So which is better - Joomla, Drupal or WordPress?
Those new to the CMS world will learn this is a heated debate.
For those seasoned you know it all too well. I felt it was time to give my 2 cents on the issue and hopefully clear up some confusion.
I won't doom you to the end of this page, the answer is simple to this question: DRUPAL
- There is nothing WordPress or Joomla! can do that Drupal can not.
- WordPress and Joomla are systems, Drupal is a framework. You can always do more with a framework.
- I honestly have yet to meet anyone who can build well with Drupal and uses WordPress.
Now to justify these claims. I'll compare it to a dog house. If you want/need a dog house you have two options. You can go to Walmart or Costco and buy a pre-fabricated plastic molded dog house, OR you could go to the hardware store and buy all the tools needed to build your own - custom - dog house.
WordPress and Joomla are much the prefabricated option. While it is indeed convenient and gets the job done today, there is little you can do in terms of 'building it'. The nicest WordPress plugins and Joomla components will give you many configuration options, but that is the extent of it. This is like having the ability to change the color of your prefabricated dog house, or taking the roof off, or adding a swinging door. In all cases these are just adjustments to the core dog house you can not change (easily). If you do need to make major changes it can quickly become an expensive task of custom module or component development. This is someone sitting down, writing code, then testing it, then adjusting from the test, then delivering it. Again, very expensive. This also can paint you in a corner when natural, sometimes significant, changes are needed on the client's site in the future. It usually means a major overhaul or a lot of work. Maybe good for some developer, but not good for the end client.
Drupal on the other hand is like the saw, the lumber, the drill, the screw driver, the wood glue (the tools) needed to build your own dog house. As you can see, if you were expecting a dog house and are given a bunch of tools to build your own, you'll be disappointed. This is what new users/developers to Drupal first experience when trying to use the platform. They expect one thing and get another. This naturally produces negative forum posts, blog entries and opinions that are based on an incorrect assumptions. This effect usually is behind the common critique that Drupal is 'harder to learn and use'. <- we'll come back to this.
Joomla!'s community builder, K2, Blog, and Forum components are all native features to Drupal, and highly customizable, not just configurable. This is not to mention Drupal's powerful Views, Organic Groups, Ubercart, Panels and the ability to make your site contextually aware to name a few. With that said, you can quickly see however that with all the tools you can certainly create your needed dog house. Since you have the tools, and not a plastic mold, you can build a cat house, bat house, real house, mansion, skyscraper etc... this is the power of Drupal. It is best looked at like a tool kit, versus prefabricated items. Another analogy would be cars. If WordPress is like a GeoMetro and Joomla! is like a Cadillac then Drupal is like the car factory that build the other two. Because of this Drupal is technically a Content Management FRAMEWORK versus Content Management System.
****You see, with Drupal's framework you build your own custom Content Management Systems. ****
So is it harder to learn and use? In short, yes, but understand you are not learning how to drive a particular car, you are learning how to operate the car factory, to build your own. This naturally gives Drupal a higher learning curve. Drupal modules (Joomla calls them components, and WordPress calls them plugins) are like the different machines in the car factory. They all work together, and can be endlessly tweaked, calibrated and adjusted to make really anything you want - unlike a prefabricated car in the case of WordPress and Joomla, where all you can do is accessorize and alter the car with the configuration options the car manufacture gave you (seat adjustments, radio/cd options, ac etc...).
While this makes Drupal 'better' let's also not ignore it really isn't a fair comparison to the other CMS's anymore than it is far to compare a car to the factory that made it.
In conclusion, Drupal is the way to go if you are searching for a developer to build you YOUR OWN CUSTOM CMS tailored to your company's needs. It is the choice platform for growing or evolving sites, sites with larger future plans, sites that needs contextual dynamics or sites that need to capture specific workflows. It makes a great shopping cart platform, intranet platform, client portals, project management systems, multi-user blogs, dynamic forums etc.... This is a CMS/CMF that again, can at least do EVERYTHING WordPress and Joomla can do, plus more that is beyond the scope of this post.
One of the things I like best is I'll provide my clients a custom backend that is so focused and intuitive it is easier to use than WordPress or Joomla's admin interface. If you can use email you can operate the platform built for you. In this regard it actually becomes WAY EASIER to use than WordPress or Joomla.
If however, you are greatly limited by budget, want to QUICKLY do it yourself, or have site needs that WILL NOT ever be too involved then these other platforms are just fine to use. In other words the prefabricated molded dog house DOES work for a certain market.
Fact is there are major popular name brand sites that we all know of built in each. It comes down to the tools, the needs and resources on which one you can pick. But my 2 cents is, since Drupal can do it all plus more, take this route if and when you can.
That is skinny. Hope it helps in your decision making ;)
Drupal is hard to learn and use. - No, Drupal is hard to learn and like all things learned is then easier to use. I find this complaint typically comes from undisciplined minds - they'd much rather take the easier plug and play road of WordPress and charge their client's an arm and leg for what the community openly provides. Drupal is hard to learn, but the power and flexibility you gain is beyond WordPress.
Drupal doesn't perform as well as WordPress in SEO - Again incorrect. First, SEO doesn't care about the platform, neither does Google. Second, this statement is true only when you have someone who feels Drupal is hard to learn and use in the mix. Third, when you have someone actually qualified to build a good platform-versus someone telling you they are qualified-Drupal can be optimized in fantastic and granular ways. Its like stating that airplanes are unsafe and dangerous. This statement will feel true when you have a bad pilot at the helm. If anyone states this to you, they simply don't know what they are talking about, because if they did they wouldn't truthfully say this. Its okay to be ignorant, it is not okay to act like you aren't.
Drupal is a beast! It has more overhead than WordPress - If you mean that a car factory is larger than the car it makes then yes - Drupal is a beast. What framework compared to systems isn't? Yes Drupal is larger than WordPress and for good reason - you can make content management systems with Drupal. With WordPress you can only use the content management system that it is to do what it was designed to be - show content. Yes, many plugins exist to expand on WordPress to be more than a blog which over time has only grown. But at the end of the day, at the time of this article, its best at showing content - something incredibly trivial nowadays. So yes, this one is true! Drupal is larger than WordPress much like an aircraft carrier is larger than a sailboat.