Joomla vs. Drupal

Work | Nov. 12, 2008

It’s been my experience that content management systems are each their own special flavor of bad, in particular because they all seem to do a lot of things except the one thing you absolutely need them to do.

As a programmer, I find it a little backwards that I learned PHP and MySQL so I can create my own applications, but with a CMS I am not using those skills — instead I spend most of my time figuring out someone else’s idea of how to build applications and trying to see if what they wrote will work for me.

Awhile ago, CMS Report did a comparison of Joomla vs. Drupal, and as a survivor of building websites with Joomla, I was interested to hear whether there was anything good to say about it.

Drupal fails on such elements as Shopping Carts, Event Calendars, Document Management, and Themes. The majority of these items are functions or features which are considered lacking in the Drupal CMS. Regarding the other CMS, Joomla fails to deliver in such elements as user permission, content management, multi-site management, and standard’s compliance. Joomla fails in elements that are more architecture centric.

Let me go over that again: Joomla fails at content management. For a content management system, that’s pretty bad.

Comments

5 Responses to “Joomla vs. Drupal”

  1. Amy Stephen says:

    You mean Bryan’s piece from December 5, 2006?

  2. Well, yes. Considering Drupal has made leaps and bounds in this last year alone, would you say this comparison is still accurate?

  3. Andrew Eddie says:

    When looking at software you have to be careful that you are not evaluating it with “it doesn’t have what I need therefore it’s completely useless”. This may be true for you, and you alone, but casting generalities on your personal feelings should be approached with caution.

    Joomla!, Drupal and many others do indeed perform content management in the most broad sense. Some of the systems fit like a glove for (the royal) “your” needs, others do not. Some are designed with easy of use in mind (like Joomla!) therefore it has less and more simple bells and whistles and it has a bias towards the designer being able to customise. Drupal tends to bias the developer more and include more cool stuff but with a trade-off that it tends to break things between releases (and that’s what their community expects so, hey, that’s fine; the Joomla community expects things not to break so we try not to do that, which is fine to).

    When you drill down to the finer levels it gets more complicated. Joomla has been caned for not having workflow – that’s because Joomla is about devolving responsibility of content to the coal face. Most people give up on workflow because all of a sudden the workflow process becomes a bottleneck because you can produce stuff fasting than it can approve it. If you want highlevel control over your subordinates – don’t use Joomla.

    ACL is being addressed in a huge way in for Joomla. It will eclipse what Drupal is doing by an order of magnitude – but it comes at a cost – learning curve.

    Things are never so simple as this or that is “bad” or “good”.

    And yeah, that review is pretty old and doesn’t take into account the current version that powers something like a million web sites or more around the world (we think Joomla is around 5-6 million in total; Drupal is about half that; WordPress is about 3 to 4 times our number).

  4. Tim says:

    Personal feelings aside, if software doesn’t do what I need it to do, then it *is* useless. Joomla may be the best whatever it is in the world, but if I need a clear, simple way to publish content and your software doesn’t make my job easier, why should I use it?

    You say Joomla’s advantage is its fewer bells and whistles, but that doesn’t make it easy to use. “Simple” is not the same as “easy”.

    The only question when it comes to workflow is: does Joomla make my life easier or harder as a developer and a web admin? From the convoluted hacks I had to implement just to get Joomla to do what I wanted, spending 90% of my day hacking Joomla and 10% of it writing new feature is not a productive use of my time. That makes Joomla a liability in my book, and in yours too it seems:

    Most people give up on workflow because all of a sudden the workflow process becomes a bottleneck because you can produce stuff fast[er] than it can approve it

    If the workflow of your CMS is a bottleneck, the CMS is the problem. You shouldn’t have to wait for your CMS to catch up to you. It’s supposed to make your life easier, and if you have to give up a finer degree of control over your website to do that, I don’t really see the advantage.

    When you say that Joomla’s ACL comes with a learning curve, ask yourself whether learning yet another system is really worth it. Content creators should focus on creating content, not learning the peculiarities of their chosen CMS. Developers should be able to write new functionality without having to navigate someone else’s archaic system. Admins should be able to moderate their sites without having to give up a fine degree of control, yet in every example you cite, no advantage in Joomla comes without a huge penalty. It’s clumsy but featureless, uncomplicated but slow, and difficult to moderate, and if developers have said your CMS sucks donkey cock, we’re way beyond merely “good” and “bad”.

  5. Alex says:

    I’m using Joomla for almost 3 years now, and I started using it after more then 5 years of programing PHP MySQL. So I know what I’m talking about.

    I’ve created web sites with and without CMSs. I’ve tried different CMSs and found Joomla the best one for me.

    I don’t understand what you mean by “developers have said your CMS sucks donkey cock”. I think only somebody that didn’t made any effort to understand it will say that.

    I’m not saying everybody should use Joomla or that it is the best CMS ever build. There are still a lot of features needed ( I think all software has this problem anyway ), but if you have programmer skills you can create your own extensions for it.

    The problem shouldn’t be if Joomla is good or bad, but if it answers your needs and I didn’t found any solutions to create a small company website ( 5 – 10 pages ) in less then 3 days considering this:
    – SEO implemented;
    – easy to modify the look ( a new simple template can be designed in less then a day );
    – easy to insert content from different sources;
    – easy back-up;
    – easy to move from one server to another;
    – easy to add translations in any language;
    – after one hour of presenting to the customer he can modify the content ( including the translations ) without any help from me;
    This list can continue.

    And just to address some of your affirmations:
    – with Joomla content creators can focus on creating content and not invent the wheel again
    – you CAN add php code directly in joomla ( maybe you were considering other CMSs ) but it’s better to create an extension
    – Joomla is not an “archaic system”, there are a lot of programing standards ( MVC design for example ) implemented in a professionally written code ( a new programmer can learn a lot from it )

    I don’t want to convince you to use it. I just don’t like to see judgments without any base for them.