In the past month or so, I’ve spent some time with two content management systems: Drupal and WordPress. Both products make it easy to build and edit relatively sophisticated Web sites from within the browser.
However, only WordPress gave me that “Aha! moment” you get when a product so seamlessly fits your functional needs and is fun-to-use at the same time. In fairness to Drupal, this is not particuarly surprising since:
- WordPress is designed for a more specific scenario. In WordPress, you have Blog Posts and Pages. In Drupal, you have a very abstract concept of a Node. While an instance of a Node can be a Blog Post or a Page, it can also be many other things.
- WordPress comes pre-packaged with the plugins that meet this scenario. While both products have a robust plugin architecture, WordPress is good to go out-of-the-box whereas Drupal requires you to install modules (once you figure out what they are) to have a system comparable to WordPress.
Anyways, the takeaway should not be that Drupal sucks. On the contrary, it powers some of the largest sites on the Web, including FastCompany.com. The takeaway here is that there is an opportunity to turn Drupal’s “weakness” into a strength, by leveraging the generic architecture and wide availability of plugins to create Drupal distributions for specific customer scenarios and segments.
One such customer segment is non-profit and volunteer organizations. As an example, I am a fan of Seattle Works‘ Web site. The event planning features of the site are arguably what make the organization so active. For another time, I’d like to see a) if there already is a hosted Drupal distribution that serves this segment as well as the Seattle Works site does for its members and b) if not, what it would take to create one.