Drupal.org blog: Pitchburgh update March 2024

As the Pitchburgh projects are reaching their final milestones and they get completed, I wanted to do something new for this update, something different and, hopefully, something exciting and fun as well.

For this update I asked a few of them to provide a demo or video, so the project leads could explain in their own words, what their projects are about and how they look. I thought that it would be specially interesting for the projects that are more technical (which in turn, are difficult to understand for the less technical people) but really, nice for the rest of them as well, so after those many months just reading updates about them, we could actually see them giving some updates “in the flesh”. If applicable, we will also review next steps for those projects, as some of them (a few actually) will continue beyond Pitchburgh funding.

And I want to emphasize that last point. We need to think how amazing it is that, a seed capital like Pitchburgh has not just accomplished so much, but it has also started something bigger, something that will go beyond the scope of Pitchburgh and will continue to provide a lot of value for the community and Drupal even after the funding is finished.

Ok, let’s start with the projects that have completed all their milestones and are finished or mostly finished in the scope of Pitchburgh.

Access policy

Kristiaan´s Access Policy code has been merged into core, and we couldn’t be more excited, as his work is the first Pitchburgh project that made it into core (of the two projects that will have code contributed to core).

Kristiaan continues his work and conversations with the core maintainers team to get the next part committed, which is to make core itself run on the API. All the work is finished, it just needs to be reviewed and committed

His Pitchburgh proposal was to “add an API to Drupal core that allows people to assign permissions via other means than user roles. These permissions will be assigned based on custom policies such as time of day, safety level of the account, etc”

You can watch his Pitchburgh winning pitch here:

Watch Kristiaan’s demo to understand more about the project, what updates and innovations is introducing and more.

Next steps

Kristiaan is in conversations with the core committers, as this has been approved to be released in Drupal 11 (although it could be as soon as 10.3) and he’s keeping an eye in case anything is needed from himself.

JSON api

The other project that will introduce code in Drupal core is JSON API, led by Brad Jones. 

His work will “unlock the ability to perform NoSQL-like queries within Drupal's existing relational data model, making Drupal more flexible as a site grows and matures”

You can watch his Pitchburgh winning pitch here:

And his final update here:

Next steps

His work is on queue to be merged into core, and although the code is ready to be merged, and hence project can be considered as done, Brad continues working on his JSON api, updating the code as needed on the code review process and ensuring that it will be on a mergeable state once the core committer team is on a position to do so. We're very grateful for Brad for continuing to foster this project across the finish line!

Decoupled LB

The goal of this project was to “transform and improve the Layout Builder UI experience [...] By rewriting it using React. We’ll design an API that describes the future state of how a Decoupled Layout Builder could work, dramatically enhancing the content editor experience and in turn, bringing Drupal into the modern era of Web UX”.

Work is finished and Lee Rowlands has prepared the demo we are showcasing the way the blocks work, that you can watch here:

You can watch the winning pitch here:

Gutenberg in Drupal

Frontkom went through a workshop, which was part of the pitch to improve Gutenberg in Drupal, and in which Automattic (yes, the company behind Wordpress) not just participated with their people and extremely valuable expertise in this matter, but they even took care of the funding.

This was their pitch:

“Drupal should be the most easy to use enterprise CMS. Let’s move in that direction through Drupal Gutenberg. We want to take it to the next level, connecting the relevant people to innovate together”

And the video:

Thor from Frontkom provided me with the next update after their workshop as a project closure.

After going through the two full days of workshop together we conclude that we met all our 5 defined goals. The Drupal Gutenberg team believes we achieved a lot more than expected, and we had high expectations. The deliveries for the Pitchburgh project are now done, and summaries are being updated to the d.o issues as we speak.

We are working on a strategic action plan for the integration of Gutenberg into Drupal. Key actions for the coming year include:

  • Refactor the Gutenberg UI: The transition from using the full Post Edit component in Gutenberg to employing smaller, more suitable components from Gutenberg was identified as a crucial step.
  • Facilitate efficient data migration: Strategies were proposed to aid migration from CKEditor 5 to Gutenberg, with considerations for structuring data and handling symmetric translations.
  • Better developer experience: Implement a plugin system to generate blocks which would ease the onboarding for developers and reduce the need for extensive Gutenberg and/or React knowledge.
  • Community Adoption: Foster wider adoption of Gutenberg within the Drupal community by meeting the challenges of Gutenberg and Drupal theming knowledge requirements and migration from CKEditor and Layout Builder.
  • Entity Agnostic: The development of an ‘entity agnostic’ feature for Gutenberg in Drupal is proposed. This allows Gutenberg to be used independent of the parent entity type, increasing flexibility and compatibility across various Drupal entities.
  • Enable Single Field Editing in Gutenberg: Another key strategy is to enable the use of Gutenberg for single field editing, which can make content management and individual adjustments more efficient and intuitive. This enhances the granularity of the Gutenberg editor’s control within Drupal.

These strategic decisions aim to improve the Drupal experience with Gutenberg, targeting both user-facing features and the underlying developer experience. The common goal is to promote Gutenberg as a viable and efficient solution for content creation and layout handling.

Next steps

Frontkom is one of the Pitchburgh teams keen to continue working after the context of the Pitchburgh project itself has finished, continuing the work to improve the way users build their sites in Drupal.

Those are the projects that have fully completed their Pitchburgh scope already. Let’s look at the two final projects:

Drupal API

Brian Perry requested funding with the goal to

“assemble a group of contributors in order to combine the best of existing Drupal API clients into a set of utilities that can both address common use cases with little configuration, and also be extended to support the needs of a diverse JavaScript ecosystem.“

Watch his Drupal API Pitchburgh winning proposal:

He provided the next March update:

After a bit of a lull around the holidays, we’ve resumed momentum towards the 1.0 release of our json-api-client package and are once again making good progress. Our most recent release is 0.4.0 which includes support for additional authentication methods, along with support for all JSON:API create, read, update and delete operations. More information can be found in the following changelogs:


We’ve also created our Open Collective, along with a related project focused on our Pitch-burgh work. We’ve established a budget using some of our funds and have started the process of using these funds to sponsor time for some of our contributors. At the time of this writing we still have budget available to sponsor a modest amount of someone’s time to contribute to our 1.0 release. If you’re interested, join us in the #api-client channel in Drupal Slack and let us know.

We’ve also updated our timeline for the completion of our Pitch-burgh work. Our new target to complete 1.0 is the end of March. This target also ensures that we’ll have a solid month to prepare to spread the word about our 1.0 release at DrupalCon.

Next steps

Brian has not just shown interest to continue working on the project after the funds run out, he is actually committed to finding further funds, resources and help as necessary, and has been working hard on this regardless of the extra resources he may have been finding.

Mentor the mentor

AmyJune continues her amazing work evangelizing and bringing Drupal to new generations, including trailing her new first time contributor workshop in DrupalCon Lille, more recently at Florida DrupalCamp, and the upcoming DrupalCon Portland where the final workshop will be held.

Her goal was to “rebuild the assets for a first time contributor workshop to be more interactive instead of straight content delivery and provide documentation and turn key presentations that any one can use at their local event. I would like to build a presentation around best practices for organizations starting in contributions to help combat ‘“gaming the system’.”

Watch her winning pitch here:

And this is her update:

The new First Time Contributor Workshop was warmly received outside DrupalCon for the first time at Florida DrupalCamp. Designed with flexibility in mind, the workshop slides come fully scripted and can be adapted to various time frames, making it a breeze to tailor to a specific event's needs.

Mike Anello, ultimike, did a fantastic job customizing the workshop for the 45 minute time requirement. The workshop ran smoothly by selectively hiding slides and reserving demos for the contribution room. Meanwhile, AmyJune was in attendance, gathering valuable feedback in real-time, which allowed the slides to be tweaked in real-time, ensuring the presentation was better for the next mentor.

Thanks to the constructive feedback, the Mentoring team is excited to roll out an enhanced version of the slides at upcoming camps over the next few months. This workshop is easily adaptable for both DrupalCon and regional camps alike. The best part? The slides are ready to go as is (scripted and accessible), making them incredibly straightforward for organizers and mentors to use without extensive preparation.

Watch for our revamped First Time Contributor Workshops at upcoming events including DrupalSouth, MidCamp, DrupalCamp New Jersey, and DrupalCon Portland. We can't wait to see you there, and we look forward to making contributing to Drupal an even more accessible and enjoyable experience for newcomers!

And like that famous character would say. That’s all folks. We’ll likely provide a final update on Drupal API, or maybe some other updates on some of the projects here and there, but, as most of them are finished, this will likely be my last update talking about the whole scope of Pitchburgh projects in the Innovation Blog. Expect one final update, in person, at DrupalCon Portland. I am looking forward to meeting all of you there; I hope you can make it.

I have to thank everyone involved for their passion, their commitment and the continuing pursuit for improvement and giving back to the community. I particularly love how, every single one of them, are committed to their projects and tasks way beyond any money or personal gains, and they continue to ensure that their work will have a lasting legacy and a positive impact.

Pitchburgh participants:

And for sure, thanks Tim Doyle for his advice and continued pursuit of perfection, Tim Lehnen for his incredible support beyond what his role as my manager would imply, and all the donors without whom this would have not been possible:

And finally thanks to the judges:

Thank you all, you are all just beyond awesomeness 💗