By providing best-practice configuration as a starting point and a low-code, in-browser experience for building, I think we can reach the less technical audience that has struggled with the Drupal learning curve. And once that audience sees the massive potential of Drupal and connects with our amazing, collaborative, and supportive community, I think they will be hooked.””I think there are benefits all around for everyone with Starshot, including raising the initial starting point of Drupal, but also quality improvements for most common modules, consolidation of contributed projects, etc…”

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“Yes, it will significantly lower the barrier to entry that has been a hurdle for many users in the past.Pamela is absolutely optimistic that Drupal Starshot will accelerate the adoption of Drupal among a wider audience.As members of the leadership team, both Gábor and Pamela are positive about the new initiative and the prospects it will bring to Drupal. But no innovation comes without its hurdles, as John. F. Kennedy put it,asserts Gábor

Gábor Hojtsy

Following the announcement, Starshot sessions commenced, offering clarity about the project, its direction, and the work done. The first Starshot session was a huge success, garnering the participation of more than 200 attendees. The session also announced the Drupal Starshot Leadership Team.

Pamela and Gábor both believe that the pre-packaged feature sets and recipes in Drupal Starshot will significantly enhance the out-of-the-box experience for new users. Pamela highlights that recipes provide a flexible starting point without the long-term commitment issues seen in previous iterations like the Features module and install profiles. This flexibility allows for quick improvements and the addition of new functionalities. Gábor adds that these pre-packaged features help users adopt best-practice solutions more quickly, making it easier for evaluators to see if Drupal meets their needs.Gábor has already released a blog post discussing the 15 reasons that excited him about Drupal Starshot. Starshot prioritises user experience by enhancing Drupal core with additional components designed for everyday interface users. It leverages Drupal core’s solid foundation, incorporating Automatic Updates/Package Manager for easy installation and maintenance, Recipes for establishing the base system and adding features as needed, and Project Browser to facilitate the discovery of recipes and extensions.

Pamela Barone

Drupal Starshot is envisioned as a parallel version to Drupal Core, focusing on delivering a superior initial user experience. Unlike incremental updates to Drupal, Starshot is designed to be a radical improvement that focuses intensely on user interface and experience enhancements. The initiative was born out of extensive discussions and reflects a strategic direction to make Drupal more accessible and appealing to a broader audience.

When initiating a conversation about Starshot, starting with the leadership team is prudent. The DropTimes contacted Gábor Hojtsy, the Contribution Coordinator, and Pamela Barone, the Product Owner of Starshot, to hear their thoughts. Both generously agreed to share their insights.However, there are potential limitations. Pamela notes that creating recipes manually is challenging, though a user interface is being developed to address this. Gábor acknowledges that while pre-packaged features simplify the initial setup, technical challenges still exist. Despite these hurdles, both are confident in the team’s ability to enhance the platform’s accessibility and user-friendliness.Gábor believes that Drupal Starshot will significantly cater to users with little to no technical expertise, particularly through its “Drupal at the Edge” feature. This functionality allows Drupal to run in WebAssembly directly in the browser, offering a quick starting experience without needing a local development environment or selecting a host. This ease of access would enable users to effortlessly explore what Drupal has to offer.

“In addition to the launch of the product itself, it is helping to progress other initiatives such as Project Browser, Experience Builder, and Automatic Updates, all of which will further extend Drupal’s capabilities and reach. I think that ultimately Starshot will increase Drupal adoption across all skill levels.”

As mentioned, Starshot aims to build the new default download of Drupal. It is a package built on Drupal core, including refined common features from the contributed project ecosystem, to create a great user experience out of the box.Pamela agrees that the Drupal Community has set an ambitious time frame for the release of Starshot. Although many different elements will have to come together simultaneously, she is confident that they can deliver. Another challenge she mentions is overcoming preexisting notions about Drupal based on earlier experiences.noted Gábor.Starshot is believed to propel the Drupal rocket to a higher destination that it deserves but not without the challenges. Gábor believes time is the main villain here. Dries Buytaert announced at DrupalCon Portland 2024 that an initial version of Drupal Starshot will be available before the end of 2024.

Drupal has served as the architect and protector of the Open Web for the past 23 years. However, in recent years, it has faced criticism for lagging behind, primarily due to its steep learning curve and complex initial user experience. Despite these setbacks, Drupal’s robust engine remains resilient and active. The troubles and confusions of many Drupalers were resolved, and their energy was rekindled with Dries Buytaert’s “Drupal Starshot” announcement—the moonshot for Drupal!

To further enhance accessibility, Gábor suggests that Drupal Starshot should ideally provide an easy method for users to either export their site for local development or directly export it to a hosting partner associated with the Drupal Association. This added functionality would streamline the transition from exploration to implementation, making the platform more user-friendly for non-technical individuals. 

Gábor believes Drupal’s strength lies in its reusable pieces and composable architecture. It allows users to set up content models and integrate multilingual support, content governance workflows, decoupled APIs, alternative delivery mechanisms, or rules engines. However, he acknowledges that Drupal currently struggles to make it easy for users to find and configure these elements. 

“I don’t think that will nearly all be done for v1, but it is an exciting possibility.

Pamela also has her hopes set high on the moon for Starshot. She believes it has already had a huge positive impact by engaging the community and drawing interest from a broad range of people. Soon after introducing the Drupal Starshot, the community became abuzz with excitement and even some speculations. Every Drupal user, organization, contributor, and benefactor has been discussing Starshot. When the whole of the Drupal Community chants “Drupal Starshot”, it is only likely that The DropTimes pay keen attention to the murmurs that keep the community alive. Hence, we began Thoughts on Starshot”, a social media campaign designed to showcase the community’s perspectives on Drupal Starshot.
adds Gábor.

“I think the only hard limit is our ability to harness our community’s incredible talent and energy to match our vision!”

“The main challenge is time. We would like to do this sooner than later. We have the main pieces, but we have never done a project before on this scale this fast. So involving the over 550 people that signed up on the pledge form and the dozens of Drupal Association partners that want to take part in making it happen and getting them all be productive will be a challenge.”

“If we succeed in simplifying the process of getting there, our superior technology will shine through.”

—Pamela Barone, Product Owner, Starshot and Drupal strategist, Technocrat.

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