In February of this year, I switched this blog from WordPress to Drupal, the reasons for which are explained here. Today, a handful of months later, I’m switching it back.
While Drupal is an amazing platform for software development—indeed, my own company extensively uses Drupal in some our projects—my opinion is that it’s not appropriate for mainstream bloggers.
So, here’s the short tale of my road from WordPress to Drupal, and back again:
It began ominously, as it took a software wizard nearly 10 hours to migrate my WordPress blog to Drupal. One would think that if Drupal were targeting the mainstream, the migration process from the leading platform would be as simple and painless as the process of migrating from, say, Movable Type to WordPress (which I did myself a couple of years ago—done and dusted in about 30 minutes.)
Not being very happy with the default theme, my first task was to get that improved. Long story short: Drupal theming isn’t for the technical novice. I can hack my way around WordPress theming fairly easily, but couldn’t even find the Drupal theming. When I finally did, I took one look and decided the default theme wasn’t so bad after all.
One of my first questions was, “So how do I get an email when somebody posts a comment?”. Turns out, that’s not built in. Well, it sort of is, as the capability to build that functionality yourself is built in. (You need to define, create and configure some triggers and actions.)
My next question was, “Can the email contain a link to directly approve the comment?” Turns out that capability isn’t included either, so our software wizard programmed a new action to include a link to the “Comment Moderation” screen, where I can “publish” a given comment.
Later, when I had several comments (including some spam) to moderate, I ran into some serious usability issues, the nature of which surprised me given that Drupal is currently on version six. It was suggested that I go directly to the Drupal community with a description of these moderation usability issues, and so I did. You can read my post here, as well as the response, which itself, punctuates the reason I’m switching back to WordPress.
“afandyag” replied, in an uncapitalized, unpunctuated, unhelpful, poorly formed sentence, that I can “use views to display your desired approval queue comment to read the comment“. Huh?
It turns out, while views is a commonly used word in the English language, and which can mean many things, it also happens to be the term used to refer to a particular element of the Drupal content management system used to generate screens. I happened to know that from our company’s work with Drupal, but I’d hate to think of the poor chap new to Drupal and trying to get some help.
But don’t get me wrong. I’m not at all faulting the Drupal community. I’ve just concluded that mainstream (non-technical) bloggers likeme aren’t the audience that the Drupal community are targeting anyway—a view which is consistent with both my experience and discussions with others (including some of the Drupal module developers.)
You are probably right that Drupal terminology is somehow confusing for the novice user. As well it is correct that if a simple blog is all you want wordpress will do.
On the other hand it shows that you didn´t really dig into the world of Drupal – views and cck are two important modules and once one starts using Drupal you basically can´t avoid stumble over them.
Targetgroup in mind – WP will hit a wall as soon as a project exceeds a certain scope and complexity of features required by the client – if you have a company active in this field you certainly can confirm that.
@JM Drupal: For a person who wants a simple blog, it’s not that wordpress will “do”; it’s that WordPress is (presently) by far a better choice from the point of view of usability.
You say that I didn’t dig enough into the world of Drupal to get into views and cck. Don’t you see that’s the point—I don’t want to have to did to do something as simple as tweak the theme of my simple blog. Visit the WordPress admin interface: Design->Theme Editor. No digging, two clicks, can’t miss it, boom- you’re there. (And they’ve even been thoughtful enough to tell me my theme files aren’t presently writeable. 🙂
You say WP will hit a wall as soon as a project exceeds a certain scope and complexity of features required by the client. Absolutely true. But this article is focused on a simple personal blog.
Drupal’s biggest problem, in my view, is usability. (Just look at what I reported, linked to above, regarding the comment moderation workflow.) And I believe, from his recent writings, that Dries himself would totally agree with that.
u may me right in your point of view..
but if u want to built a interactive and a powerful site u need drupal.
i accept drupal is bit hard but it is much flexible than any cms once u got with it when u learn it..
in short Wp is nothing to drupal.