I’ve been playing around with the open source CMS, Drupal. I wanted a CMS to use for my Labs section, and wanted something that was easy to set up and use. I have used Joomla previously, and while the set up is a no-brainer, feature wise Joomla is a bit more tedious to use. Good thing about Joomla is that it supports almost everything one could want, however to get the specific output from it, I had to tinker with a gazillion settings – something I didn’t quite enjoy.

But I digress, so back to Drupal. I took to Drupal since it seemed to be easier to set up and use. However in hindsight I think I was mistaken.

Initially setting up the system was quite easy. Theme and module installation was also quite simple. However, once the initial work was done the deficiencies started becoming apparent. For starters, the first thing I noticed was that there was no rich text editor. While this is more of a personal preference and I understand that some people might not want to use one, I was quite surprised that I had to actually install a module manually to get it working. Then also there were a lot of little things like no way to turn off breadcrumbs without physically editing the theme files, and no way to turn off the display of the author in a blog posts etc.

On the plus side, it’s blocks and taxonomy features are quite powerful and I really liked the flexibility that these features gave. But then again, on the negative side documentation on specific things that might be useful to a developer like a database structure and relationship between tables etc was not really easily found. I’m sure that the documentation might exist somewhere, just that I wasn’t able to find it. At the end of the day, I had to try and figure out things from the DB for some simple things I wanted to fetch and display. Though it does have a great API, with a nice DB abstraction layer, all this doesn’t really help if you don’t know what tables to query, now does it ?
To summarize, Drupal isĀ  a powerful, clean and extensible CMS however if you want to very customized feature set for you site and don’t want to get your hands dirty in code then maybe Drupal isn’t for you.

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