Florida DrupalCamp: Not just another Layout Builder article

Mar 21 2024

Avi Schwab, is a prolific contributor to Drupal, and one of the lead organizers of MidCamp, an annual gathering of the MidWest Drupal community in Chicago. Earlier in the year, Avi visited Florida DrupalCamp to experience the latest in Drupal insights, read on for his key takeaways.

Not just another Layout Builder article

Back in February, I attended Florida DrupalCamp in sunny Orlando. I went thinking I would learn about lots of interesting Layout Builder modules. Then I heard a Lightning Talk.

In an “airing of grievances”, one long-time community member quipped: 

“There are approximately 38,000 (rounded up) contributed modules for Layout Builder. There are hundreds of blog posts about the right ones to use. What’s going on, Drupal?!”

That not-to-be-named community member is right. The Layout Builder ecosystem is huge

So… equipped with that knowledge, I had to make some adjustments to my blogging plan.

How did we get here?

Layout Builder came to Drupal core in version 8.5.0, all the way back in 2017. It started as a way to define custom layouts - combinations of sections like the body and sidebar. These layouts would enable site builders to create more dynamic pages on their sites.

Many of the deeper features of Drupal Core begin as frameworks - tools to build tools. Layout Builder started as a framework for building site-building experiences. Building the experience itself is "an exercise for the reader". The community has found many solutions to completing that experience for our end-users.

Current solutions

Florida Drupal Camp presented two great blueprints for the Layout Builder editor experience:

"Improving Layout Builder user experience" took a deep dive into dozens of contributed modules. You can hear the speaker present that list in "How Layout Builder Promises a Great UX for End Users and Content Creators".

Advanced Layout Builder for the Ambitious Site Builder presented a detailed schematic for another Layout Builder experience.

These solutions add to an ever-growing list of Layout Builder-based ecosystems. Paid services like Acquia Site Studio and DXPR join open-source distributions like Drupal Commerce and YMCA Website Services.

Where do we go from here?

Many technologies now undergo “tick/tock” or “innovation/optimization” cycles. Layout Builder has gone through an incredible period of growth and innovation. Optimizing the experience is a strategic initiative for Drupal 11. 

The Drupal Core team is deep into a roadmap to improve the editorial experience. Review that conversation to get started. Join the conversation on Drupal Slack in the #layouts channel. Contribute to a Drupal Community Event near you. 

As a community, we can work together to optimize the Drupal editorial experience. This could usher in a new phase of no/low-code solutions for enabling ambitious site builders. 

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