Drupal for 2008

Dries Buytaert put out his predictions for Drupal for 2008. Of note, it's reassuring that the community realizes that this year will be as much about marketing of the product as the product itself. It would be a drastic shame if Drupal became the Betamax of CMSes. An interesting point that surprised me was the integration with Flex...didn't see that coming as Flex is a proprietary, Adobe based, technology. That being said, it's amazing how things come full circle for me - we have been with Allaire/Macromedia/Adobe for seven years now. We still do a TON of work in ColdFusion and Chaz Chumley, one of our developers has presented at conferences on Flex. All good stuff for Lucidus.

To me, the biggest points that are on my list for Drupal in the coming year are:

  • Configuration Management - A CMS is basically a glorified file system stored in a database. Version Control has been around a long time and is well understood in file system land (e.g. CVS, SVN, SourceSafe). In CMS/Database Storage land, it's not such an easy equation. I want to allow an administrator/developer to work within the Drupal system itself (e.g. on a block that includes an embedded view using PHP code) and have it "versioned" so that it can't be overwritten and lost. I want to be able to "tag" a version of the system and be able to revert to it later. Autopilot seems to be on that path but I'm anxious to see progress.

  • Standard Packages - Development of Intranet, Project Management System, Web Site, etc. packages that are no-brainer installs with full documentation. Essentially leveraging Drupal for software solutions rather than just a toolkit that could be a lot of things.

  • Moving from Drupal as a CMS to Drupal as a true application framework. There is a dramatic shift happening in the development world where implementations are getting messier (can you say "mashup") and that's ok. 2008 will be the year of quick and dirty for the business world; our challenge is to apply our rigorous development standards to software based deliverables that we've always applied to code-based deliverables.

  • The Spec Starts the Deliverable - We'll be applying Drupal as a wireframing tool that will eventually become the actual system. In a perfect world, our systems analysts would use Drupal to "rough in" the system architecture and it would produce documents that live as specs.

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