Much like an evolutionary tree our goal in technology adoption is too continue to move forward and evolve, rather than getting caught in a dead end. In the natural world, becoming bigger can be good but can lead to extinction events should the environment or food source change. Right now we are in a technology Jurassic...
Every week I hear about someone choosing WordPress over Drupal (or vice versus). While there are certainly differences between the two platforms, they are more alike than people typically care to admit:
First off, Drupal has had a great year and a great quarter. According to builtwith.com Drupal is second among all Content Management Systems at 13.75% of the top 10K websites and has added ~250K new website this quarter. That said, the number one CMS (WordPress) is at 42% of the market and according to the same source has added 5MM (yes, 5 million) websites this quarter. Here's the graph:
As more and more people start using the internet, and as websites get increasingly full featured Google continues to see growth in its userbase. Open Source CMS platforms (Drupal, WordPress, etc.) are increasingly the go-to technology for many companies with over 800,000 sites using Drupal or almost 60 million on WordPress. As big as these numbers are, they are a drop in a bucket compared to the 4+ million Google searches that occur each day. So why should Google care?
At tonight's PDX WordPress Dev meetup (thanks for the pizza Digital Trends) Daniel Bachhuber had some questions about benchmarking a plugin. Benchmarking WordPress itself is easy, but it's harder to isolate a specific plugin, much less a few calls to preg_match_all() within it. The questioned SEO Auto Linker plugin does this on every page load, so any running time adds latency on every page.
Speculation from the meetup is that a PHP regex operating on post content, a blob, and looping through hundreds of links could be pretty slow. Too much caffeine today meant I had to give it a try.
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.
I think we've all heard a few things about how Drupal and WordPress compare to each other. One thing I haven't heard much about is the "please contribute, here's how" factor to Drupal and its modules and the lack of it in the WordPress community. This can be seen in the site for Drupal modules and the site hosting WordPress modules.
Deploying code to WordPress installations has always been a bit of a struggle. Although there are a few WordPress plugins that help in deployments, there hasn't really been a simple WordPress deployment process. It's about time that process became a lot easier.
Learning to develop professionally involves a lot more than just writing code. Major required skills include keeping code stable long-term, sharing tasks within a team, and building understandable interfaces so your code can be connected to and run from other programs. Learning these skills is going to involve a lot of mistakes, but fortunately there are tools out there to help you get you ahead of the curve before joining your first team.