DrupalCon Portland Day 1 Recap

DrupalCon Portland (2024 edition) kicked off with a bang at the Oregon Convention Center yesterday. This is the third time the conference has been at this venue–and I’ve been fortunate enough to attend all three. And, this year’s iteration is shaping up to be a really significant entry in the DrupalCon codex. 

For some context, the last time we were all in this building was only two years ago, but so much has changed globally in a very short period of time. 2022 marked the first return to in an in person conference for the Drupal community. As a result, mask mandates were in place for the conference / exhibition hall and all associated events. In my many DrupalCons, I’ve never seen the exhibit hall, parties, and general atmosphere so quiet and reserved. But, at the same time, I’m really proud of the community and the Drupal Association for the rally we’ve made since that time. Many organizations tried and failed to make a comeback post-pandemic. But for anyone who has attended any of the cons since Portland 2022, you’ve seen first hand that Drupal is bouncing back! 

This year’s conference is already off to a bang after the Driesnote yesterday morning. While the Lille keynote last year was certainly one of the coolest and most innovative I’ve seen, this year’s is perhaps the most important keynote Dries has delivered in recent memory. In it, he announced a new initiative for the Drupal community called “Drupal Starshot.”

Drupal Starshot logo and explainer text

Starshot will evolve the model of downloading and using Drupal. Today, everyone that downloads Drupal starts with a relatively blank slate–a framework–that can be used to build any number of bespoke sites and/or applications. With Starshot, we will evolve to offering two versions of Drupal, one designed to be a jumpstart CMS offering and the other the more traditional framework offering. The goal is to give new and less technical users of Drupal an easy starting point that utilizes key innovation from the community such as recipes and common contributed modules to accelerate the building of new sites. 

As an aside, the notion of “jump starting” Drupal development isn’t new. There have been many efforts to achieve this goal in the past. But I think Starshot is finally pulling the right combination of innovation and experience together to actually pull it off–where as previous attempts relied on Drupal distributions / install profiles, modules, configuration, etc. which were not really designed to do what a recipe can do. 

If you haven’t seen the keynote, take the time! It’s well worth the hour and change of your day.

Several Acquians presented materials during day one including Wim Leers on Config Validation and Matt Glaman on Drupal Retrofit, a tool you should absolutely know about if you still have a Drupal 7 website. Dries also hosted a Birds of a Feather (BOF) to take questions and feedback on the Starshot announcement (and it was one of the largest Driesnote Q&A BOFs ever!). 

I’m super excited to be in Portland (again) this year, and looking forward to the rest of the conference. If you’re reading this and the con is still going on, make sure to stop by the Acquia booth to pick up some custom Acquia dice, get a t-shirt, and take a photo with our incredibly nerdy Drupal and Dragons castle!

People at the Acquia booth at DrupalCon Portland
Acquia booth at DrupalCon Portland stone wall backdrop and Acquia flag
Acquia booth at DrupalCon Portland with blue dice seats and a throne with stone wall background