Skip to content
Redfin Solutions logoRedfin Solutions logoContact
DrupalCon Portland 2024 Logo

DrupalCon Portland: A Recap from Redfin CTO, Chris Wells

I had a truly fantastic and unique experience at DrupalCon Portland this year (2024). I think more than anything, I received lots of validation about the entire Project Browser experience. Let me take you through it.

I started the conference by opening up the General Contribution room, and getting myself well organized for the week ahead. In addition to writing the code, doing real user testing, and making decisions about complex user interfaces, there is one oft-overlooked piece of the puzzle that makes the whole thing run smoothly—issue queue triage. Mentors know how important this is, but it is otherwise often an unsung hero of successful code contribution. I spent much of that morning updating Project Browser’s roadmap, closing old or outdated issues, and being sure to tag new issues that had come in since our last triage (which included not only myself and Leslie, but also Lauri Eskola, Gábor Hojtsy, and Tim Plunkett - key players in moving Project Browser closer to core).

After getting to a place where I felt much better about understanding the scope of work remaining for us, I was able to attend the DriesNote. While there, I was gripped-as-usual by the Founder’s vision for Drupal in the future. Of course, none of this was a major surprise to me. The vision laid out years ago for Ambitious Site Builders incorporated all of these ideas—it’s just that now it’s time to start building it.

I was excited to introduce Drupal Starshot, our "Moonshot" to make Drupal more accessible and easier to use. - Dries Buytaert

About Starshot

Drupal “Starshot,” the code-name for a user-friendly and powerful out-of-the-box Drupal experience, was announced. For those unfamiliar, it feels to me the closest to adding a new “install profile” to Drupal that goes beyond “Standard” and “Minimal” and instead can actually include contrib projects, those things which make Drupal’s magic happen. While we’ve always been OK with moving very important things from Contrib to Core (i.e. Views), as well as moving something out (RIP Statistics), Starshot will be a rolling install experience that brings the best of what the entire Drupal community, not just core, has to offer.

Where Project Browser Fits In

So the Project Browser was of course an initiative from Dries to make it easier for Ambitious Site Builders to find and install modules with the click of a button. And the Recipes initiative make it easy to compose contrib and configuration in a way to solve a particular “use case” (what we were originally calling them in Project Browser).

Dries’s mocked-up installer proposed several of these use cases at install time in Starshot, for example a “blog” or a “publishing workflow.” You could peruse some of these recipes and choose to install them onto your Drupal site. After getting it installed, it’s entirely possible that a user might want even more, or to extend their functionality even further, and for that they will need Project Browser to be able to readily extend their blog, their search, or their Webforms.

The Whole Picture

One thing that this started to bring together is the idea of having multiple “Browsers” - we need a theme browser as well, and a recipe browser, in addition to just a Project Browser. I even had some truly amazing conversations with folks about ideas for a Component Browser, now that SDC is in core! (This has some universal theme-level issues to work out first, but it could definitely be a reality!)


I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention Leslie’s and my presentation on the first day about the status of Project Browser. What was truly shocking to me (hat tip to Leslie for telling me it would be like this; I didn’t believe her but I’m glad we went with what she knew) was that most of the people in that room, which was well-attended, was that very few people there had any knowledge or experience with Project Browser (as an aside, I’m amazed that we’re over 1,000 installs!). It was very, very validating to see that there were newcomers to Drupal coming to see this presentation, but even more so that the conversations I had after the presentation with folks were very in line with how much this project is needed. I talked to a number of Ambitious Site Builders who were so excited to have this functionality at their fingertips. It’s nice to know that the work you’re doing is important, even necessary, and that there will be people grateful to have it.


On day 2, we were able to lead a BoF for module maintainers to help them get their modules ready for Project Browser. As you may know, the Site Builder Sub-committee (SBS) of the Project Browser team has been working on the content on itself - the module pages specifically. Some important things to know:

  1. We have a new template for Description fields of Module projects on, for example. We use the Summary of that description field to display on the cards of Project Browser, and on its detail page.
  2. We have a new set of categories as well! We have reduced our previous 55 categories down to 19, to be more in line with marketplace listings in other CMSes, such as TYPO3 and WordPress.
  3. We are using the Maintenance Status and Development Status fields in the Project Browser UI.
  4. Module projects have the option to show a logo in the Project Browser and they will also appear on the project page for that project.

Because of these changes, the SBS took on the tasks of creating logos, setting short descriptions, and proposing categories for the top 100 modules on

However, if you’re a maintainer of modules not in the top 100, you’ll need to update these yourself. We have a handbook page with all you need to know.

Contribution Day

After spending the majority of my time in the first couple days preparing, the third day — contribution day — was finally here. This is the highlight of Drupalcon for me as an initiative lead*.*

I can say emphatically this was the most successful Drupalcon Contribution Day for Project Browser since the initiative was announced.

I’m not sure what it was about it - it may have been that I was well-prepared, it may have been that the tooling for Drupal contribution has improved so vastly in the past year (h/t DDEV and DrupalPod), it may be that the project has some well-scoped smaller issues to work on, it may be that we had just the right people, it may be something else I’m not thinking of, or more likely, it’s a combination of all of these things.

We were able to close at least 4 beta-blocking issues, and put many more in a state where I simply need to merge them. Now let’s see if I, back in the real world, can manage to do that and get to that new release we’ve been talking about. A lot’s changed since beta5!


At DrupalCon Portland 2024, the Project Browser initiative received significant validation. Part of the Drupal "Starshot" vision, it simplifies finding and installing modules for site builders. The conference highlighted the need for multiple "Browsers," including a theme browser, a recipe browser, and potentially a component browser.

A presentation on the Project Browser's status attracted newcomers to Drupal, emphasizing the project's necessity. The BoF for module maintainers helped prepare their modules for the Project Browser, and the Contribution Day saw the successful closure of several beta-blocking issues.

Truly, a rousing success!