John Faber Managing Partner Follow
November 16, 2022

How do we make Drupal the cool kid again? 

Did you know that about 60% of Drupal sites are still on D7, even with D10 about to be released in December? There’s been chatter that many folks are waiting on whether to stick with Drupal or slow roll their upgrade because D7 has been more challenging than anticipated. We know upgrading to D9 (or now D10) results in a much better experience than D7, but for those still unsure where they’re headed, we’d like you to consider this: Drupal Can Be Fun. No, super fun, at least in the developer and content editor sense. Read on, please.

Drupal's Future Can Be Fun

So, how do we make Drupal fun and exciting to work on? Here are four ideas to spice things up! 

  1. Focus on the Native API Platform

  2. Using Next-Drupal as a TWIG replacement 

  3. Embrace modern developer workflows

  4. Use a composable model 

Focus on the Native API Platform

A less talked about feature of the latest versions of Drupal is its JSON API Native capabilities.  Everything Drupal can do is available via an API call with full CRUD (create, update and delete) support. Developers and site builders can focus on content architecture and the editorial experience instead of weird TWIG template issues. They will be so happy.  

Using Next-Drupal as a TWIG Replacement 

Next-Drupal is a project developed by Chapter Three to replace the TWIG template system without compromising any Drupal content and editorial features. Front-end developers love to work using Next.js. Next-Drupal allows developers to create templates embracing all of the editorial features Drupal has. Next-Drupal offers another option besides PHP-based templates, which will attract a broader range of developers to Drupal.   

Modern Developer Workflows

The current developer workflows for Drupal development have mostly stayed the same in recent years. Drupal industry platforms are purpose-built to scale as your traffic increases and provide specialized tools and workflows for moving databases, pushing code, and managing Drupal software, which takes a lot of time to master. The developer workflow becomes more efficient when moving to a decoupled API-only model using Drupal. Platforms like Vercel offer a new way of working on the front-end for developers and marketers. Tight integration with GIT and the ability to preview based on branches improves the overall digital workflow.

The web developer works in his office on the infographics background. - depositphotos.com


Embrace a Composable Web Stack 

Trying to do everything with one piece of software on one type of hosting has created a complex environment requiring specialized knowledge to learn and manage. We can improve and make this fun again if you embrace a composable business model. Technology is selected and tuned to be the best at what it does.  

A simple, composable stack for decoupled Drupal looks like this: 

  1. Content Management Platform - Drupal is only used for content architecture and management and is accessed via API calls and by editors.

  2. Next.js front-end - fast, flexible, modern front-end that allows a company to move quickly. PHP-based template engines like TWIG are hard to use and scale and are no fun for developers. Next.js is exciting to work on and very well-supported. NextOps, the new digital workflow, unifies IT and marketing in a collaborative real-time GIT Powered environment. It’s the modern way to add agility and speed to your projects.

  3. Vercel for Next.js front-end hosting and management. Let Vercel take care of the performance and overall developer experience; they got this! Stop worrying about scaling the database server when traffic increases.

  4. Reliable LAMP stack hosting for Drupal. There are a lot of players in that field. MySql and PHP are still required but removing front-end rendering, multiple layers of caching, and all the other front-end workarounds reduces complexity and load. Drupal does not need high-performance hosting if it is only a content publishing platform that does not have to render TWIG pages. Drupal only needs to be accessible for editors and API calls, and that is it. 

Speed Matters with Vercel

Moving to a composable model, we remove parts of the developer workflow that produce technical complexity. We replace it with a flexible, fun system for developers, editors, and marketers.

Conclusion: Keeping Drupal Light Makes Drupal Fun

To keep technology fun, you have to innovate to find new ways to solve old problems. Drupal's front-end is ready to be disrupted with a new way to work. If you want to talk about how Chapter Three can help you with your decoupled project, please reach out to me at john@chapterthree.com.