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 TIME.com 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.