Unpopular Opinion: As a former Drupal guy, the fact that plugins like ACF and WP Views aren’t in WordPress core is frustrating

Drupal’s core capability to add custom fields and generate queried content (with Views) without writing code is unparalleled.

It astonishes me that a third-party tool like ACF is needed to do what it does. That’s literally the role of a Content Management System (beyond just being a glorified blog CMS).

There is no compelling advantage to having web developers write custom PHP to use WP\_Query to spit out selected and formatted data. Every time someone writes PHP code it’s a new potential failure case where the CMS should be managing the query and output for you through a common codebase of well-tested code validated on every site and maintained by the core development team.

The fact that you need to subscribe to a third-party paid tool like [https://toolset.com/home/views-create-elegant-displays-for-your-content/](https://toolset.com/home/views-create-elegant-displays-for-your-content/) to do this is an oversight.


WP is so far ahead in so many ways, but underneath, Drupal really had some well-thought-out concepts and implementations.

  1. WordPress has a philosophy of incorporating tools that 80% of end users will use; effectively bloggers and writers.

    The other 20% is where we work. 😄

  2. FYI, this is _not_ an unpopular opinion.

    If you need a completely free alternative to ACF and Toolset, check out [Pods](https://wordpress.org/plugins/pods/). You should find the experience very similar to Drupal’s.

    Also, Pods lets you create proper bi-directional relationships (with relationship specific fields).

  3. I don’t disagree, but coming from years of Drupal to WordPress I don’t miss it. ACF should really be in core but I find writing custom WP Queries a lot more flexible than Views.

  4. Was a Drupal fan for years, for exactly this reason – views, facet filtering options etc. But, slowly but surely, WordPress won me round. And it’s more suitable for the things I want to do now anyway, so that’s cool.

    Main thing I found frustrating with Drupal is that it took so long for modules to catch up with the latest version of Drupal, and so sometimes the functionality was not always available for the version you wanted. When it went to 8, and so many modules from 7 still weren’t updated after what seemed like forever, I just gave up. You get a bit of that in WordPress, but not so much.

    Now if you were to combine the best of WordPress and the best of Drupal, then I would be a very happy camper!

  5. Not everyone needs either of those.

    If we put so many things, the zip file will be huge.

    I just downloaded the basic package for both and the .zip files are:

    W: 23.3MB
    D: 27.4MB

    Now let’s expand them…

    W: 67.6MB
    D: 97.6MB

    You do not need every feature for every tom dick and harry.

  6. I was an early ACF adopter and scored a lifetime dev subscription about a decade ago, so I can use it on unlimited sites forever until I die and pass it on to my WordPress children.

    Without that, I’d feel just as frustrated, especially now that you can create post types and taxonomies with it. It’s just basic WordPress functionality wrapped in an awesome UI.

  7. ACF is now a child company of WP Engine so I don’t see it making it into core. Be nice, tho!

  8. I really like modular themes like Theme X Pro (which I’m using), Elementor etc. With X you can visually build every page dynamically. Still you need CPT UI, but it comes with a license of ACF Pro. Tried Elementor, didn’t like it.

  9. I’ve always wondered by WordPress did not buy out ACF and incorporate it. Maybe because of Gutenberg.

    As a designer first, ACF is the core of my entire custom website business. Sucks to lean on one thing (never recommended) but it is what it is. I have unlimited usage for life as well. It saved me because client demands for functions would have required contracting to a dedicated developer at an early stage in my business where I probably could not have sustained it.

    Side note – did anyone use an older/dead plugin called “Magic Fields”? That plug-in got me started. It’s downfall was it did not use the native WP db structure and therefore wasn’t as flexible as ACF using traditional posts, pages, etc.

  10. Can I ask why you’ve switched from Drupal to WordPress? I don’t know too much about Drupal but have heard it is “more advanced” than WordPress with a steeper learning curve.

  11. ACF in the core would have made sense pre Gutenberg. But now it would make zero sense. It would be counter to everything they are doing with fse etc. ACF blocks are a work around at best in their functionality and would make no sense in the core. And there is a query block in the core now, it’s not good but it’s there and will only get better.

    Gutenberg and fse is where WP is focusing so asking for something to make meta fields and PHP queries is about 5 yrs too late.

  12. i think it goes back to their roots. drupal was a true CMS while wordpress was more for blogging with the ability to create some pages.

    15 years ago or so i considered drupal the way to go if a site needed things like member log-in, special content types, etc, and wordpress more for informational sites that needed blogging capabilities (eg, company brochureware with a news & updates section.

    as wp advanced i think the philosphy was that they wanted fo keep things as simple as possible to get people up and running without the learning curve or complexity that drupal had. meaning, anything beyond its original core was to be handled with plugins or custom code.

  13. Drupal and WordPress are aimed at different markets, and have different use cases. WordPress is still, to this day, intended to be something that a non-technical user can download on to a cpanel account, and get set up with a relatively simple online guide. They will never stray from this core principle, because it’s what got them to where they are. This choice means that they will always choose the side of simple end user functionality over developer flexibility.

    Aside from having fields as part of core, there’s also huge issues like configuration management, git workflow compatibility and composer support. Can you imagine trying to explain to a non-technical user how to jump into a shell and run composer install? God forbid debugging an issue with it.

    If you want a modern content management framework, honestly, Drupal is still a good choice. If you want a simple and well-maintained CMS that you can slap a state-of-the-art page builder on, and do 98% of your site build without touching a line of code, WordPress is the absolute undisputed king.

    Oh and for the record, I actually *like* the commercial aspect behind the plugin marketplace for WordPress. The fact that Elementor has a team of paid developers and support staff behind it, rather than a bunch of volunteer hyper-nerds, means we get a quality product we can rely on, that is frequently updated, for very little cost compared to a decent web project budget. I honestly wish Drupal went down the same path years ago, and maybe we’d see a page builder on the Drupal side with even 10% of the same quality as Elementor.

  14. Gutenberg and FSE will completely make ACF unneeded. And this is good. I’m working with ACF since at least 10 years and I am happy to stop using it soon. We have to wait a bit from Gutenberg to be ok but it will come this year or the next one. Can’t wait to remove WPML/Polylang too! 🙂 Ear me well, I love those plugins and they are dope but they acts like hack on WordPress so it will be awesome to finally have everything in WordPress core around Gutenberg and FSE.

  15. Another former Drupal guy here, you are correct. I still have some doubts about how ACF utilizes the database and some implementations I’ve seen using it were.. Distasteful. However, honestly, when I started using Elementor Pro instead of Drupal for making small to medium websites and Woocommerce for e-shops, my revenue effectively doubled. So yeah, I greatly miss fields, views and Metatag (Yoast is an abomination) in WordPress, but same things applies to proper visual builder in Drupal. Maybe it changed since late D8, but that news didn’t get to me.


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