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We had an amazing time at Drupalcon Pittsburgh last week! We got to hear some great talks, gave two presentations ourselves, caught up with old friends and colleagues, and met some awesome new people along the way. Here is a recap of our experience and my thoughts about the conference.

ChatGPT and Artificial Intelligence in Drupal

One hot topic this year was the use of AI and ChatGPT in Drupal. We’ve been working with OpenAI and ChatGPT since last January, finding new ways of applying AI in Drupal to accelerate daily tasks for site managers and content authors.

The response so far has been incredible.

We found helpful uses for AI in Drupal to align with the theme that “Drupal is for ambitious site builders.” Earlier this year we released a version of the OpenAI integration module that adds the following features:

  • Ask ChatGPT for content ideas
  • Suggest taxonomy terms based on page content
  • Summarize sections of content
  • Translate content into a language of your choosing
  • Change the tone of content to meet different audiences
  • Suggest SEO-friendly content titles for a page

These features were all integrated into CKEditor 5 early on. We’ve since taken those same tools outside of the editor in Drupal. You can now run any of those tasks against regular Drupal fields on entity forms (Nodes, Media, Taxonomy, Blocks, Users, and more) opening an exciting new avenue of possibilities for site builders and content editors with OpenAI and ChatGPT.

While other platforms speculated on what tools like ChatGPT and AI could be used for, we went ahead and integrated them with those compelling use cases for content editors. The speed of developing for and integrating into Drupal is second to none and Drupal appears to be the first CMS to have this capability ready to use. It has been available for the last few months.

The OpenAI module for Drupal is completely free, with no waitlist, no vendors, or vendor monthly fees. You can use it if you have an OpenAI API key which you can obtain by signing up on the OpenAI Platform page.

The conference kicked off with Dries Buytaert giving his keynote address. Part of his keynote highlighted Velir’s efforts in this space and the speed in getting our AI integrations out the door. You can view the address here:

I experienced this from the back of the room with a full view of the audience as they watched the demo video I provided for the keynote. It was incredibly humbling. Dries highlighted a core concept with “the power of one” and “the power of many” which is what I love about open source.

Thank you to Wim Leers, Lauri Eskola, and Wiktor Walc for helping me understand the new APIs of CKEditor 5 to help see this idea through and to Dries and Velir for supporting it!

Following the keynote, I gave my lightning talk on “Leveraging Artificial Intelligence in Drupal 10 with OpenAI and ChatGPT.” We had a great turnout and despite some technical glitches with the projection locking up (sorry!), it went well. I gave some context on OpenAI and ChatGPT, explained the features they can enable, and shared what makes them usable for content authors. I ended the talk with the same demo video I created for the keynote.

Here is that same video so you can see all the features of the OpenAI / ChatGPT module in action within CKEditor 5 for a closer look:

After my talk, I spoke with many excited individuals who shared their ideas and experiences of using our module so far. It was awesome.

You may also have visited our neighbors Bounteous with their cool “Drupalscope” touchscreen application. They had a short quiz that users could take that would gauge things about the individual’s personality. Then they had ChatGPT create a horoscope/personality assessment for them at the end, complete with a printout of the result.

AI and ChatGPT are here to stay, we can’t wait to see what innovations they unlock next in the community.

The OpenAI module is available for Drupal 10 right here:

Distributions and Recipes Initiative

We’ve followed the developments for the Distributions and Recipes initiative this year with great interest.

For a quick recap of what this initiative is, check out our two previous blog posts where we cover it in detail:

In short, Recipes for Drupal are composable pieces of functionality for site builders to use to quickly add new capabilities to their sites.

Jim Birch of Kanopi Studios gave a great overview of the initiative in his talk and where progress currently stands. The community weighed in on the pain points with the current way of creating distributions and it’s clear that Recipes are the future for Drupal development.

Recipes allow site builders to take several smaller pieces of functionality and roll them up into their site without committing to the “lock in” properties of a distribution. That way not only can developers provide thousands of various recipes for free on, but site builders will also have many composable pieces of functionality to add to their Drupal site. This will allow them to accelerate features while retaining full control over installed modules. Unlike distributions, Recipes can be combined with one another until you have what you need.

We look forward to seeing this initiative continue. We’re very interested in creating a variety of recipes and site accelerators for our projects.

Acquia Site Studio and Lightning-Fast
Search Experiences

At the Acquia booth, our senior Drupal developer Ron Pearl presented how we integrate custom components in Acquia Site Studio using ReactJS. These Site Studio components are wired into a headless View in Drupal that uses the Solr search backend. The result is a full client-side search that is extremely fast and responsive, so audiences find what they are looking for faster. This makes them more likely to convert and complete your KPIs (key performance indicators).

On the Drupal side, we created a module that added more serialization output from a View that helps JavaScript developers build the peripheral UI around search, like sorters, facets, pagination, result counts, and labels right in the JSON output and configurable all at the Views layer. This plugin allows us to create several Views and use the same process on different projects with the same familiar interface and result.

We plan to release a version of the module later this year for Drupal 10, so be on the lookout for that!

Read more about our thoughts and process of creating custom components in Site Studio.

Discover the incredible potential of AI, ChatGPT, Recipes, and lightning-fast search for enhancing your Drupal site building experience.

Our Drupal 10 Triple Certified Drupal Expert can help you understand all the latest Drupal features so your site builders can benefit from them.  

Pitch-burgh Winners

An interesting aspect of this year’s conference was the introduction of Pitch-burgh. The format was similar in structure to the show Shark Tank. Winners received full funding for their projects that the conference attendees voted as most desirable.

Funding in open source can be a difficult thing to come by. So, this was a fantastic idea to help both project teams accelerate the completion of their ideas and for the conference attendees to decide which ideas they thought were the best.

Of the winners, the three we’re most interested are:

Each one provides unique additions and extensions to Drupal whether it’s assisting frontend developers with decoupled solutions or JS/TypeScript support, or policy-based access control (PBAC) to augment the role-based access control (RBAC) that has long been a staple of Drupal core.

As someone who develops and releases open-source code often, I was glad to see how much money was raised as well as the enthusiasm and support for the ideas that were chosen. I would like to see this become a regular part of the annual Drupal conferences!

Stay tuned for more thoughts from other members of Velir who attended the conference for their takeaways and perspectives!

Get the Drupal 10 Development Cookbook 

Are you curious about how to develop modules, themes, and plugins or how to be a great site builder for Drupal 10?  

The "Drupal 10 Development Cookbook" is co-authored by Matt Glaman and Kevin Quillen. They cover a wide variety of topics with hands-on examples so you can get up and running with Drupal 10 in no time. These topics include running Drupal locally with Docker-based tools, content modeling, creating custom modules, how to do automated testing, and migrating data into Drupal from various data sources. The book will help you understand how to develop and build modules just like the ones we talk about often at Velir.  

You can pick up the book on Amazon as a physical copy or for Kindle. 

Want to know more about how features like AI, ChatGPT, Recipes, and lightning-fast search can transform your Drupal site-building experience? Reach out.


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