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We sat down with Corey Caplette, CTO and Kevin Quillen, Drupal Practice Lead at Velir to talk about Drupal and the Engage Conference by Acquia.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Why Velir jumped on board to embrace Drupal as a platform years ago (0:38)
  • About Site Factory, Content Hub, and Lift - products that Acquia released to help clients make full use of the Drupal platform (2:22)
  • Why you should attend the Engage Conference if you're a developer (5:12)
"Acquia Engage provides really great insights to understand where they are going. Engage is about understanding and seeing how people have used these technologies to be successful."
Corey Caplette CTO, Velir

Video Transcript (Edited for Clarity)

[Public Interface Intro]

Velir Presents

Public Interface

Acquia Engage

2016 Roundtable

Mark Stiles: Welcome to Public Interface, I'm Mark [a Principal Web Developer]! Joining me today is Kevin Quillen and Corey Caplette, our Drupal practice lead and CTO, respectively. Today we're going to be talking about Drupal and the Engage conference by Acquia. Morning guys.

Corey Caplette: Morning!

Mark: So, our Drupal practice is new compared to some of the other technologies that we use. What was it about Drupal specifically that made us jump in for them instead of a number of other technologies?

Corey: As a firm, we focus on leading platforms so if you look at the products we use, they're all leaders in their spaces. And simply why we started looking at Drupal is because we thought we heard a lot of interest from our customers and potential customers and so that's where we want to be. We won't just jump onto a platform without giving it a good amount of thought. I think ten years ago, you’d hear a lot of companies say, ‘We're technology agnostic,’ and you had to be at the time. But what customers are looking for today is expertise. That's what's gonna differentiate you. So, we did our research—we looked at Drupal as a technology and where Acquia is taking it. For us, it was an easy decision after doing that research.

Mark: At this point now we're onto Drupal 8. It’s been out for maybe a little under a year but there are probably a lot of systems out there still on Drupal 7 and upgrades are always tough. Is there anything for somebody who's looking to upgrade that they should know or maybe want to kind of have an idea of what they're getting into before they do so?

Kevin Quillen: It's like really two ways to answer it. Should you adopt it now if you don't have an existing system? It's really an evaluation. If you're already on Drupal 7, probably worth holding out another year for the contributed modules to catch up. If you're starting from scratch, you definitely want to be on Drupal 8 today.

Mark: Acquia is out there. They've released a number of products to help clients who are using Drupal really make the most of their platform in their marketing such as Site Factory, Content Hub, Lift—what about these technologies? What are each one of them doing?

Corey: I think if we’re talking about each one individually, if you look at those sets of products you mentioned, they're really geared towards the enterprise and sophisticated implementations. Looking at them individually you have Lift (now Acquia Personalization) which is really targeted at personalization—so tracking user activities in real-time and historically, segmenting your users so that you can deliver personalized content to them and hopefully increase your conversions and transactions.

Site Factory—if you're an organization that has dozens or hundreds of websites you can't just install a vanilla version of Drupal and go for it. You need something that helps you standardize or stamp out sites. Site Factory allows you to do that quickly and easily and then Content Hub is around content organization and orchestration. So again, if you have dozens or hundreds of websites, it's a really large challenge to manage and organize your content across those. Not only are you serving content—maybe the different products—but there are different languages and different regions and so something like Content Hub is there to help you orchestrate that content so you can consume content from any of those sites or you can publish content to any of those. Individually these are all very useful products on their own but also when you look at them together you can see that there's really a lot that Acquia is trying to offer the enterprise when on Drupal.

Mark: For the developers what tools are Acquia releasing to help a developer kind of bring a product into the marketplace a lot sooner?

Kevin: There are really three products that they've released this year that for developers that are really interesting. There’s Pipelines which is their new continuous deployment tool. There's Acquia BLT which is their scaffolding tool for Drupal projects. And on the other end of the spectrum, there's Acquia Waterwheel which is a JavaScript library to help communicate to a group back-end through JavaScript. It's part of the new headless website movement.

Mark: And the two of you are both headed to Acquia Engage conference. What are you guys looking forward to when you go there?

Corey: For me, I think it always provides really great insight to understand where Acquia is going—how they're positioning. And we just talked about—there are a lot of products and services that they've been developing over the last year and so it's a really great chance to see how these are working in the wild and hear success stories. So, I think for me, Engage is really all about the case studies and just understanding and seeing you know how people have used these technologies to be successful.

Mark: What about from a developer's perspective what does the Engage conference give you?

Kevin: As a developer, I look forward to hearing talks. Last year there was a talk about how Pfizer utilized Site Factory and Content Hub to deployI think it was like 4,000 sitesinto the Acquia cloud. Those sorts of stories are always exciting and interesting to hear.

Mark: All right, thanks guys for taking the time and catching me up on the state of Drupal.

Corey: Thanks, Mark.

Mark: So, that's our show. Catch us on Twitter (@Velir)—let us know your thoughts in the comments, and as always watch us next time as we implement another episode of Public Interface.

[Outro Music and Closing Credits]

Today’s Guests: Corey Caplette, Kevin Quillen
Produced By: Velir
Director: Mark Stiles
Technical Director: Chris Brady

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