I applaud the programmers that have moved away from Drupal and started Backdrop. I don't know what plans the future hold, but I would like to offer a little input from a "user" of web programs for many years.
I quit writing programs or any type of code, back in the days of basic, before Gates even created dos.
Back in the days before I retired 20 years ago, I used to own an extremely large computer store, internet cafe and game room that was open 24 hrs per day. During that period, I was teaching classes on computer repair and web design. I state this, simply to let you know that I am not a beginner.
Since the days I started building websites, I have come to multiple conclusions.
#1:One lesson I learned may years ago in sales training was to KISS. (Keep It Simple Stupid) There was a time when newspapers tried to keep words simple enough that a person with a 6th grade education could read them. I myself only have a 9th grade education, even with my background in business and computing. As such, I believe every manual should have a section for absolute beginners, complete with images, and another section for programmers.
#2: In MOST cases, programmers should not write the instruction manuals for "the end user or beginners" simply because they have a tendency to speak to the choir or assume everyone knows their terminology, instead of speaking to the beginners. Backdrop has a manual that is fairly easy to understand, however an improved index or glossary would help newcomers to find the exact information they are looking for.
#3: Having used over 50 different CMS programs over the years, I believe the “industry” needs to come together and use generic or standard wording and formats. The reason for so much wasted time when testing out new CMS programs is because of the location and usage of words or names are not consistent from one program to another. Example some CMS programs use "styles" instead of templates or themes and taxonomy instead of class or category. The usage of standard words would help to KISS.
#4: A little praise here. Backdrop should also be applauded for being one of the few CMS programs that include a gallery and forum along with their blog or news format. This is vital for any designer or webmaster that wants a search capability to grab words or phrases throughout the entire site, especially for large sites.
#3: From a designers or webmasters point of view, a large variety of themes are one of the first things I look for in a CMS program. And, I prefer to have the variety available as part of the base, instead of going to outside sources and downloading from foreign sites, as some CMS programs do. (You guys are doing great, so please keep maintaining your selection)
#4: I realize you guys are dealing with many volunteers and having years of experience as the founder and admin of a very large international non-profit organization where I had to deal with volunteers and managers from across the globe, in order to meet monthly deadlines for a print magazine, I understand the challenges. However, I also know how important the future of a project can be to certain volunteers, therefore I am going to make another suggestion.
Keep as many eggs in your basket as possible. For example, I have used CMS programs where the basic program gets downloaded from one source, the manual is on another website, the forum is on a third website, and the chat room in on a fourth site and you have to go to a place like GitHub to get other information or programs.
Using programs with that much disorganization is part of the reason I ended up at Backdrop and I sincerely hope you people will build and maintain extensions so webmasters can get everything they want or need, all from one source and have ease access to all of it.
#5: Finally, in my opinion as an old man that officially retired 20 years ago, I realize we have to prepare for the future, but don’t forget the past. I am on my last legs and am ready to sell over 20 domain names. I am also ready to delete over 125 email accounts and passwords. That will still leave me with 10+ websites and 25 email accounts with different passwords for each one, to occupy what ever time I have left. I would like to continue using Backdrop on at least one of those websites, so I hope you folks keep adding new bridges to other programs, and make it easier to use Softaculous for “staging” websites so we can test out changes, as well as continue to add new themes and templates that will stand up so we can continue to have the same appearance after we upgrade to future versions.
Thank you for all that you folks have done to create a nice, friendly functional CMS.
Thanks so much for your kind and constructive feedback.
I'm very happy to hear that Backdrop has been useful to you and the non-profits that you work with. Hearing your story and your feedback is encouraging!