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[_] Drupal work wanted

James Panton james at
Mon Feb 11 13:49:07 GMT 2013

On 11 Feb 2013, at 13:03, Ryan T Nerd <bristol.developer.ryan at> wrote:

> First things first, that link only works if you take off the word might,
> though I'm still not 100% sure of the relevance tbh.

The point of that link was a reminder that it's people who create open source, people with feelings, and to simply tell them their work is rubbish is unkind.

Positive criticism is useful and patches are very welcome :-)

> Drupal is terrible.

You mean, *you* think Drupal is terrible. Facts are facts and opinions are opinions. Arrogance is not appreciated.

> 1. It murders databases with about 38937 more queries than should be needed
> for any given task.

Drupal makes a lot of queries. This is because the underlying philosophy of Drupal is to be as flexible as possible, which in turn tends to abstraction of the various systems, which can lead to more code and queries than might be expected for a seemingly trivial task.

The huge benefit is the flexibility of the system. The developers of Drupal have *no idea* how it's going to be used and it is used for a huge variety o things no-one expected. The fact that it can handle these different, unplanned uses is wonderful.

All the non-programmers who use it to create what they need are *extremely* grateful.

> 2. It's slow. Hideously so.

It's fast. Very fast.
A slow Drupal site is mis-configured.

> 3. It's like MVC never existed, there is literally no separation between
> the data you want, and its presentation.

There's complete separation between the data and presentation.
I've found this very useful when outputting Drupal data as JSON or XML rather than the default HTML.

> 4. Small companies use it for purposes that it's really not fit for (I
> admit not Drupal's fault per se but a reason for my hatred of it) because
> of its main advantage of being quick to build things in and being possible
> to build a basic site with very little skill.

This is one of the best things about Drupal: it's used in totally unexpected ways.
Power to the people.

> 5. 3rd party modules are a pain in the arse. Often poorly-written and with
> dodgy security, frequently abandoned, etc. The existence of such a large
> library of items of wildly-varying quality leads employers in the Drupal
> sphere to conclude that you can build xyz in 3 seconds because a module
> exists that almost does what you want, failing to understand that often the
> modules lack the flexibility to do EXACTLY what your client needs, leaving
> the options of a new module, horrific hacks or modifying a 3rd party module
> [please never ever do any of these things]

Some extremely complex functionality has been built with third-party modules, showing the power of the underlying system.
It takes time to work out the good from the bad, but there's plenty of guidance from the Drupal community if you ask for it.

> 6. It's so damn procedural

Because for a long time it has supported lowest-common-demoninator hosting, which meant old versions of PHP.
Drupal really tries to be as inclusive as possible, which can lead to some difficult technical and architectural decisions.
But that inclusiveness is probably one the Drupal's key strengths.

> 7. Have you ever tried untangling a mess of modules all interacting with
> each other where something's not working? Again, usually a problem when
> dealing with 2nd hand code.

A problem with all 2nd hand code? It's the price you pay for not re-inventing the wheel.
Was the documentation not good enough? Did you help fix it?

> 8. Projects created in Drupal are a maintenance nightmare. At the employers
> who have used Drupal, it has invariably been the Drupal sites which were
> unmaintainable, barely hanging on by a thread, while CodeIgniter stuff is a
> relative joy to work with.

I have seen *so* many awful implementations of Drupal in my time, so can totally feel for you here.
Generally, the problem has been experienced programmers using Drupal for the first time. What why find difficult is the concept of *not* writing any code unless you have to.
It's an understandable problem: used to coding new functionality, they don't look to what's already there and go off and write something when they don't need to. Many see *configuring* functionality beneath them and feel they can write a better solution. Those people generally make the worst Drupal sites.

> Note that I say all this as someone who has buggered off to do Java
> instead, with a nice bit of Struts and Hibernate for good measure. I can
> honestly say I don't miss Drupal one bit!

I'm glad you're happy where you are now. Enjoy your Struts and Hibernate.

But do remember, an awful lot of people, the world over, have put a lot of time and effort in Drupal and are constantly striving to make it better. As I said before, positive criticism and patches are really welcome, so rather than merely dismissing other people's hard work with ridiculous and untrue statements, please jump into the issue queues ( and show us how it can be improved.

Otherwise, if you haven't anything nice to say, don't say anything at all :-)