Drupal

Thought for the day: calling Drupal a “content management platform” is stretching the truth somewhat. Technically, yes, it supports the management of content. But it lacks fundamental features, such as creating site structure, and re-using content across the site in forms outside of basic “show everything for a category” style lists. It’s more a “community blogging platform” with some additional features, and a big community doing lots of hacks to get things resembling a normal site.

This is not to dis what the Drupal community has achieved – it is significant and is an amazing platform for certain types of sites. We’re going to have to a significant amount of hacking to get it to work even with a basic structure. And one section of the site in particular is looking like requiring a significant amount of custom page development.

I often hear (on the web and elsewhere) that the CMS market is crowded, and that it’s tough to be competitive. But I actually disagree. There is no system that I’ve found, certainly in the open source space, that really balances blog-style/community tools with site management tools. Flexible version control and workflow management is also lacking on many tools – some don’t have any (or poor implementation) and others are too restrictive.

It seems that the systems that do exist are either a) overly expensive ($20k for a basic installation is a stretch IMO), b) counter-intuitive from an admin/editing perspective, or c) lacking core features (like standards compliance etc.). Perhaps our needs are too specific. But I have read about and talked to a number of people that have lamented the same thing.

What this means is that there is still room for CMS systems to take root and take on a significant chunk in the market. Certainly, if we had a bit more time we would seriously consider building something ourselves, or at least getting involved in extending a framework or existing project (Cuyahoga comes to mind) that fits our needs. It’s no trivial task, but I certainly don’t think that building a solid system is out of the realm of possibility.