Backdrop - a Drupal fork

stpaultim's picture

At last months TC Drupal User Group meeting the subject of a possible Drupal fork came up in an interesting discussion about the move towards Drupal 8 and some of its growing pains.

Today, I learned that this fork has happened. As far as I can tell, this has been official for about a week.

Two of the best know proponents of Backdrop (the new Drupal fork) were at our Drupal Camp in July. Makes me wonder what kind of discussions may have been going on at camp that I was unaware of. :-) (Nate Haug and Jen Lampton)

For those just learning of this interesting?/exciting? development in Drupal land, here are the resources I've seen about it.

As someone very interested in the dynamics of an opensource community, I find this to be a very interesting development. I'm sympathetic with Jen Lampton's view that this could be positive for the Drupal community as a whole, but I'm by no means convinced, yet.

I look forward to some interesting discussions in weeks to come and am anxious to hear what kind of impact this development will have in Prague.

Might be a good topic for October User Group meeting - or something to chat about at the October happy hour.

I'm very much interested in your options....

Tim Erickson
(Currently available for contract or freelance projects)


Other resources?

stpaultim's picture

If anyone else has links to any interesting commentaries, opinions, or announcements on Backdrop - I'd be interested in learning about them. Find me here, in IRC, or on Twitter @MrTimTweets.

Tim Erickson

I agree this is a really

davidneedham's picture

I agree this is a really interesting situation for the Drupal community. I know this is something that Nate and Jen have talked about for some time — maybe even since before the 2012 TCDrupal camp. It might appear to merely be a difference of opinion about functionality and infrastructure, but there's definitely a (mostly unspoken) side to this regarding frustrations with Drupal drama and how things in Drupal 8 are being decided.

Some people are saying this is Dries' unoffical response to Backdrop:

This is my favorite critique of Backdrop's reasoning:

In the end, I believe it depends how widely it's embraced and how the overwhelming number of existing Drupal modules will integrate / be adopted into Backdrop. What is Drupal without modules and the diverse community that maintains and develops them?

My hope is that their points will be taken seriously by the Drupal community at large and attempts will be made to pull the work back into Drupal as another option (Drupal Lite?).

David Needham
Agency & Community Training Manager at Pantheon Podcast

stpaultim's picture

I posted a link to the podcast earlier, before actually listening to it. I just want to say that I've now listened to it and found it really helpful in understanding what Backdrop is and what the goals are.

Both Nate Haug and Jen Lampton participated and the entire podcast runs over an hour.

Another interesting resource is the Backdrop Issues Queue at:

"May you live in interesting times" :-)

Tim Erickson

Tim Erickson

Great Idea, but Is there Enough Support

wylbur's picture

The reasoning behind the project is good, but can it garner enough support to make it successful?

For me it's a better direction for Drupal development, and I will throw my support to this project. The amount of effort needed to make this successful seems daunting though.

Overall, I think this is a good undertaking, and I hope it has a positive impact on the entire Drupal universe.

More links to discussion

stpaultim's picture

At the end of this blog post is a list of interesting opinions, blog posts, and background resources on Backdrop and the entire concept of forking Drupal.

I found this link particularly useful in understanding how forking is generally looked at in the Drupal community.

Tim Erickson

Wisdom of the Bees

niccolox's picture

personally, I don't think Backdrop is a viable product, I think Jen and Nate are wonderful, technical, brave

I don't buy the Backdrop technical argument, I like all the innovations in D8

I do however, and I think this is largely taboo subject, completely understand the economic justice aspects of the Backdrop project

having said all that, there seems to be a serious resonance with the fork with little people, which make-up the Drupal community

let me share a little story and maybe it could be a parable? unsure

The hive had decided they where better off moving to a new hive location, in the early Fall, just before the rains, with no reserves of honey. Perhaps to a hollow of a Eucalyptus tree nearby. For their own reason they had made a calculation the honeycomb filled beehive, they they had worked all Summer to build was a worse home than starting again, late in the season in some new, strange location.

"It's the extensions, stupid"

Ted Clayton's picture

'Backdrop', like the notorious 'Foxfire'-case, is a product-name already in use. It isn't, though, a serious 2nd-tier software that will feel dissed. So ... how was this name chosen; what does it signify?

I gave the name-choice some consideration, when the fork came to my attention (in recent days). Because they use the stylized Drupal "drop" as a logo-image, it can be plausibly asserted that the name is just a handy spin-off of the parent entity's namespace.

Maybe, but what floated to mind was the "stage", and specifically the accouterments & furniture used to support an act, play or theater production.

It's a beautiful name-choice, if what is intended is to signify that the 'cms' is just a platform on which to arrange the director's choice of ... extensions. And really, for most normal people looking into website software, it has for some years now been mainly about "the extensions, stupid".

If Mr. Haug and Ms. Lampton propose merely to stabilize a straight spin-off of Drupal 7, and adapt the Bartik theme and a half-decent little flock of modules for it, they will float on the publicity for a short time, then settle back into the pack of under-recognized CMS titles.

If on the other hand, they are making a stripped-down 'interpreter' of a core that executes modules & themes as arranged onstage, then the 'cultural Internet' could get very exciting.

Interestingly, I don't see that success for Backdrop - as indeed, stagecraft for extensions - would need to be a worry for Drupal or WordPress, whence I came in recent days. Both are vying for the Big Time, and have little to gain from, or real interest in, the motley rabble.

It seems like Haug would have to be pretty strongly deluded, to think he could get far merely on a cloned Drupal, since the program itself is plainly a case of the dog's-body being swung by an extensions-tail. Without large numbers of modules & themes, and far larger numbers of sub-genius hangers-on angling for a role in the peripheral coder act ... he'll soon get awful lonely.

There's almost nothing current in the news, on the subject of Backdrop. The first thought that comes to mind about the quietness, is that it is either very bad ... or it's run-for-your-miserable-lives good. :)

"serious resonance with the fork with little people"

CatsAreNice's picture

Well, how do you define "little people"?

Backdrop 1.0.0 just released

jenlampton's picture

Well, it's been a year and a half of toil and turmoil, but all the hard work has paid off and we have our first stable release of Backdrop CMS:

We'd love to hear what you think if anyone would like to take a look.


agx's picture

I congratulate the team behind Backdrop CMS!

Impressive performance (PHP 5.5).

Flexible configuration (JSON), HTML5, Panels, Views, ajaxified comments and other well thought goodies in core - Hallelujah!!!

Thanks, this is just what I need.

jgeert1's picture

I've been developing modules for many years since Drupal v6. When I moved to v7, I found the migration not that painful, most of my existing modules (+/- 50K of code) was migrated in a few days, so not that painful at all. But last week I've been trying to port a very simple module to v8 and I faced a wall of issues, and it still doesn't work. I'm familiar with OO-programming, so that's not the issue here. Documentation of v8 is poor and not structured. I'm glad there's an alternative like Backdrop. Needles to say that I'll be moving completely to Backdrop as of now.

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