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Introducing the Blueprints Module for Ambitious Drupal Site Builders

· Drupal,Schemaorg Blueprints,Schemaorg-first

Missing DrupalCon Portland 2022

After two years of attending events online due to the pandemic, I was looking forward to attending DrupalCon Portland. Sadly, that plan got canceled as I had family, work, and life priorities that needed my attention. Fortunately, there are more in-person events for me to look forward to in the remaining year, including DrupalCamp NJ and DrupalCamp Atlanta.

Even though I wasn’t able to attend DrupalCon, I watched the Driesnote, where Dries Buytaert, the project lead, provided updates on upcoming releases and current strategic initiatives and discusses new initiatives. Every few years, Dries revisits Drupal's overall strategy, and at DrupalCon Portland, he recommended that our strategy and focus move from "building ambitious digital experiences" to "empowering ambitious site builders."

Empowering Ambitious Site Builders

To empower ambitious site builders, the Drupal community is working on improving the user experience for finding, configuring, and updating modules and themes. The Project browser and Automated updates initiatives are already in-progress, and they will make it easier and faster to find and update modules and themes.

Making the site builder experience easier and faster is an overarching goal and one result of working to empower site builders. Making it easier to get started is another quick way to empower site builders. Along this line of thinking, Dries also announced a new "Starter templates" initiative.

Using Starter templates to provide standard features

My understanding is that 'starter templates' will bring together groups of modules and configuration settings to build a specific site feature or functionality. Depending on the quality of the starter templates, I see an opportunity for them to establish a standardized way for site builders to set up a website. For example, a starter template for building events would provide a default 'event' content type. An added benefit of multiple websites using the same 'event' content type, is that these websites should be able to share event data using Drupal's APIs more easily.

Broader goals for empowering ambitious site builders

Stepping away from the specific goals of the project browser, automated updates, and starter templates, I am starting to realize the broader goals: Empowering ambitious site builders means standardizing, simplifying, and accelerating the process of building a website. Happily, standardization, simplification, and acceleration became the key benefits of the Blueprints module, which I am looking forward to doing a show-n-tell about it for you below.

Schema Blueprints

As stated in the conclusion of my last blog post about the future of our Drupal CMS and APIs, UI, and UX, I finally decided to take a crack at building a POC module for Drupal. The module is named Blueprints because the module provides blueprints for building a content and information architecture in Drupal using The Blueprints project page summarizes the module's benefits, approach, recommendations, and roadmap.

Below is a short overview (10 min) and a full demo (30 min) explaining the Blueprints module and showing it in action.

Short overview

This short presentation explains the what and why behind the Blueprints module and shows how to use it to build a Event content type in Drupal.

Full demo

This extended presentation walks through the background, configuration, and future of the Blueprints module. It provides an in-depth demo of building an entire website architecture that leverages types, properties, and enumerations in 5 minutes.

Next steps

I am hopeful that the Blueprints module aligns with the Drupal community's new goal of empowering ambitious site builders to create ambitious digital experiences.

At the very end of the Driesnote, Dries mentions. there more I would like to do yes … some of the things that could really help Drupal is maybe … redesigning fields and CCK because, frankly, we haven't touched the user experience of these capabilities for a long time.

I am optimistic that the Blueprints could be a step in the right direction for improving how site builders create rich reusable, sharable content models and information architectures in Drupal.


Please watch the above videos, take the Blueprints modules for a test drive, and post feedback and questions below or in the module’s issue queue.

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