The evolution of Paragraphs

An update on the strategy and progress of Paragraphs is long overdue with too many unanswered questions until now. Here we are!

The rising global star

Paragraphs climbed up from position #223 in June 2016 to currently #123. People all over the world are presenting success stories or best practices around Paragraphs at every possible event.

While Drupal 8 has only 18% of the Drupal 7 usage, Paragraphs for Drupal 8 already has 11% more installations than the Drupal 7 version. Wow! 15% of the Drupal 8 users (compared to 2.5% at Drupal 7) opted for Paragraphs, promoting it as the effective top #8 Module for Drupal 8 (see investigation).

Paragraphs usage

Waiting until it is ready

After the exciting release at the Drupal Mountain Camp, we were ready to adopt sponsored features: We presented slides to stakeholders with several (15+) isolated small proposals, refined and extended them with mock-ups so that they could identify its users pains and help fund small features with immediate value to them. We spent weeks creating mock-ups and slides that showcased the ideas and constantly refined them.

Yet we didn’t succeed winning clients for funding and most of the previous collaborators shifted their focus back to regular commercial work. How could Paragraphs still have evolved?

Primer - a flagship use case

We decided to invest into a hybrid approach: Developing Primer for digital storytelling based on Paragraphs. By being opinionated, one can find many simple answers to otherwise complex problems. This led us to re-prioritize all the Paragraphs issues: We ended up focussing on extensibility and general UX improvements in Paragraphs itself. The vision of Paragraphs Collection as an atomic component library (defining Paragraph types, fields, providing plugins, templates and default design) mostly fell into the distribution context.

A new exciting release of Paragraphs

We concluded early that Paragraphs will ship with a classic widget that is mostly unchanged while innovating within a new widget with an experimental stability. Users can easily switch to the new widget, provide early feedback and switch back in case of issues.

The new release Paragraphs 8.x-1.2 contains a completely overhauled experimental widget. Its UX evolved significantly with a nice mobile experience.

To list a few new features: Action button "...", Drag & drop mode, Autocollapse mode, Paragraph summary with icons, Add modal form, Paragraph type icon with description and many more.

The new widget remains experimental. We are using it heavily in production already, but there are some known bugs (even data loss situations) and we still want to be flexible to complete ongoing refactoring. We are close to reaching a stable milestone that implements a nice collection of the original UX proposals.

We want to thank everyone that keeps contributing, with special thanks to Lukas von Blarer for his help with the Drag & drop mode UI after Berdir spent weeks debugging form magic to make it work, and the Thunder team (tjwelde, chr.fritsch, mtodor) for starting the modal add mode. You are awesome!

Quo vadis Paragraphs?

Our switch to Primer has allowed us to keep pushing many pieces forward in the Open Source domain for a limited time. Still, a huge potential of the original vision was lost. Our Drupal ecosystem can only survive in the long run if we keep innovating at a fast speed and it will be critical for the success of Paragraphs to find funds. We are exploring further options to involve major beneficiaries into our innovation cycle. Contact us if you like our work and you want to support it.

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