5 minute read

Crying Drupal Icon/mascot.

This is (hopefully!) the last post on my joncamfield.com drupal instance and will be the first on my new jekyll-bases static site. JonCamfield.com started many years ago (almost exactly 16 to be precise – 2006-03-30T16:30:22Z, according to whois), as I transitioned my online presence from my 90s-era handle to a more professional one.

JonCamfield.com got to start where my old blog let off, with a lot of hand-coded HTML, some server-side include magic, and MovableType to generate semi-static blog entries with some comment and trackback support. It’s probably worth noting that my first blog was actually a collection of artisanal, hand-coded perl scripts maximized to a workflow that centered on limited access to the Internet via cybercafes, where I would carry a floppy with photos and text files composed offline, FTP them to my website, and have these perl scripts ready to detect and HTML-ify into a blog post automagically. Yes kids, I’m that old.

ANYHOW. I’ve been at this blogging thing for a while. At some point around 2009, when I was also doing a lot of drupal work professionally, I moved my entire joncamfield.com site to Drupal (version 6 at the time). I dragged my feet but eventually had to upgrade to Drupal 7, and lost a ton of my favorite plugins along the way (SIMILE blog / http://simile-widgets.org/exhibit/ ), and rather soon thereafter also had to make the transition to Drupal 8.

I am no longer a “webmaster” in any real sense of the word anymore. I very much do not do websites professionally, and while I have been willing to manage my own Drupal site for 13 years (!!) now, I am facing having to do yet another substantive move to Drupal 9.

My webhost setup is not able to support D9, even though it is not adding any new functionality. The pace of these breaking changes, vast over-complication (for my use case) of features, and the substantively higher management needs are I hope balanced for professional use cases where there is a better scaled return.

But for this loyal Drupal sysadmin, I am tired, I have more important things in my world to focus my energy on, and I need something that just works, that is and stays secure, and that is simple. I am however super happy that Drupal survives and has a strong, ongoing support team on security improvements.

Overall I guess I am a bit sad about this. I know Wordpress solves this niche that can stretch from hobbyist user to professional, but I am sad to see Drupal feeling more and more like a professional-only, increasingly -as-a-service level tool. Perhaps I’m sad that I am not prioritizing time (and additional hosting costs) to keep up with where Drupal is going, but I feel I stuck it out over 13 years of upgrades and have paid my dues to have this opinion.

That said, I’ve been using static site generators for my professional sites for years now. I love the majority of their simplicity. Much of it feels like returning to my super weird server-side-html tricks from the 90s, but with better people than myself managing the codebase.

So, goodbye Drupal – it’s been good.