By: Shalini Rawat
July 28 2020

Drupal in COVID-19

This is part 2 of the series on power of open source in the time of COVID-19. In part 1, we focused on the impact of open source during COVID 19 pandemic. In this article, we will explore how Drupal is fighting against COVID-19 and the effects that COVID 19 has had on Drupal.

The COVID-19 crisis has shone a harsh spotlight on a range of development challenges, and the choices the world makes now in its path to recovery. The spread of COVID-19, now considered a pandemic, continues to have a significant global impact on various fronts. As we see, COVID 19 also presents significant economic challenges, due to the convergence of disruptions in daily life, which have immediate implications for businesses as well as their workforce.

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During the current period of COVID-19, which incorporates people from all walks of life taking a stab at the solutions to overcome this unprecedented situation, Drupal has emerged as a major world power. In these extraordinary times, the Drupal community has long stood by its slogan i.e., Come for the code, stay for the community. This statement itself is an answer to the fact that Drupal is not built in a vacuum, rather it is built to serve the people who would use it.

The invaluable support of Drupal Community

According to Dries Buytaert (Founder and Project Lead of Drupal), “Open Source continues to grow despite recessions. In other words, Open Source communities have the power to sustain themselves during an economic downturn, and even to grow.”

Drupal is basically used to build the best, most ambitious digital experiences on the web. And even now in the time of the pandemic, Drupal is being used in the fight against COVID-19 by organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF), and many more.

COVID-19 has affected each and every sphere of our lives, and its impact is being felt at the Drupal Association as well. The Drupal Association provides support to all end-users of Drupal with updates and security releases. However, in this time of uncertainty, Drupal’s own finances are at risk. 

Certainly, there was a significant financial shortfall of at least $500,000 against Drupal. However, the Drupal Association took control over the situation and surpassed it by creating a benchmark of $500,000 in just 30 days. This itself is a big victory and an inspiration for how the community rallied to help.


The situation of COVID 19 has made things evident that irrespective of what happens next, Drupal has to deal with the hard reality that DrupalCon revenue is a substantial part of what keeps the Drupal Association lively. With that being said, Drupal Association suffered an estimated loss ranging from $400,000 to $1.1 million.

Before the acquisition of the marketplace by the coronavirus pandemic, the Drupal Association was on track to achieve many of its strategic goals. However, the birth and rapid growth of coronavirus have hindered the Drupal’s solid financial path while also limiting its capacity to meet the mission and serve the community.

In these extraordinary times, the Drupal Association came up with a campaign called #DrupalCares with a view to organizing the fundraising effort across the Drupal Community. The goal of the campaign was to raise a fund of $500,000 in 60 days to secure the future of the Drupal Association, which Drupal achieved.

Individuals, as well as organizations graciously donated a 2-for-1 match for Drupal Association to help them raise money for the Drupal Association and helped keep the Drupal 9 launch right on track.

In order to protect the Drupal Association from the financial impact of COVID 19, the Drupal community also came forward to pour their support to the very known Drupal Association. Several individual donations have been made thus far and the community pledged to make this $1,00,000. 

Drupal’s Values and Principles

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Source: Dries Buytaert’s blog

Drupal’s Value and Principles are much more than the culture and behaviors that the Drupal community members are deemed to uphold. The principles laid down by Drupal are the foundation of the technical as well as non-technical decisions that are required to be made. Furthermore, these values and principles allow the Drupal community to make better decisions at an augmenting rate, inspire members to be their best selves, and eventually move forward as a unified community. 

In the time of the pandemic, most of us have the chance to encounter if the Drupal stated values (still) align with our values. In addition, we can also consider the role of Drupal in our lives when the pandemic subsides. Consider Drupal’s first principle - "impact gives purpose," which is also an aspect of the first value, "prioritize impact." The first principle is quite practical in nature and concludes that by prioritizing the stakeholder, we should consider the needs of the people who create content before the people who build sites and even before the people who develop Drupal. In other words, this principle states that the Drupal lines up the needs of content creators before the needs of the developers.

Drupal's first principle serves a pivotal role in describing the impact of the Drupal community. For say, prioritizing impact is an implication that every community member acts in the best interest of the project. However, it should be noted that not every community member can or should make the Drupal project their top priority. People will obviously begin with their own needs which is not bad. Contributions to the Drupal should be subjective and should not come at your own expense. Change begins when you have the potential and the power to help others. Drupal does encourage people to participate, but not with some sort of expectations.  

Drupal’s first principle focuses on bigger goals and higher levels of achievements which is way beyond a conference room talking. They seek to help others, both at home and in their careers. The main intent of Drupal revolves around the use of Drupal for Good or even live in (with) Drutopia.

Contributing to Drupal

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Drupal contributions by project type | Source: Dries Buytaert’s blog

Contributors at Drupal's doorstep are always the most valuable asset and are the sole force behind improvements to the platform and the community itself. Being an open-source project, Drupal depends on the contributions of thousands of people around the world.

Sometimes the best way to contribute is to sit back and not contribute at all. Yes, you heard it right. There is no secret that the Drupal community is huge and it's just not possible to fix thousands of open issues by any stretch of the imagination. We cannot fix everything around us and we need to accept this. Acceptance is the beginning of the contribution to Drupal. Saying so, there is nothing to feel guilty about taking a break and considering what is important to your life. 

Moreover, there are many ways to contribute, and the Drupal community always looks for ways to improve the contributor experience. For instance, there are various local public media organizations that use Drupal to disseminate the most relevant information at the time of COVID 19 pandemic. Also, Drupal doesn’t make the demand for the most gifted Drupal developers to perform their job functions. In other words, Drupal calls for a team of professionals who have the urge and ability to work together and create consensus around ideas. Being in a Drupal community, even the smallest contribution makes a big difference which is of supreme importance. 

The Outset of Change

Change is the only constant in this world. That is to say, we as individuals are subject to changes and there is nothing that ever stays the same. That being said, the world around us is experiencing the biggest change that has ever happened to human life. This outset of the change is owing to the COVID 19 pandemic that has not spared any signal entity present on the earth. 

Most of the vendors are not able to support all previous versions of their software. Generally, older programs are dropped from support and are upgraded or removed from the network. However, considering the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic, Drupal has decided to extend the Drupal 7 end of life till November 2022. The Drupal 7 was released about a decade ago and extending its lifetime is a great investment as it best aligns with Drupal’s goals thereby making it safe for everyone to use. 

The year 2020 also saw the first-ever virtual DrupalCon which seeks to open various opportunities to the speakers and attendees who never would have been able to attend otherwise.

Conclusion

At this point, there are no doubt millions of people worth acknowledging and thanking Drupal for their contributions to fighting the good fight during the current crisis, whether financial, personal, or professional. The Drupal project has faced many financial challenges before and we firmly believe that it can come out of this crisis with a stronger open web. Not to mention, the world around us is facing an unprecedented challenge that will only be solved with an unprecedented community effort. 

Do you wish to contribute your part to the Drupal community? If yes, then be a part of the Drupal community and ping us at [email protected]. We will get in touch with you in the shortest time possible.