Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Comments about Drupal

Drupal has some very interesting engineering under the hood. The flip side of the no-salable-features coin is that there is a LOT of room for a system integrator to prepare prepackaged solutions and packing facilities, much in the way that Red Hat, Novel, and Canonical have done with various spins of *NIX OS's. And compare those to Apple's OS/X, which is also now *NIX based, and you can see how a user experience can be improved while retaining the interesting engineering in the core. What we need is not another CMS with its guts hanging out all over the place like Drupal, nor one with no user-serviceable parts, but one that wraps CMS primitives (like those of Drupal) in a tight cocoon of seamless silky smoothness.

That could mean hosted Drupal or an application layer tier made to completely isolate and automate changes to the Drupal core. Very recently, we've seen service providers pushing in that direction. Two notable mentions are DrupalGardens.com and OpenAtrium.com. In particular, in a blog at imagexmedia.com, Phillip Lamb discusses what they've done to address the salable feature problem of Drupal using the Features module. I'm not sure Features encapsulates and hides enough of Drupal's dross, but it is a huge step in the right direction. Someone finally gets it.
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