[consulting] Drupal considerd dangerous

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Thu Dec 21 18:22:10 UTC 2006

Bill Fitzgerald wrote:
> To me, this post did a great job stating the obvious: Drupal isn't for everyone. It's a great tool/CMS/development platform/widget de jour -- while it can do a lot, it's not always the best choice, or, for some organizations, a logical choice.
While I agree with your assessment, I would hardly consider that 
"stating the obvious" -- it's certainly not obvious to newcomers, the 
very kind of HTML-phobic would-be Web publishers Drupal is trying to 
appeal to.

Look no further than http://drupal.org/handbook/is-drupal-right-for-you 
which provides the official and definitive answer to "is Drupal right 
for you?"

There are no qualifications or "it's not always the best choice" type 
honest comments anywhere to be found.
Small businesses are explicitly mentioned as a target group for whom 
Drupal is the right answer.
In fact, the page offers no realistic appraisal of what Drupal doesn't 
do well, which is also what people coming to such a page are looking for.

As a consequence, people will inevitably be disappointed. The problem 
with laying down such exuberant hype is the difficulty to live up to it.

No amount of wishful thinking here will enable a non-IT-savvy 
small-business owner to maintain their own Drupal site of any 
sophistication. Suggesting that this is possible, as the above webpage 
does, goes beyond mere hype into the realm of severe pseudo-marketing 

It's easy to offer up case studies of successes. It's far more 
difficult, and far less sexy -- yet likely far more productive -- to 
engage in some forensic study of the failures.

Drupal's being seen as a failure because it was expected to do something 
it couldn't do is a communications problem. And Drupal, despite its 
massive amounts of documentation, its endless discussions about 
brochures and its very reason for existence, still suffers badly in the 
realm of communications. IMO, the Drupal community has yet to grasp the 
fact that "what you want to say" is not the same as "what your audience 
wants to hear", and a large gap exists between those two in this world.

> However, if a start-up goes south, there are probably a lot of factors at play beyond the issue of a cms.
Very true. But if Drupal -- because it failed expectations and/or became 
a completely unexpected resource suck -- was a contributing factor, that 
is extremely important information to know moving forward.

- Evan

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