Can you read Drupal?

This is not my humour, its a serious question! Sometimes I just get so frustrated with Drupal – I know they have a solution buried somewhere on their website/forum, but where the hell is it?!!

We use Drupal at work. Admittedly, I’m “alright” with this open source framework/cms. Through the projects I’ve worked on, I’ve see the potential and how useful Drupal could be but I’ve also experienced the headache of looking for answers on their website. I would rate their documentation as… a nightmare!

It’s very difficult for a novice or someone like me – not a beginner but also not an expert, to plough through their endless documentation or muddy search results. I wanted to create a filter by the taxonomy terms for a search result (sorry for the Drupal lingo here, but it’s not important) and when I searched for “filter taxonomy term” the first items that show up are modules. Modules are like plugins to enhance your Drupal site. They require you to download the files, install them and then enable them through the admin area. This lead me to believe that I will need a module to achieve what I needed to do.

This started an endless quest for the right module. After trying almost all the modules which contained the words “filter” and “taxonomy” I just felt frustrated. There’s nothing wrong with the modules itself, it’s just that none of them do what I needed. I spoke to my boss, who is less technical than me but has more experience in Drupal and her reply was “just do it in views”. I thought, I tried that but I’ll have another go.

I attacked the horrible Drupal search again but found no answer. So I used google instead! I instantly found the answer. I followed the instructions and it did exactly what I wanted it to.

Like I mentioned earlier, there’s nothing wrong with the modules written by the community. But, there are so many, it’s difficult to pin point the one you are looking for (or just a step by step solution in my case). They do have the best of intentions, but the problem is that everyone is trying to contribute and there’s little to stop people from trying to solve the same problem.

Also, this is all voluntary work. Nobody is paying them to do these work (unless their client is paying them to) so once it’s passed the lifetime of that project, the desire to keep maintaining the modules will also disappear as they pursue writing code to satisfy their current projects.

It’d be great if they could do something about this, it’d make it easier for me to do my work. Also, it’s a bit funny to moan about Drupal on a WordPress blog as it may sound bias… but I’m just sharing my thoughts and experiences.