When I first got into web development after graduating from university, I got excited about how easy it was to build a website. A bit of knowledge goes a long way. I learned HTML, CSS, Ruby on Rails, and PHP, and tried all kinds of platforms and content management systems. Sometimes it felt hard and sometimes easy. But it was those “aha” moments when I could prototype a site in an afternoon that really got me excited. Which is why I think Drupal Starshot is such a promising initiative.

The goal of Starshot is to create an out-of-the-box version of Drupal that fast-tracks people through building and launching a website. It’ll attract new users, on-board them quickly, and give them an instant feeling of empowerment.

Starshot will show new users that, yes, you can build enterprise websites with Drupal — but you can also use it to launch a campaign, create an event website, or evolve a digital presence for your startup business. 

The Initiative was announced at DrupalCon Portland 2024. Already, more than 386 individuals have pledged support, and dozens of companies have expressed interest too. Starshot is shaping up to be one of the most exciting large-scale initiatives in Drupal’s 23 year history.

“Without a doubt, Starshot will be the largest change to Drupal since the foundational rewrite to modern object-oriented PHP that occurred with Drupal 8.” 

– Mike Herschel, Senior Front-End Developer at Agileana, former elected member of the Drupal Association Board of Directors

Is Starshot a Rewrite of Drupal?

No, Starshot isn’t a rewrite. It is built on Drupal core and include many features from recent Drupal initiatives, including:

Drupal Starshot will be available alongside traditional Drupal Core on the Drupal.org download page later this year. Selecting Starshot will install the necessary features for various website use cases, simplifying the process for new users. Traditional Drupal Core will continue to be available for more custom sites. 

Watch the Driesnote from DrupalCon Portland 2024 where Starshot was revealed:

How Will Starshot Enhance the Open Web?

Starshot will increase Drupal usage and bring the power of open source to even more people by lowering the barrier to entry. It’s a great opportunity to package a version of Drupal that’s more attractive, user-friendly, and engaging for newcomers. This initiative will bring long-overdue improvements to usability, while maintaining Drupal’s strengths: content architecture, security, and multilingual support.

A key component of Starshot's development is its focus on the "Builder" persona—users who aspire to create amazing websites with Drupal but may not have extensive web development experience. By leveraging user research with Builders, Starshot will tailor its features and the editing interface around their needs. This means that folks with limited technical expertise can harness the power of Drupal to bring their creative ideas to life.

Starshot can pre-package Drupal with default configurations and pre-configured modules, leveraging the flexible Recipes initiative, and using the new Experience Builder to enhance page creation. Starshot should significantly reduce development and maintenance costs for simpler web builds. Plus, it will set good UX standards for Drupal websites across the board.

“Let’s reach for the stars and bring the open web to all.”

– Dries Buytaert, Creator and Project Lead of Drupal

How Can I Contribute?

The first releases of Starshot should be available before the end of 2024. The initiative needs lots of support to make this a reality!

Make your pledge on the Starshot landing page or reach out to us with the details of your expertise and availability. We’ll be happy to connect you with a meaningful way to contribute.

Want to help with marketing efforts related to Startshot? Go to the Drupal Marketing page or reach out to me directly.

Take Your Drupal Skills to New Heights

I’ve trained countless people in Drupal and web development over the years — always with the aim of empowering them and inspiring the same passion I have for building websites. If you’re looking to enhance your knowledge and gain valuable tools, you’ve come to the right place. My team and I offer course packages and custom training for site builders, content editors, UX/UI designers, front-end and back-end developers, and entire teams.

Learn more about Drupal training with Evolving Web.