Backdrop

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BackDrop

Drupal and Wordpress and Content Management Systems that are used to manage the content on a website. Anyone can add content, edit content, and more. Anything as simple as a blog, or a complex website, directories of information - a lot of things you can do with content without having to know how to code or program yourself.

I started working with nonprofits building static HTML websites. Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the code to build websites, and when we started working with nonprofits I had to teach them to type their content into code areas. It's difficult and not super intuitive. As soon as I found Content Management Systems, I realized that it woudl be much better. It's too much work for them to call me all the time to not be able to put their own content on their websites.

The first one I started using was Wordpresss for my blog, but when I started doing content for nonprofits I started using Drupal. Drupal is open source meaning the software code is free to read, the license to use the software if an open and free license. When you see FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) and FLOSS (Free and Leave Open Source Software.) You can see more information at the Free Open Source Initiative.

Drupal and Backdrop are specifically GPL license. Drupal has been around for about 14 years. It was started as a "community planning" platform so people could communicate with each other and share content. It's a bit more flexible and powerful than Wordpress. Drupal over the years has grown. The first DrupalCon felt small and grassroots, and each conference that I have gone to now the conference has gotten bigger and more expensive with big companies having booths and big enterprise stuff. Drupal is now being used for the Sony website and the Whitehouse.gov website - more enterprise now. As this started happening, the software itself began changing making it less easy to build community websites and more enterprise-level websites.

Drupal started out as a true community where authors would write code and share it. They called it a duocracy. As it progressed, the founder started a company that sat alongside Drupal and now Drupal has a core team that makes decisions for more high-level clients.

If you have the time to build something, you can get it into Drupal. Different people have different amounts of time and different skills so the duocracy sounded nice, but the people who had more funding and had jobs (like Sony) hat were paying them to develop modules in Drupal so the duocracy ended up benefited the top developers and more corporate users. Community events became more expensive and bigger. Now Drupal has many of the issues that come with Big Tech including issues of sexism and less of a community space.

Dries Buytaert was one of the original creators of Drupal and that endured and he is still called the "Benevolent Dictator for life". There is also the Drupal Association that manages the project.

There are a lot of things that are insufficient about how open source organizations are organized. Drupal 7 was a relative recent release. In Drupal, the current version is supported and the version before it is supported, but when a new one comes out the previous one goes "end of life". When Drupal 6 went end of life, these organizations didn't know what to do - upgrades are very expensive. Wordpress is not - it is cheaper to build websites, it is more lightweight and they have backwards compatibility. Ideally, you can upgrade and you should be fine. You cannot do that with a Drupal website. It's usually $10,000+ or a total rebuild.

From Drupal 7 to 8 and big shift happened. Almost the whole guts of the Drupal software was changed - nothing from Drupal 7 worked in Drupal 8. If you wrote any custom code, it was a totally new system that you switched to. The reasons for doing it may have been to benefit the enterprise model. When people saw that happening, they decided to create something different.

Drupal was forked and started building differently on there. They forked Drupal to serve Small to Medium size businesses and Nonprofits. Backdrop SMS is made for these audiences. There is an underlying philosophy that highlights affordability. Backdrop values "site builders" rather than coders. We avoid writing custom code if we can avoid it because custom code is expensive and has to be maintained. The number 1 principle is that backwards compatibility is important. If we're going to break something in the API, we need to have a good reason. We want to write code for the majority and features for the majority.

The overall direction of the Backdrop Project Management Committee is guided by the model of the Apache Foundation. Jen Lampton and Nate Haug. Two-year terms, but may request to end their membership at any time. There are conflict resolution plans for the community. They took things that didn't go so well in Drupal community and wanted to have a better setup for how to make decisions. Right now there might be 400 contributed projects. It's a small community at this time. The project management committee is separate from the contributors group.

They have meetings every Thursday at 1pm Pacific that are open to everyone. You can check more at the Twitter Account. Every other week it fluctuates between the design and evangelism communities.

Quick Demo of a Backdrop CMS website being built. Backdrop CMS comes with a menu and a search box without having to install it separately. It's easier to use the site right off the bat. The core content section is organized by different kinds of content such as "Media, Page, News". There is a WYSIWYG editor and easy ways to add images and alternative text. Accessibility is a being considered, but not sure it's W3C. Jen Lampton may know more about that. Creating different types of content and then creating different types of views for that content is a powerful part of Backdrop CMS. It lets the users of the site put a News article up once (using a module), and can show it in various parts of the website.

Did Drupal have a published philosophy in advance? Through no one's fault, it wasn't specifically stated that it was to focus on any one type of audience. Drupal does have mission and principles, but not based on moral philosophy. Has Backdrop been more intentional about that? Drupal is more developer focused, whereas Backdrop would really like to focus on the community. Civicrm.org is a constituent relationship management system (like Salesforce) and is built on Backdrop CRM.