Drupal 10: Building Engaging Digital Experiences

| | 7 min read


International Centre for Free and Open-Source Software (ICFOSS) collaborated with Zyxware Technologies to organise their 5th season of the "Back-To-Work" program for women. This time the topic was "Building digital experiences with Drupal".  As part of this programme, The Director of Programs at the Drupal Association, Von R. Eaton gives the participants a detailed presentation which covered various aspects of Drupal, Drupal.org and the Drupal Association. Later in the session, he answered some questions that were asked by the participants of the workshop.

Know More About Drupal

In this video, Von Eaton has discussed the features and benefits of Drupal 10 and Drupal organization. 

Question Answer Session

Here are some questions that were raised by candidates regarding Drupal and Von Eaton's answers.

Q: Some people say Drupal 10 is costly. As a developer, how can we have that conversation with them, and what should our thought process be?

A: It can be costly, depending on the avenue that you go through in order to build a Drupal site. Hosting tends to be the biggest expense, right? So finding a host and then also there is kind of that cost and the talent of having someone who can do PHP development to build a Drupal site. I would say that the long-term profitability of a Drupal site makes it worth it.

And you get the ability to have the flexible design that you're looking for and customize the tools to the exact purposes that your organization needs, so I really do think it's worth it.

And the other thing is that you know your site's not going to go anywhere. If you know you're with a private enterprise digital content management platform and then, say, they lose all their money one day, and they close, right? And then your site is gone. That's not gonna happen with Drupal because it's open-source.

A lot of the Strategic initiatives now are really focused on out-of-the-box tools, so utilizing those out-of-the-box tools and then finding a lower-cost hosting platform or a hosting provider is a great way to save costs.
Then, I think you can also do the Drupal development side of things, like the back end and the front end, actually in-house.

So rather than outsourcing your Drupal developer, you train an internal person, that's a long-term investment in the health of your website. So you know, hiring someone internally at your business or organization who can do Drupal and then becomes part of your organization is a profit in the long term.

Q: If we do not have a tech background and need to learn how to code, what are the things that we have to do and build upon first if we want to work in the Drupal association and get access to all of its opportunities?

A: So, I would say there are tons of non-code roles and the biggest skill sets that I see that are necessary.
If you're working towards being a developer or if you're just not interested in the development field and you are interested in more of those non-code-related roles, I would say the biggest skills that you can acquire are project management skills. So, being able to be really detail-oriented, looking at a project, understanding the tasks that need to get done and on what timeline, and then understanding who are the best people to execute those tasks is a vital skill set.

So I do a ton of project management in Drupal. I would say that's probably a big part of my role, and probably 60% of my time is spent doing that. So, I manage eight volunteer committees for Drupalcon, and all of those volunteer committees have different tasks towards different goals and different deadlines, so having those task management and project management skills are really really foundational, I think.

There's also a huge avenue for technical writing. So, being able to write a copy, whether it's for a website, social media, or blog posts about Drupal and being able to give a voice to the things that we're working on in open source broadly, especially Drupal, is a great role. So, writing skills are really, really helpful, and then I would say that documentation is also a useful skill.

Q: Will one-on-one mentoring sessions be available in the APAC nations? 

A: So, our mentor program is actually not organized by the Drupal associations but rather by a group of community mentors, and it's totally global, right? So, I think a great way to plug into that if you're seeking a mentor or just looking to get connected with mentors, the Drupal Slack is a great place to do that.

Drupal Slack has a lot of channels that are specifically directed toward mentoring, and I would say that's primarily where the mentoring initiative happens. Also, a great avenue for this is the community events page on drupal.org. So, a lot of community events are virtual, and we have Global contribution day, which happens every year that's totally online.

Q: If someone is not a part of the Drupal Association, for example, a freelancer, how can he or she get paid if she is contributing to this project?

A: A  core truth around contribution in Drupal is that 80% of the contribution is sponsored, which means that it is being done by folks who are employed full-time at organizations, and their whole job is to contribute to Drupal, right?

So, I have two thoughts about this one. For freelancing, you know the gig economy can be challenging just because you're trying to navigate as a sole proprietor and you're trying to market your skill set. But it can also be really freeing because you kind of have the choice of which clients you work with, so you can advertise your contribution as a freelance skill.

There are lots of foundations that support open-source work broadly. They can contact you if it meets their business needs.

I really think that the main avenue for having a sponsored contribution role where you're getting paid to do documentation and contribution is to identify organizations who prioritize open source as an ideology and care deeply about giving back to the projects that they are collaborating within and to seek out those organizations for full-time employment.

It doesn't necessarily have to be Drupal core. Contribution can be to local community events as well. So if you have an organization or a business of some kind that does a ton of Drupal work in your region and they're a big sponsor of local events, they may pretty frequently hire contributors. So submitting the events on drupal.org, coordinating those events,  representing them, doing advertising, and things like that are lots of different ways to monetize your contribution as your career.

Q: How can women contribute to the Drupal community? Are there any specific avenues for women to participate in this community?

A:  One of the key aspects of my role at the Drupal Association is ensuring that we're moving from a values-driven place all the time. So, everything that we're doing as an organization is centring the needs of people globally but especially people who have not had the opportunities that other folks have had in society historically.

So, that is a core tenet of the work that we do, and we do that in a couple of different ways. So, one of them is through DEI education in our community engagement strategy.

So, if you're volunteering with DrupalCon, or you're a mentor for Discover Drupal, or you are working on any of our community outreach programs, or if you're partnering with us on something like this, we have a DEI education component. It will go through kind of like 101 on why diversity and equity inclusion are important and why it matters. So, having that like foundational education and having it be a requirement of everything that we do in Drupal Association specifically.

We hold our partners to a certain expectation, and we have it in our code of conduct for all of our events. So, kind of just like setting that groundwork of expectation.

We also have a "Women in Drupal" luncheon every single year at DrupalCon, where we focus specifically on women's experiences in Drupal and empowering women in the Drupal Community celebrating women's success. We do it at DrupalCon North America and DrupalCon Europe every year

Q: Is it possible to hold events like DrupalCon in South Asian countries?

A: Drupal Association actually doesn't facilitate events internationally. We are the Project Lead for DrupalCon North America, and then we advise and liaise DrupalCon Europe.

Drupal South is actually independently run. So, where I see the Drupal association's role in empowering local meetups is maybe just making some of those connections with our event organizers' working group. Its whole wheelhouse is supporting events like local Drupal events globally. So plugging into that environment and reaching out to those folks who are the leaders in that space and getting their opinion, like asking them, "How do you organize your local camps?" can be a great way to organize local events.

There's a big network of local Drupal camps in Europe as well as outside of Drupalcon Europe. There's Drupal jam and things like that. So, all of those events are actually organized locally by people who live there, and the Drupal Association doesn't necessarily facilitate those events. I think that we would love to be able to do more with local events, but right now, with the size of our organization, we're just not able to provide that degree of support. 
Watch the full video including the Q&A session.

Wrapping Up

These are some questions Von Eaton answered on the 5th season of the "Back-To-Work" program for women organized by Zyxware Technologies and the International Centre for Free and Open-Source Software. We hope that this will be useful for anyone who wants to know more about Drupal and the opportunities it offers.