WordPress Goes to DrupalCon Nashville

At Pantheon we frequently bridge the WordPress and Drupal communities, working with agencies who use both. A lot of my work recently has been focused around developer workflows and automation. I see a lot of similarities between how agencies use WordPress and Drupal, especially around tooling and workflow. From wp-cli and Drush for command line use to WordHat and the Drupal Behat extension for testing, there are many interchangeable pieces.

There are also similarities in the two communities. Both CMSes share many of the same fundamentals—being licensed under the General Public License (GPL), running on the LAMP stack, and so on. There is a lot to learn from both sides by "getting off the island" and seeing what the other CMS communities, and the wider PHP community, are doing. At my first DrupalCon I presented “Lessons from WordPress Core” with my colleague Steve Persch, focusing what Drupal can learn from WordPress. The talk was focused on larger patterns, such as release cycles.

This year Steve and I were back at Drupalcon with “What's New in WordPress 5.0.” Rather than focusing on community and workflow, this talk was largely based on the software itself. Specifically, upcoming features around content editors and user experience, plus the shift to JavaScript-driven admin interfaces.

Pantheon isn't the only company spanning these communities. This year, Automattic sponsored an open web lounge on the DrupalCon convention floor. At this booth, the Drupal community could meet WordPress community members and discuss common challenges facing both groups. Those WordPress community members also gave presentations to share their knowledge.

Learning from WordCamps

One of the conversations I had at DrupalCon was with a local camp organizer who was frustrated with how much he felt like his camp was reinventing the wheel each year. In this respect, the Drupal community could learn a lot from WordCamps. Andrea Middleton presented a session covering the ins and outs of running WordCamps around the globe.

WordCamps are centrally managed and DrupalCamps are more independent. I see WordCamps as franchises in that they receive lots of centralized support, including organization and funding but also must abide by the rules of WordCamp central. DrupalCamps, on the other hand, must be more self sufficient but also have more independence.

Advocating for Open Source

Josepha Haden Chomphosy, a WordPress community and camp organizer, presented on how to advocate for open source tools. She focused on the reasons mid-market clients might prefer proprietary CMS options. WordPress and Drupal are both championing open source against closed systems and can help each other fight the good fight to sustain an open web.

The Business Case

Pantheon CEO Zack Rosen discussed the state of the the website industry in the Business Track with “WordPress vs Drupal: How the Website Industry Is Evolving.”

For some other thoughts on the state of the web and where WordPress (and Drupal) fit in, check out the LoopConf 2017 Keynote "Why WordPress: The Competitive Landscape, Risks, and Opportunities" by Pantheon's co-founder and head of product Josh Koenig.

Going the Other Way

WordPress can learn a lot from Drupal. One thing WordPress seems to have adopted is a "release when it's ready" approach, choosing to break consistent release cycles in order to pursue a larger rewrite and a drastic change.

WordPress is behind Drupal 8 in developer experience. It lacks modern PHP support with a largely procedural codebase, has no configuration management or Composer based workflows in core, and more.

If you've worked with Drupal and WordPress, I’d love to get your take: What do you like about each? Is there a list of items you would include in your ideal CMS?

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Topics Drupal, WordPress