The Drupal Catastrophe
This thought would like to report a tiny catastrophe I recently experienced with Drupal which leads to mistrust considerably both Drupal and PHP in its essence and comforts my inclination to avoid PHP for intergeo community platform.
A few days ago, within a rush… I installed yet another site of our drupal installation, a site for internal exchanges of Intergeo. Classical installation routine: copied the original settings.php into yet another site sub-directory, chmodded it to world writable, call the page, configure with the forms, then further tune the settings and chmod back. For some reasons I even made the whole drupal directory www-writable… resumed the operations and finally got it working.
After two days, however, I realized all the other sites that were running on the same drupal installation were broken with some dark internal PHP errors such as “No such function user_get()”. I realized that something/someone had copied the drupal directory inside the modules folder and the modules were trying be read duplicated (i.e. one inside modules and one inside modules/drupal/modules/)… this duplication broke things completely.
I tried repairing manually the SQL tables of modules… that was not sufficient… I tried to get the backups but they were a bit too old already… I tried a few other things… with some other very dark PHP errors… I just resigned to reconfigure fully manually all sites.
My Current Conclusion
The first conclusion is that Druapl, although mega-widespread, at version 5.2 (in this case, now almost at version 7) does not have sufficient sanity checking, by far.
The second conclusion is that CMSs need to differentiate content, settings, and states… SQL dumps are just too horrible to be worked with by hand if needs be. XML files would be way better.
Moreover, the fact that Drupal seems to use simple function overrides as a way to provide module functions appears to me as the worst: PHP does not offer to such a big project, sufficient expressivity of object-structures in order to manage a set of modules with a management of offered functionalities.
Chatting with PHP expert… she agreed PHP can be a large amount hobby work… And that is the same impression I have when I triy to find my way within the Drupal documentation!
Hobby work is nice but if it lets the sky fall on your head… it’s more annoying, especially since I, the “power user” am to be responsible of this hobby work.
My current strand is that I try to hunt for Java based community platforms… something where I can programme and something where the type system is good from the ground up!
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