What do Mickey Mouse, the President of the United States, and Florida storms have in common?
Websites for Disney, The White House, and The Weather Channel are all powered by Drupal, the CMS that's basically the internet's Swiss Army Knife or “grenade launcher”, depending on who you ask. Harvard, NBC, and The Economist magazine are just a few more tremendously famous establishments that have aligned themselves with Drupal.
We’ll be the first to admit that Drupal’s pretty fantastic, but in spite of the fact that Drupal has plenty of customizable features, when it comes to adoption, Drupal lags behind other CMS systems such as Wordpress. The Drupal community is also far smaller in the Miami/South Florida area than in Silicon Valley. Why is this – and how can we make Miami more Drupal friendly?
Why Use Drupal?
First of all, why should developers use Drupal?
Drupal focuses on empowered, dynamic, highly customizable web content management experiences. Plus, it’s free and is constantly being improved by thousands upon thousands of dedicated Drupal developers. Thanks to them, Drupal keeps growing, changing, and improving based on need and advancement of technology. One of the most powerful aspects of Drupal is that it's strong enough to power many, many different kinds of websites with as many different, complex aspects are there are business needs.
However, Wordpress has higher usage than Drupal, in terms of which CMS developers choose to power their websites. Wordpress is responsible for 31% of websites; Drupal is responsible for 7%. That makes sense: Drupal is a complex system and not every website needs everything to be customized. Wordpress works perfectly well for smaller websites that don’t need to do so much heavy lifting. Another reason that Drupal comes in with a lower number is that it requires users to have a strong knowledge of HTML, CSS, and PHP, admittedly, not something that not every small business owner who builds a website will need.
Still, this is the CMS tool developers should use if they want their website to resemble a Swiss Army Knife vs. a switchblade. The switchblade does one thing and it does it well. The Swiss Army Knife can perform several tasks all in one. In short, Drupal gives you more of a design foothold, built to last, and with far less plug in issues than other CMSs.
Drupal’s Great, So Where Are You, Miami?
The Miami/South Florida tech scene still lags noticeably behind the legendary Silicon Valley hub. Avid Drupalers have probably noticed that there are 25 California group listing on the main Drupal site, as compared to Florida’s 6. The main Drupal page’s listings for “Forums and Issues” – where Drupalers can discuss Drupal topics – again show a huge difference in numbers: California has 856 listings, while Florida has about half that.
Why is Drupal usage not as common in Florida?
One reason may be that Silicon Valley sees more Drupal enthusiasts is that it is such an active technological area, and has a history of being one. Another possible reason is that Miami and South Florida as a whole are still growing in terms of technological education…which builds up a strong surrounding tech culture.
South Florida Drupal Opportunities
How can we bring the South Florida community up to speed? By doing what Drupalers are best at: learning from each other. There are tremendous Drupal opportunities in the Miami/South Florida area. To learn more about Miami’s Drupal networks and opportunities, to learn Drupal, or get involved in the ever-growing Drupal community, check out these meetups and events…or Florida Drupalers can create their own opportunities!
Here's a main look at Drupal user groups in Florida including Broward County, Palm Beach/Boca areas, and Miami. While you’re at it, sign up for Miami Drupal’s Twitter feed and get the latest in 140 characters.
Florida Drupal Camp
Usually held in February or March, the Florida Drupal Camp is a must. It’s completely run by volunteers. The Camp usually includes presentations on site building, designing, and performance, as well as code sprints and constant chances to network. It only cost $35 total to get into Florida Drupal Camp 2017 (which just ended in Orlando), and that includes lunch and open access to all Drupal sessions. Present at 2017 were guest speakers such as Megan Sanicki, the Executive Director of the Drupal Association.
The purpose of Drupal is about creation. After all, it’s an open source, community fueled endeavor that has improved the look and feel of some of the political and business world’s most famous websites. Let’s continue to create a vibrant Drupal community in Miami.