Blinking and Flashing

published

I’m trying out Drupal for the content management system at work. The current website is a complicated mass of Dreamweaver-managed files, with a drop-down menu system statically defined in every file, rather than through any kind of include mechanism.

A database-driven web-based means to manage the content is desparately needed. I considered – and even started working on – using WordPress for the new site. The needs are relatively modest, and I’m certainly familiar enough with WordPress that it’s a reasonable starting point. But since we’re re-engineering the whole site, I think that perhaps this is a good opportunity to evaluate other tools for the job, lest I remain a one-trick pony in the content management world.

Alas, Drupal is more complex than I expected, and it’s taking me rather longer than I hoped to get the functionality I desire in place on a test implementation.

[http://www.skippy.net/blog/wp-content/blinkingandflashing.mp3]
I know it’s not just that Drupal is (or isn’t) complex: it’s my own preconceived notions about how things work making my learning curve greater. It’s also the frustration that comes from knowing exactly how I’d do something with WordPress, but not knowing where to start to do the same thing in Drupal.

Overall I’m impressed with Drupal, despite the complexity. The taxonomy system is intuitive enough for organizing one’s content. I dislike the default “node/” style URLs, though; and I dislike how cumbersome it is to construct meaningful URL aliases. Content editing is easy enough; and there are a few modules for image manipulation that really blow WordPress out of the water.

User management is vastly superior to what WordPress offers. Templating is both easy and hard, depending on what you want to do. Adding stuff to sidebars is accomplished via a menu-driven tool for just that purpose.

I’m going to keep plugging away for a while yet. Thankfully we don’t (yet) have a deadline to convert the site, so I’ve got time to learn as much as I can. Feel free to share links to any howtos or other documents you might have found helpful if you’re a Drupal user!


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