Through the Looking Glass (or Being TYPO3 at DrupalCon)

Categories: Event Report Created by Mathias Bolt Lesniak
DrupalCon is a place to meet, exchange ideas, and discuss solutions to the challenges faced by open source software today. Here's TYPO3 representative Mathias Bolt Lesniak before the opening keynote, wearing a suitably branded mask. Photo: Mathias Bolt Lesniak
Notes from a visit to DrupalCon Europe, in Prague, September 2022.

At first, the difference was everywhere I looked. Everything was blue, not orange. Modules seemed to be everything, not just a backend thing. People talked about drops and pals. But then it dawned on me …

Mathias Bolt Lesniak visited DrupalCon in Prague, Czech Republic, 20–22 September 2022, as part of the Meet TYPO3 initiative and talked about open source. Mathias is a member of the TYPO3 Association Board. See upcoming Meet TYPO3 events.

Welcome to the World of Same, but Different

When you look at yourself in the mirror, it looks like you, but, at the same time, everything is different. You see your mirror image. Your right hand is your left hand. But it’s still your hand.

If you add another mirror, you can inspect the back of your head. If you enter a mirror cabinet, versions of you are suddenly everywhere. But not as you’re used to seeing them.

It looks different, but it’s really the same thing, you’re just seeing it from a different angle.

Communities Face the Same Challenges

Drupal is an open source CMS, just like TYPO3. Not surprisingly, their goals – and challenges – are much the same as our own.

How do you avoid double work in contribution? Is there a way to make the CMS Composer-only without losing people on the way? Why is more communication never enough? How can we make the most of Rector?

How about the product? During his keynote, Drupal-founder Dries Buytaert, said: “Many people and organizations want […] web experiences that are secure, flexible, scalable, free of lock-in, mindful of privacy, lead with accessibility, differentiated, and unique”. Remind you of anything?


In many ways, his keynote could just have been about TYPO3. That’s because the benefits of open source, when done well, will always be the same. These aren’t product-level selling points, they’re reasons why people should choose open source.

It’s easy to see other open source CMSs as competitors. That’s true in a limited sense: At some point, a client will have to choose a CMS. But clients will have to choose an agency too, at which point TYPO3 agencies become competitors as well.

When we lift our gaze from immediate, short-term goals, it’s easy to see that we’re all in the same boat. A botched TYPO3 project hurts TYPO3. A security catastrophe in an open-source project gives the closed-source salespeople a stellar argument against open source at large.

TYPO3 agencies collaborate because it makes TYPO3 better. Similarly, all open-source communities should be our best friends and collaborators. We make open source better together.

Being Away and Coming Back

Being reminded of this is sometimes important. Looking into the mirror made me see it more clearly.

We can all contribute to constructive collaboration. Call your next-door agency. Visit a non-TYPO3 open source event. Let’s build some bridges together. 

I have already reached out to the Drupal Association about a closer collaboration on open-source topics.

“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” – Charles Darwin

Upcoming Meet TYPO3 events

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