By Matthew Magain

Drupal 6.0 Released

By Matthew Magain

drupal-logo.jpgThe Drupal development team surprised everyone when they released version 6.0 last week, ahead of schedule.

After one year of development we are ready to release Drupal 6.0 to the world. Thanks to the tireless work of the Drupal community, over 1,600 issues have been resolved during the Drupal 6.0 release cycle. These changes are evident in Drupal 6’s major usability improvements, security and maintainability advancements, friendlier installer, and expanded development framework. Further, from bug fix to feature request, these issues follow-through on the Drupal project’s continued commitment to deliver flexibility and power to themers and developers.

While I haven’t used Drupal on any major projects, I got to see it in action in the FullCodePress international site-in-a-day competition last year, when the Australian team chose it to power their charity’s site. And when I attended Drupal MiniCon here in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago, a recurring theme was that the installer needed to be friendlier for first time users.

I’m happy to report that, with the version 6.0 release, getting Drupal up and running is as easy as it should be, and the Lullabot team have prepared an excellent screencast (MP4, 12 minutes, 38.5 MB) that anticipates a number of potential hurdles with permissions and configuration settings and helps less experienced users overcome them.

If you’re still yet to find a CMS that suits your projects, the ton of new features and security improvements that come with version 6.0 might make Drupal worthy of another look.

  • thumbs up for some attention for Drupal on sitepoint :)

  • This new release will take Drupal to a new dimension.

  • What’s with all the foreign spam that’s hitting the blogs lately? :/

  • James

    I love drupal, and I think one of the best things about Drupal 6 is the drag-and-drop re-ordering of list items (eg menu items). Sometimes I think people who spend all day programming forget that often the reason we use a CMS is because the END USER wants control of the site, so the admin interface – at least the parts that they are allowed to see – has to be self-explanatory and easy to use. Re-ordering menu items by editing their ‘weight’ (the old way) was an odd concept for people to grasp, drag and drop is heaps easier. Well done drupal devs!

  • dusoft

    your RSS feed for PHP sitepoint blogs is not working, please fix it. it’s not been working for over month now!

  • dusoft

    or at least use proper redirection:
    404, shame.

  • Paul Adams

    At this point, nearly all of the websites we build at utilize either WordPress or Drupal. Sure, we build custom applications on occasion and sometimes do Flash work that really doesn’t fit in a Content Management System.

    Both are fantastic open source blogging platforms/content management systems with robust user communities. Both systems have their strengths and weaknesses. They are great alternatives to closed, paid platforms and much more cost effective than custom builds. As a web development shop, using Drupal and/or WordPress allows us to focus our energies on design and strategy as opposed to reinventing the content management wheel.

    After implementing a variety sites using both WordPress and Drupal over the years, we’ve sort of developed our own unwritten rules as to when to use each platform.

    Single Person / Group Blog (Use WordPress)

    If you are building a straight on single person or group blog, I think WordPress is the way to go. It has all the base functionality you need built in and a robust set of plug-ins if you need to add on. The admin interface is dead simple – anyone with basic computer knowledge can master it in a few minutes. The install of the software is also simple and the templating system is not difficult to master.

    Anything you want to do in WordPress, you can also do in Drupal. But Drupal is more complicated from a design/install perspective, and has tons of features you’d end up turning off/not using for something simple like this.

    Blog Community (Use Drupal)

    At a certain point your simple blog sort of crosses a line and becomes a blog community. Here are the things I look for:

    * In some cases you are going to want people to navigate directly to an authors blog instead of the main page of the overall blog.
    * Your blog has 10+ authors.
    * There is the possibility that your commenters may themselves become contributors.

    You can accomplish these goals by extending WordPress. You can also use WordPress Mu, which a community-version of WordPress that we don’t think is quite ready for prime time. However, these kinds of sites are pretty much the reason Drupal exists. All the community-based features you need are available right away upon setup with little tinkering required.

    A good example of a blog community is TechPresident, which we had nothing to do with building.

    Blog Driven Website (Use WordPress)

    With its pages section and various plugins, WordPress can be used as a full on Content Management System for blog-based websites. Lots of companies (including us) long ago abandoned the old fashioned press release and use blogs as their primary content delivery mechanism. Assuming your overall templating system on the site is pretty straight forward and you don’t have hundreds of pages, WordPress works perfectly well for these types of sites.

    Once again, Drupal can accomplish the same thing but it is a little more complicated to deal with and the admin interface is a little more complicated. It is sort of like driving a Ferrari in bumper to bumper traffic – you will get from point A to point B but you’d ultimately be better off weaving through traffic on a motorcycle.

    The Washington Area Women’s Foundation is a good example of a WordPress-based site that we built. In addition to having all the content editable through WordPress, we also built a few databases as custom plug-ins.

    Full Featured Website (Use Drupal)

    At certain points, a site simply becomes too big for it to be sufficiently managed using WordPress. If you find yourself bumping against any of the following scenarios, you should probably be using Drupal:

    * If you have multiple dynamic content types (press releases, news articles, blog posts, etc.). Drupal is great at allowing you to create this stuff on the fly, with WordPress you are hacking things together.
    * If your site has more than a two template design structure (homepage and second levels).
    * If you have numerous content blocks on the homepage or in sidebars that you will be editing frequently. Drupal’s block system is great at this kind of stuff.
    * If you are trying to start small and expect your site to add tons of features/content moving forward.

    We built a site for Monsanto Spain that uses Drupal as a full on Content Management System. This is a good example of this kind of website.

  • I was never really a fan of Drupal, but I haven’t given it a try in over a year. Been using WordPress lately. However, I am looking for something for my upcoming project that has a little more variety of features, and so I’m definitely going to give Drupal 6.0 a try.

  • BSWD

    Everything on the net is migrating towards using a CMS. It’s easier for designers because they don’t have to maintain the sites, and it’s easier for the customers because they can maintain the site…in the end, everybody wins. At BSWD, every site we do is in a CMS…

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