Is Drupal Still Relevant?

September 28, 2023
Team member

All things fade with age. CMS platforms are no exception. But is Drupal dead? Or, is Drupal still relevant today? We’ve seen this debate hashed out in community forums and have decided to give you our take based on analytics, data, and real-world expertise.

It's natural to feel swayed by the newest platforms, always questioning whether your skills are aligned with the future or mired in the past. The last thing you want to do is invest time and money to learn Drupal only to find yourself looking for the next thing a few months down the road. 

You’re looking for longevity. 

With questions surrounding the future of Drupal, you may feel skeptical and uncertain that it’s worth it. We’re here to put those concerns at ease.

Yes, there are newer platforms garnering attention, but Drupal has consistently proven its resilience, adaptability, and relevance. We don’t envision that changing anytime soon.

By the end of this conversation, you'll see why countless developers and organizations around the world continue to place their trust in Drupal, and why you should too. We’ll also talk about taking the next step in this journey with a Drupal course that could change your life. 

A Brief Overview of Drupal

First things first - we need to set the stage a bit for this conversation. If you’re just discovering the fascinating world of Drupal, here’s what you need to know.

What is Drupal? 

Drupal is more than just a CMS (Content Management System). It's a powerful, open-source content management framework that provides the architectural foundation to create intricate websites, web portals, and web applications. 

Drupal's strength lies not just in its ability to manage content but also in its flexibility, allowing developers to build customized digital experiences tailored to diverse needs.

Imagine a LEGO set but for web development. With various pieces (modules in Drupal's case) that can be combined in countless ways, you can build anything from a simple blog to a multifaceted enterprise-level site. 

Drupal offers a robust platform that empowers developers to mold it as they see fit, whether they are crafting a personal project or something intended for millions of users.

History and Evolution

Drupal was conceived by Dries Buytaert more than two decades ago. It was originally a message board but quickly evolved into an open-source project. 

Its journey from Drupal 1.0 in 2001 to the dynamic Drupal 9 of today is a testament to its adaptability and the dedication of its community. 

Drupal has seen significant changes over the years with each new iteration enhancing its features, improving performance, and ensuring its readiness for modern web needs.

One of the most profound shifts came with Drupal 8. This version incorporated Symfony components, providing object-oriented PHP processes and paving the way for easier content authoring and richer media management. 

That being said, is Drupal still relevant - or is Drupal dead?

Is Drupal Still Relevant?

The digital landscape is evolving at an exponential rate, and with it, the tools that developers and businesses use. Amidst this ever-changing environment, a question surfaces: Is Drupal still relevant today?

Is Drupal Outdated? Common Concerns About Drupal

It's a common misgiving, especially when flashy new platforms are launched every other day. People often wonder if Drupal still holds its ground after more than 22 years of domination. 

But, beyond rising competition, where do concerns about Drupal’s staying power come from? For some, it’s the learning curve. 

When comparing Drupal vs Joomla, Webflow, Wix, or WordPress, there is a common theme: these modern solutions offer a seemingly plug-and-play interface. Anyone can use them to build and manage a website with no experience. 

Thus, it’s fair to question why you’d want to take the time to learn Drupal. With power comes complexity. The vast range of features and functionalities can sometimes be overwhelming.

However, it's important to remember that with this “complexity” comes unparalleled customization capabilities and scalability. What seems like a challenge initially is actually a blessing in disguise, offering granular control over web projects.

If you’re looking for something simple and don’t care about security, SEO, scalability, and customization, then maybe Drupal isn’t for you. But if you do care about these things - as most businesses do - then Drupal is clearly here to stay.

And, in that sense, the demand for Drupal devs will remain high or continue to grow in the future. 

Notable Companies Using Drupal

One of the best ways to determine if Drupal is still relevant is to look at who is using it today. This CMS platform has been trusted by the likes of top companies and the US government. Here are some notable Drupal users:

  • NASA: Yes, the space agency utilizes Drupal for its main website and various subdomains.
  • The University of Oxford: One of the world's most prestigious educational institutions banks on Drupal for its digital presence.
  • Tesla: The electric car revolutionary opts for Drupal to manage parts of its site. Do you think Elon Musk would run his website on something that’s outdated?
  • NBC Sports: When it comes to delivering dynamic sports content, NBC Sports trusts Drupal.

Other noteworthy Drupal users include Entertainment Weekly, Charles Schwab, IBM, Johnson and Johnson, General Electric, Pfizer, CVS, WarnerMedia, and countless others. 

If these companies have built their foundation on Drupal you can rest assured it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Recent Drupal Innovations

Drupal itself is evolving to remain relevant in 2023 and beyond. New innovations are constantly being rolled out, which include:

  • Headless CMS: Drupal 8 and 9 have robust support for “headless” or “decoupled” content delivery, allowing frontend developers to use modern JavaScript frameworks while tapping into Drupal’s backend prowess.
  • Layout Builder: A game-changer for site builders, offering drag-and-drop content arrangement without requiring a developer's intervention.
  • API-first approach: Drupal 9 emphasizes an API-first approach, making it easier for applications to pull and post data, an essential feature in today's interconnected digital ecosystem.

Factors Contributing to Drupal’s Staying Power

There are a number of factors we could point to as reasons Drupal is still going strong today. But a few of the most profound are:

  • Community Strength: Drupal boasts a global, passionate, and vibrant community. This collective force not only continuously refines the platform but also supports newcomers and seasoned developers alike. With dedicated contributors ensuring the CMS is updated, secure, and innovative, it's no surprise Drupal remains a force to reckon with.
  • Enterprise-Level Capabilities: Few platforms match Drupal's prowess in catering to enterprise needs. Whether it's multi-site, multi-lingual, or extensive content workflows, Drupal handles complexities with elegance.
  • Commitment to Security: Drupal's dedicated security team is always vigilant, ensuring vulnerabilities are quickly addressed. Its track record of providing robust, secure solutions adds to its credibility. 

Use Cases for Drupal Today

While the future is riddled with uncertainty, we feel that the direction the world is heading lends itself well to Drupal. More and more use cases for this CMS are sprouting up as the digital landscape continues to evolve:

  • Educational Institutions: Universities and colleges worldwide lean on Drupal for its multi-user capabilities, allowing departments to maintain their segments independently while staying under a unified brand umbrella.
  • Government Websites: Many government websites globally, like the White House, have trusted Drupal for its robust security and scalability.
  • Media and Publishing: News outlets and magazines benefit from Drupal's content-first approach, ensuring seamless content publishing and syndication.
  • E-commerce Platforms: Drupal Commerce module offers a powerful solution for businesses, from startups to large retail giants, looking for a blend of content and commerce.

Drupal's Adaptability

One of Drupal's greatest strengths lies in its adaptability:

  • Modular Architecture: The ability to add or remove modules means that Drupal can be as lightweight or feature-rich as needed. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, it offers tailored solutions.
  • Decoupled Nature: With headless Drupal, businesses can leverage the backend prowess of Drupal while choosing a frontend that best aligns with their needs, be it React, Vue, or any other modern framework.
  • Integration Ecosystem: The platform can seamlessly integrate with countless third-party tools and services, from analytics to marketing automation, ensuring businesses have all the tools they need interlinked.

Does Drupal Have a Future?

So, is Drupal still relevant today? The answer should be clear. The CMS platform is only getting better with time. This begs the question…does Drupal have a future? Let’s look at a few upcoming updates and discuss current trends in the web development world.

Upcoming Drupal Updates

The Drupal ecosystem is constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and staying at the cutting edge of web development. There’s an expected surge of features tailored for a modern web experience with the anticipated release of Drupal 10.

The commitment to a clear upgrade path from Drupal 9 to 10, without the hurdles faced in previous transitions, suggests a more seamless, user-friendly approach going forward.

Drupal's core team isn't just focused on significant version changes though. There's an ongoing effort for incremental improvements, ensuring the platform isn't static but rather evolves with user needs and technological advances.

Trends in Web Development

The current trends in web development show that the demand for Drupal isn’t going to fade anytime soon. Here are some key insights we’ve uncovered that should put the question of “is Drupal still relevant?” to bed:

  • API-First Approach: Drupal's flexibility as a headless CMS positions it favorably in the modern web ecosystem with the growth of JAMstack architecture and decoupled applications.
  • Focus on Accessibility: There's a greater emphasis on inclusivity as web standards evolve. Drupal's commitment to web accessibility ensures it remains a preferred choice for public institutions and corporations alike.
  • Embracing the Cloud: Drupal's compatibility with cloud environments, coupled with providers offering Drupal-tailored hosting solutions, means it's well-suited to leverage the benefits of cloud computing.

Now you should be convinced of Drupal’s staying power. What now? If you want to learn how to become a web developer with no experience or get a jr web developer job in Drupal, we can help.

Get Started With Drupal Today and Become a Part of the Future of Web Development!

While the web development world is in constant flux, Drupal's adaptability, backed by a strong community and corporate support, positions it as a CMS that isn’t just surviving, but thriving and innovating. But why should you learn Drupal?

Why Learn Drupal?

  • Lucrative Opportunities: Drupal developers are in high demand as businesses increasingly value digital experiences. This demand translates to competitive salaries and diverse job roles.
  • Future-Proof Your Skills: While some CMS platforms peak and wane, Drupal has consistently evolved, ensuring that skills you develop now remain relevant in the coming decades.
  • Unparalleled Flexibility: The digital world is dynamic. Whether it's integrating with new technologies or adapting to emerging trends, Drupal equips you with the tools to be at the forefront of web innovation.

Embark on Your Drupal Journey with Debug Academy

If you came here feeling uncertain about whether you should take the time and invest the capital in a Drupal education, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing you’re efforts are well aligned. 

And here at Debug Academy, we have an array of educational resources and courses to guide you along this journey. 

You get taught by industry experts and join a network of peers, mentors, and alumni who can guide, support, and potentially offer job opportunities.

The best part is you get to practice with real-world projects so you can actually put your skills to the test - all while building a portfolio!

You can get started today with Drupal training free. Or, dive in headfirst with our Drupal training for beginners, Drupal bootcamp, and Drupal certification training. Our list of Drupal interview questions and answers can help you feel confident when the time comes to land that first gig. 

We’re equipped to help you tap into your full potential as a developer. So, get to work and prepare for a lucrative and fulfilling path ahead with the guidance of Debug Academy!

Final Thoughts on If Drupal is Dead or Still Relevant

So, is Drupal dead or is Drupal still relevant? We hope this conversation has put your fears or doubts to rest. While new CMS platforms come and go, Drupal only gets better. 

Learn more about how to become a web developer without a degree or the best web development specializations in our blog. 

Or, better yet, take this opportunity to shift your career’s trajectory at Debug Academy by enrolling in a course that could change your life forever.

Don't let uncertainty hold you back - your future in web development is just a click away

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