Drupal Pros and Drupal Cons

By Slava · On Sun, 09/13/2015 - 00:00

Small note: Drupal 8 wasn't released yet at the time.

So I went to Los Angeles in May to attend DrupalCon LA 2015 and unsurprisingly, DrupalCon being software development industry convention, it involved geeks from all around the world and beer, and talks about digital disruption, and the New World Order, of course. And because DrupalCon Barcelona is coming soon in September, I’m going to talk about some of those things, specifically Drupal, insights, and The New World Order. And we’ll start with Drupal.

I can’t say Driesnote at DrupalCon LA was really good — it didn’t meet my expectations to be honest, but it scored some points anyway. It was nice to learn more about Drupal history since the very beginning. Did you know that the first 3 major versions of Drupal were released in one year, 2001? And that 4.0 was released not long after, in 2002? And then it took 5 years for the next major version to come out — it arrived at the beginning of 2007 (and now we’re complaining about how long it takes to release D8, huh).

Nothing about disruption in that part of the story, though. It’s another part, where Dries spoke about The Big Reverse of the Web touching the subject of disruption.

The Big Reverse of The Web is a change from pull-based web, when you go on the internet to look for the content to push-based, where everything you need finds you on the Web.

This is a very bold statement, I agree, but think about it: marketing automation and content personalization based on data is not even a trend, it’s an everyday reality today. I would say, with all this statistical data collected by now, it’s not a question if “the reverse” is happening, but when. Specifically, when the algorithm that unites all data sources will be created. Each app that right now consists of separate items on our smartphones will become a whole in terms of data interaction, so by the time you grab your luggage at LAX baggage claim, the Uber car will be pulling over at the arrivals to pick you up. Unless, of course, SkyNet will happen earlier — in this case we’ll reverse back to caves and natural economy.

But let’s move on while we can and see what new I’ve heard — or, rather, realized during the conference.

There’s always a tension between Design and Technology; and the thing is that with Drupal it’s possible to combine two. (ch2m.com is a great example of both worlds) Also, the site is the first big production built by Drupal 8, which on the coolness wall gets the space in the very center because it is really, really cool, you know.

Cost of Ownership is becoming a really important metric and that’s where Open Source gets truly competitive right now. Because it is open-sourced, enterprises using it aren’t the only ones that are paying for it. Drupal Core codebase ownership is shared among thousands of core contributors worldwide, it’s not one company that holds commercial rights for the product (as if those rights existed, it’s Open Source!).

Personalization is going to be a “must have” soon literally for everyone; and Drupal is ready for that. Now, we have just the right tools for the job. It’s a big deal at the moment for enterprises and thus, decision making on what technology/product to use has shifted from CIO/CMO to CMT (Chief Marketing Technologist). It’s not only about the look & feel, it’s about the technology now and what’s possible to do with it. The personalization approach correlates with “The Big Reverse of Web” : users don’t find content anymore, but it is the content that finds them.

Time to market matters or “MVP My Ride, Drupal!”. We all heard that with any new idea it is crucial to get a feedback from customers as soon as possible, ideally, even before you create any product and, ideally, in the form of cash equivalent that customers paid for the product. It’s both true for tiny startups scraping a living and giant corporations that won’t notice a couple of millions gone with the wind. Even if giants don’t notice it now, though, what they will definitely notice is a drop of market share of new product versions as they will take much longer time to get on the market. With Drupal you can proof-of-concept your idea within a week, turn it into MVP within a month, and after a couple of tweaks send it out in the wild. And such MVP version can easily be extended with the REST APIs, which means you’re ready for other platforms in no time.

Multi-siting. Marketing guys just don’t go with one thing anymore. It’s all about separate platforms for each product, satellite, and campaign websites, and so on. No one manages just one site now.

Open Source innovates faster. Because all truly great innovations rely purely on slightly mad, slightly out-of-this-world people that are passionate about what they do and that are ready to work hard to make it happen — isn’t this what Open Source about?

That’s what I like about DrupalCon: new insights on lots of things. It’s not really helping us to sell more Drupal, simply because there are not much of customers over there, just agencies/development shops like us (I’m sorry Drupal Association, but it’s true). What it does help is to maintain our recognizability in the Drupal ecosystem, teach our guys new things, see what others are doing, talk to really smart people. And, of course, beer, though, I’m more of whiskey/wine guy lately. An interesting thing about sales by the way: we didn’t really promoted Drupal, what we got were two banners promoting Drupal SDK and our DrupalCon app (iOS/Android, it’s ready for Barcelona 2015 — yay!). And guess what? We got more of mobile development requests than Drupal ones.

What about the New World Order, then? With all these Internet-of-things gadgets and smartphones and scientific approaches when data no matter big or small drives everything — forget it, it won’t happen today. And hello again, it already happened years ago.