EMAIL: blog: What’s new on – Q2/Q3 2021

Read our roadmap to understand how this work falls into priorities set by the Drupal Association with direction and collaboration from the Board and community. You can also review the Drupal project roadmap.

Initiative Updates

This is a new section for the “What’s new on” blog series. As Drupal itself increasingly depends on hosted services (for things like automatic updates, the project browser, etc.), the Drupal Association engineering team is more directly involved in key initiatives impacting Drupal itself. This section will also include updates that are ‘initiative scale’ that focus on our more traditional responsibilities in terms of maintaining for the community–and building the tools that let the community build Drupal.  

Project Messaging in Core

With Drupal 8 reaching end of life in November 2021, and Drupal 7 ending life in November 2022, reaching these end-users is more important than ever. 

We’ll collaborate with the core team to reach out about important migration messaging, updates, and other announcements. 

The Drupal Association spearheaded an initiative funded to add a feed of announcements from directly to core. This will allow us a communication channel to reach Drupal end-users directly in their Drupal installation for the first time in Drupal’s history. 

Automatic Updates Initiative

Automatic updates are a long-requested feature, and they provide a reduced cost of ownership for site owners, improved take up of new feature versions, and a better security position for sites at large. The Drupal Association first partnered with the European Commission to provide a contributed module that allows for automatic updates in Drupal 7.

For Drupal 9 and beyond, with Composer dependencies to manage and semantic versioning – this initiative is going to the next level and is on the path to inclusion in Drupal core. 

From the side, ensuring that the updates delivered are genuine and secure is a crucial element of this initiative. As the client-side of the auto-updater becomes closer to ready for use, we have funded support to help us secure the update supply chain using the TUF specification

Project Browser

A project browser and installer built right into the Drupal admin interface will improve site builders’ experience and provide a more straightforward pathway for new users to start their Drupal journey. 

This major initiative was announced in the #Driesnote at the last virtual DrupalCon North America. The Drupal Association hosts all the metadata about Drupal extensions on, and so this initiative requires that be prepared to serve the data needed to make the project browser work. We’re grateful for the help of u/grasmash, specifically in helping jumpstart this project by providing a development endpoint for the project json feed. 

Securely delivering the installed projects can build on the foundation of the work being done in the Automatic Updates initiative. 

GitLab Acceleration

At DrupalCon North America 2021 – Dries announced an acceleration of’s move to GitLab. Since then, we’ve been documenting contributor workflows, evaluating our resourcing needs, and writing a project plan

While is already backed by GitLab and has enabled merge requests since Nov of 2020, by leaning into more ‘off-the-shelf’ GitLab workflows, we hope to reduce the friction for new contributors, especially for those who already use GitHub or GitLab for their day jobs. 

We’re building a team of community contributors, staff, and contract support to get this project off the ground. 

Services from the Drupal Association

We also include another new section in this update. For the first time, the Drupal Association offers a SaaS product to the community to help ease the burden of responding to highly critical vulnerabilities if they should occur. As further enhancements and updates to the Drupal Steward program are made, we’ll talk about them here. 

Drupal Steward

Drupal Steward is a globally distributed web application firewall that can protect you and your clients’ Drupal sites in the event of a highly critical vulnerability. 

For qualifying security releases, Drupal Steward gives you peace of mind and the ability to schedule the update on your own time, instead of scrambling your whole team. 

This further improves Drupal’s excellent security posture and can be a differentiator between you and non-partner agencies. 

Learn more at Updates

Contribution Credit Recognition Updates

Drupal has pioneered contribution recognition in open source. We are the first project to systematically recognize organizational and non-code contributions, and we’re blazing a trail in understanding how to manage the incentives of recognition to focus the community’s efforts on the things that matter most. 

The Contribution Recognition System on has received several updates in the past 2 quarters:

  • Users can now add ‘Contributor roles’ to their profiles and credit companies who sponsor them. 
  • Non-code projects and new or niche projects with low usage numbers have received a boost in credit. No contribution is worth less than 1 credit. 
  • Credit for case studies has been tuned to reflect that we now need Drupal 9 stories(and soon Drupal 10!)

Drupal 8 end of life preparations

Drupal 8 reaches end of life in November 2021, and we’ve heard from many of you that contracts for site upgrades are coming in fast. 

The engineering team is easing the process in 2 ways: 

  1. We have automatically opened issues with many of the contributed modules that haven’t been updated, prompting module maintainers to do that final update or allow other maintainers to adopt modules. 
  2. We will be providing a ‘lenient’ Packagist endpoint that will allow users to Composer require D8 projects in Drupal 9 and install the necessary compatibility patches, if those projects haven’t yet made a release with full support. 

Updating Drupal from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 is vastly easier than any previous Drupal version upgrade – however, the module ecosystem is still a factor.

These initiatives led by the DA engineering team are helping our ecosystem of module maintainers get up to date and ready for the transition so that Drupal end-users have a smooth time updating their sites. 


As always, we’d like to thank all the volunteers who work with us and the Drupal Association Supporters who make it possible for us to work on these projects. In particular, we want to thank: 

If you would like to support our work as an individual or an organization, consider becoming a member of the Drupal Association

Follow us on Twitter for regular updates: @drupal_org, @drupal_infra

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