Being TYPO3 at DrupalSouth

Categories: Event Report Created by Mathias Bolt Lesniak
Person at lectern in front of projection screen with yellow background and a blue drop shape.
Mathias Bolt Lesniak had the opportunity to go to Wellington, New Zealand, to meet with the Drupal folks at the DrupalSouth event. Photo: Mathias Bolt Lesniak (CC-BY)
This year’s regional Drupal conference took place in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. TYPO3 visited to talk about open source collaboration and for an opportunity to inspire and be inspired by what happens in a nearby bubble.

Spending a year in New Zealand with my family has given me some opportunities to get to know the local open source community. This time I had the opportunity to go to Wellington, New Zealand, to meet with the Drupal folks at their event.

 Mathias Bolt Lesniak attended DrupalSouth in Wellington, New Zealand, on 17–18 May 2023, as part of the Meet TYPO3 initiative. Mathias is a TYPO3 Association board member. See upcoming Meet TYPO3 events.

DrupalSouth is a regional Drupal-themed conference that happens every year, somewhere in Australia or New Zealand. It is organized by a volunteer team overseen by the DrupalSouth Steering Committee, a subcommittee of Linux Australia, the organization behind the Everything Open conference I attended in Melbourne, Australia, earlier in 2023.

A Grand Theater

The conference took place at the Embassy Theatre, a grand classical cinema in the center of New Zealand’s capital. The building consists of two smaller rooms and one very large cinema hall — with what must be the largest projection screen I have seen at any conference. The Embassy Theatre hosted the world premiere of the final Lord of the Rings movie and the first of the Hobbit movies.

The two-day event had three tracks. Each morning started with a keynote, we enjoyed ample food and coffee throughout the day, and there was a social event each evening.

Security is always an important topic, and the conference kicked off with Laura Bell Main’s talk on Securing the Software That Will Change the World in the main hall. (Recordings of all of the talks have been published in a playlist on the DrupalSouth YouTube channel.)

Talking About Open Source Collaboration

After the keynote, I had the honor of following with my presentation. It took place in Room 3, suitable for a TYPO3 representative. Titled Open Source, Seriously, I talked about the need for open-source CMS projects to collaborate. In this respect, we should look at each other as collaboration partners and focus on ensuring that clients always choose open source. 

Open source is — seriously — the most important choice the client can make if we are to compete against proprietary systems. As CMS projects, we have made different choices about how a CMS should work. That is a strength, and we should be honest to ourselves and make sure the client gets the solution that works best for them. Then the real competition is about which agency has the best expertise to deliver.

Under the hood, both Drupal and TYPO3 are open source systems that can be inspired by each other. As it turns out, around two thirds of Drupal’s core Composer dependencies are also used by TYPO3’s core.

As a nice surprise, Donald Christie’s keynote on the second day harmonized nicely with my topic. Open Source is Dead, Long Live Open Source, gave a nice historical and cultural perspective on open source, what we can learn from, and how we might evolve in the future.

CMSs in Government

Both the government of New Zealand and Australia are using a wide range of CMS platforms. However, while Australia is using Drupal a lot (27.7%), the most popular government platform in New Zealand is a locally developed open-source CMS platform called Silverstripe (34.4%).

I got this information in a very interesting talk by Sean Hamlin. He presented the results of a scan of all of the domains, and the results were also sometimes quite shocking. Such government website scans should probably be done more often, as they highlight some of the (security) problems faced by both public and private sector today.

I also attended two talks by the Australian government’s Drupal-based GovCMS project about content sharing at scale and their SaaS, “built by government for government”. Another example of an area where both Drupal and TYPO3 can inspire each other.

Meeting TYPO3 in Wellington

After two days at DrupalSouth, I spent my final day in Wellington with Stevo from Ocular, the local TYPO3 agency. Some of their clients are well-known in New Zealand. They have made both the website of the Hurricanes rugby team and their Wellington home ground, Sky Stadium. Another client is the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRNZ).

When meeting TYPO3 community members, I always try to listen not only for their challenges, but also for their suggested solutions. This is especially important when the community member is from a region where TYPO3 is not well known. Since you cannot use the TYPO3 brand to attract clients, the core features and benefits become the prime selling point.

Do you remember the feature that made you choose TYPO3 in the first place? With new requirements and a larger choice of publishing platforms than ever, both Drupal and TYPO3 need to combine new and exciting with the old and tested. It is a balancing act between reactionary and reactive: Never being left behind, but also not losing the way in all the excitement of new technology. In the end, it’s these choices, and not the brand, that attract new people to our CMS.

PS! I also recommend taking a look at the results of the Drupal Local Development Survey. I have access to the data and it would be great to repeat the questions in a TYPO3 context. Want to help out? Let me know!

Additional contributors for this article
  • Copy Editor : Felicity Brand
  • Content Publisher : Mathias Bolt Lesniak