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Things Drupal can do better: Automatic module upgrade

Today I upgraded a wordpress blog to version 2.5.1 and noticed several plugins are also not up-to-date. The plugin upgrade cannot be any easier, with a single click to upgrade each one. No wget, no FTP, just a click.

plugin list page

wordpress plugin upgrade screenshot

Upgrading Drupal modules require a bit more thinking, with various versions available for each modules, plus development snapshots. Lately, the update status module helps simplify the process. But I think the process of actually updating to a chosen version should be reduced to something like the wordpress experience above.


  1. chx says

    This is going to be written during the Summer of Code for Drupal. In a secure fashion, of course… because if your Apache can write your PHP files that’s a security weakness we want to avoid.

    • Totally agree with

      … if your Apache can write your PHP files that’s a security weakness …

      Think that is the main reason for not doing such thing.

      • I think they will use ftp among other file access systems. This way you have control of file access , ownership and execution of code.

  2. I completely agree with this. This would make the process very seamless. Once the security side of it is thought through then it will be a great addition to Drupal. Bring on Drupal 7.

  3. Having developed sites with both WordPress and Drupal, I have to say that this one area where Drupal falls behind. I prefer Drupal as a flexible, extensible CMS that has more power out-of-the-box than anything else available. However, when I develop Drupal sites for a client, there are always two key complaints:

    1. Site users and administrators who are not experienced with Drupal find it difficult to use.
    2. Upgrading modules is a hassle for site admins who are not experienced with Drupal.

    Both of these serve as significant barriers to organizations choosing Drupal for their CMS needs.

    Problem one is something that needs to be addressed through usability testing and a renewed focus on the end-user experience. This requires something of a cultural change in terms of how Drupal developers approach a problem. That change is starting to happen, but it will take a long time before Drupal is as intuitive to use as something like WordPress (granted that part of the reason Drupal is more difficult to use is because it has more options, more power, more features, and more flexibility.)

    Problem two is much easier to address because it can be fixed by writing some code. If the Drupal community can find a way to simplify the upgrade process securely then Drupal becomes a much more viable choice for a lot of organizations looking for a CMS that is powerful but easy to use.

  4. web dweller says

    You should try Umbraco.

    Scatters files all over the place and doesnt have a module uninstall.

    God i luv Drupal.

    Could you put Drupal in to some kind of upgrade mode where the admin gives permissions for PHP to write modules updates but wont serve the website proper until permissions are revoked.

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