Drupal Starshot: Reflections on DrupalCon Portland 2024

May 15, 2024
By Taylor Payne

The opening day of the event was met as usual with the keynote by Dries Buytaert, addressing a not-so-usual announcement.

Last week Five Jars was proud to sponsor DrupalCon Portland 2024, where some significant announcements were made, and some significant fun was to be had. We were surrounded by a wealth of knowledge by a community that combines over thousands of years of experience in the Drupal space. The opening day of the event was met as usual with the keynote by Dries Buytaert, addressing a not-so-usual announcement.

The DriesNote 2024

With 23 years under its belt, Drupal stands as architects and defenders of the Open Web, as one of the most accessible CMS in the world, and recently one of the first to support OpenAI. Drupal has become one of the most accessible platforms globally, embodying the ethos of inclusivity and empowerment. Drupal isn’t just a content management system; it’s a cornerstone of the open web, with a rich history that predates even some of the first web browsers.

Drupal 11

An alpha version of Drupal 11 is already making waves, with promising features such as: 

  • Workspaces
  • Access Policy API
  • WebP by default
  • Single directory component
  • Taxonomy terms revision UI - moderation support

Drupal 11 promises a host of innovative features designed to elevate the user experience and streamline development workflows. With a projected launch date as early as the end of July, Drupal 11 represents much more than a simple software update. These performance improvements will indicate a bright future for Drupal users worldwide. 

Embracing Open Source

Looking into success stories like the Sydney Opera House, which has developed such a robust Drupal website and openly shared their solutions with the community, the importance of community-driven innovation shines through. One of Drupal’s greatest strengths lies in its inclusivity and open-source community, where diversity fosters innovation. But, transparency is key when addressing a business leading so much innovation. Are there areas where Drupal can improve? Buytaert says “Absolutely.”

"It’s my role as a project lead, not just to highlight the great things about Drupal, but also to lead and to help us fix the things that we need to do better…If we don’t talk openly about some of the challenges, then we can’t all go and fix them." - Dries Buytaert, Founder and Project Lead of Drupal

While Drupal exceeds in many areas, the threshold to admission is statistically too high for non-developers or new users. There can be a steep learning curve and lack of initial information around the rich community which can inhibit newcomers from keeping Drupal for the long term. 

A graph of Drupal vs. other CMSs over time illustrating Drupal gaining positive regard over time, and other CMSs losing positivity over time.

In this graph we can see that the longer users are enveloped in Drupal, the higher their satisfaction goes up. However, there is a problem if only trained Drupal individuals can use the platform. 

Simply, Drupal needs to stay relevant to the next generation of Drupal users, with easy-to-use interfaces, and out-of-the-box solutions to get launched quickly.

Introducing Drupal CMS (or, Starshot)

Drupal CMS represents a paradigm shift, reimagining the onboarding process for new users. By prioritizing simplicity and user-friendly design from launch, Starshot aims to streamline website creation and invite individuals from all backgrounds to join the Drupal Community.

Buytaert is moving toward this initiative with a sense of urgency, stressing that the success of the platform hinges on collaboration and harnessing the power of a lower entry-point for use. To start, the Core Committers were engaged, defining a set of metrics for success:

  • Adoption 
  • Contributor Sentiment
  • User Sentiment
  • Innovation
Image of a propose wireframe illustrating the difference between DrupalCMS and DrupalCore

Being able to utilize Drupal out-of-the-box through a browser is a significant change. Being able to utilize cloud data and have easier access to updates over pulling the code manually for a site update will not only streamline development but enhance the junior or non-developer experience. Drupal CMS will allow user to launch faster with:

  • Established and growing documentation
  • Optimized trial experience
  • Responsible AI with room for experimentation
"Drupal CMS is a fast-moving Open source product that enables site builders without Drupal experience to easily create a new Drupal site and extend it with pre-packaged recipes, all using their browser." - Dries Buytaert, Founder and Project Lead of Drupal


Drupal CMS is set to launch at the end of this year, or beginning of next year. The idea is to launch fast, with reiterations and updates to follow quickly. In the prototype, the workflow is; as you install Drupal, a page launches with recipes to select and enable. These recipes are built to enable individuals to quickly build and style new pages, allowing mix and match site building automations without locking you into distribution. 

An example of the proposed UI with options to select preconfigured recipes i.e. "Publish a blog", "Landing page", etc.

To continue to build on the platform, Drupal is leveraging partners by involving the Drupal Certified Partner Program. Broadening the usability of Drupal is key to the overall business success of the platform, community, and industry. And, getting more people using Drupal does not only happen by training developers; it happens by leveraging a tool and a community to invite others to grow with us.


The experience of sponsoring DrupalCon has embroiled our passion towards the community. As Drupal embarks on this journey of innovation one thing is clear: our success hinges on collaboration and inclusivity. By embracing change and harnessing the power of our community, we can help to propel Drupal to new heights, ensuring its relevance for generations to come.

Photo of Taylor Payne, Digital Marketing Manager at Five Jars
Taylor Payne
A true Marketing Nerd™ with over 8 years of experience in strategy, branding, and implementation. The only constant in this industry is change, and how exciting is that! Taylor navigates her goals with intrinsic motivation, eager to see her team succeed on whichever path they're on.


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