Jonathan Hedstrom: Drupal is like Lego for adult professionals

Jonathan Hedstrom
Community Drupal

Agiledrop is highlighting active Drupal community members through a series of interviews. Learn who are the people behind Drupal projects. 

This week we talked with Jonathan Hedstrom. Read about what he thinks has been the biggest evolution for Drupal, what contribution is he the proudest of and what he thinks is the most important about Drupal today.


1. Please tell us a little about yourself. How do you participate in the Drupal community and what do you do professionally?

I’m an active core contributor and the core maintainer of the Datetime module. I’ve been a member and sometimes a leader of the Portland Drupal User Group for the last decade. I maintain dozens of contributed modules (and contribute patches/fixes/features to many dozens more). I am a co-maintainer of Drush and the project lead of the Drupal Behat Extension. I am currently a Software Architect at Phase2.


2. When did you first came across Drupal? What convinced you to stay, software or the community, and why?

I discovered Drupal in 2005 for my personal website. I converted it from a static HTML site to use Drupal 4.4. I started working professionally with Drupal when I moved to Portland in 2007 to be the lead developer at OpenSourcery. My first DrupalCon in Hungary really exposed me to the international community, and that continued engagement has kept me going. The warm welcome, I was given by the local community, made it simple to stay connected to the broader Drupal community too.


3. What impact Drupal made on you? Is there a particular moment you remember?

Drupal has provided the basis for much of my career, and many of my life-long friends have been made through the community, both locally and internationally.


4. How do you explain what Drupal is to other, non-Drupal people?

I usually describe Drupal as Legos for non-Drupal folks. It has all the pieces to do just about anything one can imagine, but there are some steps between dumping the pile of pieces out on the floor to a complete and functional thing.


5. How did you see Drupal evolving over the years? What do you think the future will bring?

I think the adoption of modern coding practices, and embracing third-party libraries have been the biggest evolution I’ve seen for Drupal. It has let Drupal focus on the things that it wants to do better, and not have to re-invent (and maintain) the little pieces that are already done.


6. What are some of the contribution to open source code or community that you are most proud of?

It’s always fun to get commits into a new project. I most recently had my first commit to Symfony accepted. One of my proudest commits to Drupal 8 would be the views integration for the Datetime module. Also, I was heavily involved in resolving many of the critical blockers for Drupal 8 to support an upgrade path from beta to beta, and am quite proud of helping that effort, which eventually resulted in the release of Drupal 8.0.0. I’m also proud of the time I spent as a leader of the Portland Drupal User Group. In that time I helped organize several camps, two Pacific Northwest Drupal Summits, and helped mentor quite a few folks.


7. Is there an initiative or a project in Drupal space that you would like to promote or highlight?

The current effort to more fully embrace Composer is really exciting and important, I think. Also, the move to completely get off of the legacy SimpleTest framework in the core is important, and probably less visible than some of the more exciting initiatives.


8. Is there anything else that excites you beyond Drupal? Either a new technology or a personal endeavorment. 

The increasing focus on decoupled architecture and all the technology (React, GraphQL, etc.) that goes along with that is really fun, and it’s bringing a lot of new faces into the community, I think.