Product, Framework, or Platform? What They Mean, And Why You Should Care

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As Drupal's popularity has grown, its core audience of hobbyist developers has exploded into an international community of businesses, nonprofits, independent developers, startups, and governments. Bubbling under the surface is a recurring debate: Is 'Drupal' a product for people who build web sites, a framework for web developers, or a platform that other products are built on?

Often, we've given the easy answer: Both! As Drupal grows, however, tough choices about experience design, software requirements, and system complexity can no longer be ignored. What principles will guide the next decade of Drupal, and how will we reach agreement? There are no easy answers, but understanding the nature of the questions before us is essential for anyone who cares about our platform's future.

Intended audience

Core developers and decision makers looking to understand the history and motivations of the 'smallcore' movement; developers looking to shape or participate in the development of Drupal's APIs; business stakeholders considering the future of Drupal for their web applications and web projects.

Questions answered by this session

What's the difference between a product and a framework?

How has Drupal's evolving community shaped the software's priorities?

What parts of Drupal are hot spots for this debate today?

Is it possible for Drupal to be both at once?

How can we answer these questions and build a stronger, more resilient ecosystem?

Comments (2)

Smells more like a BoF or

Smells more like a BoF or Core Conversation than a straight-up session. Unless the plan is more to give a lay of the land?

Emphasis on the lay of the land

One of the difficulties for relative newcomers to the Drupal ecosystem is understanding the history of how Drupal's current trajectory came to be. For old hands who've only focused on one aspect of the platform (maintaining a large site, or heavy API dev, trying to build shipping distros, pouring work into core's D7UX project, etc), it's similarly difficult to see the ramifications for those with different a different focus.

When discussions about Drupal's future direction come up, these difficulties and blind spots often muddy already-difficult conversations. My goal is to help interested parties understand the existing challenges and trade-offs that are inherent in the different approaches that have been proposed in recent years.

If it would make more sense as a core conversation, I think it could fit in well, but it's also a subject I think deserves wider discussion.

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