Learning to Love Drupal

Or at least learning, to hate to love, Drupal.  Drupal is a Content Management System, or CMS, that is highly popular and very powerful.  It is also one of the most polarizing CMS’s in existence.  You either love it or you hate it.  The core of the issue is that Drupal is not really a CMS in the traditional sense that, say, WordPress is.  An out of the box installation of WordPress, is ready to run a standard, attractive blog with little to no configuration.  On the other hand, Drupal needs some pretty major configuration, just to see a plain vanilla “Hello World!” type page.

Drupal has been called a Content Management Framework, and with good reason.  Drupal is very powerful, and can be made to do most anything.  The White House website, www.whitehouse.gov, runs on Drupal.  The problem is that to do anything really complex, you really have to know Drupal.  I think that this is where the love/hate choice comes into play.  Drupal allows you to do some really radical stuff, without programming, although you could argue that, in some cases, programming would be simpler than figuring out the proper “Drupal Way” to perform a task.

I’ve tried Drupal in the past, and found it interesting, but I never had the time or inclination to really dig into the system and learn it.  Recently, as part of a job change which I’ll be posting about soon, I inherited a rather large, high traffic, website that runs on Drupal.  So, I’ve finally had to make the time to learn it.  There are a lot of things about Drupal that I don’t like, but overall, it’s an extremely powerful system, and it’s going to be a valuable addition to my toolkit.  In the future, in addition to WordPress, CodeIgniter, and raw PHP I’ll be using Drupal often.