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[_] Drupal work wanted

Ryan T Nerd bristol.developer.ryan at
Tue Feb 12 09:07:51 GMT 2013

Should probably get round to a proper reply to James as my original was a
little snippy ;)

So yeah I'm aware that open source is created by people with feelings, but
then so is closed source, and we all rag on that pretty hard. Just because
it's open source doesn't mean it's immune from critique, and useful
critique can be as relevant as patches [given that it can help guide the
development process].

Nice to know you don't appreciate my arrogance, lots of people do though
cos I'm amazing ;) Drupal is terrible in that it is poorly designed, but
perhaps it might have been wiser to include the drupal ecosystem in that
statement as more of my ire is reserved for that.

You're right that Drupal is flexible, but then so is a framework (such as
Zend and CodeIgniter) which the developers have an equal lack of prior
knowledge about the use of. That doesn't make its database murder any more
forgivable. When developing software in a commercial environment, one
should choose the best option, not the one you feel most grateful for, and
in my opinion, one should choose one capable of producing sane and relevant

It is slow. 290387 database queries will always be slower than 50 database

Data/Presentation separation: Have you not seen the node system? There is
so much of the database concerned with business logic, configuration etc
that mixes in among the content with many of the modules out there that it
can become a nightmare to get content out.

Power to the people indeed. It's just a shame the people aren't that
bright. You can use a rusty spoon to eat a steak, but it's not recommended,
just as you can try to develop software with Drupal (and by god I've seen
it done and had to do it myself) but it's a bad idea.

Frankly I don't care that it supports crappy hosting. The code is not good.
If your hosting can't accomodate proper code move to a better host.

Yep, a problem with most 2nd hand code. The modules are a mess and as you
touch upon documentation then yes that is an issue. Poor documentation is a
problem in 90% of drupal (and indeed in a large amount of open source).
Open source developers need at some point to figure out that undocumented
open source is less useful than closed source with a well-documented API.
More can be done with the latter.

You're right, inexperienced programmers are a problem. The problem is that
Drupal encourages them to think they are programmers. At one of my previous
employers, I lost count of the job applications coming in from people who
thought they could program because they had installed a few modules on
Drupal sites. Unfortunately some of these seem to make it into local web
dev agencies and leave a mess for others to clean up.

I'm certainly not saying that no effort goes into Drupal, nor that it's the
wrong choice in all scenarios (it's a perfectly acceptable CMS for small
simple projects where scalability isn't an issue due to low traffic, but do
not use it for large applications with lots of traffic if you want your
server and your coders to stay sane). I do however think that it needs to
be rebuilt in line with modern development practices, and third party
modules need to be purged to make way for new modules developed with some
kind of verification process (perhaps something like the App Store, even if
that necessitates charging).

Anyway, better stop there as this is turning into war and peace.


On Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 1:49 PM, James Panton <james at>wrote:

> 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.
> Yes.
> 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
> :-)
> James
> --
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