// May 21st, 2008 // 7 Comments » // Scripts, Web, Wordpress
After about a year, I am kicking Drupal to the curb. I fully recognize it is a robust, capable CMS (Content Management System). So are a lot of other systems. But it’s just not fitting me well. Sometimes I think CMS usage is as much about tastes as it is strict functionality (actually, I’m sure of it). Sure, a sweater might be warm, but if it’s ugly (with a big clown on the front), you might wear something a little lighter for the sake of having something more appealing (and less clowny). That’s where I am at. I’m tired of clowns and sweaters.
I originally adopted Drupal to run Penpedia when I launched the site for a few reasons. One, about that time I had started getting into Drupal just through the course of investigating different CMS’s. I did like that user accounts could have their fields customized. And I found a module that allowed for hand in hand single sign on authentication with the other half of the site, which ran MediaWiki. That also made it appealing. The longer I used it though, the more the rough edges started showing.
First, I didn’t want to start writing templates for a new system. This is in part because I already know how to template other systems like WordPress, e107, dotCMS, and a couple others. As a result, I start losing patience for learning others. Not a huge deal, because theming Drupal isn’t terribly hard, it was just that I didn’t want to. The theme I ultimately grabbed was only marginal, but I just never got motivated to write a custom one. And frankly, I’m a little ashamed of that, because the design of the site is not indicative of my abilities. But what did drive me nuts was the lack of any WYSIWYG editor built in. And the module that enabled the feature was disgustingly complicated, and caused a lot of clashing with the code stripper. The added steps of permissions and profiles for it to work right was just way beyond necessary. Which leads me to the next thing. The permission system didn’t please me. It didn’t work how I’d expect, and seemed far to complicated for what it was doing. That’s what I love about dotCMS, you can’t beat their permissioning system. Doing complex, and sometimes even more routine, tasks in the back end of Drupal generally felt like a power struggle between me and the code, and I loathed the idea of having to go in and tweak anything. And just to round it out, I’ve never liked the “node” concept.
But, just to remain clear, if it works for you, then great. It just hasn’t meshed well with me, and has actually discouraged me from developing the site better. That’s why I plan on changing things over there to WordPress later this week. The MediaWiki portion will remain unchanged, though there might be some tweaks to login stuff, as I am investigating what needs to happen to maintain single sign on with the two. Plus, between here and there, I’ll only have one software package that I’ll need to worry about now, as opposed to two, which should encourage more development and activity on my part on the Penpedia site. I think this will be a move all for the better, and it should benefit the site well.
The moral of the story? There is a lot of value to standardizing on a CMS, and sticking with what you know. Even if a system isn’t perfect, if you are familiar with it and know its capabilities, I think that beats out picking a robust system that just doesn’t click for you.