Drupal in the magic Quadrant

Gartner, the world’s leading research and advisory company, has developed the Magic Quadrant to classify Web Content Management (WCM) platforms. The quadrant is split up into 4 sections: Leaders, Challengers, Visionaries, and Niche Players. 

Leaders

Leaders should drive transformation with a clear vision for the future through an appreciation of the broader context for digital business. Leaders have strong channel partners, a presence in multiple regions, broad platform support, and good customer support. Gartner also states that leaders can:

  • “Demonstrate enterprise deployments.”
  • “Offer integration with other business applications and content repositories.”
  • “Support multiple vertical as well as horizontal contexts.”

Challengers

Challengers are solid vendors and provide decent performance for many enterprises, however they lack the vision to guide their customers through the future. So, a Challenger may have a strong WCM product, but a strategy that doesn’t fully reflect market trends. 

Visionaries

Visionaries are on the cutting edge of forward-thinking strategies and may incorporate items like machine learning. However to progress as Leaders, they would have to focus on their core offerings and business ecosystems. Progression in many cases may require the adoption of a new technology or the development of partnerships to complement their strengths. 

Niche Players

Niche Players are very focussed on a specific segment of the market. This mainly benefits organisations that are aligned with their niche, however this narrow focus can affect their ability to innovate and expand their business.


So, how does Drupal measure up?
For a fourth year in a row Acquia, Drupal’s commercial offering, has been named as a leader within this quadrant. This pitts Drupal against larger scale proprietary systems like Sitecore and Adobe.

As Gartner states, Acquia has the following  strengths:

  • “Acquia has a very strong position in this Magic Quadrant, being the best-known provider of cloud capabilities around the highly popular Drupal open-source platform.”
  • “Acquia has done well to promote adoption of the latest version (8.x) of Drupal, which has enabled this community to compete well with the "closed-source" larger vendors that also feature in this research.”
  • “Acquia has supplemented its services around its core Drupal platform with Acquia Lift, which is very popular across multiple verticals for personalization and recommendations.”

By only focussing on the functional requirements for WCMs, Gartner has a number of minimum requirements, which will each be discussed from a Drupal perspective below. 

Stand alone product or suite of products
This was one of the major drives behind the development of Drupal 8’s first release candidate. A number of modules were brought into core to ensure that a proper set of features would be available to users. Some of these features include: translation, views, more verbose display management for Content Types, Taxonomies, Users, and comments. From a coding perspective Drupal 8 was built to work with Symfony and Composer, ensuring that package control is taken care of, which then leads to one of the features that developers have been waiting for: Configuration Synchronization.

Content repository with basic library services such as check-in/check-out and versioning
By default each Content Type has the option to activate versioning. Instead of changing your content live, each change you make to your content sets a new version of that content piece. Each revision is accessible and with Drupal 8’s improved previewing feature, you are able to view the content in the same manner as if it was published. The latest version of Drupal Core aims to include workflow as a default feature, enabling developers to create custom workflows for any piece of content on their website.

Authentication of users and assignment of permissions
This feature has been present in some of the earliest versions of Drupal. Users are able to define their own custom roles, assign a permission matrix to these roles, and then in turn apply roles to user accounts.

Content authoring through browser-based templates
On this point, there was a reference to the configuration of display management for content entities. Drupal 8 enables developers to set up custom, user friendly forms that editors could use to upload content. Not only can the widgets of individual fields be customised, but conditional actions can be developed to guarantee an effortless content loading experience.

Support for content aggregation and syndication
By default, Drupal 8 ships with web services. This enables developers to expose content on their site via XML or JSON, with RESTful services. Which provides interoperability between Drupal and any other system with a web API. Drupal 8’s rendering engine has been updated from PHP to twig, ensuring that all modern rendering features are available to developers.

Capabilities for multisite and multilanguage management
As mentioned earlier, there was a massive drive to ensure that multilingual support becomes a default feature of Drupal. Since the earliest stable release of Drupal, it’s been clear that a lot of work went into this aspect Core. Out-of-the-box Code now provides multilingual functionality that required an excess of 10 modules on Drupal 7.

One of the most attractive features of Drupal 7 was ported and updated for Drupal 8: Multisite. This enables developers to create a central repository of default modules and features. Websites can then be deployed in parallel to this code base and feed off of all modules and features without having to duplicate or import any additional modules. Each “sub” website still exists as a standalone website with its own theme and database, but simply shares the base system’s features. 

Web analytics and reporting 
As you might know, Drupal works off of a Core and Extended platform. It can be extended using a massive amount of contributed modules, as well as custom coding your own modules using the Drupal API. From an analytics perspective, Drupal has a number contributed modules for tracking, from Google Analytics and Tag Manager, to heat mapping tools like Crazy egg.

Ability to support interaction with target audiences using various devices (such as tablets, smartphones and smart TV) over multiple channels (such as Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn)
The administration and default theme of Drupal 8 is completely responsive and works on all modern browsers and devices. However, this is where a developer’s skill comes into play as Drupal gives you everything you require to build a multi-channel platform, but a lot of the responsive styling and framework development rests on the shoulders of the front-end developer working on the theme of your system. There are a number of contributed themes that make it very easy for developers to ensure that your system is fully compliant on all devices – from the ever popular Bootstrap theme to our own Janitor theme.

Read the full report here