Defending Drupal

I am a huge fan of Drupal, love it to bits.  Not least of all because it pays my bills but also because it can be so incredibly easy to use as both a Developer and a User.  I often say to editors, “If you can use Word, you can use Drupal.”

That said, I’m not a total fan boy.  It has its limitations and down-sides.  It stores a little too much in its Database, and that can cause it to be pretty performance hungry, but it more than makes up for it in other areas.

So I went to Google for some Anti-Drupal posts and see if I can bust them and help people realise how great this CMS can be.

Here are some issues I found.

Lack of familiarity with core functionality

Not entirely sure why this was listed as a bad thing. One of the basic rules when it comes to using any Content Management System is "Don’t touch the core".

Drupal helps with this by providing a huge number of 'hooks' that a Developer can use to hook their code into Drupal at the right point. In fact, almost every large user made module often provides hooks of their own to help developers plug into their modules.

This hook system allows a Developer to say “I want my module to run this function on every page load” and this can be held in a self-contained module that runs this one hook when it needs to. The next developer who comes along can see it and know what it does. If the next developer has to go searching through the core components to find what has changed, this will drive them crazy… trust me.

High development time

Once you know what you are doing, it is possible to go from an empty web server to a fully functional corporate website, with contact forms, sliding images, multiple types of content and user roles with permissions, in under two hours.

As was discussed in a previous blog post, I was able to create a Drupal site with a custom interactive map, using just my smart phone, in under 48 hours. If you missed that post and video then you can see it here: The Power of a Phone Meets the Flexibility of Drupal

Custom development comes at a big cost

The great thing about Drupal is this often isn’t required. There are over 34,000 developers and over 27,000 modules.  Chances are that, if not one, a combination of modules will do exactly what you are after.

Even if they don’t, the previously mentioned hook system will allow you easy access to insert your code when it’s required.

Drupal is a total memory hog

This one I can’t really say much about because it’s true because it holds almost all of its configuration in the Database then it is often querying it.

Two points, however:

  1. Memory in Virtual Servers these days costs less than it ever has.

  2. With this being such a big issue, Drupal 8 has decided to combat it by moving large amounts of configuration into static files.


Like all CMS’s, Drupal has its Pros and Cons. And like most CMS’s, it has Developers who will attack and defend it.

While it is true, however, that it has a steep learning curve, and loves its database a bit too much, it more than makes up for those short comings by being incredibly easy to modify and extend and with a huge developer network backing it, it will only go from strength to strength.

Date posted:
02 September 2014
Authored by :
Toby Wild