API integration modules: Drupal contrib’s commercial horizon


Drupal.org currently lists nearly 4'000 third party integration modules. Many of which integrate Drupal with the APIs of commercial service providers. Because these modules indirectly generate recurring revenue, they don’t really fit into our community’s model for contributed code.

Built by consultants to fill a customer requirement, most 3rd party modules fall into disrepair after they have been delivered. We shouldn’t depend on volunteers to maintain 3rd party integration modules. SaaS companies are making money on the value that the community helps them realise. But it is really hard to convince a SaaS company that they should pay for the maintenance of a module when they don’t know our community.

To convince them we need to go out of our comfort zone as developers and provide more than code, we’ll need to explain why Drupal is a great community in which APIs can gain traction, explain why they should invest in the community. We’ll need to help SaaS companies connect with developers and customers that will use the module. In the API world they call this developer evangelism...

In this session I will explain how we've been able to increase the value of Drupal for API companies and how we are getting paid for these services by ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) like Brightcove, Context.io and Clarify.io. I will explain why 3rd party integrations are so important and give an overview of the health of Drupal's third party integrations with statistics about Drupal 8 upgrades and usage in comparison to other module categories.

I will further explain:

  • How we can increase outside funding for the community,
  • How we can help improve the maintenance of these modules,
  • Why and how Drupal could become a GUI for the API web
  • How this could help us grow in the business application market
  • How this could attract more clickers to Drupal, an untapped developer demographic that will help us grow the community ​


This session is meant for ISV/API companies, community leaders, business owners, module maintainers and interested community members at large. You won't need any prior knowledge about the community or about APIs, but you will need to be interested in the murky interface of business and community.

Session Track


Experience Level


Drupal Version

When & Where

Thursday, 12 May, 2016 - 14:15 to 15:15
265-266 [FFW]