Last night, I enjoyed a few glasses of fine red wine from Washington State. And since the bottle just so happened to be named "CMS", it got me thinking that a fine wine and the Drupal content management system are really not all that different. Sure, one is a drink meant to be enjoyed with friends, and the other is a piece of web software, but they're more alike than you may think.
Much like a fine wine, Drupal:
Gets better with age
A fine wine, particularly red wines, tend to get better with age. The grape's flavors become more pronounced and concentrated, and as it ages, new flavors come out.
Because Drupal is an open source content management system, and because it starts out as a bare bones installation, Drupal does get better with age. Whether that's module upgrades, new module functionality, or new Drupal releases, Drupal is rare in its ability to grow with your business.
If you build your website as a sole proprietor of your business, there's no reason not to expect that you'll have a variation of the same Drupal website 10 years down the road when your company has experienced exponential growth.
Is appreciated by true connoisseurs
Today, if you talked to most good programmers and developers, they will tell you they prefer working in an open source platform. The ideas are typically better, the programming is more sound, and the culture of innovation is robust.
Much like how a fine wine is appreciated by true wine connoisseurs, Drupal is preferred by true development and programing experts.
Plays a complementary role
When pairing a fine wine with food, it's imperative that the wine does not overpower the food, and vice versa. The wine should complement the food so that when combined, new flavors and sensations are created.
The same can be said for a Drupal website. The Drupal framework should complement perfectly the functionality you want to add to it. Want to build a website for your social community? Drupal excels at that. Want to build an e-commerce or business website? Drupal can do that too. The Drupal framework is expertly coded to play a supporting role to the contributed modules and themes from community developers.
Can be appreciated on its own
In my opinion, a fine wine should stand up on its own. I like to enjoy tasting the pure flavors of the wine before adding the flavors of food.
In the same sense, a base installation of Drupal core can still provide a fully functioning, professional website without any additional modules or themes. While Drupal truly excels when combined with additional modules and themes, it doesn't have to be that way.
Is well balanced
When deciding if a fine wine is worthy of the "fine" label, it's important to judge how balanced the wine's flavors are. You don't want to be overpowered by any one thing. If the wine is too alcoholic, or too tannic, or worse, the fruit flavors fall a little flat - you wouldn't consider it a fine wine.
Drupal, too, is well balanced. Because the core framework is so basic, Drupal does not lead you down any one path when creating your website. Unlike a framework like Wordpress, which strongly pushes you down the blog path, Drupal can truly be used to build anything.
Has complex flavors
Much like wanting a fine wine to be well balanced, you also want it to have a certain level of complexity to the flavor profile that you wouldn't ordinarily find in less expensive and lower quality wines.
You want to be able to pick out and identify new flavors and aromas with each sip or smell of your wine. When you can't do this, the process of wine appreciation becomes much less enjoyable.
Drupal, by nature of its open source community, has some very complex flavors. Mostly in the form of thousands of contributed modules and themes. The Drupal module and theme database is always growing, so you can always find new flavors for your Drupal website.
Takes time to make
A good wine takes years to reach a point where it's drinkable. Beyond that, it takes many more years of aging before it becomes what one would call a "fine wine". Sure, there are wines that take less time to produce, and don't need as long to age - but they won't taste as good.
One of the best features of Drupal, is that it's really easy to set up a new website. In fact, it's even possible to set up a fully functioning website in a single weekend. Chances are, however, that the website won't be as good as it could be.
In order to make a truly great website, you must also invest a great amount of time.
Requires appropriate glassware
In order to really appreciate a great glass of wine, it helps to have appropriate glassware. Good glassware can assist in bringing out a wine's natural flavors and aromas. You wouldn't want to drink a nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon out of a solo cup, would you?
By the same token, make sure you get the right glassware (hosting) for your Drupal website. There are certain hosting providers that do not do justice to a Drupal website (GoDaddy). And you certiantly wouldn't want to pay for ultra cheap hosting for your highly trafficked, complex Drupal website. After all, who wants downtime and hosting problems?
Make sure you buy appropriate hosting for your website.
Is best enjoyed with friends
If I'm uncorking a bottle of nice wine, the last place I want to be is by myself. Good wine is best enjoyed in the company of friends. With friends at your side, you can discuss the wine's aromas and flavors, and compare it to other wines of the same varietal. This enhances and augments your wine drinking experience in ways that are impossible to recreate alone.
A Drupal website truly excels when it's used as a community building tool. When you take advantage of the community features that a Drupal website can have, you'll soon learn why Drupal is such a popular framework for building websites that drive a high level of engagement with your audience.
Give it a try
If you're new to Drupal, but have experience building or working with Wordpress or Joomla, I encourage you to give Drupal a try. The software is free, so you've got little to lose. And if you get stuck?
Well, you know where to find us.