The Drupal Learning Curve - Myth or Reality?
Most discussions regarding the relative merits of various content management systems end up presenting Drupal as a potentially powerful system but with a steep learning curve. People blame the weird terminology Drupal uses and a user interface that is not immediately intuitive. Terms like nodes and taxonomy don't directly relate to actual things likes pages and categories and once you install it is not clear what you are supposed to do next.
On the other hand, talk people that explain Drupal to clients and other website builders daily and you get a rather different story. Users seem to get how things work easily, after just a short initial walkthrough and before a day is over they are doing things in minutes that only a few years ago would take a team of skilled web developers several days to implement.
So what gives? Does Drupal have a steep learning curve or is it actually quite easy to pick up?
The answer is, as ever, a bit more nuanced. If you download Drupal and try to figure out on your own it presents, unfortunately, a bit of a challenge. But, crucially, if someone who has already gone through the nasty bits explains it to you it then becomes much much easier. I don't want to say that the Drupal UI is perfect as long as someone explains it but if I am able to (over skype) empower someone who has never managed a website to add pages, menus and generally manage their website in about 20 minutes that is not that bad either.
It also depends on what you call steep. If after one day of training one is able to go away and built a site with sophisticated navigation, a variety of content types, search and filtering based on a number of different criteria and with user interaction built it I wouldn't call that steep.
On the other hand, Drupal can do so much more than what I just described above. Any new user is able to realise that and gets drawn in to learning more and more. With over 4000 modules available and some of them easily competing in complexity with the basic Drupal system itself there is just so much more you can always do with Drupal. So it is not so much of a steep curve - more like an endless journey. But it's a journey with some amazing sights along the way.