Scene On The Net

Infamy, Infamy It’s All Going To Symfony

By Andrew Fielden

Filed under: Drupal,General
Page updated 5:50 pm: May 12, 2012

So Drupal 8 is gong to have strong ties to the Symfony Framework, as beautifully explained by Dries the Drupal guiding light at the DrupalCon 2012 keynote speech. Is this Carry On Drupal in the manner of Kenneth Williams in Carry on Cleo or a wise move?

Symfony is the current golden child in the PHP Frameworks world. I like it but it is very developer oriented.

Drupal feels to me like a system that is struggling to be a system that is for front end developers to use without back end developer input and one for back end developers to get their teeth into and develop. This is a mean trick to pull off since they are fundamentally different things.

The other elements of the keynote however make me think that the Drupal team have their wits about them. One of the companies that they note failed to innovate is Vignette. This was the Content Management System of choice around the year 2000. I went to their conference held at Phoenix since they were looking to take a stake in my company and when I went to work for it was Vignette that powered the TIME Warner websites. They were big and they came with a big price tag. Times changed and they no longer exist having been bought out a couple of years ago by OpenText. I suspect it lives on in some form and with a hefty price tag but it is not the obvious choice that it was ten years ago.

Drupal could of course go the same way and I am pleased to see that they are aware of this. That they are making an alliance with Symfony is a very very good thing.

I am also very interested in the comments Dries made about Drupal distributions and an eco system. To have a set of pre-configured setups available to go makes a LOT of sense and is something that I had considered doing prior to watching the presentation.

So instead of Drupal dying under the swords of it’s peers it like poor old Kenneth did perhaps this is the wise move that lets back end folks go with Symfony and the front end guys get their distribution and get on with it.

Drupal – the new kid on the block

By Andrew Fielden

Filed under: Drupal,Google,SEO,Technology
Page updated 11:58 am: March 3, 2012

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

And I am sure that he would have included Drupal should he have been a more modern Walrus and dealing in Content Management and web based applications.

For quite a while now the dev side of Scene has either been using/extending WordPress or where the need is beyond the scope of WordPress developing from scratch in the PHP scripting language. This is however not necessarily the most effective way to approach a problem and the decision was made to utilise a framework of some description. This would allow us to formally separate code from content and abstract the database, hopefully in an MVC type manner.

So what to chose? Are we after a “pig with wings”?

Well it came down to a framework (like cakephp or symfony) or an extendible CMS (WordPress or Drupal)

To start with we thought that a framework would be a better option and a version of a management system for Hilton Worldwide’s google places offerings was built using cakephp. During the course of this however we found that getting support from the online community was patchy to say the least. The situation was similar with Symfony… mmmm

So what about the CMS systems – well both Drupal and WordPress fitted the bill. Both are relatively easy to install and get going with but Drupal it seems far more suited to extending with the features we are interested in. Also given that we have already experience in dealing with WordPress and are aware of the limitations Drupal seems to be a step in the right direction.

The first project is for dealing with SEO (our kind of bread and butter stuff) management, once again for the Hilton Group. Once this is complete we are looking to build it out to a publicly available system, should this go reasonably well in Drupal then this will be in Drupal.

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