All RPGs and Storygames by Tod Foley are now available at DrivethruRPG. Bring these games to your table!
It's been quiet on my blog but for good reason: I got married!
We had an amazing two-day wedding in the heart of Tuscany. The wedding took place in a renovated Italian villa from the 11th century, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. A magical place to celebrate with family and friends who flew in from all over the world.
Many people emailed and texted asking for some wedding photos. It will take our wedding photographer a few months to deliver the photos, but they shared some preview photos today.
The photos capture the love, energy and picturesque location of our wedding quite well!
This week, Acquia announced the opening of its new office in Pune, India, which extends our presence in the Asia Pacific region. In addition to Pune, we already have offices in Australia and Japan.
I've made several trips to India in recent years, and have experienced not only Drupal's fast growth, but also the contagious excitement and passion for Drupal from the people I've met there.
While I wasn't able to personally attend the opening of our new office, I'm looking forward to visiting the Pune office soon.
For now, here are a few pictures from our grand opening celebration:
Scrambling means hiking up steep, rocky terrain using your hands, without the need for ropes or any other kind of protection. It's something between hiking and rock climbing.Tryfan's North Ridge silhouette next to lake Lyn Ogwen.
17 people died on Tryfan the past 30 years, and 516 parties had to be rescued. While the scrambling on Tryfan is rarely technically challenging, it can be dangerous and difficult at times (video of Klaas scrambling), especially when carrying heavy backpacks. Tryfan shouldn't be taken lightly.
It took us five hours to make it to the top — and it's taking me four days to recover so far. After we reached the top, we descended a few hundred meters and found a patch of grass where we could set up our tent.Our campsite on a ridge on the back of Tryfan. The views were spectacular.
Carrying those heavy backpacks paid off not only because we were able to bring our camping supplies but also because Klaas carried up a steak dinner with cocktails — a late birthday surprise for my 40th birthday. Yes, you read that correctly: a steak dinner with cocktails on top of a mountain! It was a real treat!
During dinner, the weather started to turn; dark clouds came in and it started to rain. By night time the temperature had dropped to 2 degrees Celsius (35 degrees Fahrenheit). Fortunately, we were prepared and had hauled not only a tent and a steak dinner up the mountain, but also warm clothing.The temperatures swung from 20ºC (68ºF) during the day time to 2ºC (35ºF) during night time. In the evenings, we were forced to put on warm clothes and layer up.
What didn't go so well was that my brand new sleeping pad had a leak and I didn't bring a repair kit. Although, sleeping on the ground wasn't so bad. The next morning, when we opened our tent, we were greeted not only by an amazing view, but also by friendly sheep.
The next two days, we hiked through the Ogwen Valley. Its wide glacial valley is surrounded by soaring mountains and is incredibly beautiful.
After three days of hiking we made it back to the base of Tryfan where it all started. We felt a big sense of accomplishment.Selfie taken with Klaas' iPhone 8. Me pointing to the Tryfan's North Ridge where our hike began just three days earlier.
We hadn't taken a shower in four days, so we definitely started to become aware of each other's smell. As soon as we got to Klaas' Volkswagen California (campervan), we showered in the parking lot, behind the car. I ended up washing my armpits four times, once for each day I didn't shower.
For more photos, check out my photo album.
Years ago, we heard that organizations wanted to:
- Create content that is easy to re-use across different channels, such as websites and mobile applications, email, digital screens, and more.
- Use a content management system with a modern web service API that allows them to use their favorite front-end framework (e.g. React, Angular, Vue.js, etc) to build websites and digital experiences.
As a result, Acquia spent the last 5+ years helping to improve Drupal's web services capabilities and authoring experience.
But we also heard that organizations want to:
- Use single repository to manage all their organization's content.
- Make it really easy to synchronize content between all their Drupal sites.
- Manage all content editors from a central place to enable centralized content governance and workflows.
- Automate the installation, maintenance, and upgrades of their Drupal-based content repository.
All of the above becomes even more important as organizations scale the number of content creators, websites and applications. Many large organizations have to build and maintain hundreds of sites and manage hundreds of content creators.
So this week, at our European customer conference, we lifted the curtain on Acquia Content Cloud, a new Acquia product. Acquia Content Cloud is a content-as-a-service solution that enables simplified, headless content creation and syndication across multi-channel digital experiences.
For now, we are launching an early access beta program. If you’re interested in being considered for the beta or want to learn more as Content Cloud moves toward general availability, you can sign up here.
In time, I plan to write more about Content Cloud, especially as we get closer to its initial release. Until then, you can watch the Acquia Content Cloud teaser video below:
Today, we released a new version of Acquia Lift, our web personalization tool.
In today's world, personalization has become central to the most successful customer experiences. Most organizations know that personalization is no longer optional, but have put it off because it can be too difficult. The new Acquia Lift solves that problem.
While before, Acquia Lift may have taken a degree of fine-tuning from a developer, the new version simplifies how marketers create and launch website personalization. With the new version, anyone can point, click and personalize content without any code.
We started working on the new version of Acquia Lift in early 2018, well over a year ago. In the process we interviewed over 50 customers, redesigned the user interface and workflows, and added various new capabilities to make it easier for marketers to run website personalization campaigns. And today, at our European customer conference, Acquia Engage London, we released the new Acquia Lift to the public.
You can see all of the new features in action in this 5-minute Acquia Lift demo video:
The new Acquia Lift offers the best web personalization solution in Acquia's history, and definitely the best tool for Drupal.
Recently I was interviewed on RTL Z, the Dutch business news television network. In the interview, I talk about the growth and success of Drupal, and what is to come for the future of the web. Beware, the interview is in Dutch. If you speak Dutch and are subscribed to my blog (hi mom!), feel free to check it out!
Recently, GitHub announced an initiative called GitHub Sponsors where open source software users can pay contributors for their work directly within GitHub.
There has been quite a bit of debate about whether initiatives like this are good or bad for Open Source.
On the one hand, there is the concern that the commercialization of Open Source could corrupt Open Source communities, harm contributors' intrinsic motivation and quest for purpose (blog post), or could lead to unhealthy corporate control (blog post).
On the other hand, there is the recognition that commercial sponsorship is often a necessary condition for Open Source sustainability. Many communities have found that to support their growth, as a part of their natural evolution, they need to pay developers or embrace corporate sponsors.
Personally, I believe initiatives like GitHub Sponsors, and others like Open Collective, are a good thing.
It helps not only with the long-term sustainability of Open Source communities, but also improves diversity in Open Source. Underrepresented groups, in particular, don't always have the privilege of free time to contribute to Open Source outside of work hours. Most software developers have to focus on making a living before they can focus on self-actualization. Without funding, Open Source communities risk losing or excluding valuable talent.
More than 37,000 American flags are on the Boston Common — an annual tribute to fallen military service members. Seeing all these flags was moving, made me pause, and recognize that Memorial Day weekend is not just about time off from work, outdoor BBQs with friends, or other fun start-of-summer festivities.
Last month, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's long-awaited report on Russian interference in the U.S. election was released on the Justice.gov website.
According to Federal Computer Week, by 5pm on the day of the report's release, there had already been 587 million site visits, with 247 million happening within the first hour.
During these types of high-pressure events when the world is watching, no news is good news. Keeping sites like this up and available to the public is an important part of democracy and the freedom of information. I'm proud of Acquia's and Drupal's ability to deliver when it matters most!
I'm happy to announce today that Acquia acquired Mautic, an open source marketing automation and campaign management platform.
A couple of decades ago, I was convinced that every organization required a website — a thought that sounds rather obvious now. Today, I am convinced that every organization will need a Digital Experience Platform (DXP).
Having a website is no longer enough: customers expect to interact with brands through their websites, email, chat and more. They also expect these interactions to be relevant and personalized.
If you don't know Mautic, think of it as an alternative to Adobe's Marketo or Salesforce's Marketing Cloud. Just like these solutions, Mautic provides marketing automation and campaign management capabilities. It's differentiated in that it is easier to use, supports one-to-one customer experiences across many channels, integrates more easily with other tools, and is less expensive.
The flowchart style visual campaign builder you saw in the beginning of the Mautic demo video above is one of my favorite features. I love how it allows marketers to combine content, user profiles, events and a decision engine to deliver the best-next action to customers.
Mautic is a relatively young company, but has quickly grown into the largest open source player in the marketing automation space, with more than 200,000 installations. Its ease of use, flexibility and feature completeness has won over many marketers in a very short time: the company's top-line grew almost 400 percent year-over-year, its number of customers tripled, and Mautic won multiple awards for product innovation and customer service.
The acquisition of Mautic accelerates Acquia's product strategy to deliver the only Open Digital Experience Platform:The pieces that make up a Digital Experience Platform, and how Mautic fits into Acquia's Open Digital Experience Platform. Acquia is strong in content management, personalization, user profile management and commerce (yellow blocks). Mautic adds or improves Acquia's multi-channel delivery, campaign management and journey orchestration capabilities (purple blocks).
There are many reasons why we like Mautic, but here are my top 3:Reason 1: Disrupting the market with "open"
Open Source will disrupt every component of the modern technology stack. It's not a matter of if, it's when.
With Mautic, Acquia is now the only open and open source alternative to the expensive, closed, and stagnant marketing clouds.
I'm both proud and excited that Acquia is doubling down on Open Source. Given our extensive open source experience, we believe we can help grow Mautic even faster.Reason 2: Innovating through integrations
To build an optimal customer experience, marketers need to integrate with different data sources, customer technologies, and bespoke in-house platforms. Instead of buying a suite from a single vendor, most marketers want an open platform that allows for open innovation and unlimited integrations.
Only an open architecture can connect any technology in the marketing stack, and only an open source innovation model can evolve fast enough to offer integrations with thousands of marketing technologies (to date, there are 7,000 vendors in the martech landscape).
Because developers are largely responsible for creating and customizing marketing platforms, marketing technology should meet the needs of both business users and technology architects. Unlike other companies in the space, Mautic is loved by both marketers and developers. With Mautic, Acquia continues to focus on both personas.Reason 3: The same technology stack and business model
Digital agencies or in-house teams need to deliver integrated marketing solutions. Because both Drupal and Mautic use the same technology stack, a single team of developers can work on both.
The similarities also make it possible for both open source communities to collaborate — while it is not something you can force to happen, it will be interesting to see how that dynamic naturally plays out over time.
Last but not least, our business models are also very aligned. Both Acquia and Mautic were "born in the cloud" and make money by offering subscription- and cloud-based delivery options. This means you pay for only what you need and that you can focus on using the products rather than running and maintaining them.
Mautic offers several commercial solutions:
- Mautic Cloud, a fully managed SaaS version of Mautic with premium features not available in Open Source.
- For larger organizations, Mautic has a proprietary product called Maestro. Large organizations operate in many regions or territories, and have teams dedicated to each territory. With Maestro, each territory can get its own Mautic instance, but they can still share campaign best-practices, and repeat successful campaigns across territories. It's a unique capability, which is very aligned with the Acquia Cloud Site Factory.
If you want to try Mautic, you can either install the community version yourself or check out the demo or sandbox environment of Mautic Open Marketing Cloud.Conclusion
We're very excited to join forces with Mautic. It is such a strategic step for Acquia. Together we'll provide our customers with more freedom, faster innovation, and more flexibility. Open digital experiences are the way of the future.
I've got a lot more to share about the Mautic acquisition, how we plan to integrate Mautic in Acquia's solutions, how we could build bridges between the Drupal and Mautic community, how it impacts the marketplace, and more.
In time, I'll write more about these topics on this blog. In the meantime, please feel free to join DB Hurley, Mautic's founder and CTO, and me in a live Q&A session on Thursday, May 9 at 10am ET. We'll try to answer your questions about Acquia and Mautic.
The Drupal Association announced today that Heather Rocker has been selected as its next Executive Director.
This is exciting news because it concludes a seven month search since Megan Sanicki left.
We looked long and hard for someone who could help us grow the global Drupal community by building on its diversity, working with developers and agency partners, and expanding our work with new audiences such as content creators and marketers.
The Drupal Association (including me) believes that Heather can do all of that, and is the best person to help lead Drupal into its next phase of growth.
Heather earned her engineering degree from Georgia Tech. She has dedicated much of her career to working with women in technology, both as the CEO of Girls, Inc. of Greater Atlanta and the Executive Director of Women in Technology.
We were impressed not only with her valuable experience with volunteer organizations, but also her work in the private sector with large customers. Most recently, Heather was part of the management team at Systems Evolution, a team of 250 business consultants, where she specialized in sales operations and managed key client relationships.
She is also a robotics fanatic who organizes and judges competitions for children. So, maybe we’ll see some robots roaming around DrupalCon in the future!
As you can tell, Heather will bring a lot of great experience to the Drupal community and I look forward to partnering with her.
Last but not least, I want to thank Tim Lehnen for serving as our Interim Executive Director. He did a fantastic job leading the Drupal Association through this transition.
I've loved this song since I was 15 years old, so after 25 years it definitely deserves a place in my favorite music list. When I watched this recording, I stopped breathing for a while. Beautifully devastating. Don't mix this song with alcohol.
We ditched the crowded streets of Seattle for a short vacation in Tuscany's beautiful countryside. After the cold winter months, Tuscany's rolling hills are coming back to life and showing their new colors.
Last week, many Drupalists gathered in Seattle for DrupalCon North America, for what was the largest DrupalCon in history.
DrupalCon Seattle was not only the largest, but also had the most diverse speakers. Nearly 50% of the DrupalCon speakers were from underrepresented groups. This number has been growing year over year, and is something to be proud of.
I actually started my keynote by talking about how we can make Drupal more diverse and inclusive. As one of the largest and most thriving Open Source communities, I believe that Drupal has an obligation to set a positive example.
I talked about how Open Source communities often incorrectly believe that everyone can contribute. Unfortunately, not everyone has equal amounts of free time to contribute. In my keynote, I encouraged individuals and organizations in the Drupal community to strongly consider giving time to underrepresented groups.
Improving diversity is not only good for Drupal and its ecosystem, it's good for people, and it's the right thing to do. Because this topic is so important, I wrote a dedicated blog post about it.Drupal 8 innovation update
I dedicated a significant portion of my keynote to Drupal 8. In the past year alone, there have been 35% more sites and 48% more stable modules in Drupal 8. Our pace of innovation is increasing, and we've seen important progress in several key areas.
With the release of Drupal 8.7, the Layout Builder will become stable. Drupal's new Layout Builder makes it much easier to build and change one-off page layouts, templated layouts and layout workflows. Best of all, the Layout Builder will be accessible.
Drupal 8.7 also brings a lot of improvements to the Media Library.
We also continue to innovate on headless or decoupled Drupal. The JSON:API module will ship with Drupal 8.7. I believe this not only advances Drupal's leadership in API-first, but sets Drupal up for long-term success.
These are just a few of the new capabilities that will ship with Drupal 8.7. For the complete list of new features, keep an eye out for the release announcement in a few weeks.Drupal 7 end of life
If you're still on Drupal 7, there is no need to panic. The Drupal community will support Drupal 7 until November 2021 — two years and 10 months from today.
After the community support ends, there will be extended commercial support for a minimum of three additional years. This means that Drupal 7 will be supported for at least five more years, or until 2024.Upgrading from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8
Upgrading from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 can be a lot of work, especially for large sites, but the benefits outweigh the challenges.
As announced a few months ago, Drupal 9 is targeted for June 2020. June 2020 is only 14 months away, so I dedicated a significant amount of my keynote to Drupal 9.
Making Drupal updates easier is a huge, ongoing priority for the community. Thanks to those efforts, the upgrade path to Drupal 9 will be radically easier than the upgrade path to Drupal 8.
In my keynote, I talked about how site owners, Drupal developers and Drupal module maintainers can start preparing for Drupal 9 today. I showed several tools that make Drupal 9 preparation easier. Check out my post on how to prepare for Drupal 9 for details.Thank you
I'm grateful to be a part of a community that takes such pride in its work. At each DrupalCon, we get to see the tireless efforts of many volunteers that add up to one amazing event. It makes me proud to showcase the work of so many people and organizations in my presentations.
Thank you to all who have made this year's DrupalCon North America memorable. I look forward to celebrating our work and friendships at future events!
With Drupal 9 targeted to be released in June of 2020, many people are wondering what they need to do to prepare.
The good and important news is that upgrading from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 should be really easy — radically easier than upgrading from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8.
The only caveat is that you need to manage "deprecated code" well.
If your site doesn't use deprecated code that is scheduled for removal in Drupal 9, your upgrade to Drupal 9 will be easy. In fact, it should be as easy as a minor version upgrade (like upgrading from Drupal 8.6 to Drupal 8.7).What is deprecated code?
Code in Drupal is marked as "deprecated" when it should no longer be used. Typically, code is deprecated because there is a better alternative that should be used instead.
For example, in Drupal 8.0.0, we deprecated \Drupal::l($text, $url). Instead of using \Drupal::l(), you should use Link::fromTextAndUrl($text, $url). The \Drupal::l() function was marked for removal as part of some clean-up work; Drupal 8 had too many ways to generate links.
Deprecated code will continue to work for some time before it gets removed. For example, \Drupal::l() continues to work in Drupal 8.7 despite the fact that it was deprecated in Drupal 8.0.0 more than three years ago. This gives module maintainers ample time to update their code.
When we release Drupal 9, we will "drop" most deprecated code. In our example, this means that \Drupal::l() will not be available anymore in Drupal 9.
In other words:
- Any Drupal 8 module that does not use deprecated code will continue to work with Drupal 9.
- Any Drupal 8 module that uses deprecated code needs to be updated before Drupal 9 is released, or it will stop working with Drupal 9.
If you're interested, you can read more about Drupal's deprecation policy at https://www.drupal.org/core/deprecation.How do I know if my site uses deprecated code?
There are a few ways to check if your site is using deprecated code.
If you work on a Drupal site as a developer, run drupal-check. Matt Glaman (Centarro) developed a static PHP analysis tool called drupal-check, which you can run against your codebase to check for deprecated code. I recommend running drupal-check in an automated fashion as part of your development workflow.
If you are a site owner, install the Upgrade Status module. This module was built by Acquia. The module provides a graphical user interface on top of drupal-check. The goal is to provide an easy-to-use readiness assessment for your site's migration to Drupal 9.
If you maintain a project on Drupal.org, enable Drupal.org's testing infrastructure to detect the use of deprecated code. There are two complementary ways to do so: you can run a static deprecation analysis and/or configure your existing tests to fail when calling deprecated code. Both can be set up in your drupalci.yml configuration file.
If you find deprecated code in a contributed module used on your site, consider filing an issue in the module's issue queue on Drupal.org (after having checked no issue has been created yet). If you can, provide a patch to fix the deprecation and engage with the maintainer to get it committed.How hard is it to update my code?
While there are some deprecations that require more detailed refactoring, many are a simple matter of search-and-replace.
You can check the API documentation for instructions on how to remedy the deprecation.When can I start updating my code?
I encourage you to start today. When you update your Drupal 8 code to use the latest and greatest APIs, you can benefit from those improvements immediately. There is no reason to wait until Drupal 9 is released.
Drupal 8.8.0 will be the last release to deprecate for Drupal 9. Today, we don't know the full set of deprecations yet.How much time do I have to update my code?
Contributed module maintainers are encouraged to remove the use of deprecated code by June of 2020 so everyone can upgrade to Drupal 9 the day it is released.
Drupal.org project maintainers should keep the extended security coverage policy in mind, which means that Drupal 8.8 will still be supported until Drupal 9.1 is released. Contributed projects looking to support both Drupal 8.8 and Drupal 9.0 might need to use two branches.How ready are the contributed modules?
As it stands today, 44% of the modules have no deprecation warnings. The remaining 56% of the modules need to be updated, but the majority have less than three deprecation warnings.
In Open Source, there is a long-held belief in meritocracy, or the idea that the best work rises to the top, regardless of who contributes it. The problem is that a meritocracy assumes an equal distribution of time for everyone in a community.Open Source is not a meritocracy
I incorrectly made this assumption myself, saying: The only real limitation [to Open Source contribution] is your willingness to learn.
Today, I've come to understand that inequality makes it difficult for underrepresented groups to have the "free time" it takes to contribute to Open Source.
For example, research shows that women still spend more than double the time as men doing unpaid domestic work, such as housework or childcare. I've heard from some of my colleagues that they need to optimize every minute of time they don't spend working, which makes it more difficult to contribute to Open Source on an unpaid, volunteer basis.
Or, in other cases, many people's economic conditions require them to work more hours or several jobs in order to support themselves or their families.
Systemic issues like racial and gender wage gaps continue to plague underrepresented groups, and it's both unfair and impractical to assume that these groups of people have the same amount of free time to contribute to Open Source projects, if they have any at all.
What this means is that Open Source is not a meritocracy.
Free time is a mark of privilege, rather than an equal right. Instead of chasing an unrealistic concept of meritocracy, we should be striving for equity. Rather than thinking, "everyone can contribute to open source", we should be thinking, "everyone deserves the opportunity to contribute".Time inequality contributes to a lack of diversity in Open Source
This fallacy of "free time" makes Open Source communities suffer from a lack of diversity. The demographics are even worse than the technology industry overall: while 22.6% of professional computer programmers in the workforce identify as women (Bureau of Labor Statistics), less than 5% of contributors do in Open Source (GitHub). And while 34% of programmers identify as ethnic or national minorities (Bureau of Labor Statistics), only 16% do in Open Source (GitHub).
It's important to note that time isn't the only factor; sometimes a hostile culture or unconscious bias play a part in limiting diversity. According to the same GitHub survey cited above, 21% of people who experienced negative behavior stopped contributing to Open Source projects altogether. Other recent research showed that women's pull requests were more likely to get accepted if they had a gender-neutral username. Unfortunately, examples like these are common.Taking action: giving time to underrepresented groups
While it's impossible to fix decades of gender and racial inequality with any single action, we must do better. Those in a position to help have an obligation to improve the lives of others. We should not only invite underrepresented groups into our Open Source communities, but make sure that they are welcomed, supported and empowered. One way to help is with time:
- As individuals, by making sure you are intentionally welcoming people from underrepresented groups, through both outreach and actions. If you're in a community organizing position, encourage and make space for people from underrepresented groups to give talks or lead sprints about the work they're interested in. Or if you're asked to, mentor an underrepresented contributor.
- As organizations in the Open Source ecosystem, by giving people more paid time to contribute.
Taking the extra effort to help onboard new members or provide added detail when reviewing code changes can be invaluable to community members who don't have an abundance of free time. Overall, being kinder, more patient and more supportive to others could go a long way in welcoming more people to Open Source.
In addition, organizations within the Open Source ecosystem capable of giving back should consider financially sponsoring underrepresented groups to contribute to Open Source. Sponsorship can look like full or part-time employment, an internship or giving to organizations like Girls Who Code, Code2040, Resilient Coders or one of the many others that support diversity in technology. Even a few hours of paid time during the workweek for underrepresented employees could help them contribute more to Open Source.Applying the lessons to Drupal
Over the years, I've learned a lot from different people's perspectives. Learning out in the open is not always easy, but it's been an important part of my personal journey.
Knowing that Drupal is one of the largest and most influential Open Source projects, I find it important that we lead by example.
I encourage individuals and organizations in the Drupal community to strongly consider giving time and opportunities to underrepresented groups. You can start in places like:
- Drupal Core Mentoring to inspire, enable and encourage new contributors to get involved.
- The Drupal Diversity and Inclusion Contribution Team.
- The Drupal Apprentice Initiative by TalentPath, which helps organizations build a diverse talent pipeline through apprenticeships.
When we have more diverse people contributing to Drupal, it will not only inject a spark of energy, but it will also help us make better, more accessible, inclusive software for everyone in the world.
Each of us needs to decide if and how we can help to create equity for everyone in Drupal. Not only is it good for business, it's good for people, and it's the right thing to do.
Special thanks to the Drupal Diversity and Inclusion group for discussing this topic with me. Ashe Dryden's thought-leadership indirectly influenced this piece. If you are interested in this topic, I recommend you check out Ashe's blog post The Ethics of Unpaid Labor and the OSS Community.
For most people, today marks the first day of DrupalCon Seattle.
Open Source communities create better, more inclusive software when diverse people come to the table. Unfortunately, there is still a huge gender gap in Open Source, and software more broadly. It's something I'll talk more about in my keynote tomorrow.
One way to help close the gender gap in the technology sector is to give to organizations that are actively working to solve this problem. During DrupalCon Seattle, Acquia will donate $5 to Girls Who Code for every person that visits our booth.