I’m of two minds if I should switch from using Drupal to developing websites using WordPress, I’ve used Drupal for years, and while I’ve not really got into Module Development I’ve become fairly comfortable over-writing core functionality for Themes, but I just don’t see that much chatter about Drupal.
So I’m wondering, is sticking with the Drupal platform going to get me left behind? Are end users likely to find it easier to manage their sites via Wordpress, and is it going to be easier to find the information I’ll need to build custom themes, or maybe even write a module or two? Is WordPress going to make me more employable? Another thought is that I see a lot of cheap development agencies that work with WordPress, so maybe outsourcing some work to those agencies might help me to save some time when I’m particularly busy.
Thanks everyone for any advice, I know similar questions have been asked before, but we all ask from a slightly different perspective (although I’ve not read every thread to be totally sure!)
Left behind?? Not while Drupal remains the choice for high profile website development. There’s a long list of prominent websites built with Drupal but some of the highlights are: whitehouse.org, MIT, Sony, Warner, Disney, Fastcompany, Popular Science, AOL (Corporate), Yahoo (Research), etc… It’s an ever growing list.
As far as user maintenance goes you must have run across admin_menu at some point? I use it and remove the regular Drupal menu and all of a sudden the site becomes a breeze to maintain via correctly configured roles and permissions.
Have you looked at D7?
I didn’t really bother with it until it was at Beta 3 at which point I installed it and it blew my mind It’s now at RC3 and it’s just a matter of time before it is released as a stable product.
It comes with an admin theme right out of the box with a very familiar looking “admin_menu” rather than the old clunky administration system. Here are some really cool (IMO) features:
The admin theme which uses an AJAXY light box effect to pull up the editor window rather than loading the page into the editor window.
The admin menu I mentioned which you can further configure with shortcut links to particular operations that you might like to add.
Remote installation of themes and modules.
Ok this it perhaps the coolest feature I have found so far. If you’d like to install a module or theme, just enter the url of the package and click continue… Drupal 7 will download, unpack and set up the module or theme and then direct you to the appropriate settings page for you to apply any settings. It also works for module updates but not core updates at this time. I’m using RC2 at the moment so it may have changed by now.
The default installation comes with a lot of the settings in place so you can just start working instead of installing modules first. For instance CCK is part of the core although I don’t know if it’s still called CCK but the bottom line is that you can customize existing content types or new content types with additional fields, checkboxes, image fields, etc… right from the get go.
As far as I know you still have to add your own WYSIWYG editor to get rich text but the WYSIWYG module is really simple to use as a wrapper and then you can add whatever editing interface you like TinyMCE or FCKEditor.
Automatic aliases built right in with clean urls as a default.
Ok this has to do with URL rewriting. With earlier versions of Drupal you would install it, then go into the admin screen set it for clean urls so that the url would be in language rather than mysite/q=22 or something. Then you would turn the path module on and then you would download pathauto so that the url would be rewritten to something search engine friendly like mysite/some-cool-page.
Now this just comes as a default.
I understand your concern about not so much in the way of Drupal articles but I think that’s largely due to the productivity of those doing Drupal sites. I would love to write articles about Drupal, especially with the coming release of D7 but this year my studio developed 8 fairly complex Drupal sites and We have 3 new ones on the books for the 1st quarter of next year. I just haven’t had the time to put my pen to paper and that might be the case for others in the Drupal community.
All that said… I think WP is a good platform for smaller less complex sites so I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t look into it as an option.
I have had a play with D7 back when it was in Alpha, and also Beta 2, it is indeed very impressive, the admin_menu module has always been a most so was glad it came in core, and yeah, the FTP free install and updates of modules is a really, really cool feature! I don’t think the Drupal project makes feature changes after the Alpha stage (purely bug squishing and smoothing over the migration path after that point).
Your feedback has made me feel better about my choice of Drupal, as I’ve grabbed the Wordpress Theme Developers book from Sitepoint under the Advent Calendar sale, so will have a go at learning a bit about Wordpress, but one thing that always made me worry about using Wordpress was that its roots are as a blogging website, whereas Drupal is designed to be no specific type of website, and to leave the purpose of a site to the configuration of the chosen modules… I’ll just have to see how it all goes!
Basically, Wordpress is extremely easy to use and setup. It doesn’t need many modifications. Drupal on the other hand is an advanced content management system. In case if you need tweaking the code that makes up the framework of your website then Drupal is probably for you. It is considered more of a development platform rather than a simple content management system.
To be blunt, WordPress is edging towards content management, but it is still primarily a Blogging platform that doesn’t have the same level of power that a real CMS like Drupal has.
If anything, I’d say that you’re at an advantage for using a real CMS solution. There are plenty of people that just use WordPress for everything, like a guy trying to eat a three-course meal at a fancy restaurant with only their trusty fork. Sooner or later they’re going to struggle with the soup…
Not that there’s anything wrong this approach but if you aren’t going to modify the site then there’s little advantage to downloading and installing a personal copy of it. You could just use the WordPress community blogging site to set up an account and run with.
Mind you, now that Drupal has released version 7 they’ve reduced a lot of the complexity in installing and setting up a Drupal site.