After 20 days of reading, building and experimenting with Drupal I finally got my new blog up and running… in WordPress. It took me 5 hours to make WP work for me and I am rather satisfied already, convinced that it can function as a Contents Management System as well
The final reason why I turned away from Drupal was that it took me too long to find out which navigation system was best for my Drupal site. I had a thorough look at taxonomy and the taxonomy- and taxonomy menu module, the menu options, primary and secondary links, but couldn’t figure out how best to use it for my purpose. The only thing I achieved was the creation of a tagcloud for the blogpart of the site using taxonomy and the tagadelic module. But it was disappointing to see that for that I needed extra modules and some thinking to install it, and that creating a category “widget” was rather impossible for me at the moment. And I knew that I still had a long way to go, finding out about the complicated views-module and the CCK module for example, and that it would take me a couple of weeks more to get the basics in place.
Maybe it was the amount of choice and the many different opinions and manuals that frustrated me. Drupal probably can do more than WordPress, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it is easier to take the right decisions.
Drupal is a good choice for those that want to build up a more complex site from scratch without having to write code from the first line to the last. Or people who enjoy learning and discovering the possibilities of this particular system.
For an end user like me, eager to write content and to get started, it is not userfriendly enough yet.
Probably as a reaction to my struggle the last weeks to understand the terminology and manuals I now choose a nice WordPress theme (out of the richness of well functioning themes) with many features that work right out of the box – not very challenging or creative perhaps -but I actually like it a lot and it works well. Now I can start blogging and tweak the site as it develops.
After some years experimenting with several blogging systems as for example Blogger and WordPress.com and .org I almost by coincidence, finally, understood what a Content Management System (CMS) actually is. As I had been thinking about starting a (yet another) new blog/homepage, I had a look at some background information and got interested in Drupal. As my web-hotel provider only allows one mySQL database per domain I decided to buy a new webhotel to install and experiment with Drupal.
Now, a little more than a week later, I start to get closer to understanding what such a CMS is. I read the beginner-chapters on Drupal.org and the “cookbook” that also can be found there, and I now know that Drupal is software that tries to make it easier to build a homepage without losing too much of the flexibility when building one using templates. Unlike for example WordPress, Drupal doesn’t work with “standard” pages that together form a blog, but it constructs blocks of information or content that can be used on different places and in different combinations. In Drupal you don’t build a page but you build blocks that appear whenever the presence is triggered by someone clicking a link or a query… something like that.
This makes Drupal more flexible than for example WordPress but it definitely also makes it harder to understand its concept for a beginner like me. Drupal has many modules that can be installed to add functionality to the core, but it is not easy to know which ones are needed now or later. One has to understand the basic concept of Drupal first and then one has to plan a website/blog well before the actual building can start.
WordPress is proud of the fact that it “only takes 5 min” to install and start running a blog with their software. Drupal will might take a week for most people but it probably indeed can add more functionality to a site. When used clever it can for example fairly easily handle multiple users with different rights and possibilities for each and every block of information or adapt a site to the operating system or the location of a visitor. It has different ways of building menus and can create many types of input or output “blocks” that can be placed in the often many places/regions on a page that the chosen theme allows.
I am not perfectly sure whether I really need all this, I actually don’t at the moment, and at some occasions during the last week a quick switch to WordPress definitely crossed my mind, but for now the learning process is exciting and might provide good possibilities later.
I look forward to continue building and to start using Drupal, as I sense that all the explanations, suggestions, instructions and information about possibilities I read this week can make it more confusing than it actually is.