Wim Leers: XB week 1: 0.x branch opened!

Acquia is sponsoring me full-time to operate as the tech lead for Experience Builder — thanks!

Dries announced the formal start of the Experience Builder initiative at DrupalCon Portland 2024, on May 6. Shortly before DrupalCon, Drupal core product manager Lauri already shared the findings of the deep & wide research he conducted in prior months.

During the (entire!) month of March, Lauri walked some members of Acquia’s Drupal Acceleration Team (Ben “bnjmnm”, Ted “tedbow” Bowman
“hooroomoo”, Alex “effulgentsia” Bronstein, Tim Plunkett and I) as well as the lead front-end and lead back-end developer of Acquia’s Site Studio team (Felix Mazeikis and Jesse Baker) through the product requirements that were identified for Drupal to leapfrog its competitors on this front.
We spent that month understanding those requirements and do an initial pass at sizing them. To be able to refine the estimates, we started building proof-of-concepts for the riskiest areas. For example, I started one for dynamically loading a different “design version”, and a few days later another one for validating the data model proposed by Alex.

These proof-of-concepts have been shared with long-time Drupal core contributors while they were being worked on — for example, we asked feedback from Mateu “e0ipso” at Lullabot from the very start since Single Directory Components are his brain child. We asked feedback from Lee “larowlan” Rowlands at PreviousNext given his work on Decoupled Layout Builder. And so on.
They’re hacky as hell — the purpose was to explore connections between concepts and check viability.

At DrupalCon, Dries revealed that he’d love to see organizations using Drupal to contribute back significantly to both Starshot (the other announcement, which will include Experience Builder once it’s ready). So at DrupalCon, Lauri and I found many people asking us how to start contributing — an excellent new challenge to have!

We’re currently in an awkward phase to welcome contributors. Because  despite a clear product ambition/vision, we are in the very early stages of defining the concrete UX (Acquia’s UX team is working on wireframes and did user testing at DrupalCon). And during DrupalCon, there was no code base to point to!

So, during the week after DrupalCon, hooroomoo got a 0.x branch of Experience Builder going, cooking up a delightful hodgepodge of various PoC branches we’d worked on.
On Thursday May 16, Lauri and I met with 6 (!!!) people of the PreviousNext team, where they have not only serious Drupal core expertise, but also deep Layout Builder and JS knowledge — they offered to run the asynchronous meetings in the #experience-builder Drupal Slack channel. They’ve used this pattern before with great success, and it is the only viable way to truly involve the global Drupal community.

By the end of the week I got GitLab CI pipelines going (PHPStan L8!). Ready for more serious work in week 2 :)