A Scenic Tour of the Online World

Choosing the Right CMS

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Drupal, one of our favorite development tools, is on the brink of some pretty major changes. Major enough that a movement has taken shape amongst Drupal developers to “fork” Drupal, meaning they’ll create a version that eventually (assuming it catches on) becomes a completely separate CMS.

We follow developments surrounding our CMS tools of choice – Drupal and WordPress – pretty closely. And this one bears watching.

You probably don’t care about the technical nuts and bolts – it involves Symfony; email or call if you want more tech detail – so let’s stick to what this means for site owners, and for folks like us who rely on Drupal for our project work.

On one hand, the next version of Drupal, version 8, will integrate more modern, object-oriented programming principles. This has certain advantages, but adds a different kind of complexity that some developers see as being too heavy a trade-off.

The new version being put forth, called Backdrop, values “ease of use and ease of learning over architectural flexibility.” according to Nathan Haug, who is spearheading the effort.

Whether one version or the other becomes the better tool remains to be seen. In our experience, it ain’t the underlying concepts that make a development framework or toolset work; it’s the execution. 

So, while we won’t abandon Drupal just yet, we will be cautious in beginning new projects using Drupal while this situation irons itself out. And we’ll continue to do as many projects as possible using WordPress. (We never force-fit a project into a particular CMS; that winds up being painful for everyone in the long run. But for projects that could go either way, WordPress has been our default recommendation. Its ease of use on the administrative side makes for happier clients in most cases.)

Make sure you’re getting an honest evaluation from any developer you are thinking of working with. If that developer is a “Drupal shop” or “Expression Engine guy” or whatever, he’s already looking at your project from his perspective instead of yours.

Not sure if you’re making the right choice, or if you’re already butting up against limitations of your current CMS? Give a call and we’ll help you sort it out.


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