131: Meet Paul Wander - 3/3 - Drupal 8 and business opportunities

Part 3 of 3: Paul Wander, co-founder and VP Sales and Marketing at the UK PHP service provider Inviqa – the co-parent company of SensioLabs UK – was kind enough to give me an hour of his time recently to talk about some interests we have in common. In this podcast, we talk about several aspects of Drupal 8 and SensioLabs UK's experiences as early adopters and contributors to Drupal 8, some ways Drupal 8 will help developers and businesses alike, and Drupal in the UK public sector.

In part 1, we talked about when Paul discovered open source software, Inviqa and SensioLabs UK's history, Symfony and open source software in the enterprise.

In part 2, we went over the gap between human beings and machines, behavior driven development, the Gherkin syntax, and how good communication and BDD can help drive business value for clients.

SensioLabs.co.uk on Drupal 8

SensioLabs UK relaunched their website, sensiolabs.co.uk, on Drupal 8 in May 2013, very early in the release cycle to be building a public website on it. Paul explains some of the motivations behind that decision: "Because we were contributing to Drupal and because want to be leading Drupal customization, we felt that we had to be involved with Drupal 8. What better was is there than to 'eat your own dog food'? We decided to be bold and stick a site out there on Drupal 8; one of the very first Drupal 8 sites. It works! It was a professional bit of fun for us to see the good, the bad, and the ugly and to start to get to grips with the software."

I spoke with Richard Miller and Tom Kitchin, two of the developers who were involved in building the SensioLabs UK website and contributed heavily to Drupal 8 along the way in Acquia podcast 133.

Drupal 8 as a platform for continuous innovation

"What really impresses large companies is software that can keep pace with modern development. What often happens, certainly with licensed [i.e. proprietary, closed source] software is that something will come along like mobile. That typically starts as a bolt-on to a monolithic piece of software and it never really gets integrated. The good thing with versioning and open source software is that it gives you a chance to tear down the old version, decide what has to be at the core and the foundation level and build it in from the ground up again. We were very impressed, and our clients are impressed, that for example all of the theming and templates in Drupal 8 are responsive out-of-the-box. That is more than 'useful'. That saves a lot of time, aggravation, and money. Even the administration portion is responsive, which is quite impressive and nice to see."

"For me, the clever use of the [Symfony2] framework and its components, and the re-writing of the core of Drupal 8 allows developers amazing flexibility whilst preserving the maintainability of the application. What that translates to in the business is that their time to market for new features and the quality of those new features as they are produced is improved dramatically."

"What do businesses want to do? We're in this internet age. A new thing will come along tomorrow; they want to see if it works for their business. Drupal 8 will allow them to adopt and try things out in a small way. If it works for them, they may want to invest more, but it allows them to try it without breaking the foundation of their content and asset management."


The audio and image were out of sync for portions of our conversation. The video reflects that at times.