I was poking around the Drupal.org project usage page over the holidays checking out some trends and making sure there weren't any up-and-coming contrib projects that haven't been on my radar. Since Drupal 8 was released (over 5 years ago!) I've been bothered by the fact that this page can't be filtered by the Drupal core version.
Along the way I fell into a bit of a rabbit hole and decided to dig much deeper into Drupal.org statistics. But first, let's take a look at contrib projects.
Most installed contrib projects
An incomplete workaround to finding the most installed contrib projects by Drupal core version is to use the module search page and filter it by Drupal core version and sort by "most installed." While this provides a list of modules, it doesn't provide historical trends as the project usage page does. Regardless, here's some data:
Top 5 installed Drupal 8 and 9 contrib modules
Top 5 installed Drupal 7 contrib modules
Top 5 installed Drupal 9 contrib themes
Top 5 installed Drupal 8 contrib themes
Top 5 installed Drupal 7 contrib themes
While this data is somewhat interesting, there really aren't any surprises.
Drupal.org usage statistics
For that, I recently requested, and received access to the Drupal.org analytics from the Drupal Association with the goal of looking at some usage statistics from 2020 and to dig a little deeper into what Drupal developers were up over the past 12 months.
I wasn't interested in doing a complete statistical analysis of the data and comparing it with historical data, rather I was just looking for things I thought were cool. Plain and simple.
All data below is for the time period of January 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020.
First off, I'm not a data scientist - I'm just a nerd who likes to look at data sometimes, so some of the assumptions I make below may be off-the-mark. If so, feel free to correct me.
Let's start off with some basic stats - in 2020, there were about 50,000 users on Drupal.org on any given weekday. Anecdotally, the daily December average was around 5,000 users/day higher when compared with January.
Who are we and how are we accessing Drupal.org?
Where are the users coming from? Not surprisingly, the largest percentage came from the United states, but more visitors came from India and China (when combined). Clearly, we need to do a better job in recruiting from these areas to be more involved in Drupal leadership.
- 20% US
- 12% India
- 11% China
- 5% Sweden
- 3% United Kingdom
Interestingly enough, when looking at the top 10 cities where Drupal.org traffic originates, 6 of the top 10 are from China and India. In order, they are: Beijing, unspecified, Stockholm, Chicago, Bengaluru, Chennai, London, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune
The majority of visitors' browsers report their language as English, with Chinese the next largest share. This seems to imply that many of the visitors from India speak English well enough to have their browsers set to use English.
- 49% English (US)
- 12% Chinese
- 9% English (GB)
- 3% English (unspecified)
- 3% Spanish
Some other interesting statistics about who is visiting Drupal.org:
- 85% are new visitors - this seems (very) high to me, and I'm going to attribute (at least a portion of it) to folks with privacy controls that make it seem like they're a new visitor.
- Over 60% of visitors use Chrome, with almost 50% on some version of Windows, and 80% using a desktop browser.
- Over 60% of users arrive via an organic search - this is not surprising to me at all, as I routinely (multiple times a day) use Duck Duck Go to search for content on Drupal.org rather than use Drupal.org's search tool.
What are we looking at?
Now for the data I was really I was interested in finding - which topics, issues, and projects we were actually looking at in 2020. To do this, I focused mainly on the top 100 most visited pages on drupal.org.
Hash-tagged numbers indicate the page's position in Drupal.org's overall most visited pages ranking.
Most visited contributed projects
No huge surprises here, except I'm still amazed by the popularity of Bootstrap (keep in mind there are multiple Bootstrap-based base themes as well!) I was also a bit surprised at the popularity of Commerce, not because it isn't an amazing tool, but because I would've guessed other projects would be above it (Redirect module, for example, is #46).
It's also interesting that Webform was the most visited contributed project page, but didn't appear in any of the "most installed" lists above.
Most visited topic-specific documentation pages
- Using Composer to install and manage dependencies #11
- Updating Drupal core via Composer #60
Unsurprisingly, the top 2 most visited documentation pages (that aren't landing pages) were related to Composer.
Most visited contrib project issues
- Commerce Braintree module (Drupal 7) - Your payment transaction could not be processed at this time. If an error was provided it was: Merchant account ID is invalid. #72
- Image module (Drupal 5) - Uploaded file is not a valid image. Only JPG, PNG and GIF files are allowed. #183
- Whatsapp Share module (Drupal 7) - Sharing in whatsapp not showing the image of the article. #227
This was probably the most unexpected and unexplainable data I found. No way I would've ever guessed that the most visited contrib project issue would be for the Commerce Braintree module. Luckily, it is marked as "fixed", I can only imagine that the traffic was primarily to access the patch?
Then, the second most visited issue is related to the Image module for Drupal core version 5.x? It's traffic is pretty consistent for all of 2020. The only thing I can think of to possibly explain this is that the thread has a magic combination of keywords that put it high in organic search results (well over 90% of the traffic to this page originates from search engines).
Most visited forum post
How to login to Drupal admin panel (from 2017!) #84
Yes, the Drupal.org forum is still alive and people are still accidentally getting locked out of their sites.
Most visited page without a path alias
How to fix "The following module is missing from the file system..." warning messages (from the "Reference" section) #43
Oh yeah - I've definitely been someone who has searched for, and landed on this page.
Most visited Drupal core issues
- Base table or view not found: 1146 Table 'drupal.path_alias' doesn't exist. Update to 8.8.0 fails. #216
- The website encountered an unexpected error. Please try again later. #225
- Drupal 8 updating issue - Drupal\Component\Plugin\Exception\PluginNotFoundException: The "<whatever>" plugin does not exist #230
I didn't know what to expect when I went looking for the most visited Drupal core issue, but as soon as I found #216, it made perfect sense. I feel like you are in the minority of users if your Drupal core 8.8 update went smoothly.
Most visited Drupal core release pages
I'm at a loss to explain why these core release pages were visited more than any others. Overall, there were 6 Drupal core release pages in the top 200 most visited pages.
Most visited pages overall
None of these are all that surprising or interesting, at least to me, but included here for completeness.
Finally, I was curious as to how many of the top 100 most visited pages were documentation pages (12) and contributed project pages (46).
A few things that I took away from this exercise:
- Traffic to Drupal.org increased during 2020.
- Composer continues to be a pain point in the community.
- The contributed module ecosystem continues to be one of the crown-jewels of the Drupal community.
- Pathauto should be in core (try to convince me otherwise)
- Should the community consider tweaking metadata for pages related to older versions of Drupal core so they don't rank as high in search engines?
- There seems to be an opportunity for new contributors to be provided with a list of the most visited forum, reference, and issue pages and convert those that make sense into documentation pages.
- Why aren't a commensurate percentage of people from places with high numbers of users community leaders, and what can we do collectively to remedy it?
Thanks to Tim Lenhen from the Drupal Association for providing me with temporary access to the Drupal.org analytics.
Thank you for doing this! This was a great read!
It's true, Composer was a serious pain point for me when Drupal 8 first came out - it was two years before I was able to reliably get Composer to work for me. I was almost ready to give up on Drupal because of it. I don't know if I got lucky and was able to configure Composer the correct way, or if some serious upgrades were done under the hood, but today Composer is flawless - I don't ever want to go back!
Great article, Mike. Very interesting.
"Composer continues to be a pain point in the community" Agreed.
"Pathauto should be in core (try to convince me otherwise)" I cannot. I will not. ;-)
Keep up the good work!