We love Responsive Web Design, and we love Drupal. But do they love each other? After working on a number of RWD and Drupal projects this year, I'm happy to report that they get along just fine. Though "Love" might be stretching it a bit.
Can Drupal and RWD be Pals?
Drupal is a great platform for managing content and for building everything from simple blogs to very complex applications. By connecting Drupal's building blocks, you can build just about any functionality you need. That's amazing, especially if you've ever struggled to build any aspect of that on your own. My Drupal a-ha moment came when I realized that I'd never need to write a user log-in on my own again. Smarter people than me were on the case.
But that speaks to two key aspects of Drupal that aren't directly related to RWD. Drupal is primarily a back-end tool that excels when the building blocks are abstracted to be applicable to as many use cases as possible. Defining views and content types rightly doesn't prescribe any layout or visual design, leaving those tasks to your creativity in the theming layer.
Responsive Web Design, just like any other flavor of design, is all about custom solutions. The difference is that we have the opportunity to change and refine the design around different browser characteristics, like the browser width. It's natural that a designer would want a system to help with all this added complexity, but in most aspects, Drupal doesn't provide such a system. But then again, it doesn't provide a system for logo design either. It's just not the right tool for that particular task.