Debunking Drupal myths - Part one: Content control
by Jay Batson
Acquia has quickly become successful in increasing the exposure of Drupal to "CTO-level" conversations at larger enterprises. Despite the fact that there are numerous examples of big companies using it, Drupal is really still pretty unknown in big organizations - at least when you compare it to commercial, closed-source content management systems (the "incumbents").
As Drupal starts to make inroads in these larger organizations, the incumbents are forced to defend why their expensive proprietary software is better than that "little Drupal project." Hooray! The mere fact that they now must have answers shows that Drupal isn't such a little project anymore, and it is starting to cause real pain to the incumbents. It's now only a matter of time: high quality, powerful open source software with a big community behind it is the biggest threat to any closed-source software. The incumbents are living on borrowed time.
But given that we're now impacting them competitively, we're all about to experience an increasing flow of venomous-sounding FUD coming from these incumbents.
Just think back to what Microsoft did when Linux started to take over the data center: they howled and spewed FUD about quality, licensing, functionality - anything they could grab onto. The same types of FUD accusations are now starting to emerge from the old-guard Content Management System incumbents. And - just like the Windows/Linux story - virtually any argument they make can be debunked. Nearly all their assertions are specious; it's not real poison.
So I, and others here at Acquia, will be blogging about the FUD as it comes to us. When we see an accusation about Drupal that is simply untrue, we'll post it here, and tag it so you can see that the FUD poison isn't poison - it's simply harmless spit from a miffed vendor.
Case one: Content Control
A couple of great myths came up last Friday, when one of these incumbents asserted the following:
Drupal lacks Content Moderation Tools. Assuming your company gets hit with a tsunami of vigilante customers that just want to spew bad comments on your community, Drupal provides no mechanism by which to flip a switch and force all submitted content to be reviewed by a customer representative.
This is patently false.
Drupal actually combines two powerful features - each useful on their own, but more powerful in combination - to offer enterprise-grade content moderation:
- Roles / permissions. Nearly all critical functions in Drupal (including comment and content creation / moderation) is controlled by defined Roles, to which each is given a set of Permissions. For instance, administrators can define a "Moderator" role that a user must have in order to approve content for publishing; administrators only then add this role to employees (or external community managers) whom they trust to moderate content.
- The modr8 module. This Drupal component prevents posts that are in moderation from showing up in lists, on the /node page, etc., unless approved by a user (/Role) that has the "administer nodes" or "moderate content" permission. This module also provides an admin interface for managing content in moderation, and an optional block to show how many posts are in moderation and the titles of recently added posts. The admin interface allows a user with the "moderate content" permission to preview content in moderation, as well as approve or delete each moderated post, and (optionally) to send an e-mail to the author informing him/her of the choice.
A couple of other minor notes:
- Note 1: If you're using Drupal's Organic Groups (OG) capability to create different social groups on your site, there is an extended version of this module that makes it work with OG.
- Note 2: Acquia's Peter Wolanin is the current maintainer of the modr8 module.
Don't let uninformed FUD influence you. Get the facts first.
More fun as we hear more false assertions!