New Competition: Will WordPress and Drupal Learn to Share?
Rise of Drupal and WordPress
After years of building and publishing on them, I'd love to say I knew CMS frameworks like Drupal and WordPress would be this huge. In truth they got this popular because of their great open-source communities; both of which I'm trying to participate and contribute to more. Why? Because closed platforms like SquareSpace and Adobe's content platform are rushing ahead without having to worry about backward compatibility like WordPress and Drupal does. These newer, closed systems insulate users from the backend and abstract away many of the same complexities WordPress.org and WordPress.com solved. They can push forward faster with newer, cleaner, “from-scratch” user-experiences because they don't need to maintain compatibility like "the big PHP" CMS's.
As a result, the next few years will be a challenge for WordPress and Drupal. Neither system will go away (ironically, due to their success they both have huge userbases that cause them to change slowly). But unless they adopt cleaner, faster UX and new functionality neither system will be the market-leader they are now.
How Do They Stay Ahead?
I think the communities and companies leading both projects know this. Acquia and Drupal are trying to change this in Drupal 8 with their Spark UX initiative. WordPress has embraced their core contributors and may be seeing incredibly fast development coming as they enable & inspire a huge new community.
Few people work in both WordPress and Drupal. That's largely because there are huge differences in both, but despite those differences both are GPL'd PHP code. Personally, I'd like to see the two systems embrace their differences and learn from each other. Both communities and platforms could be vastly stronger with more fluid cooperation and sharing. Open-source is great, but so is competition. Let's see if they can use both to stay ahead.