewed & Tested by the Community (RTBC) queue when the commit freeze for the beta begins, it will be committed to the next minor release only.
The release candidate phase will begin the week of November 22. See the summarized key dates in the release cycle, allowed changes during the Drupal 8 and Drupal 9 release cycles, and Drupal 8 and 9 backwards compatibility and internal API policy for more information.
The scheduled release date of Drupal 9.3.0 is December 8, 2021.
The Drupal 10 branch will be opened for development when meaningful third party component updates are available. We will post an update when that happens.
Security coverage for Drupal 8 and 9 is generally provided for the previous minor release as well as the newest minor release. However, Drupal 8.9.x is a Long-Term Support release where support is provided until November 2, 2021. Based on these the following changes are upcoming:
|Drupal 8.9.x||Security releases will be provided until November 2, 2021. Bugfix support is restricted to selected low-disruption major and critical bug-fixes.|
|Drupal 9.1.x||Security releases will be provided until the release of Drupal 9.3.0 on December 8, 2021. Bugfix support is restricted to selected low-disruption major and critical bug-fixes.|
|Drupal 9.2.x||Normal bugfix support ends on December 8, 2021. However, security releases are provided until the release of Drupal 9.4.0 on June 15, 2022.|
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We don’t have anything on the agenda at the moment, so join us for an informal chat about anything at the intersection of Drupal and nonprofits. Got something specific on your mind? Feel free to share ahead of time in our collaborative Google doc: https://nten.org/drupal/notes!
All nonprofit Drupal devs and users, regardless of experience level, are always welcome on this call.
This free call is sponsored by NTEN.org and open to everyone.
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The report might be of interest even if you don’t use Drupal. It provides insights into the inner workings of one of the largest Open Source projects in the world.
This year’s report shows that:
We looked at all Drupal.org issues marked “closed” or “fixed” in the 12-month period from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. This is across issues in Drupal Core and all contributed projects, including all major versions of Drupal.
Each “Drupal.org issue” tracks an idea, feature request, bug report, task, or more. It’s similar to “issues” in GitHub or “tickets” in Jira. See https://www.drupal.org/project/issues for the list of all issues.
In the spring of 2015, I proposed some ideas for how to give credit to Drupal contributors. A year later, Drupal.org added the ability for contributors to attribute their work to an organization or customer sponsor, or mark it the result of volunteer efforts.
Drupal.org’s credit system is unique and groundbreaking within the Open Source community. It provides unprecedented insights into the inner workings of a large Open Source project. There are a few limitations with this approach, which I’ll address at the end of this report.
In the 12-month period between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, Drupal.org’s credit system received contributions from 7,420 different individuals and 1,186 different organizations. We saw a 10% decline in individual contributors, and a 2% decrease in organizational contributors.
For this report’s time period, 23,882 issues were marked “closed” or “fixed”, a 30% decline from the 2019-2020 period. This averages out to 65 issues marked “closed” or “fixed” each day.
In total, the Drupal community worked on 3,779 different Drupal.org projects this year compared to 4,195 projects in the 2019-2020 period — a 10% year-over-year decline.
|Metric||2019 – 2020||2020 – 2021||Delta|
|Number of individual contributors||8,303||7,420||-12%|
|Number of organizational contributors||1,216||1,186||-2%|
|Number of issues “fixed” or “closed”||31,153||23,882||-23%|
|Number of projects worked on||4,195||3,779||-10%|
To understand the slowdown, I looked at the behavior of the top 1,000 contributors:
A 7.7% annual attrition rate in the top 1,000 contributors is very low. It means that the average contributor in the top 1,000 is active for 13 years. In other words, Drupal’s top 1,000 contributors are extremely loyal — we should be grateful for their contributions and continued involvement in the Drupal project.
While we can’t compare Open Source projects like Drupal to commercial companies, it might be useful to know that most commercial organizations are very happy with an attrition rate of 15% or less. This means that an employee stays with their employer for almost 6.5 years. Nowadays, a lot of people don’t stay with their employer for that long. When it’s put that way, you can see that an attrition rate of 7.7% is very good!
The big takeaway is that the top individual and organizational contributors aren’t leaving Drupal. They just became less active in 2020-2021.
Next, I looked at the behavior of the top 250 organizations:
The top Drupal agencies remain very committed to Drupal. While many agencies contributed less, very few agencies stopped contributing to Drupal altogether.
As part of my research, I reached out to some of the top contributing Drupal agencies. The main reason why they are contributing less is that they are too busy growing:
We grew 33% so far in 2021. We have grown our contribution as well, but there has been a shift from code contributions to non-code contributions. We’ve contributed less code because Drupal has all the features we need to deliver amazing digital experiences, and has become really stable and robust. There has been less code to contribute.— Baddý Sonja Breidert, CEO of 1xINTERNET, Germany
We have grown 35% in the last year — from around 65 employees to 90.— Nick Veenhof, CTO of DropSolid, Belgium
Customer investment in digital has accelerated by several years the past 12 months. We grew our Drupal practice by 35% in the past year.— Paul Johnson, Drupal Director at CTI Digital, UK
We grew 27% in revenue last year. We expect to continue on that growth trajectory. Our only concern is shortage of Drupal talent.— Janne Kalliola, CEO of Exove, Finland
We grew 40% over the last year. This has been driven by an increased demand for large Drupal projects on tight deadlines. With more time pressures from clients and changing personal commitments, it’s been more difficult for people to find the time to contribute. But also, more of our contribution shifted from Drupal.org to GitHub, and doesn’t use the credit system.— Stella Power, Managing Director of Annertech, Ireland
It’s great to see so many Drupal agencies doing well.
Other than being too busy with client work, the following secondary reasons were provided:
There is no doubt that COVID has accelerated a lot of digital transformation projects, but it has also slowed down contribution. Parents are busy home-schooling their children, people have Zoom-fatigue, some families may have lost income, etc. COVID added both stress and extra work to people’s lives. For many, this made contribution more difficult or less possible.
Drupal agencies provided many valid reasons for why contribution is down. In addition to those, I believe a Drupal Super Cycle might exist. The Drupal Super Cycle is a new concept that I have not talked about before. In fact, this is just a theory — and only time will tell if it is valid.
The Drupal Super Cycle is a recognition that Drupal’s development cycle ebbs and flows between a “busy period” and “quiet period” depending on when the next major release takes place. There is a “busy period” before a major release, followed by a “quiet period” after each major release.
Major Drupal releases only happen every 2 or 3 years. When a major release is close, contributors work on making their projects compatible. This requires extra development work, such as adopting new APIs, subsystems, libraries, and more. Once projects are compatible, the work often shifts from active development to maintenance work.
The last major Drupal release was Drupal 9, released in June of 2020. Last year’s report analyzed contribution activity between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. This period includes the 11-month period leading up to the Drupal 9 release, the Drupal 9 release itself, and 1 month after the Drupal 9 release. It’s the “busy period” of the Super Cycle because the Drupal community is getting thousands of contributed modules ready for Drupal 9.
This year’s report analyzes contribution data starting 1 month after the Drupal 9 release. There was no major Drupal release this year, and we are still 9 to 14 months away from Drupal 10, currently targeted for the summer of 2022. We are in the “quiet period” of the Super Cycle.
If the Drupal Super Cycle concept is valid, we should see increased activity in next year’s report, assuming we remain on track for a Drupal 10 release in June of 2022. Time will tell!
Contribution credits decreased across all project types, but increased for Drupal Core.
Core contributions saw a 7% year-over-year increase in credits, while work on contributed projects — modules, themes and distributions — are all down compared to last year.
The top 30 individual contributors between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 are:
For the weighted ranking, I weighed each credit based on the adoption of the project the credit is attributed to. For example, each contribution credit to Drupal Core is given a weight of 10, because Drupal Core has about 1 million active installations. Credits to the Webform module, which has over 450,000 installations, get a weight of 4.5. And credits to Drupal’s Commerce project get 0.5 points, as it is installed on around 50,000 sites.
The weighting algorithm also makes adjustments for Drupal’s strategic initiatives. Strategic initiatives get a weight of 10, the highest possible score, regardless of whether these are being developed in Drupal Core’s Git repository or in a sandbox on Drupal.org.
The idea is that these weights capture the end user impact of each contribution, but also act as a proxy for the effort required to get a change committed. Getting a change accepted in Drupal Core is both more difficult and more impactful than getting a change accepted to a much smaller, contributed project.
This weighting is far from perfect, but so is the unweighted view. For code contributions, the weighted chart may be more accurate than a purely unweighted approach. I included both charts:
No matter how you look at the data, all of these individuals put an incredible amount of time and effort into Drupal.
It’s important to recognize that most of the top contributors are sponsored by an organization. We value the organizations that sponsor these remarkable individuals. Without their support, it could be more challenging for these individuals to contribute.
When people contribute to Drupal, they can tag their contribution as a “volunteer contribution” or a “sponsored contribution”. Contributions can be marked both volunteer and sponsored at the same time (shown in jamadar’s screenshot near the top of this post). This could be the case when a contributor does paid work for a customer, in addition to using unpaid time to add extra functionality or polish.
For those credits with attribution details, 16% were “purely volunteer” (7,034 credits). This is in stark contrast to the 68% that were “purely sponsored” (29,240 credits). Put simply, roughly two-thirds of all contributions are “purely sponsored”. Even so, volunteer contribution remains very important to Drupal.
Volunteers contribute across all areas of the project. A lot of volunteer time and energy goes towards non-product related contributions such as event organization, mentoring, and more. Non-code contributions like these are very valuable, yet they are under-recognized in many Open Source communities.
Similar to the individual contributors, I’ve ranked organizations by both “unweighted contributions” and “weighted contributions”. Unweighted scores are based solely on volume of contributions, while weighted scores also try to take into account both the effort and impact of each contribution.
If you are an end user looking for a company to work with, these are some of the companies I’d work with first. Not only do they know Drupal best, but they also help improve your investment in Drupal. If you are a Drupal developer looking for work, these are some of the companies I’d apply to first.
A variety of different types of companies are active in Drupal’s ecosystem:
|Traditional Drupal businesses||Small-to-medium-sized professional services companies that primarily make money using Drupal. They typically employ fewer than 100 employees. Because they specialize in Drupal, many of these companies contribute frequently and are a huge part of our community. Examples are Third and Grove, OpenSense Labs, Srijan, etc.|
|Digital marketing agencies||Larger full-service agencies that have marketing-led practices using a variety of tools, typically including Drupal, Adobe Experience Manager, Sitecore, WordPress, etc. Many of these larger agencies employ thousands of people. Examples are Wunderman Thompson, Possible, and Mirum.|
|System integrators||Larger companies that specialize in bringing together different technologies into one solution. Example system integrators are Accenture, TATA Consultancy Services, EPAM Systems, and CI&T.|
|Hosting companies||Examples are Acquia, Pantheon, and Platform.sh, but also Rackspace or Bluehost.|
|End users||Examples are the European Commission or Pfizer.|
A few observations:
I often recommend end users to mandate contributions from their partners. Pfizer, for example, only works with agencies that contribute back to Drupal. The State of Georgia started doing the same; they made Open Source contribution a vendor selection criteria. If more end users took this stance, it could have a big impact on Drupal. We’d see many more digital agencies, hosting companies, and system integrators contributing to Drupal.
While we should encourage more organizations to sponsor Drupal contributions, we should also understand and respect that some organizations can give more than others — and that some might not be able to give back at all. Our goal is not to foster an environment that demands what and how others should give back. Instead, we need to help foster an environment worthy of contribution. This is clearly laid out in Drupal’s Values and Principles.
Supporting diversity and inclusion is essential to the health and success of Drupal. The people who work on Drupal should reflect the diversity of people who use the web.
I looked at both the gender and geographic diversity of Drupal.org contributors.
While Drupal is slowly becoming more diverse, less than 9% of the recorded contributions were made by contributors who do not identify as men. The gender imbalance in Drupal remains profound. We need to continue fostering diversity and inclusion in our community.
A few years ago I wrote a post about the privilege of free time in Open Source. I made the case that Open Source is not a meritocracy. Not everyone has equal amounts of free time to contribute. For example, research shows that women still spend more than double the time as men doing unpaid domestic work, such as housework or childcare. This makes it more difficult for women to contribute to Open Source on an unpaid, volunteer basis. Organizations capable of giving back should consider financially sponsoring individuals from underrepresented groups to contribute to Open Source.
Free time being a privilege is just one of the reasons why Open Source projects suffer from a lack of diversity.
The gender diversity chart above shows that there is a growing number of individuals that no longer share their gender identity on Drupal.org. This is because a couple of years ago, the gender field on Drupal.org profile was deprecated in favor of a Big 8/Big 10 demographics field.
Today, over 100,000 individuals have filled out the new “Big 8/Big 10” demographics field. The new demographics field allows for more axes of representation, but is also somewhat non-specific within each axis. Here are the results:
Drupal.org recently introduced the ability for contributors to identify what contributor roles they fulfill. The people who hold these key contribution roles can be thought of as the leaders of different aspects of our community, whether they are local community leaders, event organizers, project maintainers, etc. As more users begin to fill out this data, we can use it to build a picture of the key contributor roles in our community. Perhaps most importantly, we can look at the diversity of individuals who hold these key contributor roles. In next year’s report we will provide a focused picture of diversity in these leadership positions.
We saw individual contributors from 6 continents and 121 countries. Consistent with the trends described above, most countries contributed less compared to a year earlier. Here are the top countries for 2020-2021:
Europe contributes more than North America. However, contribution from Europe continues to decline, while all other continents have become more active contributors.
Asia, South America, and Africa remain big opportunities for Drupal; their combined population accounts for 6.3 billion out of 7.5 billion people in the world.
It is important to note a few of the current limitations of Drupal.org’s credit system:
Because of these limitations, the actual number of contributions and contributors could be much higher than what we report.
While we have fewer contributions and fewer contributors compared to last year, it is not something to be worried about. We can attribute this to various things, such as COVID-19, agency growth, and the Drupal Super Cycle.
Our data confirms that Drupal is a vibrant community full of contributors who are constantly evolving and improving the software. It’s amazing to see that just in the last year, Drupal welcomed more than 7,000 individual contributors and over 1,100 corporate contributors.
To grow and sustain Drupal, we should support those that contribute to Drupal and find ways to get those that are not contributing involved in our community. We are working on several new ways to make it easier for new contributors to get started with Drupal, which I covered in my latest DrupalCon keynote. Improving diversity within Drupal is critical, and we should welcome any suggestions that encourage participation from a broader range of individuals and organizations.
Wed, 10/20/2021 – 06:44
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