Top Drupal blog posts from April 2023
April brought us a whole bunch of great Drupal content and news – here are our team’s top picks.
Preserving the open web through Drupal
This month’s selection features three excellent articles from Dries; the first one we want to highlight is his piece on opensource.com about Drupal’s role in preserving the open web. He opens with his thoughts on the shortcomings of proprietary software, contrasting that with “good software”, which cares about the end user and thus prioritizes things like privacy, accessibility and openness.
Drupal is the perfect example of such a technology, largely because of its composable approach which allows both developers and non-technical users to create advanced digital experiences. This is especially strong in the latest version, Drupal 10, which brings numerous benefits to both the developer and editor experience.
The evolution of Drupal's composability: from the command line to the browser
The next article from Dries focuses on composability in Drupal and how it has evolved since the first no-code update system, Update Manager, in version 7. One of the first major changes was adopting the use of Composer for managing packages from Symfony, but this was less favored by non-technical users, which led Dries to first conceptualize the Automatic Updates initiative back in 2017.
In combination with the more recent Project Browser initiative, which enables easy installation of modules without using the command line, Automatic Updates gives Drupal users an “app store” like experience. The current plan is for both to be included in core in the second half of the year.
Launching a Next-Drupal site on the Pantheon Platform.
Next up, we have an article by Chapter Three’s John Faber which walks the reader through launching a Next-Drupal site on the Pantheon platform. Pantheon is well suited for hosting decoupled websites and offers advantages such as cross-platform tooling and workflows, flexibility with hybrid architecture, and consolidated management for all websites.
Connecting the Next.js front end to your Pantheon-based site is very straightforward. After setting up the Drupal project, you need to add the Next.js for Pantheon module, install Next.js, create the Next.js site, and then finally update the Next.js URLs on the Drupal side of things.
Creating fields programmatically and not through field configuration
In the next article, Matt Glaman shows how to create Drupal fields programmatically rather than through configuration, since the latter approach relies on nobody modifying the configuration and potentially making changes to your business logic.
Matt first defines and differentiates between base fields and bundle fields before showing the step by step process of defining each of them, with the latter being more complex since bundle fields are available only to specific bundles for an entity type.
He also showcases an example of leveraging bundle fields, the Acquia DAM module, where you need a remote asset ID for a DAM asset on the media entity, but it needs to only be available to media types used in the DAM integration.
Test your Drupal website with Cypress
In the introduction, Jordan starts by listing the many benefits of using Cypress, such as its extensibility, its ease of use and its growing popularity. The article continues with a section on installing and setting up Cypress, and afterwards a section on writing and running basic tests.
The final section of Jordan’s article covers customizing Cypress for Drupal by writing your own custom Cypress commands, showing an example of a custom command
Why a culture of open-source contribution is good for your business
We continue with an article from Owen Lansbury of PreviousNext based on his talk at EverythingOpen 2023. This one is less Drupal-specific and more about open source in general, as it is about the value of a culture of open-source contribution and how they approach it at PreviousNext.
Owen’s article first breaks down the specific benefits of contributing to the Drupal or another open-source community: reputation, professional development, and a better employee experience (including better staff retention). In the second half, he then presents their contribution framework, which includes 20% of employees’ time devoted to contributing, as well as more dedicated ‘Hackdays’.
What’s Next for Drupal 10?
Approaching the end of April’s overview, we have an article from Nathaniel Catchpole of Third and Grove, who is a Drupal Core committer, and who takes a look ahead at the upcoming features of the latest major Drupal version, Drupal 10.
Drupal recognized as a Digital Public Good
Last but not least, we have our third and final April article from Dries, this one being the important announcement of Drupal getting officially recognized as a digital public good by the Digital Public Goods Alliance.
He starts off with a definition of a (digital) public good, recalling a past article of his about balancing makers and takers in open source, where he already pointed out that open-source software projects should be treated as public goods.
In Drupal’s case, this is particularly relevant due to its role in preserving the open web (see the first article in this month’s selection). For Drupal, this recognition will mean increased visibility, credibility and consequently adoption.
We hope you enjoyed revisiting April’s articles. We’ll be back next month with a new selection of monthly top picks, make sure you tune in then!