I have seen some discussion for keeping the Drupal7 to become "Drupal Classic" , if that happen, how Backdrop will market itself in future, if those Drupal7 users stay in the drupal community, will that affect the future development of Backdrop ? I think Backdrop need to give some confidents for people to move in.

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I wonder if it is that hard to achieve given that someone has already done something like this?

https://yad7.org/

Drupal 7 with Backdrop branding (logo, colors, adminbar, some major modules integration) and incrementally adding all new inventions that can be added without changing the API so that all existing Drupal 7 modules / themes will also work with Backdrop Classic...

The folks at YAD7 have accomplished this and even added their own innovations with I suppose a much smaller team than Backdrop's:

https://yad7.org/about

I don't have any hands-on experience with YAD7 - this project came out well after Backdrop and I had already mastered Backdrop, I saw no reason to go back. But the idea is interesting to me, and I suppose such an approach would attract the attention of thousands of current Drupal 7 users.

I am not a programmer and I apologize if I suggest things that are not feasible from a technical and software point of view.

I just want to draw attention to the marketing potential of this approach, if its implementation is at all possible. However, I find the marketing advantages of such an approach worth considering.

Think of it as brainstorming. Technological often happen precisely with things that at first glance seem impossible.

Let me make another point. It seems to me that the desire to modernize Backdrop goes too far compared to the needs of the average small business and NGO user / web agency who need a simple and easy site development tool / CMS.

I work well with Backdrop and for 4 years all new websites developed by me are with Backdrop CMS. Additionally, during that time I've converted at least two dozen existing Drupal 7 websites to Backdrop (I've only converted 1-2 via a direct Backdrop's upgrade, I find this process difficult and troublesome, most I've just completely redone, switching to Backdrop).

However, for me, Drupal 7 is significantly easier to work with, especially in theme development and custom design, if it weren't the threat of end of life of D7, I would continue to work with D7. I suppose such reasons are partly behind the fact that Drupal 7 still has over 450,000 users and Backdrop has 2,100. 7 years after Backdrop started!

I have a great desire to see how this ratio is changed in a direction favorable to Backdrop, and since I do not know how to program, I try to help with ideas, sharing the experience and hopes of an ordinary user of the system.

 

I have seen some discussion for keeping the Drupal7 to become "Drupal Classic" , if that happen, how Backdrop will market itself in future, if those Drupal7 users stay in the drupal community, will that affect the future development of Backdrop ? I think Backdrop need to give some confidents for people to move in.

I'm skeptical of any Drupal Classic happening without Backdrop CMS involvement. I think that at best, the Drupal community continues to extend minimal support to Drupal 7 for a few more years. But, I don't see anyone adding features or modernizing Drupal 7. Even with minimal support for Drupal 7 core, Drupal 7 contrib modules are falling behind and dropping support. In my view, within a few years (but not necessarily next year) there will be an end of support for Drupal 7 and sites will either need to stick with an unsupported Drupal 7 on outdated versions of PHP or find some kind of upgrade. 

I think it is possible, that there is some concentrated effort to improve the upgrade process from Drupal to Backdrop CMS to make it easier than it is now, possibly with support from the Drupal community. 

While some sites really want extended support for their existing Drupal 7 sites, I'm highly skeptical that anyone really wants to build NEW sites on Drupal 7. Any Drupal 7 undergoing a redesign or restructuring is going to move to Drupal 9/10, Backdrop CMS, or another system. This means that there is an inevitable decline in Drupal 7 sites as sites either disappear entirely or eventually go through a redesign/upgrade process. 

In my opinion, we (Backdrop CMS) should focus on:

1) Making it ever easier to upgrade from Drupal 7. If we could find ways to make it easier to upgrade themes or provide better out of the box contrib themes, that might help. 

2) Building upon the UI improvements that we've already made to Backdrop CMS, improving the liklihood that Drupal 7 and Wordpress developers start to look at Backdrop as a better option for new sites or upgrades.

3) Improving our relationship with the Drupal community to focus on our shared interest in providing Drupal 7 users with a "soft landing" when Drupal 7 eventually does reacy EOL. It seems that we might have the opportunity to be more visible at DrupalCon in the future, which could help spread the word. Many Drupal 7 site owners don't even know that Backdrop CMS exists and/or is a viable option for them.

 

Comments

Good questions, hard to answer most of them at this point.

Backdrop would continue regardless. It's much more modern than Drupal 7. But at the same time a lot of it is backwards compatible so many changes could be ported over.

However, I would not put any of my own money on there being a Drupal Classic. The only people proposing it are some who have so far only taken the small step of writing some comments online. It would take a lot more work, organizing and strategizing, even if they were just trying to convince the Drupal Association to take it on. Even then there's no guarantee contrib module maintainers will continue to work on it.

I don't think the DA would take it on. So that leaves someone creating yet another fork. And I don't see that happening. Nobody has so far expressed any interest in taking on the huge amount of labour required to set up the infrastructure and services to do it.

I have seen some discussion for keeping the Drupal7 to become "Drupal Classic" , if that happen, how Backdrop will market itself in future, if those Drupal7 users stay in the drupal community, will that affect the future development of Backdrop ? I think Backdrop need to give some confidents for people to move in.

I'm skeptical of any Drupal Classic happening without Backdrop CMS involvement. I think that at best, the Drupal community continues to extend minimal support to Drupal 7 for a few more years. But, I don't see anyone adding features or modernizing Drupal 7. Even with minimal support for Drupal 7 core, Drupal 7 contrib modules are falling behind and dropping support. In my view, within a few years (but not necessarily next year) there will be an end of support for Drupal 7 and sites will either need to stick with an unsupported Drupal 7 on outdated versions of PHP or find some kind of upgrade. 

I think it is possible, that there is some concentrated effort to improve the upgrade process from Drupal to Backdrop CMS to make it easier than it is now, possibly with support from the Drupal community. 

While some sites really want extended support for their existing Drupal 7 sites, I'm highly skeptical that anyone really wants to build NEW sites on Drupal 7. Any Drupal 7 undergoing a redesign or restructuring is going to move to Drupal 9/10, Backdrop CMS, or another system. This means that there is an inevitable decline in Drupal 7 sites as sites either disappear entirely or eventually go through a redesign/upgrade process. 

In my opinion, we (Backdrop CMS) should focus on:

1) Making it ever easier to upgrade from Drupal 7. If we could find ways to make it easier to upgrade themes or provide better out of the box contrib themes, that might help. 

2) Building upon the UI improvements that we've already made to Backdrop CMS, improving the liklihood that Drupal 7 and Wordpress developers start to look at Backdrop as a better option for new sites or upgrades.

3) Improving our relationship with the Drupal community to focus on our shared interest in providing Drupal 7 users with a "soft landing" when Drupal 7 eventually does reacy EOL. It seems that we might have the opportunity to be more visible at DrupalCon in the future, which could help spread the word. Many Drupal 7 site owners don't even know that Backdrop CMS exists and/or is a viable option for them.

 

I'm skeptical of any Drupal Classic happening without Backdrop CMS involvement

Not sure about this, I don't think Drupal will lose their users to Backdrop, if all those Drupal7 users move to Backdrop, means Drupal9 will has only 200k+ users leftover, do you think DA will let this happen ? so I guess eventually they will try to keep those D7 users in whatever ways. they are just waiting for something at the moment. 

The problem for backdrop at the moment is the community isn't strong enough, that's why I asked this topic, if Drupal7 community are not moving in, does Backdrop has a way to build up its own community.

indigoxela's picture

Personally, I wouldn't bet on a "Drupal Classic" ever happening. The people involved in the discussion on drupal.org seem stuck in discussion. No action so far.

Backdrop will exists, get improved and grow regardless of what happens in Drupal-land. It's a fork, but it's independent.

The community grows way slower that people expected back in 2013, when it was forked, but it grows. Drupal declines and will continue to decline. By the way, the Backdrop community isn't "weak" at all - it's just smaller. ;-)

Some facts:

One thing we could improve on Backdrop side is to get better visibility. The admins of many or most of these 458158 Drupal sites currently reported in stats probably never heard of Backdrop (or possibly just the usual prejudices that get repeated in the Drupal ecosystem).

Another remark: the size of a community isn't the most relevant criterion to evaluate, if a project is reliable. Backdrop's first official release happened back in 2015 and since then the community keeps on improving it. It has been forked in 2013 - that means almost 10 years of continuous work and ongoing. If that doesn't reveal sustainability - what else would do?

Re what the Drupal Association will do to prevent further decline... As far as I can see - nothing. I've no insight in what they're planning to do, though.

For completeness: this is probably the discussion, that triggered this topic here.

the size of a community isn't the most relevant criterion to evaluate

look at the sample of wordpress, people using wordpress not because of wordpress itself, it's because the plugin/ecosystem which is covering almost everythting now. without the success of the plugins, I don't see a point to use wordpress to build a website today except for only a personal blog.

I also wouldn't bet on a "Drupal Classic" ever happening!

What I guess could happen, though, is Backdrop Classic! What do I mean?

Earlier in this discussion it was mentioned that Backdrop is "much more modern than Drupal 7". I agree, there are remarkable innovations in Backdrop - both in functionality and in the user interface.

However, I'm wondering if it's not possible to do without a lot of extra effort a light version of Backdrop that removes those enhancements that require a paradigm shift for module and theme development and keeps those enhancements that can improve Drupal 7 without the need to redo Drupal 7 mods and themes for Backdrop.

Such a Backdrop Classic would function as a direct upgrade to Drupal 7, after which users would get all possible improvements to Backdrop without changing the API. In such a system, they would have both the vision and the ability to try out the Backdrop interface, as well as preserve existing sites, themes, and modules for Drupal 7.

It seems to me that this would dramatically increase the user base of Backdrop CMS. Major changes to Backdrop requiring module rewrites to be possible for users who want to upgrade to the full version of Backdrop. I think that such an intermediate stage would significantly facilitate the transition from Drupal 7 to Backdrop, increase interest and trust in Backdrop and allow users to gradually get used to the new functionalities, as well as stimulate their desire to take it the next step.

Such a classic version of Backdrop wouldn't require reworking the existing Backdrop modules, as this classic system would work seamlessly with existing Drupal 7 modules, which in most cases are the blueprint for Backdrop modules anyway.

indigoxela's picture

Backdrop Classic...

That's an interesting idea, but seems hard to achieve. We try to improve the D7 to B upgrade wherever we can, but writing and maintaining a new, completely D7-compatible CMS is far out of reach. That would be huge effort for little gain.

Another interesting idea came to my mind, when viewing the Backdrop Weekly from August 11: could Backdrop switch to a "rolling release model"?

We often manage to get in new features without breaking the existing API. What if we'd continue Backdrop 1.x "forever" (not really indefinitely, but for many more years).

And once in a while (decade?) do an update to remove deprecated stuff in a way, that doesn't force people to update all of their code (modules, themes) at once.

One of the major pain points with Drupal is it's BC policy to just break all APIs with major updates - which means, every major Drupal update is actually a complete rebuild (hard from D6 to D7, awkward from D7 to any of the newer).

@dd123 your WordPress comparison seems odd. Are you promoting WP here as a better alternative to both, Drupal and Backdrop? It's exactly the plugins that are the pain point in WP - sloppy coded, vulnerable, many "freemium" or paid. Nowadays the plugins are the usual attack vector for WP sites - and successful so many times. Another thing: people don't use WP, because it's so good, but they use it, because either the agency they hired just does WP, or they wanted something everyone else has. That WP is the most used web CMS may have many reasons - the plugin quality isn't among these reasons for sure.

I wonder if it is that hard to achieve given that someone has already done something like this?

https://yad7.org/

Drupal 7 with Backdrop branding (logo, colors, adminbar, some major modules integration) and incrementally adding all new inventions that can be added without changing the API so that all existing Drupal 7 modules / themes will also work with Backdrop Classic...

The folks at YAD7 have accomplished this and even added their own innovations with I suppose a much smaller team than Backdrop's:

https://yad7.org/about

I don't have any hands-on experience with YAD7 - this project came out well after Backdrop and I had already mastered Backdrop, I saw no reason to go back. But the idea is interesting to me, and I suppose such an approach would attract the attention of thousands of current Drupal 7 users.

I am not a programmer and I apologize if I suggest things that are not feasible from a technical and software point of view.

I just want to draw attention to the marketing potential of this approach, if its implementation is at all possible. However, I find the marketing advantages of such an approach worth considering.

Think of it as brainstorming. Technological often happen precisely with things that at first glance seem impossible.

Let me make another point. It seems to me that the desire to modernize Backdrop goes too far compared to the needs of the average small business and NGO user / web agency who need a simple and easy site development tool / CMS.

I work well with Backdrop and for 4 years all new websites developed by me are with Backdrop CMS. Additionally, during that time I've converted at least two dozen existing Drupal 7 websites to Backdrop (I've only converted 1-2 via a direct Backdrop's upgrade, I find this process difficult and troublesome, most I've just completely redone, switching to Backdrop).

However, for me, Drupal 7 is significantly easier to work with, especially in theme development and custom design, if it weren't the threat of end of life of D7, I would continue to work with D7. I suppose such reasons are partly behind the fact that Drupal 7 still has over 450,000 users and Backdrop has 2,100. 7 years after Backdrop started!

I have a great desire to see how this ratio is changed in a direction favorable to Backdrop, and since I do not know how to program, I try to help with ideas, sharing the experience and hopes of an ordinary user of the system.

 

Its seems from many discussions are talking about move from Drupal7 to Backdrop without update all of the code (modules, themes), if Backdrop can make this works guess will be a point for those D7 sites move in smoothly.