My Drupal predictions for 2008

My personal Drupal highlights for 2007 include the Drupal 5 release, bootstrapping the Drupal Association, the two Drupal conferences we organized, the Pro Drupal development book, and co-founding Acquia.

But more than anything else, I enjoyed being part of the Drupal community and helping it navigate through some of its growing pains. Thanks to you, 2007 was a blast.

In good tradition, here are my Drupal predictions for the next year.

Growth predictions for 2008

First, let's predict Drupal's growth in 2008. The short answer is that Drupal will continue to grow more, not less.

Much of Drupal's growth in 2008 will depend on the work we did in 2007. I'm extremely happy with the upcoming Drupal 6 release as it will be easier to use, it will run faster, and it will come with some great new features. Our work on Drupal 6 will pay off in 2008.

Many metrics can be used to predict Drupal's growth in 2008, so let's use a non-conventional one: to date, four books have been published on Drupal, but only one of these was published in 2007. In 2008, ten Drupal books will be published ...

What I care most about is not Drupal's growth, but that we will continue to democratize web publishing and web development in 2008. By growing Drupal and giving it away for free we accomplish two things: (i) we empower more individuals to publish online and (ii) we help grow a successful ecosystem that allows more people to make a living with web development. So not only will Drupal continue to grow in 2008, it will continue to make a positive change.

The more you give away, the more you get back, and because of this, working on Drupal will continue to be a labor of love in 2008.

Market predictions for 2008

We are still in a young market: there are hundreds of Open Source CMSes, there is no real competition amongst them ("We're all colleagues and friends!"), not to mention we all benefit from what seems unwieldy growth. (Note that I'm talking about the Open Source CMS market, not the proprietary CMS market.)

However, near the end of 2008, we'll see the first signs of consolidation in the Open Source CMS market. The Open Source CMS space will become less fragmented; the "big three" (i.e. Wordpress, Joomla! and Drupal) will continue to grow but the growth of many other systems (i.e. Plone, Typo3, Xoops, e107, ezPublish, dotNetNuke, etc) will slow down significantly.

The good news is that the Open Source CMS market becomes easier to shop in. The bad news is that there will be a competitive edge.

Unless we manage to put more effort into (i) marketing, (ii) support, (iii) documentation and (iv) this might turn out to be a tough battle for Drupal. will be our biggest challenge in 2008, and much of that will determine whether we'll be one of the "big three" Open Source CMSes at the end of 2008.

End-user predictions for 2008

From an end-user's point of view, 2008 will be characterized by the fact that we'll continue to give our users what they want. There will be a big and concentrated effort to further improve Drupal's ease of use. As a result, Drupal 7 will ship with one or two install profiles, many UI improvements, more AJAX, a basic WYSIWYG editor (or better WYSIWYG support), some wizards, and improved image and file handling. Yes, that is a lot.

Developer predictions for 2008

While we listen to our users in 2008, most of the excitement will be developer-centric.

A significant portion (but not all) of the Content Construction Kit (CCK) will move to core and we'll pave the path for Views by extending Drupal 6's query builder. There are three important motivations for this: (i) the desire to write less and less code to improve developer productivity, (ii) the desire to reduce the risk of these modules falling behind in terms of support and updates and (iii) becoming dependent on them.

Integration of the CCK and Views will trigger a strong focus on improving our internal data models and APIs. While unheard in Drupal circles right now, object-relational mapping (ORM) will be the buzzword du jour by the summer of 2008. This, in turn, will lead to better web service integration, RIA integration (specifically Flex), and improved import/export functionality in Drupal 7.

The desire to reduce risks, combined with drastic API changes and a growing code base, will lead us to adopt a test driven development methodology. Drupal 7 will ship with some first regression tests.

All in all, the net result is that Drupal 7 will be an even better web application development platform. Comments and users as nodes continues to be a pipe dream though.

My final prediction is that I will get all of this year's predictions right, but that you still want to get a second opinion.


luis (not verified):

Alot of thanks and good wishes to you,and Drupal!
Happy new year from CHINA!

December 31, 2007
mk (not verified):

Happy new year from Thailand. Thai Drupal book is on the way and wish to send to you when done.

December 31, 2007
noah (not verified):


Amongst those predictions are some fantastic goals for next year. Thanks for your insights and tireless dedication to Drupal. I think that your final point: "...I will get all of this year's predictions right, but that you still want to get a second opinion" is probably the most thoughtful.

Happy New Year to you and your whole family!
I hope your next year be as successful as this...

Best wishes from California!

December 31, 2007
chx (not verified):

"will lead us to adopt a test driven development methodology" -- music to my ears. This is *finally* happing with lots of Simpletests written these weeks and is getting set up.

December 31, 2007
ben_ (not verified):

Great goals, great Challanges.

"To democratize web publishing and web development" - now that is a claim. And it heavily reminds me of The W3C's "Leading the Web to Its Full Potential." If you really want to achieve this, I think Drupal's position within the competition between the mayor OS CMSs is the central challenge, as you pointed out.

Although there are quite a lot of "Drupal vs. Wordpress" or "Drupal vs. Joomla" articles out there on the web, I don't have the impression that the Drupal Community wants Drupal to be a real competitor for these CMSes. Don't get me wrong: I believe, Drupal is by far the better system and I do believe that most of the people in the community see it more or less the same way.

But: I think, if you want to compete against those systems, you have to do more than just be the better system. You have to be better in direct comparisons regarding the needs and abilities of the people not using Drupal right now. And these people are mostly users without any or only little technological (HTML, PHP etc.) abilities, if you aim for democratization in terms of participation of many people.

"From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." -- Karl Marx

December 31, 2007
ben_ (not verified):

Sorry, but I have to say it again: I am very happy and excited about the "to democratize web publishing and web development" goal. It brings a new quality to Drupal, which goes beyond the "linux for the web". The ambitions of Drupal are no longer within the realm of technology or business, but in the realm of culture and humanism.

December 31, 2007
Alexander Langer (not verified):

First of all, thank you for 2007! To you and Drupal it's been a breakthrough year, to me it's been the year I got back to web development after years of developing desktop applications. With Drupal I finally found the CMS I've been looking for for years. I could have used it 8 years ago, but instead had to build me my own CMS. Well, I guess I can't blame you for that ;)

We now have a good idea of what you can do in terms of developing a CMS and building a community around it. We'll see how you good you are when it comes to predictions. Most of them sound pretty well-thought and possible. With the ongoing growth of online communities and social networking and the need to migrate what's been built the last years to a new platform there's huge potential for Drupal out there.

There's good reason to believe that 2008 will be another fun ride year with Drupal on the road to D7. Hitchhikers are welcome...

December 31, 2007
Anonymous (not verified):

Thanks for the great article. Its good to hear so many Drupal books will be comming out. I think I would buy just about any book on Drupal.

For a non-developer that follows Drupal buzz as close as I can it's good to hear that views and cck will be moving into core Drupal where it belongs.

Even though I don't know php I can still appreciate the modularity of Drupal and the system of hooks seems to work fine. Code I've found on has been easy to implement to expand themes that I work on. Thanks for 2007 and I look forward to more Drupal in 08.

December 31, 2007
NikLP (not verified):

Well, last year, I predicted we'd finally beat Joomla! and all the other "stuff" to win the Packt Best CMS Award, and I reckon we're in with a good shot again this year, as more people finally bite the bullet and just get on with using Drupal :)

Personally, I'd just like to thank Dries & everyone involved in the project for their hard work, which keeps me in business. Cheers, and the best to you all for 2008.

December 31, 2007
ACTENCY (not verified):

Thanks for this article. I'm quit interested in Drupal 7 and specially the RIA integrations, but why Flex and not another one (OpenLazlo for example)?

I'm confident that 2008, will be the year of Drupal and its community.

Bonne année à tous :)

December 31, 2007
BryanSD (not verified):

I found your market predictions for 2008 quite interesting.

However, near the end of 2008, we'll see the first signs of consolidation in the Open Source CMS market. The Open Source CMS space will become less fragmented; the "big three" (i.e. Wordpress, Joomla! and Drupal) will continue to grow but the growth of many other systems (i.e. Plone, Typo3, Xoops, e107, ezPublish, dotNetNuke, etc) will slow down significantly.

I'm not convinced that non-PHP applications such as Plone, dotNetNuke, and Radiant will be impacted so much by the rise of Wordpress, Joomla, and Drupal. If you have the need to run an open source CMS on ASP.Net you are going to get behind the mojoPortal or dotNetNuke projects regardless of what is going on in the world of PHP-based CMS.

I do believe you are right though about Drupal, Joomla!, and Wordpress continuing to see their market share increase more than other open source CMS. I wonder if the other projects growth will be maintained at current levels, but relative to what we see with Drupal, Joomla!, and Wordpress...their growth just seems less relevant in the world of CMS.

I think what may actually happen is that Wordpress, Joomla! and Drupal are no longer competing with the other open source CMS. They finally have hit a stage where they're competing less and less with open source and instead competing more and more with well-established CMS such as Microsoft's SharePoint and IBM's Websphere products.

I know in the organization I work for, we're seeing a need to introduce SharePoint at the national and regional levels but still looking at open source solutions to meet the needs for local and niche projects. These local projects aren't ready to be supported at the higher levels in the organizations. I've been advocating Drupal for these smaller projects and ever since Drupal 5...I have been seeing my peers looking more and more into Drupal (with a little bit of nudging by me, of course).

However you look at is very nice to see the exciting times for Drupal just as much in the future as it is in it's past. Not all projects can say the same. Go Drupal.

December 31, 2007
ashok (not verified):

Am definitely onboard with these predictions. The big one being Drupal's growth, which ties into marketing and two big questions:

  1. Is there going to be a new slogan?
  2. What are you/Acquia basing your growth projections off?

Best wishes for 2008!

January 01, 2008
Anonymous (not verified):

I hope we do not forget to get PDO support in D7 and by this way more Enterprise databases supported.

January 01, 2008
oskar calvo (not verified):

Good news, but I'd like to know what will be done to bring "Drupal node information" to the semantic web, that seems to be the web 3.0.



January 01, 2008
PepeMty (not verified):

Happy New Year 2008 to all!

Exciting predictions for exciting times.

As still a newbie in Drupal, I have to say that this is a wonderful moment to be on board.

Warm regards from sunny México!

January 01, 2008
WouterVH (not verified):

"The Open Source CMS space will become less fragmented; the "big three" (i.e. Wordpress, Joomla! and Drupal) will continue to grow but the growth of many other systems (i.e. Plone, Typo3, Xoops, e107, ezPublish, dotNetNuke, etc) will slow down significantly."

I don't consider the existense of hundreds of CMS to be a fragmentation. Fragmentation means the breakage of something that was a unit before. Sure, most of them will fade out gradually, and there will be a consolidation around only a few of them.

However, such consolidation will occur for each different technology/platform, be it PHP / Java / Python /dotNET .

The "big three" you mention are only PHP-based. But from my experience, it's currently mainly Alfresco and Plone that are competing against the large proprietary CMS-vendors. I don't think the situation will be so much different in 12 months from now.

January 01, 2008
Bevan (not verified):

He he!! Very interesting and entertaining! Thanks!

January 01, 2008
PhillipS (not verified):

I don't think DotNetNuke from M$ will disappear. Look at the membership growing and the features are becoming better and better. I am not pro M$ but do find it very easy to start – you pick one CMS and stick to it learning the work a-rounds. Joomla are getting the votes – maybe WYSIWYG? - Drupal 5 was also very easy to start with - thank you very much for a 'tool' for none Web Designers / programmers like myself.

January 02, 2008
alldrupaltheme… (not verified):

I'm definitely in favor of views integration, will make the code cleaner and might even make Drupal faster.

Another thing I'm hoping for is user-friendly image uploading for WYSIWYG editors.

January 07, 2008
Tommy (not verified):

Have a fantastic 2008, and may Drupal have an (even more) successful year :)

I am looking forward to the integration of the CCK and Views to the core of Drupal.

January 10, 2008
Shabbir Hussain (not verified):

Happy New Year 2008 to all!

Exciting predictions for exciting times.

As still a newbie in Drupal, I have to say that this is a wonderful moment to be on board.

Warm regards from Shabbir, India!

December 18, 2008
Nikki (not verified):

How are you. You can't deny laughter. When it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.
I am from Israel and also now am reading in English, please tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "Groovenet travel is an onlne travel agency in the philippines which books cheap airlines tickets and hotels to beaches, islandes and city streets all over the."

:p Thanks in advance. Nikki.

March 17, 2009