I have been with Drupal for about 10years now, (think Flexinode). I have
also built several applications in PHP, MySQL, etc. and I have to say I
have for sure had times I wanted to tear my hair out with Drupal, but over
the years and I have to say I do like it quite a bit and feel like it is
the most powerful open source CMS out there. I have also had the wow, "I
can't believe I built that" experience on numerous occasions with Drupal.
When I build simpler things with Wordpress, it is easy but I also feel
really constrained. I also don't like the trend of paying for full plugin
functionality in many Wordpress plugins.
It is a commitment to learn Drupal well, that is a certainty, and if you
don't enjoy it, you may not like it. I get that for sure. I don't use it
for everything and I wouldn't recommend trying to do so.
For me it comes down to knowing the modules I use regularly inside and out.
I know which modules I want to use quite well, I know what they conflict
with, how they behave. I know what to trust and what to worry about. I also
have a commitment to a base theme, and I know it very well too. All that
comes with experience.
I think it would be really helpful to many librarians if we were able to
share our installation profiles, modules and themes, frustrations and just
really help each other more. I know we sometimes get together at
conferences and share at the sessions and workshops, but is just never
enough. It seems like the need is there for something more in the area of
learning and sharing.
On Wed, May 14, 2014 at 8:35 PM, Joshua Welker <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Warning: incoming wall of text.
> I've been working for the past several months on building a library website
> with Drupal. This is my second try building a website with Drupal. I chose
> Drupal for two main reasons: CCK/content types, and its ubiquity in the
> library community.
> Theme development was going relatively well, if a little overly
> complicated. But once I started trying to do anything beyond developing
> static pages, I have become more and more frustrated with Drupal.
> Drupal supports custom content types out-of-the-box, which is great, but if
> you want to actually do anything with that custom content other than have
> it function as a plain page, you have to use the Views module. Views is
> great, but views can easily become very complicated, with custom rewrites,
> grouping, relations, contextual filters, etc. Plus, a lot of functionality
> in Views requires more modules (for instance, basic data manipulation).
> This is to build rather run-of-the-mill list features like a database list
> or a list of events. And a lot of the advanced features in Views require a
> solid understanding of SQL (groups, distinct, joins, etc), which kind of
> defeats the notion that it is easy for non-developers to administer.
> Now, at this point, I have modules extending my modules. And those modules
> have multiple dependencies on other modules. I am getting worried now. It
> feels like my website is a house of cards. I've run into several instances
> already where one of these plugins is updated and breaks compatibility with
> the whole stack, and there is nothing to do in this case but open an issue
> on the project tracker and pray for the best. I have looked into building
> my own modules, but the umpteen APIs and hooks required to do something
> simple as perform some regex on field data completely overwhelmed me (and I
> am fairly experience with web app development).
> It's not just Views, either. Anything more complicated than static pages
> and navigation menus requires relying on the module ecosystem.
> Not only is the whole thing quite precarious, but it defeats one of the two
> main purposes of a CMS: ease of administration. I want to know that if I
> get hit by a bus tomorrow, someone will be able to come in and take over
> without too much difficulty. But when I go back and look at my views, I can
> sometimes barely understand the work I did a week ago. It is very difficult
> to keep straight which functions are coming from which modules, and all
> those modules have separate (often poor) documentation.
> At this point, I am seriously contemplating dumping Drupal and moving to a
> full-fledged framework like Django, Flask, or Laravel and adding some
> WYSIWYG CRUD controls for pseudo-CMS functionality. ActiveRecord-like
> systems are much easier to use IMO than fiddling for hours with Views, and
> I have full control of what is happening. I honestly think it would be just
> as easy for someone to inherit a custom-built framework app as it would be
> to inherit my already-convoluted Drupal site. At least the framework is
> well-documented and should allow my app to be understandable to anyone with
> some programming experience.
> Does anyone want to talk me off the ledge here? I know a lot of you are
> using Drupal for your websites. What are the killer features that keep you
> using Drupal? If any of you have experience building websites using
> frameworks, what are your experiences? I really want to like Drupal, but it
> seems to be more trouble than it's worth.
> Josh Welker
> Information Technology Librarian
> James C. Kirkpatrick Library
> University of Central Missouri
> Warrensburg, MO 64093
> JCKL 2260
Head of Web Services & Associate Professor
JD Williams Library
University of Mississippi
University, MS 38677
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