Drupals Cost Versus Older Techniques

It is absolutely true that developing with Drupal or any other modem website management tool adds complexity. But, that should not be the end of the discussion. The economics of web page development are pretty much linear. It can take only a few minutes to create a basic Hello World web page. After the fairly simple learning curve has been mastered, the next page takes about the same amount of time. As does the 10,000th page.

Yes, it is much harder to create a simple web page in Drupal. Writing a Hello World web page in Drupal and hosting it on a server is not the simple task it is with handcrafted HTML. Many people who are still objecting to using Content Management Systems (CMS), such as Drupal, end the discussion there, which is a mistake.

The discussion has to be extended out to those 10,000 pages, each of which might cost the same amount to develop in a traditional environment. With Drupal, the first page can take much longer than the first handcrafted HTML page, but the 10,000th page, or even the 100th page, takes a fraction of the time of the corresponding handcrafted HTML page.

This conversation (or argument) is still common, although the rapid rise of CMS sites demonstrates that a lot of people are finding a lot of value in the technology. An informal survey of Drupal projects drawn, in part, from job postings on drupal.org suggests that a number of such projects exist in large companies that have to manage large websites, and many such projects exist in smaller organizations for which the low cost of open-source software and the speeded-up development time are major attractions.

Drupal has benefited from the ideas that are current in today's software environment and that, in many cases, are hallmarks of open-source software. For example, Dru-pal contains a database abstraction layer so that it can function with a variety of databases. In the past, web server applications (which is, in some ways, what Drupal is) were often tied to proprietary databases. Companies bought into the proprietary web server application and the proprietary database, and that was the end of the matter. Getting their data out of the proprietary environment was another matter— usually for other people.

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