Friday, April 24, 2009

Why Drupal and Toolkits Like Drupal Suck

This software time-sucubus needs to STOP. I had a Drupal project last summer and it was a complete, miserable failure in so many retarded ways. The client was convinced that all I need to do was customize this already available code. They felt like the work was pretty simple (and hence cheap). There are glaring, obvious limitations to many of the pre-packaged UI elements, the "modules" in Drupal. You can't just customize the look of some module, if the UI is inappropriate, and it's not usable for your website. What's the point of changing the type and other visual styles in a template if people look at it but don't find it usable?

The worst thing about Drupal is that if gives non tech people this attitude that it's OK to cut corners and not think about User Experience or any of the practical realities of developing and managing a website. It lets people think that they can have some workable website in a day. At best you end up with a prototype of what you want, just a half rate design that doesn't connect with people. At worst, you can go down some tedious road of endless, costly iterations, just trying to make the software fit your need.

The other thing I hate about Drupal (and all freeware in general) is the fact that it undermines the entire design profession. Design IS A PROCESS. It's about thinking through your idea really thoroughly, testing assumptions, making sure something really works for the end user. I don't think that any product developer, or any entrepreneur for that matter, should inflict the world with their invention until they've really thought it out first. Drupal really just confuses and limits a lot of people who are new to the web. It enables tightwadishness. It allows people to think they can get away with being lazy. In reality all software, every single website, needs a fairly high degree of planning, budgeting, & ongoing maintenance. Always.

Strictly as a user, a consumer of websites and media, I freaking hate visiting a Drupal site. They are sooooo ghetto. They look bad. They read bad. They are usually not interesting. The cheap Drupal approach to web development just screams AMERATEUR! It's very insulting to ask the world to use half baked software products. I don't WANT to try out the next cool website. I have better things to do with my time.

I don't mean to sound bitchy, I can code very well. But I am a much better designer than a coder. Seriously, it would be better if folks just design something, and then go on rent-a-coder and get somebody overseas to implement a finished spec.

5 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. This is so true. Drupal is used by lazy designers who think they can code. Its funny to see how designers try to bend the needs of the customer towards what drupal and its modules can do. Its should be the other way around, the needs of the custommer should be the starting point for the development process not the tool that is used. Let designers design and programmers program with REAL frameworks that offer transparent functionality like Zendframework, codeignitor, symphony, etc. Drupal is not transparent at all, its a CMS.

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  3. I also agree. Drupal comes across as the solution for everyone, and everything, yet it is very cumbersome to just make small and simple changes. It doesn't look good, and the learning curve is too high. Drupal is not backwards compatible either.

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  4. "This is so true. Drupal is used by lazy designers who think they can code. Its funny to see how designers try to bend the needs of the customer towards what drupal and its modules can do. Its should be the other way around, the needs of the custommer should be the starting point for the development process not the tool that is used. Let designers design and programmers program with REAL frameworks that offer transparent functionality like Zendframework, codeignitor, symphony, etc. Drupal is not transparent at all, its a CMS."

    This is such a great comment, I totally agree that Drupal is for lazy designers.

    Its so heavy in code and seems backwards-minded.

    I like modx cms, very flexible and accessible.

    Best,

    Josh

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  5. I agree drupal sucks. But, not all sites need look amateurish. It depends on your template. See for instance http://www.electromaths.com . This site has no add on modules, no code modifications, just a darn good template.

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