And so 2012 draws to a close. The world didn't end, to the disappointment of many. In some ways it was an eventful year, in others rather ho-hum follow-ups to the excitement of 2011.
In the Drupal world, though, 2012 will go down as the year Drupal finally began replacing NIH with PIE. Compare Drupal's 8.x branch a year ago with it today. A year ago, we had one class of 3rd party PHP code, in an uninteresting corner of the update system. Today, it contains 3rd party code from no less than five different projects: Symfony, Doctrine, Guzzle, Assetic, and Twig. Those libraries are included via Composer, the new and ground-breaking PHP-library-management-system-that-actually-finally-works. Code from at least one more should be landing soon.
Drupal developers, working on Drupal, have contributed to a number of other projects, including Symfony and Symfony CMF, and because of the degree of code sharing happening in the PHP world now have indirectly contributed to a half-dozen other major projects, too. Drupal 8, aside from the technological advances it will offer over Drupal 7, also represents perhaps the largest cultural shift in Drupal or PHP history.
Are you ready for 2013, Drupal? Really?
Like many PHP projects, Drupal has been its own island for years. A large, active, vibrant island, but an island. But in 2012, the PHP archipelago began to form into continents. With the bridges built by Composer and by the "open islands" made possible by the PHP Framework Interoperability Group and PSR-0, collaboration and sharing between PHP projects has never been higher.
That represents both a threat to Drupal's traditional island-based culture, but also an incredible opportunity. We have an incredible opportunity to, as Greg Dunlap has put it before, "get off the island" and learn from others outside of our community. No matter how big the Drupal community, the PHP community is larger.
So, I put this challenge to the Drupal community: Make your New Year's Resolution to get off the island in 2013. By that I mean get involved in the wider PHP community, both to learn from it and to share with it. Let's be honest, Drupal has done some pretty amazing things, both technically and as a community, that we can and should share with the rest of the web development world. At the same time, we need enough humility to accept that there are way better ideas floating around out there than exist in Drupal, and we should be open minded enough to learn from them or adopt them wholesale.
In 2013, make it your goal to attend at least two non-Drupal web development conferences. Large, small, doesn't matter. If you can, present at least one of them; maybe about Drupal, maybe not. Connect with people outside of Drupal. Meet fresh faces; expose yourself to new ideas; share your awesome ideas with a wider world than just the followers of Druplicon.
Then come back to Drupal Island wiser, more worldly, and more able to continue to drive Drupal to be the leading CMS on the market.
For my part, I will be attending at least Sunshine PHP in February; I'm still looking for other conferences to speak at this year as well. (Suggestions and invites welcome, of course.) And all Drupalers have a unique and awesome opportunity this May to attend Symfony Live Portland, directly next door to DrupalCon Portland. Kick off your island hopping in Portland with the trifecta of conferences: DrupalCon, Symfony Live, and WebVisions. Attend at least 2 of them, or just do the combo pass. Help build bridges between PHP communities.
Perhaps the world did end in 2012: The world that consisted of only Drupal. That world is indeed gone. The new world of 2013 involves collaboration and sharing across dozens of projects. Let's make Drupal a leader in this brave new world.