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dont use drupal

Long Live Full Stack – Why We Don’t Use Drupal

Some clients have asked why we don’t use Drupal and instead apply our expertise to full stack and WordPress (our preferred content management system (CMS) of choice). Here we explain our decision and show why we much prefer WordPress and don’t use Drupal – along with the pros and cons of this decision when it comes to our custom website design work.

Client-Focused
With decades of experience in the custom website design and the online agency world, the Webheads team are adept at designing and deploying websites with multiple different software packages. However we always keep in mind the full client journey with our work and consider what the end user of the website backend will be able to do in terms of ongoing website management after their custom website is live. In this regard, we have found that Drupal is too complex and rigid for those with no / little knowledge of website backends (even after being given training and a handover). It seriously lacks in basic user friendliness – especially compared to WordPress which began as a blogging platform initially (hence showing how it has user friendliness at its core). Online reviews also highlight these aspects – for example “In a world with more user friendly platforms, Drupal is not one of them.”


Complexity Post Launch 
WordPress has grown to arguably be one of the leading CMS used by websites all around the world today. The key thing being here is that it has retained relative ease of use and accessibility with an intuitive interface in the backend that even those with little / no website knowledge can grasp and use quite quickly. Drupal on the other hand confines their arguably more complex CMS system to an off the shelf method – rendering it inflexible and to some extent at a dead end in terms of placing too much of a rigid obstacle in the way of ease of use and customisation options and opportunities. eCommerce websites in particular showcase this point well. The very nature of these websites requires the flexibility to meet each client’s custom requirements post launch. Therefore the likes of a fully custom website designed by Webheads using WordPress empowers the client with infinite flexibility as opposed to them being held back by the more rigid and inflexible Drupal. Reviews again reflect this, showcasing that these facts can affect many “don’t seem to care about how to make the UI easier to use from the end user’s perspective.”


Costs and Development Time 
One more useful comparison between full stack development and why we don’t use Drupal is when it comes to costs and development time. We recently won a tender for a web solution project and they had asked us if Drupal would be a viable option for them. They were blown away when we highlighted the complexity and longevity issues as mentioned above and also how the development process would unfold. Full stack development would only take four months where Drupal would take at least eighteen months. Full stack is not only more flexible, but it is also faster to deploy and substantially more economical both during the website build and at any future development of it. As you can imagine, a longer project lead time would understandably inflate project costs too. In some cases, the same system can be ten times the development time and therefore ten times the cost. As one review puts in “Drupal is complicated. More than anything else I’ve used. We hired a team to design and build our website and it was extremely expensive to do. After that, even simple changes and updates require paying someone to do it.” This simply does not make sense to pursue in any way, shape or form.


Longevity
Perhaps the most crucial point (and an ethos that we work on) is that Drupal ceases support for websites every few years as they unveil the latest version of their CMS. This effectively forces businesses to redevelop their website every few years; meaning that their initial investment may not have that long to be recouped before a business has to go through the process of website development over and over again. With open source full stack in comparison, there are arguably no limits to the scale and efficiency of what can be done and retained over the years – even as the CMS versions are released and tweaked. This element again is referenced through other reviews as it is not an isolated opinion but moreso a widespread fact: “If you’re working with Drupal yourself, expect to spend hours Googling and reading forum posts. Modules (like plugins) are often abandoned.”