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We've all heard Drupal can run every site from your personal blog to massive social networks. The framework is flexible and powerful enough to do anything. The showcase list of Drupal sites is impressive and growing. The community behind the magic continues to expand exponentially. The awards keep pouring in: Best Open Source CMS, Most Valuable Person, Top Innovator.

Enough Already.


James Walker

This session will take a good, hard look at everything that's wrong with Drupal. From the bewildering interface to the API's that aren't, it's time to take a step back from the Drupal love-in and take a serious look at what we've done. We'll cover all that's wrong about both the code and the 'community' behind it.

Attendees should hope to get a reality check and some serious advice about how to make it all better.

about the speaker

James (aka 'walkah') has been working full time on Drupal for 5 years, from writing code to putting together the architecture for some of the biggest implementations out there. Worse, however, James spends his days now trying to actually teach others to get things done with Drupal.


Darn, for this session alone I'd like to go to DC. This is going to be a lot of fun I'm sure. Maybe some riot in the audience :D

James you made a good job promoting this in Lullabot Podcasts. And keeping it as "black-box-like" in everybody wondering what you'll actually talk about is a clever move. Bound to be packed to the last seat.

I recently attended a Drupal Theming seminar and asked the presenter (who whole-heartedly claimed that he was not technical) what do people do to upgrade live Drupal sites with new versions of Drupal and modules (code and data). He basically said that there isn't a simple automated way of upgrading (I'm thinking more along the lines of WordPress, where you can upgrade the code base via SVN and then run their upgrad.php script to update the database).
Is this true? Is there an simple upgrade procedure for Drupal installs?

The easiest way that i know of is to have the Drupal code base and Drupal contrib modules a CVS checkout and install the 'cvs_deploy' module(allows the update status module to pick up the correct versions from the cvs id) this way all you have to do when updating core/modules/themes is to run "cvs update -rVERSION -dP" and then run update.php.

Hope this helps,


I will be interested in this.. i have been using drupal for my website, the online world and its not been a very smooth ride so far.. but then u cant expect everything from a CMS

I think this is brilliant.

I really don't see how this is intended to be an all out Bashing Session where everyone attending gets to listen to Walker unload Drupal frustration. Although, you never know, honestly, who could blame him. I'd still get a laugh or two. For anyone to say Drupal is a painless experience would be fairly odd.

In all truth, undeniably, Drupal is without question, aside from all the awards and mumbo jumbo, one of the best software's ever written to date. Also, without a doubt, so is it's loyal community base that brings it all together and makes it happen.

I myself, am not totally up-to-par on Drupal 7.
While I hear good things about it and I know the people working behind it are remarkable, I realize, we are at a cross-roads regarding web software and CMS software as we know it. (including Drupal)

While I am the first to state that Drupal is phenomenal and praise the people for it, I or I think anyone else for that matter, might be considered living under a Drupal rock to not "step-back" and do a simple "reality-check" about: What's not so great, Why people hate it, and more importantly, What's the simplest and most efficient way to do something about it.

Making Drupal improvements is not new; But taking a good hard unique perspective towards it is. And there has never been a better time to make a difference.

The good news is it's within reach to take a good hard look and hopefully make a change.

Now if you could only get all of the key people of Drupal to attend. :-)

I see nothing but good from this session. Hat's off.

I like that you're being straightforward, but what is the audience supposed to get from this? Listening to the top 10 reasons walkah hates drupal won't give us any actionable items to work with, it won't help us use what we have, or even make plans for improvements.

Dries's requests for improvements for drupal 7 + user testing was a productive means of identifying existing problems. He didn't say "email what pisses you off the most" or "vote on the suckiest modules".

Because that's not helpful. What are we going to take away from listening to this?

I think this is largely a tongue in cheek write up that's meant to get our attention. But personally I'm looking forward to a discussion of the issues that drive everyone else crazy. I'm in the training biz myself and sometimes I have to teach people how to think in totally backwards ways to understand some of Drupal's logic. There is a lot to learn from other people's frustration and I'm sure it will be cathartic.

Got my vote - can't wait to see how this session comes off - it has the potential to be one of the very best sessions of the whole Drupalcon. :-)

This title made me click on the link, the fact that we can stop the lovefest and take a long hard look at why it took me MONTHS to understand the interface and "get it" instead of days or hours made me vote for it... I'm in -- I'm not only voting, I'll go to the session and offer my thoughts. And you know what? I'm just going to say it... this is why I love Drupal...

James, I'm voting on this one. I think a lot of people out there are going to appreciate your perspective.

I agree it's time to step back from the Drupal love fest. There is some ugly stuff under the hood of various API's that could use a good dusting off, and some technological corners that could use some updating.

If I make it this year I'll definitely be at this session.


I'll definitely be at this session!