On Drupal Stores (and apps) and the lack thereof

I followed the whole Drupal App store discussion with a lot of interest and just wanted to recount a relevant episode that raises a couple of issues from a perspective that may not have been considered so far: How the lack of professionally marketed Drupal Apps can negatively hurt the uptake of Drupal.

A lot has been written (and much is anticipated) about a possible Drupal App Store and the wider issues surrounding the selling of Drupal modules, features and distributions.

Others are far more qualified to expand on the merits of this with some actual experience and hard data. My contribution will limit itself to recounting an episode that illustrates what challenges Drupal can face regarding its uptake by a larger number of people because we do not have professionally marketed apps.

This happened while trying to convince someone to build their site with Drupal rather than Wordpress.

Yes - I am talking about my Dad once more! Check out the beginnings of that story here.

In the discussions we've had about the merits of using Drupal for his website he brought up the issue of forms quite a few times. Now, his form needs are not complicated so I just said "Don't worry - there is this module called Webform that will take care of everything".

However, the question didn't go away. He kept mentioning this great Wordpress module - GravityForms - that was only $39. The fact that Webform was free or my guarantee that it could cover his needs didn't seem to clinch the deal. Up to the very last minute he suggested we could do everything else in Drupal but do the form with Gravity Forms and Wordpress! Mind you this is a plugin he has not used before.

So then I visited the Gravity Forms site that had my Dad excited.

And here is the Webform page I had sent him to to convince him that Webform was more than enough.

You see the problem, right? After visiting the Gravity Forms site the path from requirement to conclusion is clear. There is $39 to pay on the way but that is nothing compared to the gains.

The Webform page is just a lot of text about a lot of things that a non-seasoned Drupalist has no idea about! How can you ever be convinced by that.

Now, don't get me wrong. This is not an attack on Webform (which I love and which my Dad WILL be using). It is just stating the facts. Webform was just the example I came across - any other module would have the same fate. If someone starts out with no preconceptions and needs to make a decision in a limited time and it all comes down to that one extra bit of functionality that is crucial to their business a professionally marketed product will quite often win (especially if the two products are similar).

That is where an App Store can create problems or create opportunities (by promoting worse products better or good products better, respectively) and this is something else we need to be considering before shooting down anyone wanting to sell their Drupal module or set up a store.


I appreciate you're a Drupal fan, and that you'd be able to help out if you dad went with Drupal. But I have to ask: Would Wordpress + Gravityforms have fit your dad's needs?

Adrinux - we both agreed that Drupal will offer better tools to list more than just one holiday homes on the site and search and sort them. Also we both agreed that Drupal would provide more flexibility to eventually provide a private area for clients to further plan their trip (they are largish groups that plan activities, etc). So yes - I think it is fair to consider Drupal a better fit (beyond my own personal bias)

Inviato da venkat-rk (non verificato) il

The comparative pictures make a great point. But, should that kind of communication/presentation require an App store? May be not, if the Drupal community can evolve guidelines and develop simple plans to improve presentation of the module pages. It's easier said than done, of course. But, if the community could tackle such a large scale project as the d.o redesign, it can sure tackle this one.

I agree. Presentation is (nearly) everything. Take dotnetnuke for instance. One of the biggest reasons for their growth is Modules, Themes etc. are all presented very graphically with an opportunity for developers to get re-imbursed for their efforts. Some of them are free and most of the paid ones are priced very reasonably.

Drupal is a terrific platform with a lot of terrific volunteers. If there were a mechanism for them to get rewarded for there efforts, these mostly part time volunteers could at least make a little money at it and consequently devote more time to there projects. Snowcoverd is now owned by Dotnetnuke. Perhaps either Drupal or Acquia could do the same?

Inviato da Nikos Stylianou (non verificato) il

Another way to look at the drupal module pages would be, if you were a non-developer and looked at the project page and you're presented with things saying Bug reports, Recent issues, Issues for Webform with numbers next to them going into the hundreds, wouldn't that also be enough to put you off choosing drupal? All that information could be taken off the project page and added as another tab under the page title, then let the page content span across the whole page.

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