[Evangelism] Findings from FOSDEM and other places

Christian Scholz cs at comlounge.net
Mon Feb 25 21:32:10 UTC 2008


I just wanted to share some things with you I noticed at FOSDEM (and 
also before that) esp. regarding Drupal. As you probably have noticed I 
was spending some time in the Drupal track simply because I wanted to 
know what they are up to and also because there wasn't really more going 
on in terms of Web dev (besides Mozilla). I also got to talk to some 
people there.

The first one was using RedDot for one project and now uses Drupal 
mostly. I met him before and he seemed more or less language/platform 
agnostic simply using what works best.
RedDot was a tool he did not really liked for some reasons:

1. now community around it
2. hard to find help (except consultants)
3. having a separation between backend and frontend is really good.
4. costly production setup (Oracle etc.)
5. slow in actual publishing

3+5 are related because of RedDots model. It is writing out static HTML 
and that might take time to do. Optionally you can also write out PHP, 
ASP, etc. of course and might even have an API for accessing the backend 
But he mentioned the problem that you then have 2 completely different 
systems which you need to maintain and RedDot themselves have actually 
consultants who only do backend or frontend but according to him not both.

The only thing he liked was the in-place editing and he was saying that 
if you put a client with RedDot and Drupal in one room, RedDot will win 
because of that. I then showed him Plone's in-place editing and now he 
wants to have a look at Plone ;-)
He also said that Drupal looks sort of bureaucratic because of the long 
forms they have everywhere, e.g. for creating a new content type.
Regarding content types he also said that Drupal stores them in the 
database. So version control etc. seems to be more complicated.

On the way back then I talked quite a bit with another Drupal guy who 
also is somewhat active in the community (localization). From him I learned:

- Drupal does not do sprints. He asked me quite a bit about sprints and 
seemed to like very much what he heard. Drupal developers sort of 
program on their own.
- Drupal does not seem to have such a professional development process. 
He seemed to like DocTests and having a Release Manager, Framework Team, 
PLIPs and so on. It also sounded as if Drupal is not that big in testing 
but I might be wrong.
- He was quite fond of the new setup wizard for Drupal
- He also seemed to like in-place editing
- buildout was maybe a little hard to explain (need to work on that ;-) 
). Eggs itself was easier to explain and the way we nowadays bundle 
- Drupal usually breaks most modules with every major release (not sure 
what that meant, probably you cannot use 3rd party modules without 
upgrading them. I guess they also have migrations as I doubt that you 
will stay with one drupal version forever. So with Plone it might be 
similar as many 3rd party products also broke with 3.0)
- I think he said that on drupal.org somebody needs to approve your 
module listing but I am not sure anymore.

So these are just some random findings. What I think is important here 
is though that our strengths are mostly in usability (in-place editing, 
no looooong forms), being professional in development (process and using 
XP methods) and having great community participation in place (sprints).
Featurewise I guess we are somewhat similar (from what I heard at a 
barcamp and asked about there) although the Drupal core is probably 
smaller in terms of features. So you might need more extra modules 
(which might break with an upgrade).

This might be relevant for marketing (not against Drupal but to point 
this out in general). I also might not remember some details right but 
in general the mentioned points came out for me.



PS: Should you not know what FOSDEM is, it's the biggest and most 
important Open Source conference in Europe. I was the first time there 
but I plan to attend more often now (esp. as it's just 1.5 hrs from Aachen).

Christian Scholz                         video blog: http://comlounge.tv
COM.lounge                                   blog: http://mrtopf.de/blog
Luetticher Strasse 10                                    Skype: HerrTopf
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Tel: +49 241 400 730 0                           E-Mail cs at comlounge.net
Fax: +49 241 979 00 850                               IRC: MrTopf, Tao_T

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