DrupalCon EUR 2023 - Day 3

So that’s it, DrupalCon Lille 2023 has come to a close - for me at least. I’m currently sitting in the train heading home. Now’s the perfect time to reflect on what’s been an amazing three days. And it really has been amazing! Lille has been the perfect host city, providing great brasseries with great beer and lots of food with lots of melted cheese all over it - who could ask for more? And this DrupalCon has provided me with so many opportunities to learn, to talk, to listen and to have fun. 2023 has been a vintage year.


I have to admit that day 3 started with me feeling pretty tired thanks to 1X Internet’s party last night. They really know how to party! But a coffee or two later I was ready to find out about some of the initiatives that aim to improve Drupal. 

My first stop was the talk on ‘Next Drupal admin UI improvements’ given by Cristina Chumillas and Sascha Eggenberger. I was really impressed by the thought and method that has gone into the initiative and I absolutely back their position that the different personas that use Drupal - the Administrator, the Site Builder and the Content Editor - have different needs that should be addressed individually. I love that they’ve spent so much time in research and that their decisions on how the admin UI should evolve are based on data rather than opinion.

They presented some of the designs and we got a glimpse of how the Gin Theme is going to evolve in order to be tailored to the different personas. What we saw is really encouraging and should go a long way in addressing some of the pain points that users of Drupal sometimes complain about.

I then dropped into Acquia’s very own Lauri Eskola’s talk about ‘Making Drupal a Better Out-of-the-Box Product’. I’m a Product Manager, so this session was particularly interesting as Lauri really drilled into the process improvements aimed at incorporating Product Management best practices into the ideas queue. If you want to have a quick introduction to Product Management, you could definitely do worse than watching the recording of this session. I really liked the emphasis on getting Product Managers involved early and taking time to do discovery before jumping into coding.

The ‘Drupal Core Initiative Leads’ keynote carried on the theme of improving Drupal. Wim, Felip, Mike, Fran-Garcia, Chris and Suzanne all exemplify Drupal’s greatest strength: the commitment and vision of its community members. I also was proud to hear about the involvement of Acquians in some of the key initiatives, such as Jillian Chueka’s work on design for the Project Browser, Wim taking the lead on config validation and the work and our Drupal Acceleration Team working on admin UI improvements. I came out of this keynote convinced that we as a community are ready to write the next chapter in the Drupal fairytale (see the Driesnote for context).

If you want to have more details about how Drupal will evolve and improve in the coming years, I highly recommend watching the recordings of these sessions, as well as many, many more that are available for you to watch at your leisure.

I want to wrap up with my thoughts on day 3 and DrupalCon Lille as a whole. Dries kicked us off on Tuesday with a cautionary tale about the competition that Drupal faces, but also a positive call-to-action to work together as a community to learn from what works well outside of the Drupal village and use that as inspiration to improve Drupal. The sessions I attended on day 3 showed that Dries’s call-to-action is being heeded. And as a whole, DrupalCon Lille 2023 has shown that the Drupal village is still the best place to live and that as a community we can do anything we put our collective minds to.

I hope to see you in Barcelona in 2024!