Drupal, the well known open source content management system and framework, has turned out to be a boon for many people, particularly developers. While Drupal offers quite a bit of control in building and maintaining websites via its admin GUI, it’s got a steep learning curve and customization (not to mention debugging) often requires the help of an experienced developer. As a result, Drupal jobs have been abundant and well-paying. So, for Drupal developers, these are good times, right?
Well, sort of.
Drupal developer Mike Crittenden recently wrote about Drupal’s Golden Handcuffs. His main point is that, once you master the basics of site building via Drupal and its core contrib modules, life for a Drupal developer can get pretty boring; so much can be done via the admin GUI that you turn into a click monkey. The problem, though, is that the money to be made is so good it can be hard to walk away.
He also makes a good point that when you do need to dig into Drupal code or write your own, it can be really painful due to complex layers of core and contributed modules, poor or non-existent documentation, a database abstraction layer that’s more trouble than it’s worth, etc. So even when you finally get to (or have to) write some code, a lot of the fun has been removed.
Having spent a couple of years deep in the Drupal weeds, I’m familiar with his pain of debugging and customizing Drupal code. Much as I came to like Drupal, this aspect could be quite frustrating. In fact, after my kids, it may be the number two cause of my receding hairline. While I didn’t spend enough time with Drupal to get to the point of being bored with it, it’s not hard to imagine.