get your ticket to the Frontendunited Event in London now

Nabaztag/tag power brick
A small plug, if you want to attend the Drupal event about design, frontend development and usability, be sure to take a look at frontendunited.org, London, April 13-14. I do think there are some of the best speakers lined up both from within our community and related communities, for example Christian Heilmann. The venue must be the coolest one ever to house so many Drupalistas. So think about ordering a ticket (free hugs from mortendk when you select community sponsorship) or become a sponsor and get some free tickets.

Order now and win a pony.

Frontend United, From Amsterdam to London

Last year, I was one of the coorganizers of Frontend United In Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I have organized dozen of events, DrupalCons, DrupalJams, DrupalCamps totaling a dozen of events. The best and most funny to organize of them all however was the Frontend United conference with good friends Jesper, Marek, Morten, Philippe and angel Isabelle. The weekly conference calls quickly became a selfhelp group and the best comedy channel available.

The fun we had organizing the event, clearly payed off and turned the event in to the best event I ever attended. Mostly because Fronten United is different. We have some rules to live by and these rules help us organize it and give the best value possible to the attendees. In fact, we try to be for Drupal what TED is for technology! Our rules are simple

  1. Outside in, not inside out
  2. Attendees first, not the sponsors (or mobile :-)
  3. Grow horizontally, not vertically
  4. Maximum value for attendees
  5. Nerds rule

These are simple rules, resulting in a great conference. Outside in means we will look at technology, design. The unimportant stuff and then but only then Drupal. We look at speakers who are architects, painters, people whose actions or ideas are completely irrelevant for Drupals community in the narrow sense but if mapped on our community, code or license of great influence. We value attendees above sponsors. We do *heart* our sponsors, they are the best. But in the end the sponsors and the organizers work for the attendees, not the other way around. We will never do a sponsored talk, an opening by a sponsor or a case-study, mixing content and sponsors is the best way to kill a brand in our opinion. We believe in growth, but not that a number like “attendees” has anything to do with growth. We aim at 250 people max per conference and grow in quality from there. We will never have 2.000 attendees but will have the best sessions available. As for the nerds part, the group photo was taken at 13:37 time.

We succeed in all of these rules last year. All but one. Despite the fact that one sponsor went belly up and did not pay our fiscal agency, the Drupal Association (thanks!), we still made money. And thereby did not give the maximum value for our attendees.
FrontendUnited Amsterdam

Or did we? If you look at this blog by friend Baris Frontend-United was awesome or at the blog of the king it looks we succeeed in givin the attendees the best con ever! It was great to hear jan Willem Tulp talk about data visualization and the story of how Jeroen Wijering sold his a license for his video player to YouTube for $25 is still great to hear. No matter what your question was (“$25 per server? Client? Month?”) his answer would be $25.

Here are some snapshots of the money we made with sales and the hat-round, the venue “Pakhuis de Zwijger”, the banner with the sponsors, the excellent t-shirt with the infamous astronaut and the drinking venue with the Druplicon as a logo.
Frontendunited cashFrontend United Amsterdam 2012

"Pull up, PULL UP"...bannerFrontendunited tshirt amsterdam 2012


So far for 2012. On with 2013. With the help of a great all-female team in the UK, we are pulling the best Drupal conference of once again, backed by the Drupal Association (thanks), in London, 13 and 14 of April, in Cargo. Ticket sales will start shortly, great keynote speakers are already lined up but we need you as a speaker and as a sponsor! So please earmark the date in your agenda, think about an inspiring talk Frontend related and download the attached sponsor brochure. And mail we if you are interested in sponsoring, bert AT boerland DOT com.

Now lets rock London!

Prediction for Drupal in 2013

Champagne Cork

Ever since node 4877 in 2003 we have a “prediction” post up on drupal.org where Drupal coder and users can share their vision on what will happen the year ahead with their beloved tool. Ever? Well, we skipped last year on drupal.org. so we can not look back to the predictions you made last year on this site.

But that should not stop you to make new some new predictions. And you welcome to do so in the comments on the posting on d.o.

Will parts of Drupal end up in another CMS or framework? Will “WSCCI first” be the slogan? Or will the consolidation in the CMS landscape and the trend to leave our small island make new bridges towards other PHP projects or even make a new Pangaea, beyond PHP and the web? Will Drupal be the answer in Jeopardy on the question “what is the best CMS?”. Time will tell. Or you.. In the comments on the prediction 2013 posting.

Drupal release cycles, time will tell

My Watch Broke!

Today, it is 614 weeks ago that Drupal 1.0 has been released, 4.295 days in the past, or 103.080 hours ago. During this time period, the Drupal community released 14 major versions, from 1.0 to 7.0. The new release is planned around mid august 2013 and hence will be the 15th major release. For those less in to the history of Drupal releases but can count and think that 8.0 as the 15th major release doest add up, it doesn't. Between 4.0 and 5.0 we spend 5 years releasing 4.1 up to 4.7, in our numbering scheme back then major releases.

During all these versions the Drupal community supported the current version and the version before. So with 7 being the current major release, we also support the 6 release that first saw the light of day on 13 february 2008 and will continue to do so up to around 15th of august 2013. Work on Drupal 6 started around december 2006, six and a half years ago by the time Drupal 8 will be released.

During all these versions the Drupal community had a no backwards compatibility philosophy. Modules that work in version 6 will not work in version 7. So for many of the thousands of modules we host on Drupal.org we have a stable and a development release for version 6 of Drupal and for version 7.

Today is also the day that people are using SaaS for all kinds of services. People and companies rely on the Google mail and experience a new version of this product on a daily basis, even without knowing it or seeing the difference cosmetically. Today people have hundreds of apps installed on their tablets and phones and upgrade those on a weekly or even daily basis at a touch of a finger.

Today is also the day that a manufacturer like Apple releases new major OS versions every year at extremely low prices and with a low barriers when it comes to the upgrade pain. Ubuntu -a leading Linux distribution package company- releases new versions of their product time boxed, complete predictable. Every 6 month users have the latest supported Linux distribution available and can update and upgrade with great ease.

Days between major Drupal releases in line graph

I often explained Drupal’s lack of backwards compatibility towards users and customers as “Breaking with yesterday, building tomorrow”. Comparing it to Windows 7 that contains code of Windows XP, windows ME, Windows 95, Windows 3.11 and even all the way up to emulating code of MS-DOS 6.2. In order to move forward, we break with supporting the past unlike that product of Microsoft. Where Microsoft had to put every piece of history in its backpack when stepping forwards and carry all the weight of the history around towards the future, the Drupal community could break with yesterdays code and API’s and jump towards a brand new tomorrow.

Today I have problems saying so. Microsoft isn't the dominant example anymore and as stated, the competitors like Google, Apple and Linux are moving towards a “real time” experience of their products where users can enjoy the tools of today that have been build for them today on technologies available today.

With this in mind, it is good to look back at Dries’ last talk during the most excellent DrupalCon Munich. In a small room that was completely packed, Dries hinted around on what Drupal might be in the future. As always, he choose his words wisely and made sure what he said could be a thought experiment and might or might not happen, no promises no demands.

Days between major Drupal releases in pie chart

One of the things Dries hinted at that not many people seem to have picked up on, was that Drupal should be shortening it’s release cycles, towards for example half a year. And when you shorten your release cycle like that, you have to make sure that upgrades are cheap. Meaning you must stop our mantra of breaking compatibility between major versions. I do think that a new way of looking at our releases (what) and cycles (when) is more then needed.

the passenger

Today planning and sticking to the plan is just as hard as it was yesterday. And hence even when we aim at an 18 month release cycle we end up with twice the amount in a code slush. Note though that even the18 month was derived from looking at the past, like steering a car by looking rearview mirror. It is possible, but assumes conditions remain constant.

While we know that the Ceteris Paribus world is not real, the world is continuously changing and the constant being that people constantly say that the change is only going faster. And in fact, even if the conditions in the future are the same, fact is that we as a community are in the risk of being overtaken by the past, proprietary CMS-es and other open source CMS-es that have been looking up towards us up to now.

Today I don't know what the answer is for the best release date of Drupal 9 and higher. But I do know that the current release cycles are breaking us up. I have seen very talented frontend designers quit Drupal because they didnt want to work anymore with outdates templates systems or jQuery versions. But, didn’t they want to “scratch their own itch?”. Sure they did, they just scratched it on another place, not in Drupal. I think Dries and others know that something has to change, I do not know the answer, but I would welcome a timeboxed (half a year) cycle and 3 older versions supported with backwards compatibility. Or an Long Term Support version next to more cutting edge version. Or something Dries will come up with on the next month.

Blue Piles of Shit On The Horizon

Last week I travelled from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom. Doing so I crossed two other countries, Belgium and France before taking the ferry to the Island I love so much. Let me tell you a story about one of these borders I crossed, the one between Belgium and The Netherlands. When one drives from the Netherlands towards the Belgium, one can see the border from kilometres away.

Not that there is a huge fence. There is no borer patrol or customs at all.
Not that there is a life size doted line that separated both countries, there is just a blue sign welcoming you in Belgium.
Not that the landscape changes dramatically from flat Low Lands to the Belgium Alps, there is very gradually change of culture, language and landscape.

Still one is able to spot the border from far. Simply by the fact that all what is ugly in a country is moved as far away from the country as possible and placed at the edges of the geographical boundary. So high windmills delivering electricity are stacked up to pollute the horizon, nuclear power-plants are tactically moved to the edge as well as other unpopular geographical activities, all moved towards this area from both sides.

Think about this. Just as many people life in this area like any other inner country area, maybe even more. So the impact of these activities is just as big as it would be in the centre of The Netherlands or Belgium. But there are less voters in the border area for Belgium and for The Netherlands. If you don't aggregate the voters that is.

Just as many people have hinder, only half the number can complain to their local / federal government. From “The Big Picture” Point of View, doing stuff like this is complete nonsense, just as many people are impacted. From a political point of View it makes perfect sense, Not In My Back Yard!

So is this relevant for Drupal one might ask and why or how? It is relevant. And I’ll try to explain the why and how here.

I see the same happening in our community, both geographical and political wise piles of shit are shifted towards The Other. And it is not that I see this happening, I think I am one of he persons who is guilty of shifting the shit I don't want to the edges of my comfort zone and thereby maybe to you. This post is a “Sorry” for that. And a start to make sure that we all try to do the best we can for the Drupal Universe. Not just the part of the universe you (I!) are (am) located in.

If one looks at the last 5 years, there has been a clear trend that there is more friction between the EU (excluding the UK) and USA. Due to different political backgrounds, due to “oversee” wars, due to different visions about how to solve international terrorism and for example Guantanamo Bay, there is growing scepticism in many countries in the EU towards the USA. Triggering a similar reaction of those stupid fat Yankees towards the fine High Culture citizens of the EU. That was a joke. My statement is that if you cant make a joke about an argument, you are in real trouble.

This scepticism and the friction between the old and the new continent is also visible in the Drupal community, like it is in any other bilateral relationship between these two continents. While we share the four world languages (Love, Money, English, PHP) in our community, we differ in so many things we often forget to give some room to each other. It was visible from the reaction on the Paris DrupalCon silhouette to your mothers’ CMS remark, the so called Americanisation of the Drupal Association and for example the struggle to get a Code of Conduct for DrupalCons. Mind you, I have an strong opinion in all of these matters, but this posting is not here to redo these arguments, it is a posting to make room for other others. To seek for what binds us, not what separates us. I think John Postel (“two four six eight, there is someone I appreciate”) said it best when he said “Be conservative in what you send, be liberal in what you accept”. This robustness principle that is the heart of all technical protocols we use on the net, should also be the core of our genes in the Drupal community.
Not just USA vs EU, the world is bigger then those two continents and smaller then all continents.
Not just XX chromosomes vs XY. There is so much more the two genders and it is so unimportant what toilet you use.
Not just gay vs straight. Love and passion can be so much more in a community then .. Ohh, forget that last part...

But for all, everywhere. Independent what you are or where your local airport is located, we should think about the place where you want to go and how you can fly over-there. Not on how you / I can shift the pile of shit towards the end of your / my zone.

When I ask my 5 year old son what his favourite colour is, he answers “Blue”.... “And purple.. And yellow... And gold..” And the he continues some more. Let us remember that the global colour locale we share is blue. And pink. And black. And white. The complete rainbow. And 50 shades of grey, if that is your cup of tea. But mostly, it is blue.

XML feed