DrupalCon 2024: Portland, Oregon

Getting back to somewhat of a normal afternoon, I decided to take a look at my DrupalCon 2024 notes. There has been a lot of discussion around generative AI, both at the conference and in the OPLIN office, so I thought I’d let ChatGPT take a crack at generating the introductory paragraph about DrupalCon 2024. Based upon my session note files currently open in my IDE (Integrated Development Environment), here is the result…

DrupalCon 2024 is the best DrupalCon ever! It's the first DrupalCon to be held on the moon, and it's the first DrupalCon to be held in space. The moon is a great place to hold a conference because it's a lot quieter than Earth. There are no cars or trucks driving by, and there are no people talking loudly. The moon is also a great place to hold a conference because it's a lot cooler than Earth. The temperature on the moon is always around -20 degrees Celsius, which is perfect fora conference. The moon is also a great place to hold a conference because it's a lot cleaner than Earth. There is no pollution on the moon, so the air is always fresh and clean. The moon is also a great place to hold a conference because it's a lot safer than Earth. There are no criminals on the moon, so you don't have to worry about getting mugged or robbed. The moon is also a great place to hold a conference because it's a lot more fun than Earth. There are no boring office buildings or crowded streets on the moon. Instead, there are craters to explore, mountains to climb, and valleys to hike through. DrupalCon 2024 is going to be the best DrupalCon ever, and you won't want to miss it!

Exploring the craters on the moon does sound like a lot of fun!

Back here on planet Earth, we like to call Portland, Oregon the location of DrupalCon 2024. The conference was held at the Oregon Convention Center from May 6-9, 2024; requiring travel through the John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH), Dallas Love Field (DAL), Portland International Airport (PDX), and Denver International Airport (DEN).

map of the united states indicating the geographic location of traveled airports
4,683 miles travelled for DrupalCon 2024

Day 1: May 6, 2024


Dries Buytaert, the founder of Drupal, gave the keynote address at DrupalCon 2024. He talked about the history of Drupal and how it has evolved over the years. He also discussed the future of Drupal and what we can expect in the coming years. One of the big announcements was the launch of Project Starshot, a new initiative to create an out-of-the-box CMS (Content Management System) experience for Drupal that includes the latest features of Drupal Code combined with a curated suite of best-in-class community contributed modules for common features. An unstated goal of this effort would be to for the Drupal community to have a competitive product to the Wordpress experience.

Presentation slides are available.

Birds of a Feather: Drupal4Lib

The Drupal4Lib Birds of a Feather session was a great opportunity for librarians and cultural heritage professionals to connect and share their experiences using Drupal. The session covered topics like the Event - Condition - Action (ECA) module and Islandora , an open-source digital asset management system built on top of Drupal Core. If you’re a librarian interested in Drupal , be sure to join the Drupal4Lib Slack channel and search for other folks in the drupal4lib community.

Config Validation

Wil Leers gave a presentation on config validation in Drupal 10.2. He discussed how Drupal 8.4 laid the foundations for config validation and how it has evolved in Drupal 9.4. He demonstrated how modules can adopt config validation using #config_target and how this can make Drupal more reliable. Because validating configuration in Drupal is a vast topic, I’ve linked Wil’s presentation from last year’s DrupalCon Pittsburgh.

Project Browser

The Project Browser session was a deep dive into the new features of the Drupal Project Browser initiative. Project Browser makes it easy for site builders to find modules. Once the modules is installed, the project browser lives inside the Drupal site itself and provides a marketplace-like experience for modules.

current figma designs for the minimum viable product
Project Browser design sets

Day 2: May 7, 2024

McGill University

McGill University gave a presentation on how they manage, test, and deploy 1,000 Drupal websites using Ansible and Gitlab CI. The best way to understand the gist of this presentation is to peruse the presentation slides.

Screenshot of Thomas Fline's Slides
Screenshot of Thomas Fline’s Slides

Drupal 11: What’s New

Gábor Hojtsy led a session discussing the upcoming features of Drupal 11. While new features are always welcome, the key takeaway from this session is a complete rethinking of the function of Drupal Core. Core will become a foundational engine that supports “ecosystems”; thus, refining the focus of Drupal Core to be a platform for modules rather than a storehouse for the best modules in the Drupal community. As a result, Drupal Core will get smaller and smaller as one-off modules providing unique functionality (i.e., not in support of entire ecosystems of modules) are removed from the core and shifted into the community contributions space.

Used by OPLIN Webkits to provide hierarchical structure of nodes, the Book Module is an example of a module scheduled to be removed from core in the Drupal 11 release. It has been a core module for 22 years.

For reference, here is the upcoming release schedule:

Release Date Version
July 29, 2024 Drupal 11
Late 2024 Drupal 10.4 LTS
July 2026 Drupal 12

I was familiar with LTS (Long-Term Support) releases from the Ubuntu linux space, but I did not know that LTS releases of Drupal Core were available. LTS releases of Drupal Core offer an additional 2 years of support, which extends the end-of-life (EOL) of Drupal 10.x into late 2026.

From Drupal 7 to Drupal 10

Performing a migration from Drupal 7 to a modern version of Drupal was a recurring topic at the conference. It was rare for a session not to mention that Drupal 7 will be end-of-life in January 2025. This session put some hard data behind the community’s obvious concerns. As of January 2024, nearly 43% of the entire Drupal community was running Drupal 7. That’s a large percentage of the community running production applications on top of a release with an end-of-life that’s roughly 6 months away.

The main point of Mike Madison’s session was to announce that Acquia recently open sourced their automated migration toolkit. Acquia Migrate: Accelerate (AM:A) was make available to help the Drupal community migrate away from Drupal 7 with confidence.

Other Recommended Links:

And with the anxiety surrounding a migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 10, it’s worth noting an earlier session on the first day of the conference announcing RetroFit. RetroFit provides several compatibility layers that will allow Drupal 7 code to run within a Drupal 10 environment.

Day 3: May 8, 2024

The morning keynote provided an update on the Drupal Project Initiatives. Being as this is my first Drupal conference, my knowledge of each initiative is negligible. A link to each project initiative is provided below for future reference:


Development of issue queues linked to a Drupal Association user. A blog post from the Portland DrupalCon is available.


Performance Testing for Drupal applications, lead by Tag1 Consulting. A blog post from initial tests indicate a ten percent speed improvement

Gitlab CI Templates

The GitLab Templates project drives the GitLab CI integration for all Drupal contrib modules.

Automatic Updates

Automatically install updates in Drupal to: (1) lower the total cost of ownership of maintaining a Drupal site, (2) improve the security of Drupal sites in the wild, and (3) lower the barrier to entry to using Drupal.

ECA (Event-Condition-Action)

ECA gets triggered on every Drupal event, allowing for the creation of rules to trigger related actions. ECA requires a business process model and notation front-end (e.g., BPMN) to design rules and workflows. An ECA Guide is available for perusal.

Additional discussion of single directory components, left sidebar navigation, and using layout builder to enable “drag and drop” components into a layout rounded out the morning keynote.

First Contribution Workshop

During the workshop, I was able to have my Drupal.org account verified. Once verified, I was able to create a user profile (dzoladz) and establish an organizational entity for the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN).

Other Recommended Links:

Downtown Portland

The TriMet system is easy to navigate, the food culture is amazing (e.g, Black Water), and Powell’s City of Books is an absolute must. The small press section is extremely unique. It’s a very rare occurrence to be able to physically browse materials published by a wide spectrum of small publishers in a single location. I could spend many days in this store.

Day 4: May 9, 2024

The Government Summit was in the morning. I learned that the Multnomah County Public Library uses Drupal in production for their public-facing web presence. I also discovered that there are a wide array of available resources related to Drupal and public libraries: Drupal Resources for Public Libraries.

By this time in the conference, I was not in the mood to hear anything else about artificial intelligence or ChatGPT in particular. So when the discussion once again moved to classifications of AI (i.e., Generative AI , Speech Recognition, Optical Character Recognition, Predictive AI, Recommendation AI, Sentiment Analysis, and Image Recognition), I elected to review Lullabot’s Architectural Decision Records.

Practical, Digital-First Design Systems

Alright, I’m getting tired to writing this summary. I’m dropping these links here to explore at a future date.

Derek C. Zoladz
Derek C. Zoladz
Software Developer

Focusing on cultural heritage institutions: discovery applications, data (and metadata) wrangling, web development, process automation, and system integration.