At the beginning there was WordPress
A few years ago I used WordPress on a couple of projects. It was a great tool, with an easy and intuitive back office, lot’s of themes and plugins (mostly free and open source) available and a HUGE community. Its only drawback at the time: it was only a blog CMS that you could use mostly for…well…blogs. Of course you could use WordPress on small websites for local shops, etc but as soon as you wanted something out of the ordinary you were stuck and needed to modify core files, resulting sooner or later into a non functional website.
The Drupal era
After that I stopped using CMS and started working on bigger projects that were mostly developed over a PHP Frameworks or such technologies. But when I took my current job at B+G, I had to go back at using CMS for development. My predecessors were using Drupal on 95% of their projects (we also used Joomla on a few projects but I will not mention it at the risk of becoming unpleasant). Drupal is a very good tool, big community, lots of modules,etc… What I mostly appreciated in Drupal was the ability to create “Custom content types” and “Views”.
Each Drupal install comes with 2 basic content type : pages (a title and a description) and articles (a title, a description, an author, a publishing date). But you had the possibility to create Custom Content Type with customs fields in it. For example an “Apartment” content type with “nbr of rooms” and “floor surface” fields.Views on their side were a neat and efficient way to create “lists of formated content” ,understand : a cool and fast way to do crazy MySQL requests and filter/organize/format the results without writing a single line of SQL all this without putting at risk your mental health. Combine all this with Drupal’s powerful templating system and you had a war machine to develop large and complex websites.
The two problems with Drupal were:
- that it was clearly a tool made by developers, for developers. The documentation was sometimes obscure, the back office was huge, full of options and not easily customizable and a lot of times the documentation lacked of human readable and concrete examples.
- Drupal 6 and 7 were cohabiting and a lot of resources were available for one or the other making it sometimes painful to find the right plugin or a good tutorial.
To be continued…