With New Year around the corner people are looking back at 2003 and predicting what will happen in 2004. Well, what are your Drupal predictions for 2004? What lies ahead for Druplicon?


joe lombardo’s picture

I'll kick it off :-)


  • Ultra cool "Clean URLs" built into drupal makes drupal powered sites more easily and completely indexed by major search engines as well as more easily used by site visitors.
  • A focus on innovation, core functionality, usability and improved documentation is revealed with the release of Drupal 4.3.
  • The project module is greatly enhanced to facilitate communications and management of all feature requests and bug reports by the core developers as well as the authors of contributed modules.
  • The democratic front runner in the US elections builds an early support base using drupal as its internet foundation.


  • Drupal 4.4 is released with fundamental improvements including an innovative, easy to use and full featured permissions system.
  • Drupal becomes a capable asset management system. FileStore is moved into core and greatly enhanced.
  • Drupal's success and utility is noted by major software development companies and the core developers are offered high-paying positions in a new community publishing systems group in Redmond.

Wishing you a wonderful new year!!
- Joe

Joe Lombardo | joe@familytimes.com | FamilyTimes Online Journals
Max Bell’s picture

I was just about to write Drumm and suggest that, with some of the new features being worked on for the next release of DeanSpace, people might begin migrating from Drupal.

I was wondering how closely development was being tracked.

On the other hand? I wouldn't wish Redmond on any of you guys. You wanna move out here, more power to you. Just be sure you hook up on a good telecommuting gig before you get here.

Dries’s picture

... with some of the new features being worked on for the next release of DeanSpace, people might begin migrating from Drupal.

Drupal HEAD has many improvements and new features too, none of which are likely to be available in the next DeanSpace release which is AFAIK being built on Drupal 4.3.x.

An interesting question is: what will happen with Deanspace in 2004 after the US presidential elections - and how will this affect Drupal?

drumm’s picture

Correct, DeanSpace 2.0 will be Drupal 4.3.x + modules + back ported fetures we really want from head + a community to document and support it. (DeanSpace 1.x was Drupal 4.2 and we made a few modules and changes).

Drupal is welcome to all our code, its all GNU GPL, except for some of the more custom state site code. That code will eventually make it out there but there are still some parts of the campaign that worry about posting it before we win the state.

I will do my best to actively get code back to Drupal during development, but the campaign comes first for everyone involved.

After DeanSpace I will probably keep using and working on Drupal in my spare time and continue college. There are some interesting possibilities in using the DeanSpace idea of making lots of websites and connecting them.

Max Bell’s picture

I was speaking facetiously, Dries. My point is just that there's a lot of cool stuff being done. I support Deanspace; I use Drupal (in fact, as a consequence, I have only just now updated to 4.3.1).

Whether or not DeanSpace has a "use-by" date is an open-question that doesn't have an obvious answer; much will depend on the resulting community. Much has been made of the 'grassroots' thing, and there's some sense that this should probably extend beyond the campaign. People should actively participate in their own democracy and, obviously, there's a lot more to that than trying to elect a president.

Not that I have THAT much perspective on it, but it's also true that I don't see the thing turing into a fork at any point. The enabling factor behind DeanSpace isn't code, but design. There's been a lot of discussion about 'RSS as killer app' (especially from folks that have never heard of it) in the sense that right now, the Dean campaign is several thousand web sites that don't talk to each other (kind of antithetical, if you think about it). If that can be addressed, then there's a change that DeanSpace will continue as SomethingElseSpace later on. Though secondary to it's own agenda, the people doing most of the work are the people I see contributing here all the time; the end result will be to expose more people to Drupal (and develop with it), regardless.

Bèr Kessels’s picture

As europeans might already know, the European parliament has been talking about implementing more and more Open Source software in their organisations. Drupal and Deanspace might point some interesting faces in the direction of drupal, and therefore they might start investigating some small implementation of drupal. Mainly To answer the question: "what can O.S. and drupal do for us?"

Lets hope that more bigger organisations become interested, for it might give drupal a presence in (local)governmental information platforms.

Drupal offers lots of tools for state-of-the art communication. This in contrary to the older-fashioned content delivery. The first being amorphe information exchange, the second one being one-directional information flow.
This will prove to be a great opportunity for democratic e-governementing. Instead of: we tell you, it is: everyone tells anyone.

Mediarevolution.org :: het platform voor online muziek

bertboerland’s picture

since you seem to be dutch, i can share some insites on how oss is handles within the dutch goverment

* they write ms-word documents how cool all this anti microsoft cool linux is;
* they leak to the press they will use Oo.org just a couple of days they re-negotiate the license talk with ms,
* they pay absurd amounts of money for consultants who say oo.org is cool, yet never ever used anything else than windows 95
* they pay software companies to work on oss yet dont know -nor the developers- what the advantages and disadvantages of the GPL are (if they would know what the GPL is)
* they claim oss is license free
* they claim oss is "gratis"
* i can go on and on....

believe me, it will take a long time before oss will ever hit it at the dutch goverment.

on a sitenote, most govermental parties seem to favour mmbase...

believe me, i *know*... :-(



bert boerland

Brian@brianpuccio.net’s picture

It could be worse, your government could like to bully other coutries, start wars, stick their nose where it doesn't belong, think they should run the world and things like that.

Sigh. I need to move. (Sorry for the hijack)

bertboerland’s picture

complete off topic, excuses for that. but if you think about migrating from the usoa (i take your wonderfull description is about the US) towards the netherlands, stay out of the hague ("den haag") since america seems to own that piece of land as well... :-(




bert boerland

Bèr Kessels’s picture

Hi all.

I am currently looking/investigating with someone who is in charge of some european information portals. He wants me to help him look what drupal in common and OSS in general could mean for information and communication in politics.
Besides, i'm doing a testcase for dwars, the youthfraction of the political party Groen-links. (www.dwars.org)

So, indeed it will not be 2004 that the governements all use OSS, but things start, slowly but steady to roll towards OSS.

All said and done, OSS still has a long way to go. And all that without "marketing and sales departments", "lobbying" and "huge devlopment budgets".

Besides: I'm Dutch (love OSS because its gratiesj), but i live in Antwerp.

Mediarevolution.org :: het platform voor online muziek

flickerfly’s picture

I had to chuckle at the usability prediction. That's just getting serious focus now in 2009 with the coming of Drupal 7. Documentation is also receiving a fresh round of attention. :-)

Dries’s picture

Here are a couple of my predictions - I will likely extend this post later on.

Hosted weblog services

As people can't be bothered with installing and upgrading weblog software themselves, hosted weblog services such as Typepad and Blogger will become increasingly popular. Hosted weblog services will continue to expand their service by adding many new features which are currently only available to those that installed (open source) weblog software themselves.

Clearly, this imposes a challenge because less individuals will need and want to install weblog software. How many people would install Drupal if Typepad had forums and Drupal-like categorization? Organizations, open source developers and owners of large websites will continue to host their own software because of their specific needs and independence.

Furthermore, at least one open source weblog package will try to profile itself on the 'hosted weblog services' market. By the end of 2004, hosting companies will be a key target audience for some projects.

Collaborative project management

As you probably know, Drupal features forums, a bug tracker, a feature request tracker, a CVS log tracker, a feature list, mailing list integration, a collaborative documentation writing tool, and much more. People will discover this and they'll realize that - compared to SourceForge or Bugzilla - Drupal does a better job building a community, giving people a voice and connecting users and developers. By mid 2004, Drupal will manifest itself as a collaborative project management tool.


The internet and weblogs will play an important role in politics. The US presidential campaign is just a start. Other political campaigns outside the US will try and take advantage of weblogs as well. Drupal will be used by at least one political institution outside the US.

joe lombardo’s picture

I agree with your prediction, that hosted weblog services will make great leaps this year. As I am trying to kick start such a service using drupal, I recognize the many strengths that drupal has to offer as well as its shortcomings.

I think for Drupal to compete as an engine for a weblogging service, a greater emphasis needs to be made on the members. For example, members of a drupal service should have their own homepage, the ability to define their own taxonomies, freedom to choose themes for their pages, and access to statistics for their content.

I think there will be a tremendous market for open-source weblogging platforms, for use on intranets, in niche markets, clubs and small to midsize community organizations.

I also agree with your statement about collaborative project management. The features and functionality built into drupal are extensive enough to improve nearly any development effort and I suspect that corporate IT groups will begin to discover this in 2004.

Joe Lombardo | joe@familytimes.com | FamilyTimes Online Journals
Kjartan’s picture

  • File handling is improved and used in new imaginative ways. We finally have a file api in core that can be used in many different type of modules. It isn't perfect yet, but it is a good start and 2004 will see a lot of modules taking advantage of it, and the natural evolution of the api that comes with widespread use.
  • Further improvement of the Drupal project abilities. The project module changes in 2003 have made it possible to create a SourceForge like site. There is more work underway to make it even more usable, as well as integrating it with other tools--like CVS.
  • Better ways of inter lining Drupal sites. In general there seems to be a trend blog/community world to find new ways to communicate. 2004 will see new ways to use RSS, TrackBack and other tools to provide a better experience. Atom might still take the online world by storm, but I think most of the neat tools will come from using existing standards in new ways.
  • Drupal will find new areas of use. It already has a wide area of uses: blogs, portals, forums, political campaigns, communities, etc. There are always new areas and sites to try out.
  • More and better themes of Drupal. With every release Drupal provides more control of the layout. Hopefully 2004 will be the year when we get more themes.
  • Dries finally starts using Drupal for his own web site. It is about time!

Knowing my past track record I will be 50% correct, and the really cool things I didn't even think of.

Kjartan’s picture

The Blogger Reality Show will take the world by storm. The concept will be 12 bloggers locked away for 6 months, and the winner will be the one with the highest readership and GoogleRank. The runner up will have chosen to use Drupal as software powering the blog.

drupal.org will be Slashdotted at least 4 times during 2004.

In 2003 the daily hits on drupal.org quadrupled, the same will happen in 2004.

The mailing lists will become a mirror of content subset posted on drupal.org. The project module has almost taken over all developer discussions already. This will cause a period of frustration for many mailing list purists who refuse to post on drupal.org, increasing support for mailhandler making the module much more advanced.

At least one Linux or PHP print publication will have an article focused on Drupal.

The creation of makecoffee, endworldhunger and peaceonearth modules for Drupal transform the world into paradise. The world will not be able to accept this newfound bliss causing (insert deity of choice here) to change the flow of time banishing these modules from the world. A few people will immune to the change and establish a Drupal paradise deep underground, called Lapurd. The land of Lapurd becomes a mythical place that only people who drink the Drupal Kool-Aid will be able to find.

Kjartan will cave and set up some method for people to donate to the Drupal project. This will end up in $200,000 donated, making for one kick ass party. The leftover change will cover a new server to power drupal.org and hosting.drupal.org.

Too many people to count will not read FAQs or available documentation. They will kindly be pointed in the right direction the first two times, after that will get rude responses to RTFM. A number of these users will then complain and whine on all available mailing lists, forums and their own blogs. Ever after these people will be laughed at during developers gatherings.

During the summer there will be set aside a day where people can travel to Belgium and meet the core developers. Three people will turn up.

Disclaimer: These predictions may or may not be serious, figuring out which are intended as serious is left to the reader.

Max Bell’s picture

I thought you guys were all from Jersey.

I don't know why it would matter, but I've seriously always wanted an 'about' page with short bios for the developers. Ordinarily, when you spend enough time interacting with someone on-line, you develop a sense of who they are.

You guys, on the other hand, are nerds, not geeks (which, in this case, is meant complimentary), so it's a bit different, since the dialog is purely technical rather than social. Interesting dynamic, but then I'm just a geek.

Bèr Kessels’s picture

Sporthallen, Antwerp. Due to Blogging's popularity this will be the first TMF-giant-live-blogging day in history. 10.000 people will get a drupal accounts and can blog for a whole day, while listening to good music, live (analogue) chatting and do other cool stuff. There will be 9.998 guys and 2 girls there :), those are GF's of two bloggers.
Mediarevolution.org :: het platform voor online muziek

Dries’s picture

Actually, I predict that by the end of 2004 we will see relatively more women using Drupal -- or women on the internet in general. They are often in charge of public relations and are (will be) using a CMS to publish online. Furthermore, I believe that they can easily outsmart men at moderating a community, that they are better at organizing content, that they have an eye for (web) design, and so on.

I started writing something about the recipe module but decided to delete that: I don't want to get beaten up by women reading the archives in 2005. ;-)

Total number of drupal.org users at the time of this writing:

mysql> SELECT COUNT(uid) AS total FROM users;
| total |
|  5888 |

Total number of drupal.org users that set their account's gender setting to 'male':

mysql> SELECT COUNT(uid) AS males FROM users WHERE data LIKE '%profile_gender";s:1:"m"%';
| males |
|   850 |

Total number of drupal.org users that set their account's gender setting to 'female':

mysql> SELECT COUNT(uid) AS females FROM users WHERE data LIKE '%profile_gender";s:1:"f"%';
| females |
|      84 |
clairem’s picture

So, as of early 2004, on the twelfth day of Christmas, 84.14% of Drupal.org users had no gender. What's the software doing to them all? <grin!>

Seriously, though, users who don't declare a gender may be more likely to be female: plenty of women take care never to disclose our gender on-line, for fear of harassment. Drupal.org does is a very friendly place, but some habits learning the hard way on the internet will carry over.

So I suspect that that the proportion of female users is an underestimate.

moshe weitzman’s picture

There are many books being written now about the 2004 presidential race in the USA. they all are making parallels to 1962 (I might have this year wrong) when television first influenced the American election in a big way. 2004 is about the internet's influence. dean's campaign is featured in all of these writings. drupal will get a brief mention in these books, and maybe more than that.

i do think political campaigns will setup weblog communities as automatrically as they setup web sites today. I exopect this to be commonplace within 2 years. Most campaigns will probably "just do what dean did" which points to deanspace and drupal.

Max Bell’s picture

While I think you're correct in that most campaigns will begin taking the prospect of developing on-line community seriously, I'd also be quick to point out that this is not, and never has been, a formula, per se. Having a guitar no more makes you a musician than having a web-site makes you computer literate. What I don't want to see is a failure rate significant enough to discourage future efforts.

But I don't think it will happen.

Remember the phrase 'electronic town hall'? Drupal is the next phrase in that lexicon, mostly because people are desparate enough to take the former seriously, finally. It's here, it's established, people are writing about it. It will receive it's proper due after we've won or lost because it's still stuck in the unfortunate position of being a side-note to a campaign nobody's successfully quantified yet, except in generalities like 'internet' and 'blog', which somehow tie in to record campaign contributions no one's made sense of yet.

All in good time.

My prediction in 2004? Drupal will experience an upswing in usage due to increased visibility and take an active role in establishing standards for CMS development, partially as the result of increased name recognition and partially as the result of the thought that's gone into it's design over the last three years.

And a smaller, but no less important demographic will arise that learns to love the word 'taxonomy'.

joe lombardo’s picture

I keep coming back to the concept of a community publshing system versus a content management system. From my experience, content management systems focus on neglect community services like blogs, forums and user management and focus on workflow, templating, forms and asset management much more heavily. Drupal, on the other hand, puts much more focus on community services, like blogs, forums, approval queues, RSS aggregators.

Hosted weblog services, as Dries pointed out, are becoming mainstream. I think that if an applications focus is on weblogs they will miss out on the potential of community publishing. Consider the collaborative book, story submissions and the approval queue, very innovative and useful functionality that doesn't fit in with the standard definition of a blog. Does the new AOL blogging service offer any of these?

The deanspace implementation of drupal is simply a federation of communities and aligns well with the direction of the core drupal project.

Even the project module, is based on the notion of a community effort and represents the apparent values of the drupal team.

Possibly, the biggest differentiator between a standard content management system and a Community Publishing System is the organization. Content Management Systems typically cater to a structured, hierarchical organization, and a Community Publishing System supports both centralized, hierarchical organizations as well as decentralized, loosely managed organizations.

I believe this is an important and valuable differentiator, and hope that it remains part of the vision in 2004.

I hope it is acceptable to express these opinions as light-weight contributor to this fantastic project. Having watched the growth and maturaty of Drupal since 2001, I have the utmost confidence in this team and am sure the future will amazing.

- Joe

Joe Lombardo | joe@familytimes.com | FamilyTimes Online Journals
matt westgate’s picture


Drupal will step up and offer another solution to the web site problem domain. An ecommerce module will be developed allowing users to sell products, services or receive donations via their web sites.

Taxonomy expansion

The concept of taxonomy in Drupal will be further expanded via an exposed API and preload hooks, allowing developers to tie actions to taxonomy metadata in unique and interesting ways.

Blogging standards

Drupal will help to shift the paradigm of "content organzied by date" to "content organized by categories" in the blogging world as more Drupal blogging sites are created and people realize the greater benefits of a categorical approach to content classification.

Steven’s picture

I suck at accurate predictions, so don't expect any:

With the growing popularity of RSS, syndication will take on a more central role in the blogging world (and elsewhere). Drupal's selective feeds (only a certain taxonomy term) are a good example of this, and tech like feedster.com is just plain wicked.
For this to happen, syndication needs to mature: discussions about RSS sucking up tons of bandwidth due to clients not supporting/using 304's and such show that this is a growing problem. Atom will ride this wave of syndication and establish itself as an important format, though its acceptance will depend on how good it can profile itself, and how many Mac clients with fancy icons (and a lowercase 'i' in their name) will support it.
Advanced syndication will do away with useless blog posts that just contain a link, a quote from another blog and an author's own opinion: all that won't be necessary as unique pieces of content are established once and promoted with a distributed popularity or ranking system instead.

Drupal's forum will be expanded, mainly to be more user-friendly: the goal will not however be to rival with popular software like phpBB or vBulletin, but to provide a flexible, community forum Drupal-style.

Drupal's permissions will be improved in the way that most people have been asking. The result will be an elegant, powerful but simple solution that solves 90% of the demands. The other 10% will enjoy the solid foundation and expand on it for their own needs.

To improve Drupal's search procedure, a magic gnome will pop-up who is an expert in this area and has fallen in love with Drupal. After a patch being rejected time after time due to imperfections (while still keeping on returning due to some weird sense of masochism), Drupal's search enters a new plane of existance which integrates seamlessly with all aspects (taxonomy, nodes, context, ...). The result will not rival the big boys like Google, but will still be the preferred method of searching a Drupal site due to increased relevancy.

And finally, after several considerable improvements and a generally high niftyness factor in CVS, Drupal will go up a major version 5, though only after 4.4.x is released.

adamrice’s picture

Since the world is ready for an open and extensible social-networking tool equivalent to Friendster/Ryze/Linkedin/Tribe/etc, a suite of modules for this purpose will be developed for Drupal.

Adam Rice

jibbajabba’s picture

I would really like these features for iaslash.org

Bèr Kessels’s picture

My predictions are yust as un-sciency as anyone elses here. Just some thoughts i had.

I think drupal sites will grow much fancier/better looking AND havier this year. In fact i predict that total diskspace used by a normal drupal site will grow 500-800%. This all due to the new fileapi of course.

On top of that, i foresee better/bigger use of XML syndication. Searchmodule could return syndicated content (to extend drupal-network-searching). More modules will get url-called api's that return XML. /search/xml/keys=blah will return items for blah in an xml form. Other drupal sites can re-use drupal information. Not that especially search.module will do this, but just modules in general. Search is but an example.

Due to the fileapi more configuration will take place by uploading files. EG CVS files, or xml files.

Drupal will become better/wider known, due to its google-popularity. searching for CMS will at some time next year get drupal on #one at google. Druplicon will then grow legs and arms, and conquer the world.

I wiil ues teh speelchceker mroe otfen :)

Nostradamus aka exclude @ Mediarevolution.org :: het platform voor online muziek

Chris Johnson’s picture

Predictions can be just guesses about what will happen. Or they can be forecasts what will happen if a course of action is taken. We can better predict what will happen with Drupal if we articulate and visualize where we want it to go.

There's a lot of talk about the growth of blogs and it going mainstream. I think that's history. When Google bought Pyra (blogger) a year ago, it was clear that it was already mainstream.

I also think the blog space is pretty saturated. There are a jillion blog services and applications out there.

So while providing blog tools is an important part of Drupal, I don't think Drupal should focus on that space. For a parallel reason, I also don't think Drupal should focus on the pure content/asset management space with its formal workflow, revision history, tight control, etc. either.

That is not to say there should be no improvements in those two areas. In fact, one core area that needs improvement for a variety of applications is finer-grained access control, particularly for content. We have a variety of permissions for admin functions, but only one for content: a role either has access to all content or it does not. At a minimum it should be selectable by node type and page location.

I see Drupal becoming a robust framework for larger, more specialized web applications. Contributed modules will influence more what Drupal can do after a simple installation of the core and selected modules. The core itself will better allow developers to create modules and other connected software in a clean, easy, well-architected fashion which will help retain the efficient nature Drupal is known for.

Thus, Drupal could be fantastic blogging tool -- when a few highly creative and motivated developers take Drupal as the base and add some great ideas, creating new modules which provide exciting new features to people in the blog space.

Or Drupal could be a great CMS -- when interested developers plug in their asset management and work flow modules.

Or Drupal will be a very successful topic-specific service portal -- with the addition of a half a dozen modules developed for that specific service.

These and more can all happen if the core remains flexible, some necessary supporting functionality is added, and if the APIs and convetions are well-described and documented.