The Drupal 7 open source content management system is expected to reach a beta release stage next month, with the general release due to follow several weeks later, Drupal founder Dries Buytaert said.
In an interview with InfoWorld at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON 2010) conference in Portland last week, Buytaert also reiterated that version 7 would be slower than version 6 but still superior. He also offered perspectives on open source and the upcoming cloud version of Drupal, called Drupal Gardens. Now CTO of Acquia, Buytaert began working on Drupal around 10 years ago and released it as an open source technology in 2001.
InfoWorld: When will Drupal 7 be released?
Buytaert: We still don't know, but we're down to 44 critical bugs. My hope is that we'll have a beta release of Drupal 7 around the beginning of August.
InfoWorld: When would the general release happen?
Buytaert: I think it's going to happen somewhere in [the] September, October timeframe.
InfoWorld: At the DrupalCon conference in April, you said Drupal 7 was going to be slower than Drupal 6. How much slower, and what's the reasoning behind that?
Buytaert: We added a lot of features. You have Drupal core, which is the base platform, and then we have contributed modules, which are being developed by other members in the community. We actually moved [about] 70 contributed modules into Drupal core. So Drupal core got bigger, it has more features. One side effect is that it becomes a little bit slower because there's extra features and functionality. We've made really significant improvements to Drupal usability. It was our key focus, is to make Drupal easier to use for end users. We hired some of the best usability people in the world -- Mark Boulton, he did the BBC website.
InfoWorld: What do some of the modules do?
Buytaert: One of the most popular contributed modules is called CCK. It stands for Content Construction Kit and basically allows people to define custom content types from within their browser. For example, if you want to do a review site or something, you can create a review content type. [Also] we made it a better, more flexible platform, [which] definitely impacts performance a little bit. The other thing is as Drupal gets bigger -- actually I should say as the users of Drupal gets bigger -- there's bigger Web sites adopting Drupal. We were able to learn from that and we were able to make some architectural changes that improved scalability. But scalability is not to be confused with performance. So the trade-off that we made is that it's easier to scale Drupal to really large websites across multiple servers but the performance of Drupal on a single server will be a little bit affected by that. While Drupal becomes a little bit slower, it's actually possible to build bigger websites with it. We thought that was a fair trade-off.
InfoWorld: I understand that Drupal 7 will break APIs and feature a redesigned interface for nontechnical users. Are you concerned about offending any longtime devotees or developers?