|Drupal Current Version and Future|
I have a client bent on me developing their site in Drupal. For CMS I use Wordpress and Joomla but not Drupal so the learning curve is a consideration to be sure... that aside, there is not much to found here lately about Drupal.
(the customer site is actually a quite simple database with ecomm and could be accomplished in any platform CMS or otherwise, can't get a meaningful answer as to the why behind Drupal for them)
Any thoughts about the current state of affairs and future of Drupal?
Pretty lively as far as I know. There's a developer locally here who's actively involved in the project, there's a local drupal group, there's a national drupal convention, and I see in my linux magazine that there's drupal conventions in the US. So still something's shakin'.
Wordpress, Joomla, and Drupal are the top 3 CMS options today. I've used all 3 and, and honestly I'm surprised that Joomla has a larger install base than Drupal (Joomla was my least favorite because it had a lot of tables for layout built into some of the core pieces... granted, that may have changed since I last used it). I think for commercial grade products, any of those 3 are great options.
Drupal 7 was recently released. I don't have any experience with it yet (I've used Drupal 6 though). I would say the future of Drupal is solid (if you're concerned that it might go away).
Glad you posted this because it lead me to look up some of the numbers and seeing how popular Joomla is, I think I'll need to evaluate it again soon. :)
Drupal is definitely lively. I could be wrong, but I believe its growth rate is higher than Joomla, though it may not have as many installs yet (and of course neither one is remotely close to WP). It runs big sites - whitehouse.gov, NASA, The Onion. So it's capable and very actively developed.
For what it's worth, Wikipedia says Drupal runs 1% of all websites in the world now. In fact, that article is actually a great overview
One thing I like about Drupal is all the security warnings. What?!?!? you say? Yes, unlike Wordpress or Joomla, any Drupal module that is stored on the Drupal site (99%) are treated similarly to the core distribution. Meaning, if a security exploit is found in a module, you will get emails and messages on your site (also, unlike WP, Drupal discerns between bug fix notices and security notices - if my site is working, I ignore the former).
Drupal has just released Drupal 7, which is quite nice from first looks, though I have yet to create a site with it. Of course, a lot of modules have not been updated for D7 yet. So that's a major consideration. I would say, if at all possible, build in 7. Drupal's current philosophy is a release every few years, with security support for current and former. So D6 will have support for a while, but if you build it in D7, you're likely to have at least 5 years before EOL.
As for why your client is stuck on Drupal, it's no doubt because someone convinced him that it was the best and he doesn't know any better to ask "Best for what?"
My rule of thumb for Drupal is this: If Drupal does what you want out of the box, you probably don't want Drupal.
Where Drupal shines is as a framework that can be tweaked and do things undreamt of in Wordpress and Joomla. Where it falls down is in complexity, server load (much higher than WP) and sometimes the difficulty of getting it to do simple things.
I think that characterization is changing. Drupal has been working on ease of use and streamlining. Joomla has been trying to copy some of Drupal's in-built power (Views, Panel and CCK) but still isn't close.
So if you know WP and Joomla and know this project and his future vision can be done with them, I would try to ask him why Drupal and see if he'll budge.
If not, pad your bid for the pain of getting your head around Drupal. Once you do, though, it's like a drug. It's hard to do without it.
I run 4 Drupal sites and the reason I don't post much here is because I don't run into problems. Our Drupal 5 site I built is coming up on its 3rd year anniversary and has processed over $2M in transactions using the custom payment module I wrote. Our big multi-lingual Drupal 6 site is coming up on its 1st year anniversary.
Yes the learning curve is high for both developer and user but definitely worth it.
I really appreciate the input from each of you. I am always impressed with this fantastic trusted resource that is WebmasterWorld. Thanks much.
Jon_King - it's funny, but I just discovered today that LinkedIn has a "skills" section and if you enter a skill, it will tell you about relative growth (presumably based on change in members listing that skill) and total size (presumably total number of members listing that skill)
Drupal size: 14K
Joomla size: 16K
Drupal's growth is higher than Joomla's but not as high as some new entries like Silverstripe (no surprise there, because two years ago there would have been zero people listing Silverstripe as a "skill").
I find this a pretty good measure for answering your question, because it is presumably a measure of professionals who have, at least to some degree, staked their career (or at least career profile) on these apps.
Of course, the results get really interesting when you start looking at "skills" like "candy", "chocolate", "gourmet", "fine jewelry", "wine"... but that would be rather off topic.
> I really appreciate the input from each of you.
I second this.
I agree with what has been said before. I would like to add a word of caution: If you finally go Drupal, go version 6 and not 7.
Why? Because 7 is going to be rather good, probably much better than 6. But it's not ready yet because of the lack of contributed modules, some of which (views, pathauto, CKK variants...) I am almost sure you are going to need (as somebody said, if you do not need them, it's likely you don't need Drupal 'so much' as your client thinks).
Drupal 6 is as mature and stable as it can be and it's extremely flexible and has been proven in many kind of sites.
It's multilingual ability is good, although it's not as good (ie: easy to manage and tweak) as I would like myself.
Another word of caution: It's RAM hungry. I just changed my hosting (a very modest one) because of that into a virtual hosting with 128 Mb for each of my sites. Luckyly there are plenty of solutions with machines 'in the cloud' nowadays that are rather well-priced.
Agreed. I tend to build off the Fusion Theme which depends on the Skinr module which is not yet functioning on D7 even in a dev version.
Views actually has an alpha version, lots of CCK is now part of D7 core and the rest in in beta, and pathauto is in beta. So if you're an experienced Drupal developer (enough to know which modules you need) and aren't launching for a while yet, I think you could start building in D7, but you would be increasing the hassle.
I was looking to update a fairly minor site to D7 just to see how it would go, but there were enough missing items (themes/modules), that I decided it still wasn't time.