In 2004 I discovered this thing called a content management system or CMS. Community Server was a really great tool that integrated discussion forums, blogs, photo galleries, file galleries, search, RSS tools, content management, advanced user permissions and everything needed for creating communities on the web. I learned a ton using it … and by 2008 the software changed from being basically free to costing something like $8,000. So, I started the hunt for something new to use for some of the local community web sites I was building.
I discovered Drupal, Joomla and WordPress. Drupal was kinda hard to figure out, but it had so many free modules, whereas the others always seemed to want money for the software (gasp). The Drupal community seemed nice, too. My pro-bono projects had no budgets — so Drupal it was! I built loads of sites using Drupal 5, Drupal 6, and Drupal 7 — each major upgrade requiring me to learn more and more about html/css, php, mysql — and I’m not a developer, I’m a writer. I’m a hacker who can make stuff work, not a person who really understands software! I got to the point where I could spin up a nice Drupal 7 site pretty fast … and had found themes I liked for responsive design and whatnot. I joined the Drupal association and even started listening to some Drupal podcasts. The next release of Drupal was on its way — (Drupal 8, and i was again, excited to learn.) What I found, after listening to a few Drupal podasts (DrupalEasy, Talking Drupal, Hooked on Drupal .. wink) is that the Drupal people spend most of their time talking about the Drupal community, conferences, Drupal governance, the food at conferences, blah blah blah or go DEEP into the deep weeds to blab on about theming innards (mortendk you know who you are). Super boring! Very little air time is given to stuff for the everyday Joe… like building web sites, how to do it, what works well, etc. (Contrast this with many excellent WordPress podcasts chock full of practical info).
Then Drupal 8 was released. Finally! Only to find that it was going to require many hours of frustrating, painstaking work to migrate my existing sites … and many of those great modules that I had learned how to use were gone. Some rolled into core, but many just gone. WordPress, meanwhile, had come a long way. Yes. it’s kinda bloggy for a CMS and does not have Views (best feature of Drupal, hands down) — but, overall, it seems to be easier to deal with these days. So, I’m moving everything over to WordPress over time.
See you later Drupal and have fun at your conferences.