[Evangelism] The State of Drupal

Matt Hamilton matth at netsight.co.uk
Mon Nov 23 15:10:06 UTC 2009

   This is an amazing panel discussion. There was meant to be  
something similar at IMS this year, but it got dropped, which was a  
shame. I'm still not entirely sure the organisers themselves 'get'  
Open Source. Having a quick look at the OSS vendors/projects listed  
for IMS there will be: Plone, eZpublish, Squiz, and Day (whose product  
is not OSS, but they contribute to a lot of OSS components they use,  
mainly Apache stuff).

I've got a meeting setup with Janus Boye from Jboye who does quite a  
bit of work for CMSWatch (they wrote the Plone entry for CMSWatch's  
reports) so similar to below, if anyone has any specific info they  
think I should be mentioning then let me know. I'm going to mainly  
talk about the Plone 4 roadmap and general Plone ecosystem.


On 23 Nov 2009, at 14:51, Scott Paley wrote:

> Steve - this is fantastic. Thanks!
> Next Wednesday (12/2)  I'll be sitting on a panel at Gilbane Boston  
> entitled "Open Source CMS Powwow", as the "Plone representative".  
> Others on the panel will include Mitch Pirtle, the founder of  
> Joomla, Jay Batson, a co-founder of Acquia, and Ian Howells, the CMO  
> of Alfresco. In other words, it's a pretty strong panel (always fun  
> to be the "weakest link!") Obviously I know a lot more about Plone  
> than the other 3 platforms, so this kind of information is extremely  
> helpful. It's interesting to see how Drupal stuggles with many of  
> the same challenges as Plone and is not some "magic bullet".
> http://gilbaneboston.com/conference_program.html#W9
> If anybody out there wants to "arm" me with additional information  
> about what you perceive to be the strengths of Plone relative to the  
> other platforms, please send an email my way. I'm not as interested  
> in the specific ways in which Plone is better than Joomla as I am  
> about where Plone really shines. I have my own ideas on this, but  
> would love feedback.
> The stated agenda of the talk is, "Just a few short years ago many  
> organizations wouldn't think of implementing an open source content  
> management system. Today, thousands of major global companies have  
> implemented solutions like Drupal, Joomla!, Plone and Alfresco, to  
> name a few. In this session, Joe Bachana, Founder and CEO of DPCI,  
> has invited major luminaries from these four open source CMS  
> projects to help attendees better differentiate each system from the  
> others. Particular attention will be paid to calling out the  
> strengths of each system. The session will also pay close attention  
> to any feedback or lingering criticism in the market that open  
> source CMS platforms still face."
> The moderator followed up privately to let the panelists know that,  
> "With regard to the tone of the session, I'd like it to be  
> constructive -- I don't have a particular interest in declaiming  
> which project is better than the other. However, there are clear  
> differentiators on platforms (LAMP, Python, Java/J2EE) as well as  
> functional focus for each that can and should be called out, and we  
> should endeavor to do so. Further, I would like to leave ample time  
> to discuss the criticisms of the open-source platform and  
> communities, since there is still a great deal of it out there."
> Thanks all,
> Scott Paley
> Abstract Edge
> On Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 12:59 PM, Steve McMahon <steve at dcn.org> wrote:
> While at the Non-Profit SW Dev Summit, I had the opportunity to  
> attend a couple of Drupal panels (new to Drupal, and what's new with  
> Drupal). Drupal had their A team at the summit (a couple of core  
> devs and several evangelists) to do the talks. I wanted to pass on a  
> few things on what I observed. Share as appropriate.
> 1) Drupal is also having the framework vs product debate. From what  
> I heard, the "framework" side is definitely winning. Many Drupal  
> integrators are actually demanding that some new, friendlier UI in  
> the Drupal 7 preview be rolled back because they feel it undermines  
> their flexibility as integrators. Drupal 7 continues to be a micro- 
> core product that is not really suitable for use out of the box. The  
> Drupal folks emphasize that no inexperienced person should think  
> they can integrate Drupal by themselves (for more than a blog), as  
> they need to gain a lot of experience as to which modules really  
> work together.
> 2) There is no migration path for add-on modules between 6 and 7.  
> The core devs emphasize that it will be a rare 6 module that does  
> not need a complete rewrite to become a 7 module. The integrators in  
> the audience moaned loudly on receiving this news, and complained  
> that this was awful for them. The core devs replied that the new  
> APIs would make add on modules more secure and reliable.
> 3) Drupal is still very complex for end users. I don't think they  
> really differentiate between users and site managers. Positioning a  
> node in the content hierarchy still requires intimate knowledge of  
> how Drupal works (or add on modules that organize portions of the  
> tree). The ideal Drupal install is probably either small enough that  
> a single site admin is not a bottleneck, or large enough that  
> several site admins can be well trained.
> 4) Permissions and roles are still pretty much global, and workflow  
> is rudimentary. No ACLs. The organic groups module remedies some of  
> that, but there was skepticism about whether or not it could be  
> ported to 7.
> 5) The CCK (content creation kit) is now pretty much integrated into  
> 7, and is really pretty cool in its ability to allow site admins to  
> add fields to content types TTW. On the other hand, they don't have  
> a round trip story, and I heard a couple of conversations, that  
> translated to Plone-speak, amounted to "we need something like  
> generic setup to handle repeatable deployments."
> 6) Real-life Drupal is actually very resource intensive. The  
> audience was told that they could do something like a blog on a  
> cheapo host, but that a real deployment with multiple content  
> authors would require a dedicated server or large virtual slice.
> 7) They are still, out-of-the-box, a great blogging platform, and if  
> you're using Drupal as a "news to the home page site" with a few  
> static pages, it's easy and fast to configure.
> 8) The party line on Acquia is that what's good for Acquia and Dries  
> is good for Drupal. I saw not a hint of discomfort with that.
> 9) A somewhat contradictory pair of party lines: "it's easy to find  
> PHP programmers, and they're inexpensive, therefore PHP is the place  
> to be" and "Don't even think of using a PHP programmer with less  
> than 3 years Drupal experience to do any customization."
> 10) Taxonomy was "never meant to provide site structure" and is now  
> deprecated as a way to build nav trees. The "right" way to do it is  
> with the new relations fields, which allow you to pick nodes as  
> parents/children.
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> -- 
> Scott Paley | ABSTRACT EDGE
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Matt Hamilton                                       matth at netsight.co.uk
Netsight Internet Solutions, Ltd.           Understand. Develop. Deliver
http://www.netsight.co.uk                             +44 (0)117 9090901
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