[development] google just pwned the brochureware site industry

Benson Wong mostlygeek at gmail.com
Thu Feb 23 23:17:01 UTC 2006

> News flash: developers added those features in order to solve real
> problems. Look at individual Drupal-based sites to see what I mean.
> Downloading core and staring at it has never been, and will never be,
> the way to judge whether Drupal 'solves real problems.'

I agree. I've been actively developing a very large web site using
Drupal 4.7 for the last few months. I wrote a lot of code that ties
into almost every part of Drupal. I've also run into road blocks that
are Drupal specific. I'm not (completely at least) talking out of my

Let me elaborate on real problems.

Drupal is a great online community tool. Its heritage (IIRC) is a
student collaboration / information sharing tool. As a content
management system it is lacking some essential features, core support
for i18n being #1 (IMHO).

People are using Drupal exclusively as a CMS rather than a online
community tool. That should be taken into consideration. At OSCMS I
met a couple of people who left their jobs to be full time drupal
consultants. There is a growing economy building behind the project.

What's evolving out of Drupal's popularity as a CMS is Drupal the
Product. The difference is the Product has responsibilities:

 1. It has to keep up with the competition. i18n support, pluggable
authentication, etc.
 2. Security
 3. Support
 4. Available developer base.
 5. etc.

As more people use Drupal (bryght, consultants, other companies) as a
part of their business, the Product has a responsibility to ensure
that changes do not completely screw those people over. Livelihoods
are starting to depend on Drupal. There is some social responsibility
in the project now.

So some real world considerations:

1. Where is the long term roadmap to Drupal?

2. What is the long term support structure for Drupal
 - I spent $200,000 building Site X on Drupal 4.8, how do I maintain
(security, new features, etc) it for 2 years?

3. I spent $15,000 building Module Y, for 4.7, what are my options for
moving forward with 4.8, 4.9, etc.

4. And so on...

These considerations might not matter to geeks/developers adding in
features, but it matters to people who depend on this software to
provide them a solution. An similar situation, PHP3 disappeared
quickly after PHP4 came out. PHP4 will be around for _years_, even
after PHP6 comes out.

Drupal is headed in that same direction. My point is, the project
needs more planning to balance reaction. Developers should be allowed
to build any contribution they want, but core should not change so
much as it breaks functionality between point releases.


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