Drupal is the Best CMS, Ever!

Before I tear this thing to pieces, lets get something straight. I’m a web designer, not a web programmer. However I actually do some web programming as it is something I’m growing in daily. Anyway, Drupal is a sad excuse for content management. Let me explain why.

Community, Forums and Blogs, Oh My!

Drupal is regarded as the best content management system for communities, forums and blogs. And what else? Drupal never seems to divulge those details. And there is good reason why. Developing websites with Drupal is like wearing Chinese finger locks. You get in easily, but getting out is just not going to happen without a fight.

Drupal has community features and by community they mean, “let anyone edit content”. Apparently every community comes stock with forums and blogs. If Drupal’s idea of community are forums and blogs they have a lot to learn.

Drupal has blogs and this is somehow awesome? Its a content management system, it had better have a blog.

Drupal has user administration and again, how is this awesome? Its standard.

Drupal is… a CMS or Framework?

Somewhere along Drupal’s development a few large web teams committed to Drupal hackery for their projects and started proliferating Drupal as a makeshift framework for building websites. This is not the case. In order to make it true you have to abide by a few requirements.

  • Know and understand PHP on the level of Drupal’s creators
  • Have loads of hours of patience to spare
  • Drink the Drupal kool-aid everyday and spew it on others

If you’re not into doing those things, then you’re in for a massive migraine. On that note I will declare that Drupal is no where near that of a framework for building websites. Drupal uses a lot of proprietary practices that lock you into a “right way” of building a website. And it usually retains the typical 3 column content editing everywhere side of things. God help us if we want to do something different.

Custom Themes and Functionality?! Drupal Can … t!

Unless you understand Drupal’s core, forget about creating a site that doesn’t have Drupal written all over it. Every project I’ve seen in Drupal retains that Drupal smell and look. 3 columns everywhere, horizontal navigation, unnecessary login fields, etc.

Want to do crazy things with your navigation and url structure? Maybe that looks something like this:

http://mysite.com/about/me

Doing something as simple as that in Drupal will leave you crying for help. When it comes to custom functionality or hooking in other web-based tools (maybe a web application you’ve built?), Drupal just can’t do it easily. As a matter of fact, no CMS makes it easy.

Yay! Lets Drink the Kool-aid Together

I always love to see Drupal lovers talk to me about how amazing Drupal is. Most of these folks are indeed professionals but have drank the kool-aid of someone else and have no real-world experience in Drupal. Maybe they’ve built a site or two, but nothing like mtv.co.uk.

So when I hear, “We could do that in Drupal…”. I chuckle inside. You can do anything with any software in theory, but when it actually comes time to get something, the Drupal honey moon of flexibility fades instantly.

Drupal has a lot of power under the hood, but you have know whats under the hood to get that power. Its much like buying a car and its creators requiring consumers to know and understand whats under the hood in order to use it. Its stupid.

Enough Narking on Drupal…

Drupal quietly claims itself to be the best, but in the realm of user experience, ease of use, flexibility and development practices you’ll find its all over the place. Welcome to open source.

Feel free to lay it on me over this post. I welcome your opinions and perspectives.

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