Backdrop, forking Drupal
"In Open Source Software, forking is considered a feature. Nevertheless, the Drupal community has generally frowned upon forking. We’ve been a fairly cohesive community. We work together, share what we’re doing (even while we compete with each other), collaborate with each other, offer help, contribute patches, all in support of the commons we love: Drupal." --Laura Scott
What is the Backdrop CMS?
Backdrop is a fork of Drupal being developed with the intention of incorporating Drupal 8 features into an API that more closely resembles that of Drupal 7.
Preserving the community
Developing for Drupal has become successively more difficult with each release. The continual march towards professional computer-engineering and design patterns raises the bar and creates an ever-higher barrier for contribution. Backdrop aims to fill the gap left by Drupal as it has grown into an Enterprise platform while attempting to maintain connectivity and cohesiveness with the larger Drupal community. While I believe that there is a need to fill this gap in order to preserve our community as we strive towards Enterprise adoption, I do not believe that a fork will help us get there.
Only time will tell if Backdrop will be successful, and preservation of the community will be critical to its success. And while I agree that Drupal has reached a point of complexity which makes it economically inefficient to develop small sites on Drupal, I do not believe that removing core improvements is the best way to move forward.
The improvements between Drupal 6 and 7 created a dramatically different learning curve; however, they brought with them numerous improvements which I would find difficult to live without. I fully expect to have a similar experience in moving from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8.
Backdrop has once again highlighted the need for a smaller core capable of providing a wordpress-like experience for rapid and cheap development of smaller sites. As a community, we need to address the need that exists at both ends of the spectrum and help to preserve our community by encouraging developers of all walks to participate and contribute to Drupal.
There is still a lot that is unknown about Backdrop. A large amount of what is known is speculation based on git commit messages, Twitter comments and what little information is available on backdropcms.org.
Will the continued march of Drupal towards an Enterprise platform lead to its demise as a general CMS? Will Backdrop become the Drupal we once knew? What are your thoughts on Backdrop? Let us know in the comments.