All RPGs and Storygames by Tod Foley are now available at DrivethruRPG. Bring these games to your table!
A version of this article was originally published on Devops.com.
Twelve years ago, I wrote a post called Drupal and Eliminating Middlemen. For years, it was one of the most-read pieces on my blog. Later, I followed that up with a blog post called The Assembled Web, which remains one of the most read posts to date.
The point of both blog posts was the same: I believed that the web would move toward a model where non-technical users could assemble their own sites with little to no coding experience of their own.
This idea isn't new; no-code and low-code tools on the web have been on a 25-year long rise, starting with the first web content management systems in the early 1990s. Since then no-code and low-code solutions have had an increasing impact on the web. Examples include:
While this has been a long-run trend, I believe we're only at the beginning.Trends driving the low-code and no-code movements
According to Forrester Wave: Low-Code Development Platforms for AD&D Professionals, Q1 2019, In our survey of global developers, 23% reported using low-code platforms in 2018, and another 22% planned to do so within a year..
Major market forces driving this trend include a talent shortage among developers, with an estimated one million computer programming jobs expected to remain unfilled by 2020 in the United States alone.
What is more, the developers who are employed are often overloaded with work and struggle with how to prioritize it all. Some of this burden could be removed by low-code and no-code tools.
In addition, the fact that technology has permeated every aspect of our lives — from our smartphones to our smart homes — has driven a desire for more people to become creators. As the founder of Product Hunt Ryan Hoover said in a blog post: As creating things on the internet becomes more accessible, more people will become makers..
But this does not only apply to individuals. Consider this: the typical large organization has to build and maintain hundreds of websites. They need to build, launch and customize these sites in days or weeks, not months. Today and in the future, marketers can embrace no-code and low-code tools to rapidly develop websites.Abstraction drives innovation
As discussed in my middleman blog post, developers won't go away. Just as the role of the original webmaster (FTP hand-written HTML files, anyone?) has evolved with the advent of web content management systems, the role of web developers is changing with the rise of low-code and no-code tools.
Successful no-code approaches abstract away complexity for web development. This enables less technical people to do things that previously could only be done by developers. And when those abstractions happen, developers often move on to the next area of innovation.
When everyone is a builder, more good things will happen on the web. I was excited about this trend more than 12 years ago, and remain excited today. I'm eager to see the progress no-code and low-code solutions will bring to the web in the next decade.
At Drupalcon Seattle, I spoke about some of the challenges Open Source communities like Drupal often have with increasing contributor diversity. We want our contributor base to look like everyone in the world who uses Drupal's technology on the internet, and unfortunately, that is not quite the reality today.
One way to step up is to help more people from underrepresented groups speak at Drupal conferences and workshops. Seeing and hearing from a more diverse group of people can inspire new contributors from all races, ethnicities, gender identities, geographies, religious groups, and more.
To help with this effort, the Drupal Diversity and Inclusion group is hosting a speaker diversity training workshop on September 21 and 28 with Jill Binder, whose expertise has also driven major speaker diversity improvements within the WordPress community.
I'd encourage you to either sign up for this session yourself or send the information to someone in a marginalized group who has knowledge to share, but may be hesitant to speak up. Helping someone see that their expertise is valuable is the kind of support we need to drive meaningful change.
For the sixth year in a row, Acquia has been recognized as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management. Acquia first entered the Web Content Management Magic Quadrant back in 2012 as a Visionary, and since then we've moved further than any other vendor to cement our leadership position.
As I've written before, analyst reports like the Gartner Magic Quadrant are important because they introduce organizations to Acquia and Drupal. As I've put if before If you want to find a good coffee place, you use Yelp. If you want to find a nice hotel in New York, you use TripAdvisor. Similarly, if a CIO or CMO wants to spend $250,000 or more on enterprise software, they often consult an analyst firm like Gartner..
In 2012, Gartner didn't fully understand the benefits of Acquia being the only WCM company who embraced both Open Source and cloud. Just seven years later, our unique approach has forever changed web content management. This year, Acquia moved up again in both of the dimensions that Gartner uses to rank vendors: Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute. You'll see in the Magic Quadrant graphic that Acquia has tied Sitecore for the first time:Acquia recognized as a leader, next to Adobe, Sitecore and Episerver, in the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management.
I believe we would have placed even higher had our Mautic acquisition completed a bit earlier.
In mature markets like Web Content Management, there is almost always a single proprietary leader and a single Open Source leader. There is Oracle and MongoDB. Splunk and Elastic. VMWare and Docker. Gitlab and Github. That is why I believe that next year it will be Acquia and Adobe at the very top of the WCM Magic Quadrant. Sitecore and Episerver will continue to fight for third place among companies who prefer a Microsoft-centric approach. I was not surprised to see Sitecore move down this year as they work to overcome technical product debt and cloud transition, leading to strange decisions like acquiring a services company.
You can read the complete report on Acquia.com. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this result!
Volunteering as a mentor at CoderDojo to teach young people, including my own kids, how to write software.
Last week, I published an opinion piece on CNN featuring my thoughts on what is wrong with the web and how we might fix it.
In short, I really miss some things about the original web, and don't want my kids to grow up being exploited by mega-corporations.
I am hopeful that increased regulation and decentralized web applications may fix some of the web's current problems. While some problems are really difficult to fix, at the very least, my kids will have more options to choose from when it comes to their data privacy and overall experience on the web.
You can read the first few paragraphs below, and view the whole article on CNN.
I still remember the feeling in the year 2000 when a group of five friends and I shared a modem connection at the University of Antwerp. I used it to create an online message board so we could chat back and forth about mostly mundane things. The modem was slow by today's standards, but the newness of it all was an adrenaline rush. Little did I know that message board would change my life.
In time, I turned this internal message board into a public news and discussion site, where I shared my own experiences using experimental web technologies. Soon, I started hearing from people all over the world that wanted to provide suggestions on how to improve my website, but that also wanted to use my site's technology to build their own websites and experiment with emerging web technologies.
Before long, I was connected to a network of strangers who would help me build Drupal.
It's been quiet on my blog but for good reason: I got married!
We had an amazing two-day wedding in the heart of Tuscany. The wedding took place in a renovated Italian villa from the 11th century, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. A magical place to celebrate with family and friends who flew in from all over the world.
Many people emailed and texted asking for some wedding photos. It will take our wedding photographer a few months to deliver the photos, but they shared some preview photos today.
The photos capture the love, energy and picturesque location of our wedding quite well!
This week, Acquia announced the opening of its new office in Pune, India, which extends our presence in the Asia Pacific region. In addition to Pune, we already have offices in Australia and Japan.
I've made several trips to India in recent years, and have experienced not only Drupal's fast growth, but also the contagious excitement and passion for Drupal from the people I've met there.
While I wasn't able to personally attend the opening of our new office, I'm looking forward to visiting the Pune office soon.
For now, here are a few pictures from our grand opening celebration:
Scrambling means hiking up steep, rocky terrain using your hands, without the need for ropes or any other kind of protection. It's something between hiking and rock climbing.Tryfan's North Ridge silhouette next to lake Lyn Ogwen.
17 people died on Tryfan the past 30 years, and 516 parties had to be rescued. While the scrambling on Tryfan is rarely technically challenging, it can be dangerous and difficult at times (video of Klaas scrambling), especially when carrying heavy backpacks. Tryfan shouldn't be taken lightly.
It took us five hours to make it to the top — and it's taking me four days to recover so far. After we reached the top, we descended a few hundred meters and found a patch of grass where we could set up our tent.Our campsite on a ridge on the back of Tryfan. The views were spectacular.
Carrying those heavy backpacks paid off not only because we were able to bring our camping supplies but also because Klaas carried up a steak dinner with cocktails — a late birthday surprise for my 40th birthday. Yes, you read that correctly: a steak dinner with cocktails on top of a mountain! It was a real treat!
During dinner, the weather started to turn; dark clouds came in and it started to rain. By night time the temperature had dropped to 2 degrees Celsius (35 degrees Fahrenheit). Fortunately, we were prepared and had hauled not only a tent and a steak dinner up the mountain, but also warm clothing.The temperatures swung from 20ºC (68ºF) during the day time to 2ºC (35ºF) during night time. In the evenings, we were forced to put on warm clothes and layer up.
What didn't go so well was that my brand new sleeping pad had a leak and I didn't bring a repair kit. Although, sleeping on the ground wasn't so bad. The next morning, when we opened our tent, we were greeted not only by an amazing view, but also by friendly sheep.
The next two days, we hiked through the Ogwen Valley. Its wide glacial valley is surrounded by soaring mountains and is incredibly beautiful.
After three days of hiking we made it back to the base of Tryfan where it all started. We felt a big sense of accomplishment.Selfie taken with Klaas' iPhone 8. Me pointing to the Tryfan's North Ridge where our hike began just three days earlier.
We hadn't taken a shower in four days, so we definitely started to become aware of each other's smell. As soon as we got to Klaas' Volkswagen California (campervan), we showered in the parking lot, behind the car. I ended up washing my armpits four times, once for each day I didn't shower.
For more photos, check out my photo album.
Years ago, we heard that organizations wanted to:
- Create content that is easy to re-use across different channels, such as websites and mobile applications, email, digital screens, and more.
- Use a content management system with a modern web service API that allows them to use their favorite front-end framework (e.g. React, Angular, Vue.js, etc) to build websites and digital experiences.
As a result, Acquia spent the last 5+ years helping to improve Drupal's web services capabilities and authoring experience.
But we also heard that organizations want to:
- Use single repository to manage all their organization's content.
- Make it really easy to synchronize content between all their Drupal sites.
- Manage all content editors from a central place to enable centralized content governance and workflows.
- Automate the installation, maintenance, and upgrades of their Drupal-based content repository.
All of the above becomes even more important as organizations scale the number of content creators, websites and applications. Many large organizations have to build and maintain hundreds of sites and manage hundreds of content creators.
So this week, at our European customer conference, we lifted the curtain on Acquia Content Cloud, a new Acquia product. Acquia Content Cloud is a content-as-a-service solution that enables simplified, headless content creation and syndication across multi-channel digital experiences.
For now, we are launching an early access beta program. If you’re interested in being considered for the beta or want to learn more as Content Cloud moves toward general availability, you can sign up here.
In time, I plan to write more about Content Cloud, especially as we get closer to its initial release. Until then, you can watch the Acquia Content Cloud teaser video below:
Today, we released a new version of Acquia Lift, our web personalization tool.
In today's world, personalization has become central to the most successful customer experiences. Most organizations know that personalization is no longer optional, but have put it off because it can be too difficult. The new Acquia Lift solves that problem.
While before, Acquia Lift may have taken a degree of fine-tuning from a developer, the new version simplifies how marketers create and launch website personalization. With the new version, anyone can point, click and personalize content without any code.
We started working on the new version of Acquia Lift in early 2018, well over a year ago. In the process we interviewed over 50 customers, redesigned the user interface and workflows, and added various new capabilities to make it easier for marketers to run website personalization campaigns. And today, at our European customer conference, Acquia Engage London, we released the new Acquia Lift to the public.
You can see all of the new features in action in this 5-minute Acquia Lift demo video:
The new Acquia Lift offers the best web personalization solution in Acquia's history, and definitely the best tool for Drupal.
Recently I was interviewed on RTL Z, the Dutch business news television network. In the interview, I talk about the growth and success of Drupal, and what is to come for the future of the web. Beware, the interview is in Dutch. If you speak Dutch and are subscribed to my blog (hi mom!), feel free to check it out!
Recently, GitHub announced an initiative called GitHub Sponsors where open source software users can pay contributors for their work directly within GitHub.
There has been quite a bit of debate about whether initiatives like this are good or bad for Open Source.
On the one hand, there is the concern that the commercialization of Open Source could corrupt Open Source communities, harm contributors' intrinsic motivation and quest for purpose (blog post), or could lead to unhealthy corporate control (blog post).
On the other hand, there is the recognition that commercial sponsorship is often a necessary condition for Open Source sustainability. Many communities have found that to support their growth, as a part of their natural evolution, they need to pay developers or embrace corporate sponsors.
Personally, I believe initiatives like GitHub Sponsors, and others like Open Collective, are a good thing.
It helps not only with the long-term sustainability of Open Source communities, but also improves diversity in Open Source. Underrepresented groups, in particular, don't always have the privilege of free time to contribute to Open Source outside of work hours. Most software developers have to focus on making a living before they can focus on self-actualization. Without funding, Open Source communities risk losing or excluding valuable talent.
More than 37,000 American flags are on the Boston Common — an annual tribute to fallen military service members. Seeing all these flags was moving, made me pause, and recognize that Memorial Day weekend is not just about time off from work, outdoor BBQs with friends, or other fun start-of-summer festivities.
Last month, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's long-awaited report on Russian interference in the U.S. election was released on the Justice.gov website.
According to Federal Computer Week, by 5pm on the day of the report's release, there had already been 587 million site visits, with 247 million happening within the first hour.
During these types of high-pressure events when the world is watching, no news is good news. Keeping sites like this up and available to the public is an important part of democracy and the freedom of information. I'm proud of Acquia's and Drupal's ability to deliver when it matters most!
I'm happy to announce today that Acquia acquired Mautic, an open source marketing automation and campaign management platform.
A couple of decades ago, I was convinced that every organization required a website — a thought that sounds rather obvious now. Today, I am convinced that every organization will need a Digital Experience Platform (DXP).
Having a website is no longer enough: customers expect to interact with brands through their websites, email, chat and more. They also expect these interactions to be relevant and personalized.
If you don't know Mautic, think of it as an alternative to Adobe's Marketo or Salesforce's Marketing Cloud. Just like these solutions, Mautic provides marketing automation and campaign management capabilities. It's differentiated in that it is easier to use, supports one-to-one customer experiences across many channels, integrates more easily with other tools, and is less expensive.
The flowchart style visual campaign builder you saw in the beginning of the Mautic demo video above is one of my favorite features. I love how it allows marketers to combine content, user profiles, events and a decision engine to deliver the best-next action to customers.
Mautic is a relatively young company, but has quickly grown into the largest open source player in the marketing automation space, with more than 200,000 installations. Its ease of use, flexibility and feature completeness has won over many marketers in a very short time: the company's top-line grew almost 400 percent year-over-year, its number of customers tripled, and Mautic won multiple awards for product innovation and customer service.
The acquisition of Mautic accelerates Acquia's product strategy to deliver the only Open Digital Experience Platform:The pieces that make up a Digital Experience Platform, and how Mautic fits into Acquia's Open Digital Experience Platform. Acquia is strong in content management, personalization, user profile management and commerce (yellow blocks). Mautic adds or improves Acquia's multi-channel delivery, campaign management and journey orchestration capabilities (purple blocks).
There are many reasons why we like Mautic, but here are my top 3:Reason 1: Disrupting the market with "open"
Open Source will disrupt every component of the modern technology stack. It's not a matter of if, it's when.
With Mautic, Acquia is now the only open and open source alternative to the expensive, closed, and stagnant marketing clouds.
I'm both proud and excited that Acquia is doubling down on Open Source. Given our extensive open source experience, we believe we can help grow Mautic even faster.Reason 2: Innovating through integrations
To build an optimal customer experience, marketers need to integrate with different data sources, customer technologies, and bespoke in-house platforms. Instead of buying a suite from a single vendor, most marketers want an open platform that allows for open innovation and unlimited integrations.
Only an open architecture can connect any technology in the marketing stack, and only an open source innovation model can evolve fast enough to offer integrations with thousands of marketing technologies (to date, there are 7,000 vendors in the martech landscape).
Because developers are largely responsible for creating and customizing marketing platforms, marketing technology should meet the needs of both business users and technology architects. Unlike other companies in the space, Mautic is loved by both marketers and developers. With Mautic, Acquia continues to focus on both personas.Reason 3: The same technology stack and business model
Digital agencies or in-house teams need to deliver integrated marketing solutions. Because both Drupal and Mautic use the same technology stack, a single team of developers can work on both.
The similarities also make it possible for both open source communities to collaborate — while it is not something you can force to happen, it will be interesting to see how that dynamic naturally plays out over time.
Last but not least, our business models are also very aligned. Both Acquia and Mautic were "born in the cloud" and make money by offering subscription- and cloud-based delivery options. This means you pay for only what you need and that you can focus on using the products rather than running and maintaining them.
Mautic offers several commercial solutions:
- Mautic Cloud, a fully managed SaaS version of Mautic with premium features not available in Open Source.
- For larger organizations, Mautic has a proprietary product called Maestro. Large organizations operate in many regions or territories, and have teams dedicated to each territory. With Maestro, each territory can get its own Mautic instance, but they can still share campaign best-practices, and repeat successful campaigns across territories. It's a unique capability, which is very aligned with the Acquia Cloud Site Factory.
If you want to try Mautic, you can either install the community version yourself or check out the demo or sandbox environment of Mautic Open Marketing Cloud.Conclusion
We're very excited to join forces with Mautic. It is such a strategic step for Acquia. Together we'll provide our customers with more freedom, faster innovation, and more flexibility. Open digital experiences are the way of the future.
I've got a lot more to share about the Mautic acquisition, how we plan to integrate Mautic in Acquia's solutions, how we could build bridges between the Drupal and Mautic community, how it impacts the marketplace, and more.
In time, I'll write more about these topics on this blog. In the meantime, please feel free to join DB Hurley, Mautic's founder and CTO, and me in a live Q&A session on Thursday, May 9 at 10am ET. We'll try to answer your questions about Acquia and Mautic.
The Drupal Association announced today that Heather Rocker has been selected as its next Executive Director.
This is exciting news because it concludes a seven month search since Megan Sanicki left.
We looked long and hard for someone who could help us grow the global Drupal community by building on its diversity, working with developers and agency partners, and expanding our work with new audiences such as content creators and marketers.
The Drupal Association (including me) believes that Heather can do all of that, and is the best person to help lead Drupal into its next phase of growth.
Heather earned her engineering degree from Georgia Tech. She has dedicated much of her career to working with women in technology, both as the CEO of Girls, Inc. of Greater Atlanta and the Executive Director of Women in Technology.
We were impressed not only with her valuable experience with volunteer organizations, but also her work in the private sector with large customers. Most recently, Heather was part of the management team at Systems Evolution, a team of 250 business consultants, where she specialized in sales operations and managed key client relationships.
She is also a robotics fanatic who organizes and judges competitions for children. So, maybe we’ll see some robots roaming around DrupalCon in the future!
As you can tell, Heather will bring a lot of great experience to the Drupal community and I look forward to partnering with her.
Last but not least, I want to thank Tim Lehnen for serving as our Interim Executive Director. He did a fantastic job leading the Drupal Association through this transition.