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How to Survive Gentrification of the Drupal Community (darrenmothersele.com)
38 points by detaro on Mar 8, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 29 comments

I think conversely that Drupal 8 is the swan song. Too late to the party. Everyone who was really unhappy with the spaghetti bowl of code in prior drupal versions has already moved on. Those who have not, are not interested in rebuilding their sites on a new platform. They just want Drupal 6 to keep working.

Drupal 8 is not a gentrified neighborhood, it's more like the ghost cities in China: clean, modern, well-designed -- and empty.

Drupal 8 is not a gentrified neighborhood, it's more like the ghost cities in China: clean, modern, well-designed -- and empty.

I'm digging this analogy.

I don't find Drupal 8 that nice. It still uses crappy render arrays ('#var_name' => 'value') ... really? Ugh.

It still has random errors, our module stopped working because of a cache corruption. How does that even make sense?

Clear cache is now needed to get twig changes to propagate. Man. That is so slow and so pointless.

Took me about 2 seconds to find this: Disable Drupal 8 caching during development https://www.drupal.org/node/2598914

Yes. It took all of us 2 seconds to find it when we realised it what was happening. You're not the first person to type stuff into google.

It's 1.0 software, essentially. I've got several D7 sites, and I'm not even planning to look at D8 until the fall. Thanks for finding all the early bugs for me, though. :-)

I'm probably not going to move to D8 until there are concrete plans to retire D7. Which is still something being discussed in the community.

I'm not familiar with Drupal at all, so I believe you. I just liked the analogy. :)

Except that analogy is wrong.

What have they moved on to? I'm investigating CMS's for a client (an task I have entirely no experience with). Is Joomla any better? Or is the whole concept of CMS dying?

They haven't moved on.

You're not going to get an accurate picture of the CMS market here on HN. Most folks here are developers...PHP CMS's are not what they are interested in. The prevailing opinion on HN is something like "CMS's suck, you should build it yourself with node/React" or whatever.

If you need to build a content website, and the information architecture is complex, Drupal is a very strong choice. I haven't use D8 yet, and I would not recommend building a high-profile project on it yet, unless you really want to be an early adopter. But D7 works well and will be supported for a long time yet to come.

If your info architecture is fairly simple, take a look at Wordpress. You'll have an easier time finding low-cost vendors than with Drupal. Drupal is powerful but expensive.

Very believable. I'd have probably responded with the "prevailing opinion" to myself if I hadn't been the one that asked the question. :)

Ha! :) IMO the true advantages of a popular, open-source CMS are not in the code, which I think most developers will agree tends to be idiosyncratic at best. The advantages tend to be business-type advantages, like:

- It's easy to find case studies to help explain and plan your project.

- It's easy to find vendors who can build or support the technology. That makes it easier to run competitive RFPs, and fire/replace vendors without having to rebuild from scratch.

- You benefit from a security program that has a lot of inputs--a lot of bad guys trying to get in, and a lot of good guys trying to keep them out. The code is battle-tested and frequently patched.

- You benefit from a community module system that has a lot of inputs. Chances are if you want to do something, there is a module to do it, or at least get close.

- You can more easily empower "tech savvy" employees to do pseudo-development tasks like build filtered lists and manage content workflows. It's easier and cheaper to scale tech-savvy employees than full developers.

- There are enterprise-savvy support options available.

- It's easy to find hosting.

Developers, particularly those who want to innovate and build new tools and products, tend not to value these sorts of things as much.

This isn't restricted to an open-source CMS; any popular CMS gives you this. SharePoint is the gold standard in DIY CMS platforms, and everything you mention above is doubly true of SharePoint. It's certainly easier to find a SharePoint developer than a Drupal developer.

I mean, there are downsides to SharePoint: it's commercial software and there's more friction than with Drupal. But I'm not even sure how relevant that is anymore in today's IaaS hosted world -- I can go on Azure and deploy a Sharepoint server in 5 minutes from an image and the licensing costs are baked in.

But you're right about developers not valuing these -- CMSes are for established businesses that need a technology platform to manage their messaging across multiple channels. If you consider yourself a product hacker, then something like a CMS isn't likely to be interesting to you.

More people are on wordpress than any other CMS, which is one data point in the decision but certainly does not mean it's "the best". But based on the wording of your question ("which have they moved on to"), this is probably the closest correct-ish answer.

Other than that, people have moved on to all sorts of CMS's:

* If you're looking for something in the spirit of Drupal (most configuration done via dashboard interface, very flexible content modeling), try ProcessWire (http://processwire.com/) (free/open-source)

* If you're looking for something more designer-friendly and have a budget for the project, Craft CMS (https://craftcms.com/) is very popular these days.

* Also designer-friendly and less complex than Craft (and less expensive), so it's better for simpler sites: Perch CMS (https://grabaperch.com/).

* For the most easy-to-use editing interface, I recommend Concrete5 (http://www.concrete5.org/) -- my personal favorite (free/open-source).

* If this is a super basic site though and you just want to use an off-the-shelf theme and let the client manage it as much as possible, you're probably best off with a hosted solution such as Weebly (http://www.weebly.com/) or Squarespace (http://squarespace.com/). These have monthly fees (but comparable to decent web hosting).

There's also 18 bajillion other options out there... welcome to the world of CMS's, where we had decision fatigue long before javascript made it cool ;)

Joomla and Drupal think of it like Python and Ruby, in the sense of: the same thing but fundamentally absolutely different. I would say Drupal is better. But it doesn't really matter, either is fine and will get the job done.

If the site is not very big, consider Wordpress. For one reason: the community and with that mainly the pulgins available. For example there are WP plugins that do the whole conversion for mobile for you or do SEO for you. It really depends on what the site should do. But Wordpress can be easily the best solution.

Now, all that is moot, to a level, because all these CMS have nice importerts/exporters, so you cannot really make a big mistake that will sink everything.

If however, the site in question is bigger a site than just "a website", consider Typo3. It's a beast. It's cool. It may not worth the effort for a small shop, but if the site has enough size, try Typo3. Beast!

I imagine most (like us) are just staying put until a clear alternative is present. There's no rush to get off of Drupal 7. Security updates are still flowing, the module environment is finally starting to mature, and there's no real sign that there's an EOL being set anytime soon.

If I was building a new site that made sense to use a CMS and not build something from scratch, I'd still probably go Drupal 7.

You should take a look at ProcessWire: https://processwire.com, I absolute love it after previously building site after using Wordpress as a CMS.

I always wondered by Mod X didn't get more support. Always liked it better than Drupal or Wordpress.

CMS is dying. We find it's easier to have a separate blog, shop, photo site etc than try to stick it all in Drupal.

After ditching our custom CMS software for Drupal, we find we spend more time making Drupal do what we need than just starting a site from scratch.

Wordpress powers 1/4 of the internet...

Any company with a decently sized content (producing) team is going to need to use a CMS.

A lot of folks are also using Hubspot and Salesforce to create their sites...Gotta love vendor lock in.

I wouldn't count wordpress as a CMS personally, more of a super blog. Drupal is much more powerful and flexible (out of the box -- you can modify both)

Depends on a client. Static site? Consider jekyll. Custom functionality and integrations? Look into Symphony. Canned solution for typical workflow real cheap? WordPress is the answer. Huge budget to share? Go Drupal.

If you're using Symfony anyway you might as well look into Drupal 8 if it's a content-heavy site. You get a lot of what you would otherwise build for free, and anything else you can do with Symfony.

CMSs are dying and static sites are replacing them - there's absolutely no reason to run a complex backend when the entire site is supposed to hold some text and maybe a space for comments.

Things like Jekyll or Hexo are straightforward and easy to work with, but because static sites are really just tools to transform markdown into HTML, something like Metalsmith could probably even handle online shops.

Static sites for large institutions is asking for trouble down the road. Think about universities with hundreds of content providers. They'll put anything and everything on their sites with no regard for the standard layout/design. CMS gives them design choices, and enforces standards so you can update/refresh the look and feel in the future.

Interesting, I hadn't thought of that. Do you have any additional thoughts on when a CMS is appropriate versus static sites or from-scratch sites?

It's an easy distinction: if non-programmers are managing the content of the site, don't use a static site or a static site generator.

Asking people whose job isn't "building websites" to edit text files, run some sort of compiler on the command line, connect to a server via FTP, or deal with version control is a total failure mode.

But if a developer (or an especially adventurous designer) is going to be editing the content of the site as time goes on, then static files or a static site generator can be a great option.

I wonder what you base this statement on. As someone who has worked almost exclusively with Drupal, I have been always been conscious about being on an island, concerned about my lack of understanding regarding other frameworks, languages etc. Because of this, I am constantly looking for the signs that would indicate that Drupal is falling, yet I still have to find these. Admittedly, since I work for a company which has Drupal as its core business, I am biased.

To avoid this bias I was doing a little research for statistics. I checked the usage of Drupal core [1] and I found it somewhat misleading (e.g. there is a significant jump around the time of the release, so the statistics on such short term must be skewed due to test installs). Instead I looked at ctools, which is a dependency for several contributed modules and is the top used module [2]. This shows significant growth since the start of 2016. So it is growing, people are using it. But most importantly, the numbers for Drupal 6 stay the same. So it seems that people who have a stable website are happy with it, and new users are likely to jump on the Drupal 8 train.

Also let us not forget the same voices were heard when Drupal 7 came out, coupled with the unexpected lag of contributed module availability. With a lot smaller API change, people found they have to wait 6-12 months after D7 was released to start building Drupal sites. Contribs, e.g. Views has released an RC for Drupal 7 on June 17th, 2011 [3], when D7 came out on the 5th of Jan, 2011 [4]. Views is just one of the important contrib modules (now in core), and people had to wait 6 months to use it!

The contrib upgrade curve seems similar, if a little bit faster for Drupal 8. But having most of the important contrib modules in core, this impacts new builders less.

About the state of the spaghetti: frankly I don't think that customers care too much about it (after all, Wordpress does own a significant share of the market ;)). Developers do. Customers care as well, but mainly to the extent of maintainability and cost implications. And I think with personal bias aside, Drupal 8 is much better on this front, than Drupal 7 (although there is still work to be done, procedural code to kill), it does deliver a framework, which allows a wider range of developers to start working with it, using familiar patterns and frameworks (PSR-4, Symfony).

Long story short, I don't hear the swan song. But I'm happy to keep my ears open :)

[1] https://www.drupal.org/project/usage/drupal [2] https://www.drupal.org/project/usage/ctools [3] https://www.drupal.org/node/1192186 [4] https://www.drupal.org/node/1015392

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