May the WordPress gods not come out of the sky and strike me with their thunderbolts for talking about Drupal, a competing(?) content management system, on this WordPress-hosted blog.
That opening prayer done with, I got on with installing Drupal as a tiny, baby first step to completing my DH201 project. I’m excited. After all, it is the digital in digital humanities that drew me to this class and keeps me here. In this particular instance, “the digital” consists of learning two technical applications — Drupal and Mallet (a text mining and analysis tool).
So maybe my anticipation and excitement at “discovering” Drupal blindsided me, but I was caught entirely by surprise when before even becoming familiar with Drupal, leave alone attaining any mastery over it, we instead started talking about how using Drupal limits our ability to do presumably wondrous, creative things. Drupal defines the project; it constrains us; its built in functionality is the box we must yearn to escape.
I’m flabbergasted. Do CS (computer science) students have such a discussion at the beginning of their Java, C++, or whatever else class? Or do they learn the programming languages? Oh, I’m sure the they
bitch debate how lame a particular programming language or package may be, how the libraries that came with it are crap, how nobody codes in this language anymore, how it’s so terribly limiting of the wondrous and creative CS souls that are just yearning to burst free.
I just thought that they would learn the damn things first*.
*: And maybe they have. Maybe it’s just me who’s sitting in the dark, taking baby steps to learn Drupal. Maybe it’s just me who’s now clicking around and discovering the easiest-to-use, most accessible functions of Drupal. These are probably the least flexible aspects of Drupal and should my jail breaking soul find that objectionable, I think it perfectly appropriate advice to tell it, “go figure out CSS/PHP/HTML”.