Drupal's On Hold

November 17, 2008

I know I said before that I would be replacing Wordpress with Drupal around here, and I did start working on that. However, the more I read about Drupal, the harder it seems to do custom things. Actually, it's more a problem of poor documentation than it is a lack of flexibility. Still, if I don't know what I'm doing, it's hard to learn anything.

Granted, I could easily replace Wordpress for the sake of my blog here (and probably still will at some point), but that's not why I was planning to learn it. I wanted something that would allow me to crank out new pages quickly without constantly restarting from scratch. I do have a very weak framework I've written to try to achieve this, but every time I start a new site, I feel compelled to re-do at least part of it, so in the end I don't save any time. In fact, I lose time because I have to re-learn the changes I made for each site when I need to maintain them.

A while back, I started looking into frameworks to use at work. I'm still enthralled with Symfony, but it's way too hard to just jump in to. In order to take advantage of all of its niceties, there's a lot you need to learn. It's almost like learning a new language on its own, which is fine and all, but it doesn't help me get things done quickly. It's hard to be motivated to learn new frameworks and techniques unless you have something to work on, and any new projects I have need to be done in a timely manner, so I can't take too long to jump into something new.

Anyway, one other framework that stood out when I we were doing our research was CodeIgniter. Not because it's better, but because it has more of an a-la-carte mentality. Don't want to use the full MVC design pattern? No problem, just use the parts you want to; you can use it as a simple controller mechanism only if you so choose. Don't feel like getting into a full ORM? Skip it, they have a built-in ActiveRecord style interpreter, which means you don't need to create your own class for each table in your database. Of course, ou can write your queries completely by hand if you choose to too. Best of all, no command line magic to make your code work, and on top of it all, the entire framework is 3.3MB with the user guide included, under 2MB without it.

I've spent a couple nights reading through the documentation (which is pretty well done) and I already have a good understanding of how it all works. And, since it's almost Christmas again, it's time to get my annual list manager online again. So, I've got a new tool to play with and a simple project to do it with. As a result, Drupal's on hold while I work on that. I'll report back on how it goes.

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