Dropping The Drop

This post sat unpublished on my website for about a year before I decided to simply let it out.

I started playing with Drupal to build this very website around 2005. Starting 2006, I was using it at work. Over the course of the following few years, I took on gradually larger projects involving Drupal, working with CNN, the World Bank and the United Nations. I even briefly took part in the Drupal Association, the non-profit supporting the Open Source project.

A little over 2 years ago, my company, Wiredcraft, decided to stop using it altogether. It’s now been a while since we last built or maintained anything Drupal. This move wasn’t without challenges; a significant portion of our business was tied up to Drupal in one way or another. While our projects always involved a lot of work on infrastructure, data visualization or data warehousing, Drupal often was a key part of the discussion with our clients.

For many of these clients and some of my friends, it seemed like an abrupt change of direction both technically and strategically. It was. We dicarded a large part of our technical expertise and a significant portion of our sales channels. And we’d probably do it again.

Some of these people asked why; I thought I’d share what I can remember of our thought process back then.

Drupal 7

Our last major project with it was the launch of our first Drupal 7 site. A frustrating trend clearly emerged:

Overall, the learning curve for both developers and end-users crossed a threshold that questioned our investment in Drupal.

A tougher market

The Drupal community had been pretty kind to us in the initial years of Wiredcraft. It was an expanding niche market with high demand for qualified expertise. But things in 2009 were already quickly moving to a less desirable setup:

A few other factors

Drupal 8

I won’t comment much on Drupal 8 since we’ve only very briefly played with it. What I saw though confirmed some of the trends we saw a few years ago:

A few more thoughts

We wish farewell to the Drupal community as they embark on the D8 journey; as in most OSS communities, there are plenty of great people there. We’re just definitely not heading in the same direction. I would encourage most (Drupal) people to look around though: all people who’ve “exited” have found it extremely refreshing.

We may be wrong and that doesn’t matter after all. But if I were to consider things like the graphs below I’d say that we may not be the only ones.

Stackoverflow trend for the Drupal tag

This is not a hate post, I just felt I owed it to people around me to explain our choice. This may be useful to others as they evaluate what’s best for their project, especially given the strong attitude of “you can build anything with Drupal (tm)” that runs within the community.

I have additional thoughts on why things are the way they are, but I won’t share them publicly. I’m happy discussing this in private though.

Thanks for all the fish.