Considering the Tradeoffs

February 17, 2015

I know that BDConf had to be a decent conference for me because four months later I am still thinking about it. Right after the trip, I was focused more internally because the conference was a good kick in the pants that there is a broader web world than just Drupal. The last three years, my job has kept me so focused on Drupal that I had lost some of that perspective, so it was good to get me thinking of the broader world again.

In the time since then, I keep wondering about the tradeoffs Drupal has caused my team to make for our development. Don’t get me wrong, any programming language or platform has tradeoffs, whether it is about complexity, performance, stability or a number of other options. When I mentioned Drupal at the conference, one of the reactions I got was “so many divs!” with a look of distain on her face. That sort of thing makes you take pause and it got me wondering whether we tradeoffs we made when picking Drupal originally still apply.

I still don’t know the answer, I spend more time thinking about it than I probably should. The “so many divs” comment is an example of this. I realize that by having the community develop Drupal and it’s add-ons, our team has been able to make a lot of really cool web sites. But that means that we don’t know what every part of our site is doing, so we have sites that average 1.5-2MB in size routinely with likely inefficent queries, markup, styling and Javascript in there. As someone who came to Drupal from straight HTML, PHP and .NET, this drives me a little bonkers and makes me wonder, is this the right tradeoff to make.

Tangentially to this, I have some thoughts about the Drupal 8/Backdrop too that I am working on another post for. To the web folks out there reading this, I would love to hear your comments because with this spinning in just my head, I am not getting as far as I would like.