Quick thoughts on open source ecosystems after a decade dabbling in Drupal and Wordpress
Hope everyone's doing well out there. I'm aiming to update HongPong.com to Drupal 8 within a month or so. Lately I've been doing more work with WordPress than Drupal. Neither one is perfect. I must wish a happy 15th birthday to the Drupal community since the software was named and released under the GPL a decade and a half ago. Hard to believe I've been generally in that orbit for 2/3rds of the time! [I registered on Drupal.org 9 years 8 months ago, and Wordpress.org in June 2005]
There is some consternation with WordPress updates out there breaking old sites and whether it's changing too fast. I had to throw the following on the thread:
Having been in and out of Wordpress and Drupal development for a decade, there is no perfect approach or methodology for a good ecosystem that minimizes hassle.
In the last year Drupal.org got a polished continuous integration system set up so that git patches are pushed through testing on several different sql & PHP versions. I think a major push to modernize wordpress.org plugin support thread management and introducing CI ( meshing this with github or a free software equivalent if necessary) would help plugin maintainers deal with API changes much more effectively. It's not possible to attach patches through the threads and that should change, first of all. [after all, has it really changed in a decade? Does anyone benefit from threads that get locked quickly, when the same problems recur year after year etc?]
Also in Drupal world the community is the ultimate steward of the fate of modules while in Wordpress the authors have more exhaustive control. When authors abandon their plugins, if others could claim plugins that are idle this would result in fewer, better plugins. Drupal modules are not allowed to promote their author's wares either, which might be worth considering, although perhaps this pesky internal advertising system helps keeps more devs afloat. It's quite a contrast to Drupal.
Also as complexity increased Drupal forked off into Backdrop CMS, which is a lightweight, slightly modified for performance and easier maintainability with static files. Wordpress Lite with a smaller API and mostly similar theme layer could work well as the core expands into trickier areas like REST implementation.
Lastly I think that the Dependency Injection / Service Container system pioneered by Symfony and implemented in Drupal 8 would be good for Wordpress to look at. It would let people knock out the code areas that they need for very custom apps (i.e. Buddypress) while still maintaining a lean core API. It would be great in the long run if Wordpress 5 or whatever were totally rewritten to have a more modern structure than it has now... but only with good CI would the ecosystem keep up.
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