I work for Dutch Open Projects, 30+ people passionate about Open Source, working with different PHP projects. If you need a quality Drupal site please contact me by mailing bert.boerland @ dop.nu. We know Drupal!
For more information about me being active in the Drupal community for thepast 10 years, check out my profile on d.o, user 188. For more information on the code DOP contributed, see our entry at d.o.
This site is build on openstandards with opensource software and an openmind. That is why all content is licenced under the open content licence.
I thought this was funny. Extend New York, at ExtendNy.com where the grid of NY is used all over the world and you can find where you are located. In my case, I am at NY 68,024 st / 10,749 ave (note the comma's :-). The gris itself dates way back, see the plan of 1811.
And we all know that it should be the other way around: New York traces its roots to its 1624 founding as a trading post by colonists of the Dutch Republic, and was named New Amsterdam in 1626, since the Dutch bought the land for 60 guilders.
Ahh well. I like it better the way it is now. Just so we dont have rich words like "moederneuker" on our language.
Today I thought it might be handy to change my username on a new Lion MacBook air to match the nameing convention of my other Unix/Apple boxes, from "bert boerland" towards the more unix command line friendly "bertboerland".
Once I did that I left the machine running and after some time the screensaver kicked in. Then when I wanted to login on the OSX, there was only a box with my OLD username already filled in and room for my password. Sure enough entering the right password (with the non selectable old username) resulted in a wrong combination.
There was no other way to log in (other then via SSH) towards the box. Yes, I actually had to reboot the box to be able to login again!
You can prevent this by ticking the boxes under preferences > user management as shown below (in Dutch). But having this default is rather stupid Apple!
Here is a classic, a funny easteregg on youtube. When you vistit a random video, pauze the video at 0:00, press the right arrow on your keyboard and keep it pressed. Now while keeping the right key pressed, press down as well and a "snake game" will be presented.
(arggg, i say left when I meant down in this video)
Yes, we can even waste more time on the Internwebs....
The Drupal Learning Curve. A much debated issue. Drupal was up to 2005 mainly build by people who didn't perse need the tool, were not scratching their own itch but explored the waters of what we call now the semantic web. Creating a tool we love, with a node system that is still ahead in many ways of other systems and with hooks that catch anything. But also a system that up to at least seven didn't give "the user" the best experience when it comes to the interface.
And here is where the normal rant ends. Because we need to stop thinking as "Drupal has a high learning curve for the user". Simply because it is false and by saying so we lie, scare of potential "users". Adding content in Drupal 7 is not harder then in for example Wordpress or Joomla; some fields, a preview, a sumbit and you are done. Sure, there is the everlasting WYSIWYG dilemma, and while Drupal does not deal with this in core it is as easy 'solved' as it is in a CMS where the editor is integrated.
There are at least two problems with "Drupal has a steep learning curve for the user".
A fool with a tool, is still a fool
First and foremost, we forget to define "'user". Drupal always has the vision to cut the middleman, make the webmaster obsolete, drop the database administrator and give the power of these roles to "the user", the content editor.
The user was traditionally the person responsible for adding content. Now, this person is not just able to create content with adding some data to some field and press submit. This person is also able to make lists of most read items, create new content types and rearrange blocks on the site.
When I said, First and foremost, we forget to define "'user", I meant, First and foremost, we redefined "user". And by redefining "user", by enabling a normal person to do things he (m/f) had to call IT before, by giving him the tools to excel beyond his normal duties, we created the UX problem. Where the normal User Interface of a database engineer was the command line, we gave the power of a webinterface as the user interface to the one who wants the change. From the database engineer's point of view a great step forward in UX; from the content editor's point of view a complex UI for something he might need only once in a while. Roles and rights to the rescue, one might think. But you can not undo the complex powerfull interface Joe Blogger sees when he installs Drupal under UID 1.
Drupal doesn't have a bad UI, doesn't have a steep lurning curve. Drupal eliminates the middleman and does this by eliminating the process and procedures around change management of the technical backend and trades this for an unpolished frontend.
Up or out?
Second, we traditionally see the learning curve in relation to horizontal growth. We think that one can become a Chx, Unconed or Dries by submitting a blog post, then install Drupal, tweaking the User Interface, making a template, coding a module and then... one becomes a core maintainer. This classic "growth is seen from left to right" diagram tells it all:
The truth is we have hunderds of thousands of people on the left and only a handful of people on the right. And most people who are on the right side of the diagram, didn't grow horizontally, they grew vertically. They came in with a background in programming, had programmed on other systems and choose Drupal because of it's code, community or license.
And most people on the left are fine to be on the left and don't want to "grow" horizontally, they want to grow vertically. They are good at something and use Drupal for it. And might be good in what they do in the Drupal community and grow in that vertically, not horizontally. They want to become the best testers, community members or write the best documentation. The learning curve there has nothing to do with the tool Drupal, but with the commnuity, the person and the tasks at hand.
In 2005 I read a very well written book on how great leaders stimulate vertical growth as well, let a waiter become the best waiter on the block, not the manager of the cafe. Dries, you still have my copy of "First Break All The Rules" :-)
Drupal doesn't have a bad UI, doesn't have a steep learning curve. Drupal should adopt vertical and horizontal growth by eliminating the traditional vision on how people or communities can grow.
So lets do ourselves a favour and stop calling Drupal hard to learn. It is as true as saying "a bike is hard to learn". Biking is not, building or designing a bike is. Ooh, and while we are at it. Stop calling Drupal a WebCMS.