“One does not act rightly toward one\\\'s fellows if one does not know how to act rightly towards the earth.”

The Holy Earth

Drupal & WordPress

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I’ve been using WordPress for about 7 or 8 years. After a couple of years into it I did some research into other publishing platforms (including Drupal & Joomla). I chose to go (stay) with WordPress. In the last 8 months I’ve had two encounters with Drupal (one only as a user and one with a glimpse into the insides) and I am glad I chose to stay with WordPress. I am not an active member of the WordPress community.

This morning I came across this post (via PostStatus) written by a professional Drupal developer about getting to know WordPress. This shimmered for me:

“The WP community is focused on the user. It’s one of the ways they make decisions. While Drupal developers tend to value technical excellence and architectural flexibility — “what can I do with this as a developer?” WordPress people seem to ask the same question with the content editor or website visitor in mind. That’s refreshing.”

This statement seems to be implying that there needs to be a choice between either technical excellence or user focus, as if WordPress, because it gives priority to user experience gives less priority to technical excellence. This statement is, while technically correct, misleading (ironically that is a typical consequence of engineering mentality). There is no doubt in my mind that Drupal is dominated by an engineering mentality (while giving much less priority to users and user experience) … it is evident everywhere I’ve looked.

To me what is more interesting is that focus on user experience will likely lead engineers to technical excellence but the opposite isn’t true. You can focus on technical excellence forever without ever meeting user experience.

User experience is, in my opinion, one of the most strategic weaknesses of open-source software (though in a few cases it seems to be getting better). WordPress out-performs Drupal on user experience and at the same time I believe user experience is also a weakness of WordPress.

Ironically, WordPress and Drupal (and most open source software) are actually both user-centric – the user being the developers of the platforms (developing software for themselves – the way they’d like it to be). With Drupal that is painfully obvious, with WordPress it is more subtle, but also very dominant.

 

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