Why Drupal is still a popular CMS

Another Drupal developer left left the project so it reminded me of something I’ve been wanting to write. Drupal has been the top CMS for many years. It is very powerful and can be coded, hacked and pieced together into any kind of site by someone that can or can’t code. However, the point and click interface that caters to coders and non-coders (some might say developers and designers) makes the whole system of Drupal way too complicated. Most Drupal Developers have their collection of must have modules they use on many projects to get things done. Views is a great module that lets you basically build custom queries from your database and output them how you like. However, with that power comes a massive interface with ton of options and modal overlays. So you end up with part of your site powered on the backend and a lot of it from a Views configuration in the administration. It’s a mess, but in order to help coders and non-coders, its the only way Drupal can exist. There is the logical way and then the Drupal way, don’t get the two mixed up. Modules save time, don’t get me wrong, but it takes awhile to test, figure out and setup the ones that you will need.

Drupal's Learning Curve vs other CMSes

I think Drupal stays popular for several reasons.

  • The people that build sites with it, know they can build anything with Drupal and know it very well, so they have no reason to switch.
  • Drupal continues to feed on the popularity its had for years. New comers hear about some site that was built with it or the impressive amount of sites and figure this is what they need.
  • Drupal has a huge community of people, but it makes sense as people have invested lots of time into sites of the past, need to maintain those sites or need to built some other massive site.
  • Because of its powerfulness and complexity many companies now exist that specialize in using Drupal exclusively to built whatever their clients want or to help out people that are confused or need help. Again, it feeds on its past popularity.

Personally, I don’t like Drupal. I’ve had the displeasure of learning it to build a massive site once. And it was more of a hassle than what was warranted. I believe any web agency that still insists on it for every client site is still living in 2005 (I may even cut them a break and say 2007).

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