My Romance With Drupal

September 2nd, 2008 · 5 Comments

A Whirlwind Romance
Why do you hurt me so?

Why do you hurt me so?

In the course of one day I met Drupal, fell madly in love, got married, experienced the end of the honeymoon, nearly got a divorce and finally settled in to a uneasy truce. I’m not yet sure I haven’t made a mistake, but for the time being I’m willing to have an open mind. After all, for a few short hours I was madly in love.

What is Drupal?

Drupal is a Content Management System (CMS) like Joomla! or WordPress. It is a way to wrap up your content easily and manage it without having to write scripts or generate lots of pages. Drupal however has several characteristics that make it valuable for someone like me.

Drupal is highly modular

Even the most basic functionality of the CMS is deployed in modules (often user created). This allows you to build in what you want and leave out what you don’t. A nice feature especially when you’re “hacking” around in the code.

Drupal is highly configurable

This is the part that really works for me with Drupal. I really feel like whatever it is I want to do, if I was a skilled Drupal hacker I would be able to do it quickly and efficiently. I sense the potential to be able to “whip up” non-trivial sites without re-inventing the wheel. However…

Drupal is NOT easy to use

I am a fairly tech savvy person and even I spent considerable time figuring out how to do trivial things. Even in their documentation they make the point “who told you Drupal was easy?” Although I found that I was able to do several complex things with ease, the difficulty of several simple things quickly seemed to be offsetting the euphoria.

Final Analysis

At the end of the day I continue my involvement with Drupal because of the potential. Like so many young women lured in by a “bad boy” they think they can fix, I am settled in for a long period of heartbreak, but I do not want to walk away until I’m sure the promise I’ve seen cannot be fulfilled…oh dear what a disturbing metaphor.

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5 responses so far ↓

  • mroswell | Sep 2, 2008 at 12:59 am

    I totally agree with your assessment. Can you make a list of things you found hard, and make a blog post of it? And then request other people to submit what they found to be hard? We can probably all get to the answers, much more quickly, once we make a list of the questions.

  • Brad | Sep 2, 2008 at 10:38 am

    We’ll definitely be blogging about Drupal more. “Top 10 Drupal Complaints” would make a great blog. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Mike H | Sep 2, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Interesting account of your Drupal experience! As an experienced Drupal developer, I would say that it’s the sort of thing where “it’s easy to get good, it’s hard to get great.”

    One question I have is, after spending a day with it, did you try to go back and do things again? I often hear how people are caught off guard the first time they try messing with Drupal then settle into the use of the tools.

    M

  • Brad | Sep 2, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    I suspect that “starting over” is a very common outcome. If it’s not it probably should be. Importing/Exporting data can be something of a problem, but I still think you do things a totally wrong way initially. You find a way that works, but it isn’t the “Drupal” way.

  • JM Drupal | Sep 2, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Usability was a big issue during the Drupalcon in Szeged. The community is aware of it and I assume they will discuss and move forward on Usability over the next months.

    Re Drupal being always considered soo difficult – well, I think that any not so complex site is easy to set up with Drupal and that a really complex one is something which you can still use Drupal for :-)

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