Drupal in crisis?

Is Drupal, in many respects the main ‘competitor’ to WordPress, in crisis?

According to Daniel F. Kudwien, it most certainly is, and it makes interesting reading when comparing and contrasting with the current status of WordPress.

Kudwien outlines the development of Drupal over the last couple of years, specifically pointing out that:

  • in January 2011, Drupal 7 was released with some 300 unresolved major bugs
  • 200 previously critical and major bugs were then demoted to normal
  • as of August 2011 Drupal has 4153 unresolved bugs (22,181 total)
  • a vast number of users are stuck on Drupal 6, with no progress on Drupal 8

Issues, he argues, that can only be resolved by an almost complete refocus on the required features (fewer) and design (redone) – not to mention clarification and discussion on the role of ‘parent’ company, Acquia.

Both articles are a good read, and it’s hard not to feel a bit smug in terms of having plumped for what would certainly appear to be a more stable and clearly defined project in WordPress – although not one without it’s own political & code issues ;)

But at the same time, especially as regards the development of the core platform, guided by an overarching corporate entity, there are definitely lessons to be learned and issues to take into account as regards future WP development.

Are you a Drupal user – as well as, or instead of, a WP one? Do you reckon Drupal is in crisis?

Feature image CC GregoryH

26 Responses

  • I’ve used Drupal for a few projects, and I can honestly say that I am not a fan. I would agree that the CMS is in crisis based on the statistics that you’ve given me, but also for the few number of reasons I’ll rattle off in a bit… remember, things should be kept simple ;)

    While it’s been over a year since I’ve touched the CMS, here are some of the things I disliked:

    – No streamlined updating functionality (WordPress wins with this feature alone)
    – Intermediary and plugin in dependencies… why should I have to install 3 additional modules just to have the ONE that I actually need work?
    – Not user friendly… at all, especially for non-savvy clients that would like to manage the site on their own

    Those are some of my complaints. I guess I just believe that Drupal over complicates things, even worse than Joomla.

  • Too bad. I hope they at least salvage some of the cool things they have by merging with the WordPress project, especially their logo.

  • Hi James,

    I’m a Drupal PM working with the core 8 initiatives. I think it’s easy to throw around words like “crisis” and “sucks” etc — we all do it ;) But honestly, my opinion is that Drupal is growing so fast it’s just reaching some very natural growing pains. There’s a lot of misunderstanding about Acquia imho.

    Working with the people involved in core 8 initiatives has made me realize that there is actually *A LOT* going on wrt Drupal 8, and I disagree with the statement you made in your blog. I also attended Drupalcon London where I got to hear first hand from Dries what is happening during the keynote and in the core discussions.

    Drupal and WordPress have some overlap, but I think our prospects are looking for different things on the respective platforms. We’ll all shake out in the end just fine.


  • Acquia has messed up Drupal project and now claim ownership and give dictatorial direction to an open source project which lot of community developers have huge objection to because they have put years of effort in building the product. No major new innovation in Drupal for last 2 years (CCK, Views type). Besides scalability issues, huge resource needs etc are a problem. No wonder why very high profile sites like fastcompany, digg, etc have moved out of Drupal.

    Give another 2 years and Drupal will be a history.

    • Your comment is quite simplistic, but my note is just a correction to the idea that there has been no innovation similar to views/CCK in the recent past —
      What about the “Features”, and “Commerce” modules (for example)? You might not have enough deep-knowledge with Drupal to advance your claims because the two projects I have mentioned (and others) might not be on everyone’s lips (like Views/CCK), but they are adding flexibility and power to Drupal.

  • sounds like an anti drupal club here. I have lots of respect for WordPress. But Drupal can do stuff that WP can’t even dream of. Drupal is also great for moving everything around, using it as a data repository. It has a stack of awesome modules :) If WordPress is a good choice for you… go with it. But Drupal is a great choice for more complex situations imo. Sure it ain’t perfect, but both v.6 and v.7 are pretty cool. v.7 is not always a good production choice just yet, simply because it is too new, but in 6 months it will be :)

      • Certainly, WP can do many of the things Drupal core can do, it has a ton of plugins for social media, just like Drupal, it can provide JQuery slideshows and provide media, but Drupal can go far beyond that. The issue is that WP is much more user friendly for simple websites, but trying to easily add a simple UI for complicated sites providing complicated views, bulk content editing, custom queries, and rule based automated content creation and management is where Drupal spanks WP. A quality Drupal configurator can quickly turn Drupal into the equivalent of a point and shoot camera without sacrificing professional features.

    • I completely agree with your comment, DC Crowley. If someone wants a simpler site/blog then just go for WP. But if you want something bigger that uses much more data, or several users working concurrently on the website, or even creating intranet applications, Drupal is much better.
      No, it’s not as easy as WP, but is much more flexible than WP. My only catch with Drupal are the resources it needs, but no one’s perfect…

      • That is just kind of a silly blanket statement. What can WordPress do that html/css cannot? Any tool can do just about anything. Drupal excels in user account management, a sophisticated interface for custom content types and Views, which is a game changer.

        I use WordPress and Drupal all the time. They are both terrific and different tools.

  • I’d say there would be a “Drupal crisis” if there weren’t such a healthy debate. The Drupal community puts everything on the table. Everything is up for question. This is a good thing.

    To address a misperception:

    “Acquia has messed up Drupal project and now claim ownership and give dictatorial direction to an open source project which lot of community developers have huge objection to because they have put years of effort in building the product.”

    People may vary in their opinions of Acquia, but I don’t think anyone could argue that Acquia has claimed ownership of Drupal, or is providing dictatorial direction. What you’re saying is that Dries is a dictator, but he’s always been the leader of the project, he’s always been user 1. Acquia has not changed that at all. By comparison, it appears that WordPress has much more of a corporate entity in leadership.

  • First, this is old news. As a result of this post there were subsequent posts and action taken to rectify the situation which themselves happened weeks ago. The community has become stronger because of it, so thinking that the Drupal community is fragmenting or declining is simply not the case. Anyone who thinks otherwise is reading way to much into this and quite frankly is reacting only to headlines and not the actual situation.

    Second, Drupal does not compete with WordPress or even Joomla, although of course there is some overlap. Drupal competes mostly against proprietary solutions, as demonstrated in the video produced by Acquia at https://acquia.com/blog/proprietary-software-vendors-take-aim-open-source.

    I hate these “open source wars”-type posts. To be transparent, I work for Acquia and love Drupal. I don’t use WordPress for a variety of reasons, however I never openly bash WordPress or actively campaign against it. I, like many others in the Drupal community, am open source first and Drupal second. I would hope that the WordPress community feels the same way, and we should at least be united in that we feel open source will bring about positive change in the tech community and beyond. Bashing each other effectively hurts everyone, because proprietary vendors are mercilessly gunning for both of us every second of every day.

  • They are both terrible (in many ways – poorly programmed, poorly architectured, in the case of WP mixing logic / presentation (please tell me thay have stopped doing this), performance and so on), although at least WordPress is usable (for the most part) by non-techies. Drupal on the other hand is a nightmare even for programmers, the list of bugs is endless, not just in the core, but in modules, many of which take months to get fixed (if ever), which then means you have to go through their code work out what is wrong and fix it for them, which rather defies the point.

    The performance of both is terrible for anything outside of their core brief, which is not so bad for WP as it doesn’t claim to do everything (WP offshoots aside), but Drupal’s alleged flexabilty is a joke, try running anything busy that has a lot of real time data that means limited caching, it is painful as you run head long into Drupal’s “performance”.

    WP is fine for non-techies, Drupal is painful fornearly everyone, for programmers a framework gets things done twice has fast, performs many, many times faster and is far more maintainable.

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