Wild-West Frontiers To Flee Wordpress: Joomla Vs. Drupal08/12/2013
Let's face it: WordPress is a big deal. According to Mashable, the CMS (content management system) is used on almost 70,000,000 sites. That's about 18% of the entire Internet. WordPress isn't just popular but has extremely high-profile users, particularly in news journalism: CNN, Reuters, and The New York Times each have the platform installed for their blogs.
Regardless of the scope of WordPress, though, it isn't feature-rich or adaptable enough for everyone. Would you like to check out some of the other options out there? They said Space was the final frontier, but I think that's because they had not heard of Joomla! or Drupal yet. Let's circle the wagons, ponder our options, and decide whether to head toward Fort Bridger (Joomla!) or Soda Springs (Drupal).
To make sure we are headed in the right direction (and not through Rattlesnake Gulch), we will look at a couple of different perspectives on the differences between Joomla! and Drupal: one from Justin Kerr of Aluent Group , the other from A3webtech. If we do decide to head westward from WordPress, let's make sure we have a map, a compass, and some victuals, whatever those are.
Drupal & Joomla!: Commonalities & Differences
According to Justin Kerr, Joomla! and Drupal have much in common:
• wide popularity
• built on PHP/mySQL code
• open source (source code modifiable by all parties).
However, they also have significant differences:
• worth of site
• way they're used to build sites
• developer expertise to optimize their use
• user experience
• ease of upgrading.
Let's take a quick look at each of the differences. Abraham and Jethro, go ahead and keep shooting at those big woolly cows with the horns while we're talking.
Worth of Site
According to Kerr, when Joomla! sites are put up for sale, they tend to be priced from a few hundred up to a few thousand USD. Drupal ones, on the other hand, tend to sell for five figures and up. The essential reason is that, though third-party software allows them both to be extremely diverse in functionality, Joomla! Is more constrictive.
Way They're Used to Build Sites
How is Joomla! more constrictive? The organization of the CMS is standardized. That means you get a lot of options and tools upfront, but these basic aspects of a website can become too rigid for certain types of situations:
• basic structure
• way features are integrated into administration
• "user workflows" – organizational relationship of pages and functionalities
• breadth of content and design options.
Drupal must be customized by default. It's less of a "cookie-cutter" CMS. It takes more time to set up but can more specifically target the needs of various projects.
Successful use of Drupal to build sites is best performed by a person knowledgeable in the CMS and familiar with the best ways to incorporate certain functionalities. In other words, per Kerr, Drupal-specific experience is crucial. Development skills, particularly for PHP, will further enhance the finished product. Joomla!, meanwhile, is much simpler.
Familiarity with basics of HTML and CSS can help, but designers and content managers can become "expertly" familiar with Joomla! in a month or two. Note that due to the more complex nature of Drupal, it may be difficult to switch from one to another, so make your developer choice wisely.
In other words, don't hire a trail guide who has been sitting in the saloon for 12 hours.
Now here we are in Rattlesnake Gulch. I wonder why they call it that…
User Experience & Ease of Upgrading
Joomla! is not necessarily the easier CMS for producers and managers of content, provided that a Drupal site is customized for the most intuitive and efficient use. On the other hand, content professionals will be able to make modifications within Joomla! that they would not be able to make within Drupal. A basic example is the ability to alter the way that content is laid out on the page, which is a pre-set variable within Joomla! but is not within Drupal unless coded as such. Also note that Drupal is more rigid when it comes to updating to new major versions of the software. Joomla! can often be upgraded in one click. Drupal upgrades can become so complicated and "piecemeal" that it often makes sense to rebuild the site on the new version of the CMS rather than to painstakingly upgrade it.
A3webtech points out that WordPress is the easiest CMS for anyone to use. However, "it's a microCMS and not a full solution." Joomla! is the best choice for a complete CMS that is also extremely user-friendly.
Different Types of Use
A3webtech also notes that Joomla! excels in terms of visual appeal, working well for a multimedia, journalistic, or ecommerce site. Drupal, on the other hand, can be used as a content management system for small or medium enterprises. Additionally, it is designed particularly well for collaboration.
That should give you a basic idea of some of the differences between Drupal and Joomla!. Clearly Joomla! is the easiest CMS to dip into if you need more than what WordPress has to offer. Drupal, meanwhile, offers you more freedom to build what you want. It also could mean more expense upfront in terms of development. However, the overall value of your site will benefit from going with that CMS option.
You know what else you are going to need? Hosting. If you are switching your CMS, you might as well get rid of that pesky host that has been spooking the oxen. Best hosting in the Wild West: http://certifiedhosting.com/unlimited-web-hosting/.
By Kent Roberts