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The Drupal dilemma

I haven’t posted for the past week or so on this blog as I’ve been spending more time fighting with Drupal than actually writing. If I’m not mistaken, trying to get software to work for you is not very efficient. I want to use software tools to make my life easier not harder. Especially when there are numerous blog publishing tools out there that work great.

After giving up on Drupal (and yes I have finally given up), I decided to really give some other software a test drive. Specifically, I looked at Movable Type and WordPress. Both are excellent for publishing blogs, but after actually using both for a period of time on other blogs I maintain I found that WordPress is superior for my needs.

The entire experience I have with WordPress is summarized by one word: simplicity. Everything I need is where it should be without my having to think about it. It just works. Like the other tools, modules / plug-ins are available for the missing, non-core functionality so there’s no real difference there. WordPress also has a very active development community that is very helpful and is constantly creating new hacks, plug-ins, and themes. In addition, if you are planning on creating numerous blogs, Movable Type limits you to 3 (personal only) before having to purchase a license. For business use, a 5 user license starts at $199. Granted, the purchase of a license includes support.

WordPress, on the other hand, is open source and free with no limitations. Taking away the cost comparison, I found WordPress to be a superior product. The addition of the cost savings just adds to that evaluation.

Don’t get me wrong. Drupal is an outstanding package for content management. The problem I have with Drupal is that’s it is overkill for blogs. Drupal contains functionality to support not only blogs, but also community sites, portals, intranet, etc. The core system of Drupal can be customized and configured to meet a wide variety of uses. And therein lies the problem. Typically, a multi-function tool is not as useful as one that has been designed for a specific function. Drupal was not designed from day one as a blog publishing tool. These capabilities were added on as the need arose for blogs on users’ Drupal sites.

The best analogy I can give is that Drupal is like a Swiss army knife. Great tool, multiple functionality. You can certainly use a Swiss army knife to open a can of beans, but a standalone, motorized can opener does a better job, much faster. In the case of blogging, Drupal is the Swiss army knife. The motorized can opener from my research is WordPress.

Now with that realization in mind, what do I do next? Despite considerable research, there does not seem to be anyone who has posted about their moving from Drupal to something else. Everything I could find cited people moving from other tools to Drupal. So, unfortunately, this means there is going to be a lot of work involved in this effort. Since the posts are in MySQL, it should be easy enough to pull those out. Comments and trackbacks will be another story.

I don’t have a time frame for this yet, but it will be obvious when the final conversion is complete. The site will look different and you’ll see a heck of a lot more posting to this blog.

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  1. True, it does sound simple, but I found nothing is particularly easy with Drupal.

    I plan on documenting my steps and any scripts I write to accomplish the migration and send it over to the WordPress folks.

    WordPress is is great software and I’d love to help anyone else in this same situation.

  2. Surely comments and trackbacks are held in the MySQL as well? So it shouldn’t be any harder to port those across than the posts.

    I’m sure its probably just a matter of a lot of foreach statements. If I knew the Drupal db structure I’d offer to help!

    However – when you work out how to do it – submit it to WP, I’m sure they’d welcome more conversion formats.

  3. I had the same thing. I like a lot of Drupal, and it’s the backend for my main website, but I grew to despise its handling of my (not)blog. So I just used both. Drupal for all my regular pages and other behind the scenes controls; WordPress as a seperate installation. As far as visitors can see, it’s all one coherent whole.

  4. Great to read a sensible posting about using the right tool for the job. Drupal is great, I run a number of sites. But as far as blogging is concerned, it falls short. No matter what the Drupal zealots will tell you, it can’t be all things to all people. Nor is it a very good blogging tool, yet. Unfortunately, if you dare post this on the Drupal site, you will be flamed almost out of existence.

    Just getting Drupal running properly as a typical portal site can be a challenge. But that is another discussion.

    If you want to blog, get a blogging tool, if you want a CMS take a look at Drupal, if you want to install a new hardrive, get a screwdriver. The right tool for the right job.

    Thanks for the great post.

  5. This is a good article and all the points are valid.

    I haven’t worked with wordpress very much but respect it as a quality piece of software.

    The Drupal/Swiss Army Knife analogy doesn’t quite work I think. Drupal has a powerful API and hook system which makes if more flexible like lego rather than something multi- functional yet fixed in it’s design like a Swiss Army Knife. That’s why it’s been adapted later on to new tasks like Blogging etc.

    But yes: Drupal’s power is not through simplicity where word press is just that.

  6. You’ve just given me the info I was searching for. I also can be helpful here 🙂 So here is my saving grace: AltoMerge helped me to merge and manage files order. Just try it, you’ll love it.

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