Drupal as a web applications framework: Should Drupal target mainly developers?

For us at 2bits.com, Drupal has always been, first and foremost, a web applications framework, that happens to have some 'out of the box' features that also make it a content management framework (CMF), and a content management system (CMS).

To restrict Drupal as only a social networking CMS is not giving Drupal credit for everything else it can do. From multimedia, ecommerce, stock and currency applications, and much much more.

As developers and consultants, we were always impressed with the ever improving API of Drupal, which is where the following features come from:

  • Powerful.
  • Flexibile.
  • Extensible.
  • Modular.

See what Robert Fabian of CIPS says about targeting Drupal mainly to developers. I am sure that many will not agree to this, since it is pigeonholing of another type, but it is certainly food for thought on where Drupal's strengths are.

Update Dec 15, 2007: Andre Molnar writes on his blog expanding on Robert Fabian's point of Drupal's community of developers are its greatest asset. Definitely worth reading.




Different Development Paths

I think the Drupal philosophy is get involved with what you are interested in and improve that. There can be multiple goals occuring simultaineously. I'm not a developer but rather a standards based designer and I'm happy that theming is supposed to be easier for Drupal 6. So, improving the framework of Drupal is great. Though I don't understand anything beyond the most general about that. I would love to see Drupal have a supported install package for single use Blogs on par with Wordpress.

I'll be making a handful of blogs in Drupal this year. Sites like aiburn.com. So that and small client sites is what I'm interested in at the moment. What makes me want to use Drupal is its rapid development growth and unlimited scalability. So if a client says I want to sell stuff. I can add it. Anything they want can be added. Drupal is awesome.


Interesting article !

Very cool. I do mostly back end Drupal development and can attest to its robustness through the awesome hooks and api. I pull up all my sites in NetBeans and can bang out code all day without having to touch the gui. I can be a bit of a code snob myself but IMHO Drupal is as much of a framework as others AND has the added benefit of being a full-fledged CMS. It's a great utility.


You're right, I've stared

You're right, I've stared using it recently, and it really isn't a CMS out of the box, and shouldn't be described as one... It is very good, but it IS a application framework, not a CMS...

From drupal.org

Specifically from this comment on drupal.org.

I nominate, the following catch phrase for marketing Drupal:

"Drupal: the extremely flexible-infinitely extensible-wildly modular-unbelievingly powerful-fully open-free and libre content management framework."

Seriously though...to my ear it kinda works.

I noticed...

I noticed indeed (wink wink) and almost posted this in the queue there.

Also, I really wanted to thank you for your contributions to the Drupal community through this site, and the time and energy you have spent benchmarking and testing performance issues. I really don't I could put a monetary value on the information gained here if I was forced to. Priceless.

Drupal as an applications framework

Although I did not have a chance to hear Robert Fabian's talk, from the information I have gleaned from the reports of those who *were* there, he is correct in saying that Drupal should reposition itself as a web applications framework that can be used as a CMS, rather than as 'merely' a CMS.

I come into Drupal from a programming background, and I have always been impressed by the functionality available in the backend through the various hooks. The Drupal codebase has been well-designed, and lends itself to extensions and modules in a much 'cleaner' way then other CMS's I have dealt with.

As a result of its extensible backend, it is very powerful as the foundation for various applications. in the last few months I have quoted several intranet applications built on the Drupal backend. Many applications that in the past I would have written from scratch in an agile language such as Rails or similar, I now will likely build based on Drupal.

Drupal is not just a CMS anymore. Yes, it can be used as that. And perhaps the casual or even intermediate user will only ever see that aspect of it. For the experienced user / developer, however, it presents a range of possibilities that just aren;t available on other platforms.

This is what I had in mind

This is what I had in mind when I posted* about removing most of the "CMS" stuff from core, then repackaging it as an 'official' CMS/core+ install profile. With the actual modules being maintained in the contrib repository for easier development.