Predictions for 2011

January 17th, 2011

We have a tradition since 2003 that at the beginning of each year we look back on what has happened and make some predictions for the year ahead. Lets start with looking at the past to see what people thought about 2010 in this posting .

One of the best things that happened to Drupal in 2010 was the fact that the redesign went live, as predicted. Thanks to the Drupal Association and the hard work of many volunteers. On the other hand, one of the things nobody thought would happen… didn’t happen. Drupal 7 was not released in 2010, yet 1,000 people (and more) worked hard to make D7 the best release ever shipping with a stable release in the first days of 2011. WordPress won the Packt Publishing CMS award with—after a tie—one vote more than Drupal. This shows that WP has become a complete CMS, as was also predicted, despite their own words that We don’t want WordPress to develop a reputation.

The last comment, Now I just hope that 2011 is better than 2010, is one that I totally agree with. Not because 2010 was bad, but because 2011 will be even better!

My own highlight for 2011 was DrupalCon Copenhagen, with a Kitten Killers classic and lots of freedom (as in speech and beer) spreading around.

The year ahead: growth in three directions

This year, let us look ahead and start focusing and predicting on how Drupal can grow. Let me explain in what directions Drupal can grow:

  • Traditionally growth means more and bigger sites. This is indeed an important aspect of growth. More installations will attract more eyeballs and this might result in better code. Bigger sites moving towards Drupal will create an even better ecosystem around Drupal. And that by itself can lead to more code being contributed and more the sharing of more experiences and best practices. However, more eyeballs also mean a bigger community, more misunderstanding and more discussions. And more commercial influence in the project can—when not managed in a right way—be bad for an open source project as well. This kind of horizontal growth will not be enough if we want to make a real mark though is the first step needed. What are your thoughts on growing horizontally? How will the community handle this?
  • The second form of growth is what I would like to call vertical growth. This form is something we excel in and in combination with horizontal growth will lead to a stable pyramid base for the community. Vertical growth can be described as standing on the shoulders of giants to build better code, faster sites and embed more new technologies. What most people forget is that they are giants themselves and hence will not just be standing on others will carry some weight themselves. It is not just about getting better as a person, it is also self-sacrificing for the good of the community and help others grow. What are your predictions on how we can grow in 2011 and what are you willing to do to grow vertically? Share your predictions in the comments.
  • Most (proprietary) systems only think in horizontal growth. Many open source projects work horizontally and vertically. But for true growth, we need to grow in all directions, including diagonal. By diagonal growth, I mean reaching out to other open source projects. By helping and learning from how the people, processes and technologies work in other systems we can get better ourselves. So we stop thinking of WordPress, Joomla!, TYPO3 and others as competitors but as systems and communities we can learn from and help. But open source is -according to me- the combination of code, community, and license. So even from open source projects outside the Web content management systems realm, we can learn. Can we grow diagonally? Post your prediction in this thread.

So we need to grow horizontally (number of installs), and vertically (quality) but most of all, diagonal (learning from other projects). And you can help this year by doing more than predicting and helping in the issue queue, joining the Drupal Association, documenting and spreading the Drupal love.

Dries already posted his thoughts on his blog.
My prediction for 2011? Drupal 7 will make the term Web 2.0 redundant! Let’s make that happen or share your better predictions. Try to think out of the box as much as you can.

As as my four-year-old child said the other day: Why does it rain when there is a rainbow?

About the author: Bert Boerland is a long-term member of the Drupal community and a former Drupal Association Permanent Member