There’s More to Drupal Than a Steep Learning Curve


Last week, we compared Drupal Commerce and Magento and helped you understand that it’s not always about the platform but about how you use it. Today, we’ll discuss Drupal as a CMS, and that there’s more to Drupal than a steep learning curve.

Drupal has always been given the position of a CMS that’s best for big, complex websites – one that can only be used by highly technical people. But all that’s changing rapidly.

Having proved its feat in the big games time and again, Drupal has been trying to capture the mass for a while now. Do you remember that usability was the biggest concern for Drupal 7? The version, as we all know and have experienced, does deliver what it promised: a much user-friendly design and architecture. And then there’s Drupal 8, which is supposed to have some more usability improvements, and mobile is its biggest concern this time around. So, Drupal has achieved a lot and is being bettered every moment. Then how can we not expect it to at least see a rising market share.

 

Drupal is what you want it to be

With 7.2% market share as of early 2013, Drupal can be used to make many things unlike other content management systems:

  • Full-fledged websites,
  • Large corporate websites,
  • Online commerce websites,
  • Blogs,
  • Media portals,
  • External collaboration websites etc.

Taking its applicability to different formats into consideration, Drupal possibly overshadows not only WordPress and Joomla, but also Magento, Jive, Fatwire etc.

Wonderful modules

Views, no wonder, is the best Drupal module ever. And if by any chance you don’t know, this module has found a place in Drupal 8 core (with over 60 other powerful modules such as Content Construction Kit (CCK), which allows you to create different content types like classified ads, products, articles etc with ease). Drupal 7 users, however, need to install CTools before installing Views. Let’s now look at the whopping usage stats of this module.

Source: Drupal.org

But what does Views do? It basically helps you query your database and define how you want your website’s content visuals to be – and that too without making you write SQL queries. Incredible, isn’t it?

Usability

As Drupal Web developers, we have enjoyed contextual links and overlay modules in Drupal 7. The latest version, however, has got something more exciting this time around: In-place editing (“true WYSIWYG”, as Dries Buytaert puts it), which will do wonders in lowering the barrier for non-technical users and will quite probably be a slap to all the naysayers of Drupal.

Switching from their earlier decision from the mid of 2012 when they announced that Aloha Editor would be a part of Drupal core, the Drupal team has now zeroed in on a much-mature alternative – CKEditor, which has better APIs, better documentation and, most of all, better ecosystem around it.

Extremely helpful community

One of the biggest strengths of Drupal is its community. There are thousands, if not millions, of contributors, which means you always have somebody to answer to your query. And there’s this IRC online chat, forums, books and what not!

Becoming easier (and more beautiful) to use for end users and developers

Sure, there’s a learning curve to Drupal – but there are many things that make designers and developers get over that curve, too: over 40 books, a comprehensive online documentation, community participation, online videos… And Drupal is doing everything it could to diminish this learning curve.

Aside from addressing the problem of usability, the Drupal 8 developers are seeking to address the backward compatibility problem with modules, clean up its APIs and user interfaces, and leverage the latest PHP version and design patterns.

Wrapping up

WordPress, as we all know, is and perhaps will remain the most user-friendly CMS. But if Drupal continues to lower the barrier (and proves to be successful in its attempts to do so), we can undoubtedly see some migration happening, not only from those who have complex needs and need more scalability, but also from the ones who love simple yet powerful CMS.

 

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