Announcing Drupal UE, the Usability Edition

As many of you know, there has been a lot of focus and work put into Drupal usability testing over the past year or so. And we at Lullabot have been both interested and involved with as much of this as we can. It is fascinating to go out and talk to real people about what they really want to get out of a content management system.

And what have we found? What do people really want to do? Well it turns out they just want to put their stuff on the Internet. They want to put their thoughts on the Internet. They want to put their hopes and dreams on the Internet. They want to put their pictures on the Internet. They want to put their old junk on the Internet to sell it.

And they want it to be easy! They don't want to think about input formats. They don't want to think about user permissions and roles. They don't want to think about paths and path aliasing. They don't even want to know about nodes.

Now much of this usability research has been going into the Drupal issue queue and the core development community has been doing what they can to try to accommodate the needs of real end users. But work has been slow going. There is so much legacy code and old-but-working methods of handling functionality. And all of this needs to be undone in order to implement newer, more usable functionality.

But what if we just dive in and start anew? What if we throw out concern for upgrade paths and database compatibility? What if we say Drupal has just gotten too confusing and it's time to flood it out, build our ark, and start fresh?

Well, this is exactly what we've done! We call it Drupal UE. The "UE" stands for "usability edition"... or maybe "user experience"... we haven't decided yet.

Now many people are going to criticize us for forking Drupal. I wouldn't call it a fork per se. I'd call it a "reworking"... or maybe a "fresh start". But we're very excited about its possibilities. Which leads me to the next announcement that the Lullabot team will henceforth be dedicating itself exclusively to building and supporting Drupal UE. All of our future workshops will be about Drupal UE. Our future consulting will be about Drupal UE. All of our future videos and DVDs will be about Drupal UE. And all of our future podcasts will be about Drupal UE. We certainly value the time that we've given to the Drupal project and all of the wonderful people involved with it, but our company's future lies with Drupal UE. And speaking for the rest of the team individually, we lie as well.

It's sort of a shame really, because we've been so proud of our new CCK and Views videos. But we need to face facts. These complex Drupal modules are a thing of the past.

We've been working on this project for months. And I'm sure we have months ahead of us before it's perfect. We hope that many in the Drupal community will see its significance and that Drupal UE will eventually build as large a following as Drupal.

So without further ado...

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