Rachel Lawson on the road with Drupal

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 Rachel Lawson. Learn how did she first came across Drupal, what change she just saw that she was working on and on what contributors she is most proud of.


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

Well, I did spend a few years as a Drupal site-builder and maybe-developer and got involved in core contribution and mentoring, but recently I took the role of Community Liaison at the Drupal Association. Keeps me busy!


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

I was trying to explain a concept to an agency in Manchester, UK, of a way I wanted them to build a website for me. I wanted to make a mockup and downloaded Drupal completely randomly to do that. As it happens, the agency took me literally and, even though they were normally a ColdFusion shop, they built the site in Drupal.


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

Drupal gave me confidence at a time I needed it. I got to meet some amazing people who became my friends. Maybe walking into my first DrupalCamp, in Leeds UK was significant - and I talked about it on Wednesday morning at DrupalCon Nashville. See before the Steve Francia keynote on YouTube.


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

I’m still trying to work out my elevator pitch! I tend to explain that it is a free software, that pretty much everyone connected to the internet worldwide gets to benefit from it at some point and that a community of tens of thousands around the World are involved in creating.


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

The only thing that we do know is that the Drupal of tomorrow will not be the Drupal of today, in just the same way that it is no longer the Drupal of yesterday. We all grow, benefit and learn from change and how we adapt is what makes us great.


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

I literally just saw that change I worked on to have Drupal take notice of a new CSS selector, “prefers-reduced-motion”, has made it into 8.6.x (and the patches I created were made on my iPad, just for fun). That makes me happy.
The thing I’m most proud of, though, would be the time I spent as part of the Community Working Group. It’s *really* hard work and quite emotionally challenging. I think I made a positive difference, though. That matters to me.


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

This is really difficult as I’d like to highlight so many! Something Dries keeps saying, though, is to think what will have the greatest impact. Taking that into account, I’d love to turn every single person’s attention towards the Documentation initiative(s).
I believe we could make a great impact on the Drupal ecosystem if we took our documentation to new heights - like treating every new person’s error or “stupid question” not as a failure of that person, but as a “bug” in Drupal. 
Drupal is more than code; it’s the code, the documentation, the values & principles, the leadership & organisation, the sponsorship, the events, the infrastructure, the people...


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

I don’t think it is a secret that I’m slightly obsessed with travel on my motorbike. I often travel to Drupal events in Europe by bike and want eventually to take that even further. It’s the people I meet that excite me - I love meeting people and learning about their lives.