This is a transcript. For the video, see Michael Anello, DrupalEasy, and the community.

[00:00:00] Michael Meyers: Hello, and welcome to Tag1 Team Talks, the blog and podcast, from Tag1 Consulting. We're commemorating the 20th anniversary of Drupal with an interview series, featuring community leaders talking about their Drupal experiences. I'm really excited to have Mike Anello AKA ultimike on the show today.

Mike is the co-founder of DrupalEasy and the host of the very popular DrupalEasy podcast. I'll introduce Mike shortly. I'm Michael Meyers, the managing director at Tag1. Tag1 is the number two all time contributor to Drupal. We build our scale applications for global companies with Drupal as well as many other technologies.

We're also one of the official providers of Drupal 7 Extended support. It can help you run and build on your D7 site after it reaches end of life next year. If you want to learn more about either of these things, please reach out.

I want to introduce you to Michael Anello. Uh, as I said, at the top of the show, many of you will know him [00:01:00] as the co-founder of DrupalEasy and the host of the DrupalEasy podcast.

Michael's been involved in the Drupal community for a very long time now. For over 14 years, DrupalEasy has provided Drupal training and consulting. You guys offer some really amazing classes and opportunities. I saw that 12 week Drupal career online training intensive, which was pretty wild.

And then some courses that I was really interested in using some shorter topics, specific stuff like Composer, basics for Drupal developers and, you know, learning how to do local development with DDEV, which are two things that I need to do, you know, and be much better at. So. In addition, you know Mike is also a very well-known contributor who's done a diverse array of things.

He helps guide the community, which is really interesting. And I want to come back to and talk about this more later. He helps manage the Drupal Association’s community cultivation grants. He's the chair of the conflict [00:02:00] resolution team and a member of the community health team, has made many code contributions, including being a Drupal core subsystem maintainer for the Migrate module.

He's contributed many core and contrib projects, and has also contributed to documentation. And I love how documentation is literally the second thing listed on everybody's profile. I don't know if that's a subtle hint that we need more documents doc contributors, like Mike. Um, and of course he's also involved in a lot of conferences and events.

He's been a local meetup organizer, a Drupal Ambassador, welcoming new people to the community at large conferences, like DrupalCon. And, he's a very frequent speaker at these events. Uh, Michael, thank you so much for all your contributions to the community. And thank you so much for joining me today.

[00:02:52] Michael Anello: Yeah.

Thanks for having me when you spread all that stuff out over 14 years. It's not very much though. Less than one thing a [00:03:00] year. So

[00:03:02] Michael Meyers: except you're doing them all in parallel and for many, many years, but to set the stage, you know, before we jump into, you know, the community and, and your contributions to the community I want to talk a little bit about your Drupal career.

You've been a member of the community for 16 years now. So DrupalEasy was founded 14 years ago. You've been a member of the Drupal community for around 16 years. I'm curious, how did you first discover Drupal?

[00:03:35] Michael Anello: I think my story, you know, for folks who have been in the community, as long as I have my story's very similar to others where I was building websites for clients and I was doing a lot of it, just bespoke and I find myself.

You know, implementing a login system, implementing this feature, implementing that feature over and over and over again. And I, you know, I realized, oh, there's gotta be a better [00:04:00] way. And so I started looking into open source and I know I played with like, Joomla and Plone and one called osCommerce and one called Xoops with an X.

And I just kind of started playing with content management systems to figure out if there was something there and something I enjoyed. And really when I, when I stumbled upon Drupal and I discovered that you could add modules without having to like patch core, which was, you know, my experience with a lot of these other CMSs I said, okay, this is, this is put together very nicely.

And I just started moving my clients towards Drupal and learning more and more about it. And the more I learned about it, the more I liked this was back Drupal 4.6, 4.7 days. And really, you know, since that time I haven't, you know, I've had plenty of work, like, like most Drupal [00:05:00] developers and I haven't really needed to go anywhere else.

[00:05:04] Michael Meyers: So how did DrupalEasy come about? You were doing this client work and consulting. What led to the creation of DrupalEasy?

[00:05:12] Michael Anello: It was actually Ryan Price and I both from central Florida and, myself and Ryan and Andrew Riley started a meetup group and there was a fourth person as well. I always forget his name cause he was only around for like that first year or so.

But we started a meetup group in central Florida and we would get together once a month and none of us knew a whole lot, but each of us would present on the little that we did know just to start sharing knowledge and gain momentum and at some point, Ryan and I just started talking about that we should team up on projects and he had this name, he had the domain, a DrupalEasy.

And we said, well, that's, that's a pretty good name. So let's, let's start there. And we [00:06:00] started teaming up on projects together and that's kind of DrupalEasy got started.

[00:06:06] Michael Meyers: As a local community organizer. Is there something you wish that, you know, someone had told you early on or along the way that would have made your life easy?

You know? And do you have any tips or tricks to other folks out there that are trying to galvanize their local community?

[00:06:25] Michael Anello: Yeah, I think the one thing, I figured out pretty early, I think we all did, but we were lucky because we all came in with about the same level of knowledge, which was not very much knowledge at all.

And I think that allowed us to kind of get past any imposter syndrome. Because we knew that there was nobody in the room who was looking at us, like we were crazy. Like, what are they talking about? Because there was no one there who knew very much more than anybody else. So it was very welcoming. And I think that's a good lesson.

I think that still holds true a lot of times [00:07:00] today in local meetup groups where just don't be afraid of, if you have something to present, if you have something that, you know, you know, ask to share, even if it's only five, 10 minutes worth, there's bound to be people in the room who don't know what you know.

And the more you can do that, the more you will start gaining confidence and the easier it will be for you to share information, the easier it will be for folks to look at you as if you, you know, have some level of expertise. And really just, you know, that that leads to more networking and more work.

[00:07:34] Michael Meyers: It seems to be a big theme. You know, folks I've talked to - Angie Byron, you know, all these amazing contributors that we know today all said, you know, I was in way over my head. I went to this event and I just said, yeah, I can help with that. Or, you know, they just started talking to people and you know, it, it was what catapulted, you know, their, their knowledge, their career, their engagement in the community.

So I think that's really [00:08:00] great advice. Um, and I love that you are doing the local organizing. I can't believe it's seen that - we haven't yet talked about in these 20 years because local camps to me are, you know, the foundation, the lifeblood of Drupal. And, and one of the things that I think has really made it what it is today. You know, there's a meet up every week in many places around the world. Uh, there's this amazing local community. It's how knowledge information spreads about Drupal, how people help each other and build these networks. Uh, so I think it's really awesome that you're doing it because it is not easy to, you know, find these, you know, contributors, these speakers sustain the community.

It takes a tremendous amount of effort so.

[00:08:45] Michael Anello: Yeah, I should definitely say I don't do as much of that now, as I've done in the past, I actually, I was one of the main organizers of Florida Drupal Camp for 13 years. And I decided after 13 years. Okay. That's [00:09:00] that's about enough. So we have some, some great folks that are, that have taken the reins of Florida Drupal Camp.

And I think in any, any organization or any group, but, you know, change of leadership is a sign of health. So I felt like after 13 years,, it's time for me to step aside, but someone else kind of get that you know, get that limelight and get that just experience of doing that stuff. And it, it just, it builds street credit and, you know, there's really no downside other than that.

Well, other than the hours you have to invest.

[00:09:34] Michael Meyers: I think transition is good for everybody's health, their community and the organizers. Um, so do you remember your first contribution to the community? It needn't be code but you know, w what it was? And how it went?

[00:09:54] Michael Anello: I mean, technically I think it would have to be the [00:10:00] you know, the events that I spoke at early on and organizing that first Florida Drupal Camp.

I don't know if I had made any code contributions at that point. When, when we organized the first Florida Drupal Camp. Um, I do remember I actually created a my first code contribution was a module. It was called something like Dyno searcho or something like that. And it basically, I believe, and I have to go back and look, but I believe it a lot.

It was kind of like a search box that allowed you to search for organic groups on the site, but using Ajax. So you could start typing the name of the group and then the background, it would go search and, you know, populate a little list for you. I think that was my very first code contribution.

[00:10:53] Michael Meyers: That's awesome. And I love the name,

[00:10:56] Michael Anello: Dyno Searcho, hey.

[00:10:59] Michael Meyers: [00:11:00] You, you've made a lot of contributions. Uh, is there something that you're most proud of or that sticks out in your mind as, you know, a really amazing experience.

[00:11:10] Michael Anello: Um, and I'm probably most proud of like, being on the community working group and the conflict resolution team.

Cause it's, it's really freaking hard work. It's really, you know, challenging. Uses a completely different part of my brain and it. You know, constantly challenges me, you know, I've learned and I've been on the team for five years maybe now. I've learned more about patience in the last five years than all my other years put together.

So I'm pretty proud of that. I'm also really proud of, you know, I keep coming back to this, but the Florida Drupal community I, and I know I'm biased when I say this, but I really think our event is one of the, you know, the, the best Drupal camps out there. I think we really focus on [00:12:00] not just the content, but also people coming and smiling.

Right. And having a good time and interacting with another and having a positive experience, not just from the technical side, but from the networking side and just having like, you know, a good, a good time so that they want to return. So I'm pretty proud of the focus we've had on that in, in Florida.

[00:12:22] Michael Meyers: It makes all the difference. Um, you know, I think, you know, that's the biggest part of going to conferences and events for me is meeting the people in the community. So I love that your camp is putting a big focus on that. Um, I want to keep going with what you were talking about with the DA, and then we'll go back to the code stuff.

Um, this is another thing that we haven't talked about yet in the you know, 20 Years series, you know, you do all this work for the Drupal Association and the community with these working groups. Can you just, you know, what are the cultivation grants? You know, what is the conflict resolution team? You know, what is the [00:13:00] community health team?

You know, why do we need things? And, you know, I know they're important, but can you tell the community why these are so important.

[00:13:08] Michael Anello: Sure. So I'll, I'll try and be short. Each of these other I could go on, but I'll try not to. So the Community Cultivation Grants Program, currently on hiatus right now, mainly because of COVID without having in-person DrupalCons there's a lot less income to the Drupal Association.

And that's how this program got funded was money from the Drupal Association. But the idea behind it was to provide grant money to emerging local communities. Um, so well, and it actually didn't even have to be a local community. It was some project that was going to cultivate the community. So, you know, the, the classic example of this was some first-time camp organizers need 500 bucks to reserve a venue so they can have their first event.

So that would be something where they [00:14:00] could apply for the grant. And if accepted, we would, we would give them that money and that would kind of help kickstart their event. Um, and I think, I don't even know how many years that's been going on. It's probably been at least 10 years. Um, and we funded all kinds of projects all over the world.

So that's, that was very gratifying and it was kind of, you know, it was one of the better, you know, volunteer gigs I've ever had because it's, the job is to give out money. So, yeah, it's not a bad thing.

[00:14:30] Michael Meyers: Its a good place to be in.

It's amazing what they do with these grants. It really it's pretty well. It's very cool.

[00:14:38] Michael Anello: Um, so the Conflict Resolution Team, Community Health Team.

So these are both part of the Drupal Community Working Group. So for a lot of time, up until a couple of years ago, the community working group was basically just the conflict resolution team. They were one and the same. And so the conflict resolution team basically has the, the job [00:15:00] of fostering community health.

So you know, it's upholding the, the code of conduct. So if someone is misbehaving or using inappropriate language in an issue queue then sometimes it's up to us to step in and say, “Hey, you gotta stop doing that.” Um, and when we talked to the person to explain why it's not appropriate, and hopefully, you know, the lesson is learned and we are all about our business. Unfortunately we're, you know because we have the authority. Um, sometimes we have to ban people from, from or Slack for a period of time. And that tends to be the stuff that we're more well known, for than our successes. Um, most of what we do is successes where we, we basically, we mitigate conflict or we, we, we talk to people and say, here's this person's perspective.

Here's that person's perspective. Let's try and find some, some place in the middle. We don't have to be best friends, but we do have to be respectful. And, [00:16:00] um, so there's just a lot of mediation involved with that. A couple of years ago we decided that the community working group wanted to do more proactive health measures. Um, cause we were mainly, we only had time to do the reactive stuff where someone would file an issue with us and say, Hey, this person's being a jerk. And they talked to them and so we'd have to, we'd always be reacting. And we felt there was an opportunity to do some proactive things, some trainings or something like our Nudge Program that, that is on

So we actually started growing the team and we put together like this other sub-group called the Community Health Team. And so those folks are focused more on the proactive side of things where the Conflict Resolution Team is still focused more on the reactive side of things. Um, and you know, we're, we're starting to have some successes on the proactive side of things.

We have a, you [00:17:00] know, kind of an ongoing series of workshops that we're always offering one that most people know about is the the Code of Conduct Contact Training. So this is for folks who are code of conduct contacts for their local events. Um, and we kind of train them on, well, what happens if you have an incident at your, at your event, how do you actually process that?

How do you actually, you know, what, what are the best practices? If someone at your event is not behaving the way they should be? Um, yeah, so maybe I'll stop there. Otherwise I'll keep talking,

[00:17:35] Michael Meyers: But there's, there's too much to cover. We should do a follow-up episode on the community working group, because it's really important.

It, to me, stands out as something, you know, a maturation point in the community. And this is a 20 Years of Drupal podcast. If you think of, you know, most open source projects don't have, or need, you know, such a community working group. Um, and even if they did, they couldn't put it in place. [00:18:00] You know?

So this is, I think a really important mark of maturity for Drupal, that we have all of these community cultivation grants that we, you know, give local communities a chance that we fund people to go to DrupalCon that we, you know, care about the health and the wellbeing of the community and have the resources to put these things in place and address them.

[00:18:21] Michael Anello: Absolutely. And, you know, we are definitely a leader in this area among open source communities. Um, you know, this whole community working group team came out of the fact that code of conflict issues, you know, before us, basically Dries had to, you know, get involved in each of them. Um, so he basically chartered us and empowered us to, to do this for him.

And then a few years ago, actually we decided our escalation point at that point was always Dries. If someone didn't like what we were doing, they would escalate to Dries. And we actually changed that a [00:19:00] few years ago where we are actually our, our review panel. Our escalation point is actually the two community elected DA board members, as well as a third person who - right now it's Jono Bacon.

So it's not someone who's typically in the Drupal community. Um, so we felt it was very important for our review panel to be at least the majority of them to be decided and picked by the community. Um, which is the case right now. So Dries is actually out of it at this point. He's not part of that chain of command.

Um, and we routinely have. Um, queries from other open source communities asking us about our processes and asking for help on their end. So much so that we have put together and we haven't promoted it too much yet. Um, we're still kind of getting our feet wet with it, but we've started a monthly zoom call with other open source communities and, and their version of the community, working group folks. People, and [00:20:00] other open source communities who deal with conflict resolution.

Um, so we can start talking about best practices and what we can learn from one another and just kind of almost like a support group for, for this kind of this kind of role.

So, yeah, I mean, I think that these, you know, I'd love to have you back to talk more about these community working groups.

[00:20:22] Michael Meyers: Uh, we did an Open Source Leaders Series you know, talking to you people behind, you know, big open source projects, you know, from Drupal to ProseMirror, to get different perspectives. And I think one of the amazing things that, that Dries has done, one of the things I admire about him, is his ability to let go and to empower people.

And I think it's an area that the community has done well in pushing him to do that and taking over that responsibility and scaling us as a community. I think that's been core to our success you know, and then putting these programs in place. [00:21:00] Um, so switching back to the code side of things for a minute you are a Drupal core maintainer or were for the Migrate subsystem.

Uh, there are very few core maintainers in this world. And so I'm really curious as to how one becomes a core maintainer?

[00:21:21] Michael Anello: I was bullied into it. So in the run-up to Drupal 8 I knew that I wanted to be involved in the, in the Migrate subsystem. Um, I did a lot of migrations, a lot of stuff, the Migrate module for Drupal 7.

Um, and I, and I wanted to really learn it for Drupal 8. So I started getting involved in that issue queue, working with great people like Benji and Chx and oh my gosh. Oh, quiet one is from There's a bunch of other people in there whose names I can't remember right now. And I [00:22:00] apologize for that.

But I was, I was a pretty regular contributor. I was learning a lot at the time. I mean, I was by no means was I, I was, I was probably the weakest link. Um, but I was willing to put time in and learn and I did, I learned a bunch and I, I, you know, I had a bunch of commits and I think because I was so consistent over, you know, maybe a year 18 months timeframe they asked me to come on as one of the subsystem maintainers, which, you know, it's a huge honor a little bit intimidating a bit of imposter syndrome on my part, for sure.

Um, but I was in that role for, I don't even know how many, maybe a year, maybe a little bit less than a year. Um, and then honestly, you know, I started getting involved, in the training side of our business was picking up, but I just didn't have the time to, well, pun intended, I guess, to commit to it anymore.

And [00:23:00] I, I stepped down from that role.

I learned a lot and you know, it's, it's weird. Cause I, I try and balance my contributions. I try to balance coding contributions, like kind of left brain, right brain. Contributions. Um, and right now I feel like I'm, I have too much on the right brain side. Like I'm kind of itching to get back to the code contribution side of things, which I haven't had a whole lot of bandwidth to do lately.

[00:23:28] Michael Meyers: That's awesome to switch between the two. I never really thought about that. And I was looking at, you know, your, your litany of things that you've done. And, and when you said that, I was like, oh my gosh, that makes, that makes total sense as to how you're involved in all these different things. Um,

[00:23:42] Michael Anello: I get bored easily.

So I mean, I, I enjoy the event organization or I should say I enjoyed it, I guess I'd still enjoy it. Um, but there's some times where I just, you know, I want to be doing code as well. So I flip flop back and forth. I'm, I'm constantly in search of that balance, [00:24:00] you know, then throw in like, you know, you know, paid work and then throw in family and stuff and just finding that balance it's, you know, as everybody knows is just so tricky.

[00:24:11] Michael Meyers: Definitely. Um, the other migrate maintainers over the years, Moshe Weitzman, Mike Ryan, Lucas Heading, I mean, these are,

[00:24:20] Michael Anello: Oh, Mike, Mike was huge to help me. We can't,

[00:24:25] Michael Meyers: I would have some serious imposter syndrome, you know, going up against those guys and being part of that group.

[00:24:32] Michael Anello: I learned so much. I mean, you know, I learned, I learned so much from, from, from those folks.

[00:24:39] Michael Meyers: What is something that you learned as a core committer that you didn't, you know, that in your, Drupal contributions to code previously, you hadn't been aware of because it was a very different perspective.

[00:24:51] Michael Anello: Sure. But just how much every single line of code matters. Right. Just how, I mean, [00:25:00] it gives me so much confidence in Drupal Core, knowing the hurdles and all the discussions we had over every single patch that went into Core.

Um, it gives me a great, you know, a great deal of it helps me sleep at night knowing that you know, I kind of saw how the sausage was made in one little sliver of Drupal. And I know that, you know, core committers are, are sweating the details on all of these commits and that makes Drupal, makes the code, you know, all the better.

And it's really, it's really interesting to see and to learn.

[00:25:37] Michael Meyers: They do really review every line of code, you know, and it's great that you point that out because I don't think people, you know, there's a lot of obfuscation, not purposely, but you know, biggest Drupal is such a big community and there are so many layers to what we do.

I'm not sure that everybody is aware of how much effort and energy goes into, you know, reviewing and managing code.

[00:25:59] Michael Anello: [00:26:00] Yeah. And not even that, but just looking at it, not only from like a micro level, like, you know, not even just looking at the trees line by line, but being able to step back and look at like the bigger picture, how does this fit in with everything else?

You know, could this potentially be duplicated, you know, with this thing over there and just having that big picture, you know, some folks have that. And I mean, it's, it's amazing. It is you know, so much credit to the folks who have had that skill. It's a, it's a whole other gear.

[00:26:33] Michael Meyers: Totally. And, and, you know, going back to jumping in and, and career and professional experience, you know, this is what sets these people apart and they make insane money because they're insanely good at what they do.

And so it's, you know, it's a huge career development opportunity for people to get more engaged in core and, and the whole core development process, because it really is another level.

[00:26:59] Michael Anello: I [00:27:00] think one thing we probably should absolutely mentioned that all of these folks have in common is they're also really good communicators, right?

So, I mean, you could have folks and we probably both know people who are really, really good coders. But not so good communicators. Um, I, you know, I can't really think of anyone that I interacted with at the core level, from an either code review or other maintainers who didn't excel in both. Who didn't excel in coding and excel, and being able to communicate. Communicate clearly and succinctly.

And you know, whether it's, you know, whether it's over a zoom call or in an issue queue or on Skype or Skype, Slack or IRC, I guess that should've said. Um, yeah. Being able to communicate. I think the older I get, the more I value that, you know, people can communicate well.

[00:27:59] Michael Meyers: It's [00:28:00] it's critical. People who don't have that skill and, and that's, you know, most of us you know, again, another reason to get engaged and learn from these people and, and develop that skill because you're right. It's, it's so rare. You know, I meet amazing developers that blow me away and I meet amazing developers that are great communicators and they're a world apart.

Um, it's a, it's a really rare beast to have both those skills and it makes a huge difference. Um, so you've been to so many conferences and events around the world. Um, is there a particular experience or memory that stands out for you?

[00:28:42] Michael Anello: Yeah, I don't, I don't know if there's anything in particular.

It's more general for me. I like, I'm more of a morning person than a, than a nighttime person. So I've had some really interesting conversations over [00:29:00] breakfast with people at Drupal events. Um, either, you know, where I just run into someone or, you know, it's kind of a planned thing. Um, but I kind of feel, you know, I know everyone gives this answer, but you know, Drupal events for me is more about just the networking and talking to people and having those, you know, hopefully quiet conversations as opposed to sitting in a hall with 300 people watching, you know, someone give a presentation.

Um, I can't think of anything specific, you know, I, I have really great memories of the first European DrupalCon I went to, which I believe is Paris. Um, and I was there with a bunch of friends, you know, a bunch of folks from Florida, we all kind of traveled there together. So that was, that was a really nice one.

Um, you know, I also have really interesting memories and maybe it's a regret. I actually went to one of the first DrupalCon is it was part of, I think it [00:30:00] was OSCon and it's actually on campus at Yahoo. Um, and I don't even know what I, I almost don't want to look at how many years ago that was. Um, but I remember I can look back at that.

And I remember everybody I talked to like I still recognize their names in the Drupal community. That was really an event where some of the, the, the longest time contributors in Drupal were at that event. And I feel like I should have been able to, to, to do more there. Um, I don't know, it's kind of a weird regret cause I don't like having to regret, you know, I was there for a reason and I got out of it, what I got out of it and I have no qualms about where I am today.

Um, but I just looked back at that and said, now, you know, maybe if I had it, it might be one of those things where I was thinking more about, I wanted to learn a little bit about everything rather than a lot about one thing and go deep. [00:31:00] Um, but you know, I think that might be, if I, if someone was new in the community, I might say, get a good foundation.

Don't go crazy. But then find something you love and you're passionate about and go deep in that and go deep early, right? If you love front end development, then you know, learn how to become the best freaking Drupal front-end developer. You can. And don't worry about learning every single contrib module out there.

[00:31:32] Michael Meyers: It's it's not that you can't meet these people today, but I feel like we have an unfair advantage because, you know, looking back at that OSCMS summit in Sunnyvale, it was a pretty small crowd and it was insanely concentrated with top Drupal contributors. I mean, if you said hello to someone, it would be, you know, Dries, it would be Moshe Weitzman it, you know, you know, it was, it was an amazing crowd and a lot of amazing things happened there.

That was where Jay Batson [00:32:00] met Dries and the inklings of Acquia were formed.

[00:32:03] Michael Anello: Um, I actually had dinner. I said there are a few of us at dinner one night and I sat next to him. And I talked for most of the night. I can't, it kills me. I can't think of his name, but he's one of the guys who started PHP

[00:32:15] Michael Meyers: Rasmus Lerdorf was there.

[00:32:17] Michael Anello: Rasmus

I mean that's crazy.

Yeah. I'm like, oh, that's interesting. You invented PHP. Okay.

Can I have some of your fries please?

[00:32:34] Michael Meyers: Rasmus has been surprisingly involved in the, in the Drupal community. He was at the. The second ever DrupalCon I think in the first one in Amsterdam, he was at the O S CMS summit. He was the speaker in Copenhagen. He was one of the keynotes. Um, so yeah, he's been surprisingly in, involved in Drupal over the years.

And, you know, it was probably one of the reasons that we had that Sunnyvale summit, you know, Yahoo was using [00:33:00] Drupal for awhile and really awesome story for the folks who didn't check out that episode. Robert Douglas he tells about how they didn't secure their first Drupal site. And he, I can't get all, he's like calling the Sunnyvale police.

Like there's a break in at Yahoo! Trying to get them to like address this problem.

[00:33:21] Michael Anello: I have an absolute really interesting tidbit about the, what is now considered the first DrupalCon. That took place in Antwerp Belgium. Um, I am literally sitting two blocks from that location right now. I've walked by it almost every day.

That, that little hotel or the very first group of conduits. And it kills me because I've been coming to Belgium for since before I was married. So over 20 years which means that I, you know, at some point there was a DrupalCon going on there with what, you know, 15 people during the time when I've [00:34:00] regularly visited the city.

So I feel like if I was, if I was tuned into the community a little bit more, whatever community it was at that time I, I potentially could have been at that first one.

[00:34:11] Michael Meyers: It's mind blowing. There are local meetups that are way bigger than the first few DrupalCons we've come such a long way. Um, but you miss.

Yep. I miss that intimacy. You know, I miss the, you know, there's now like Dev Days where, you know, it used to be at DrupalCon we would make major decisions about the future of Drupal. Like, you know, there has to be a testing harness and every, you know, core commit needs to have a test. Like these things came out of, you know, hacking at DrupalCon and talking to each other at DrupalCon and, you know, DrupalCons have become really big events, you know, so things have split off and it's, these are all signs of a healthy growing maturing community.

Um, but you know, there are some downsides or side effects to that. And one of them is, you know, sort of the fracturing of [00:35:00] these different groups and, you know, the, the lack of concentration. Um, but if you're willing to jump in, you know, you can definitely meet all these people and have the same experiences that, that we had, today.

Um, so going back to the, the platform or, or the community what is your favorite and least favorite aspect of Drupal, the platform or the community? You know, what's something we do great. And what's something we need to improve.

[00:35:32] Michael Anello: Um, you know, I think our code is amazing, you know, I, I think what's great about Drupal is the fact that as a community, we refuse to let it get stale, right.

As much pain as there was going from Drupal seven to eight and adopting composer and, you know, and adopting all these Symfony components, ultimately it was, you know, to the great benefit of the code base. And so that [00:36:00] kind of relentless pursuit of, of staying modern, staying up to date is, I mean, it's extremely difficult.

Um, but we're, we're now seeing the rewards of that, right. You're going from eight to nine. Um, you know, I updated Um, I, I actually could have done it months ago. I was waiting for one module to get up to Drupal nine readiness. Um, but it took me a couple hours to go from eight to nine.

And so we're starting to reap those rewards. Um, on the other side of the coin, the one thing that worries me, I think it worries a lot of people. And if, if we could crack this as a community, I think it would be amazing is because we've radically changed the code base. And we've admittedly made it more difficult to get started with Drupal.

We don't have that. That was huge feeder bands of people who can discover Drupal as a hobbyist, as a side [00:37:00] project anymore. There's some folks who just still discovered that way, but you need a certain level of technical knowledge to even get started with Drupal at this point, that, that initial hurdle and that I think that's really - I don't know, I hate to use the word hurting. So I'll use the word changing. It's really changing the dynamics of the community because we do not have these huge influxes of potential new contributors coming in. We do have new contributors coming in. They're coming in. You know, some of them are coming in as hobbyists.

Some of them are coming in from other open source PHP projects who already know Composer who are maybe Symfony developers and stuff like that. But where it used to be a fire hose of people. It's not so much a fire hose anymore. And so that kind of worries me because I don't think there's as many people who are, who are as active as there have been in the past. Um, it used to be a pyramid with a really, really [00:38:00] wide base that base is considerably more narrow now I think I know that there's definitely, you know, some of the initiatives that Dries talked about recently are definitely aiming at trying to get that base to be bigger and to get more beginners and more hobbyists involved in Drupal.

It's not going to be easy. Um, but I think if we can, if we can figure that out it's going to be fantastic. And it's, I don't know if any other open source project has had this exact issue and then been able to solve it. So I think that's our biggest challenge.

[00:38:34] Michael Meyers: Yeah, no, I think that's a really good point.

You know, there's - every open source project is a really small number of contributors that make the majority of contributions. But the health of the project in the community is that broad base. And, you know, it's like your, you know, your sales funnel in, you know, and that might not be the best way to look at it, but you also, you know, to get those top contributors, you [00:39:00] need a steady stream of people.

And when I think about like, what makes the Drupal community so special and you know, all these amazing people who care, you know, that are really good people. You know, I, I think a lot of that has to do with our broad contributor base historically, and the kinds of people that it attracted and, you know, Drupal, I don't know that it was ever easy and which is why we need DrupalEasy.

Um, but you know, there, there's always a big barrier to entry and learning curve to Drupal, but it's an order of magnitude more challenging now, you know since the transition from Seven and, you know, the makeup of the contributors, the makeup of the users, you know, you know, aspects of

Site building have never been more, which makes it, you know, has, you know, Drupal, secret sauce in, in, you know, empowering end users. Um, but at the same time, you know, the, you know, while there can be [00:40:00] a bigger site builder community, the actual developer community is you know, the makeup is changing. You know, you're seeing more enterprise users, you know, more enterprise contributors.

And so sort of like the tenor and the makeup of the community has shifted not just the numbers. And I, I worry about, you know not to like the point of all my God, but, you know, it's definitely something that's in the back of my mind as to the health and the wellbeing of the community, but also one of the things that I loved the most about it, you know, is the people and what sets it apart from all the other communities that I participate in is the people.

And it's why I've stayed with Drupal so long is the people, and so I hope that you know, amongst everything that we can continue to honor the roots, you know, and, and sort of the, the, you know, the, the feeling, the being that is the Drupal community.

So I want to do our lightning round real quick because we only have a few minutes. Uh, so first things that pop in your mind, I'm going to run a few questions at you. Uh, [00:41:00] who are your Drupal mentors?

[00:41:02] Michael Anello: Yeah. I mean, it's, that's such a difficult question because it's changed over, you know, over the years.

Um, I'll start with, you know, I do a lot of work with a guy named Andy Giles', who's a, just a really freaking good module developer. Um, I'm constantly learning stuff from him. Um, I've been friends with Ted Bowman for a while. Who's a chronic core contributor, really smart guy. Um, so those are probably two people that I go to for the coding side.

Um, you know kind of the other side of things, and this is kind of a funny answer cause I have a feeling she might feel the same way about me is I, I I'm really good friends with Amy June. Um, and I've actually, she's been through my class and but she is constantly, um I don't even know what the right word is, but [00:42:00] she's on me to make sure that I am as inclusive as possible with everything I say, which is not a bad thing.

I mean, the role that I'm in on the community working group and I interact with a lot of new folks. Um, and it's really, it's kind of nice, you know, she's like a little, and I hope she doesn't listen to this cause it's, you know, she'll make fun of me, but sometimes it's like a little like guardian angel. Like I know that if I say something stupid, she will be there to kind of nudge me and allow me to gracefully apologize.

And not that I'm saying all out stupid things, but just say little things and I'll give you a great example. Um, I, you know, growing up, if I thought something wasn't, if I didn't like something, I would call it lame. And you know, if I say something like that, now she will always like DM me and say, I shouldn't say lame anymore.

You know, and just like little things like that, and it's good reminders and it's good to just make sure our language is as inclusive as possible. Um, [00:43:00] and then maybe one other person would be you know, George DeMet who was the previous chair of the community working group before I, before he stepped down and I stepped into that role.

And I've learned a tremendous amount from him over the years as well. So yeah, I could probably name a bunch of other people, but those are the four that pop in my head.

[00:43:24] Michael Meyers: And there are so many amazing people to mention. And so many people list you as a mentor. And in fact, I was looking at your page the other day, preparing for this interview.

You are amongst the, the, you know, the people that have that have the largest number of people claiming you as a mentor that I've seen in a long time, so.

[00:43:42] Michael Anello: I'm lucky enough where I teach a lot of people. Um, and I talk about mentors and I, you know, w you know, part of, one of the things in our classes, we introduce every single one of our students to a community mentor.

Um, so I think in my role is that I actually become, [00:44:00] you know, I kind of fill that role as well.

[00:44:03] Michael Meyers: That's amazing. I love that idea community mentor. That's really great. Um, favorite Drupal module.

[00:44:11] Michael Anello: Uh, I'm going to say Path Auto and why isn't it in core? I'll just leave it at that.

[00:44:18] Michael Meyers: Yeah, I thought it was a really great one. How is that not in core? Is that really? not in core?

[00:44:24] Michael Anello: It's not in Core. I don't understand why it's not in core.

[00:44:26] Michael Meyers: Wow. There's, there's like a short list of modules. Everybody installs on every Drupal website and that's certainly one of them.

[00:44:33] Michael Anello: Admin toolbar, Redirect, Path Auto. Um, those are the three main ones.

[00:44:39] Michael Meyers: I can't live without my admin toolbar and just typing in what I'm looking for.

How is that? Not in core. I don't amazing. Yeah. Um, all right. So favorite DrupalEasy podcast episode, or, you know, the, the one that you've done so many podcasts and it's hard to pick a [00:45:00] favorite, but what's one that jumps to mind.

[00:45:03] Michael Anello: I mean, the easy answers are that we have we've had Dries on once or twice.

We've had Angie on a few times. Um, you know, one that always jumps to mind. It's, it's, it's kind of a silly one. Um, and I had very little to do with it, which is fine. I think I probably like it is we did like an April Fools episode a few years ago that Ryan Price put together all of this ridiculous stuff.

And, you know, in the nerdiest way, it was like super funny. And I always think about that. Like, he's such a creative, creative person that he really just kind of, you know, he just went with it and it was great.

[00:45:42] Michael Meyers: Good humor in the community. I love it. Um, so as the you know, the creator of DrupalEasy's podcast, I'm curious what your favorite non DrupalEasy podcast is.

[00:45:55] Michael Anello: So Drupal related or not Drupal related?,

[00:45:58] Michael Meyers: Either, [00:46:00]

[00:46:00] Michael Anello: The Daily, the New York Times every morning they have, it's like, twenty-five minutes. It's one story I listen to it most mornings, you know, when I'm, when I'm home in Florida, I literally, I get out of bed. I put the leash on my dog. I pop in my AirPods and I take my dog for a long walk and I listen to The Daily.

Um, it just really well done. Um, it's, it's I find it very difficult to get, you know news that doesn't make me mental these days. Um, I think it does you know, I know a lot of people will say it's a slanted as anyone else, but I think it, I think it does a pretty good job.

[00:46:38] Michael Meyers: It's a, it's a great, a great podcast.

Uh, last question. Uh, who would you pass the torch to? Uh, who should I interview next? Uh, in the Drupal community?

[00:46:51] Michael Anello: Yeah. I don't know if I have a name for you, but I like to hear from folks who, who don't have a whole lot of [00:47:00] exposure yet., Like look at the top 50 contributed modules and find a name in that list of committers or maintainers who you've never heard of and, you know, get them some exposure.

I think we, as a community, need to be doing everything we can to to, to seek out like the next generation of leaders in our community. You know, I, I've been a big proponent of a long time of, you know, I'm a baseball fan. So I like to see new speakers at DrupalCons. Um, but I'm also a big believer that you shouldn't speak in a DrupalCon if you haven't spoken somewhere else first, because people pay a lot of money to go DrupalCon So, you know, that's what, you know, meetups and camps are for, you know, if you know someone who who knows something who's never presented before, you know, get them on a podcast or get them to present to a meetup group, a virtual [00:48:00] thing or an in-person thing, and kind of get them on the path to leadership in our community.

[00:48:06] Michael Meyers: Yeah. So great idea. Podcasts are a great place to start because you can kind of speak extemporaneously. It's a bit lower pressure. Um, and then, you know, I, I agree, you know DrupalCon is, is a special event. The people, the number of people that attend your talks is, is substantial. You know, you need, you know, being a good presenter and putting together a good presentation, takes a tremendous amount of effort.

You know, and experience. And, and people should get that. Um, and we do need more voices. Uh, I love your idea. I'm going to do exactly that. We're going to look through the top 50 and I'm sure there are many people in there that I don't know. And I think it would be really great to get a more diverse array of opinions.

Um, you know, in this 20 Year series, not just the folks, you know, like yourself and myself that have been here for a really long time,

[00:48:55] Michael Anello: No one wants to hear from us anymore. Its time for us to [00:49:00] be put out to pasture.

[00:49:04] Michael Meyers: For everybody's help.

Michael, thank you so much for joining me today and to all of our viewers for listening and watching. We really appreciate you joining us as well. Uh, if you like this talk, please remember to subscribe and share it out. You can check out all of our interviews in this series at talks and the latest technology topics at As always. We'd love your feedback on any topic, suggestions, you know, other folks that we should interview for the series. You can write to us at that's tag the number 1. Uh, thanks again for tuning in take care.