Drupal, WordPress, or Joomla? (A Trick Question)

This post by Aaron Winborn, author of, among other things, a book entitled ‘Drupal Multimedia’ seems to find it’s way to the top of my Google search queries on a regular basis.

The article, written in August 2008, weighs up the pros and cons of the three leading open-source content management systems (CMS) on the market. As you can probably guess Mr Winborn recommends Drupal as the most flexible solution for serious website developers, hence the trick question.

Having now built sites using all three systems I can safely say now that not one of them can be regarded as the best solution for all needs, however, as time goes by I am increasingly convinced that WordPress will eventually become the default choice for website construction.

Things have changed a lot since August 2008. While the development of Drupal and Joomla may have progressed, the sheer size of the user community lending itself to improving the program have accelerated the development of WordPress’ gamut of functionalities ten-fold; and 12 million downloads of the current selection of themes tells you that Worpress is not going to go away anytime soon.

Just look at the numbers – WordPress offers double the number of extensions available to Joomla users and four times the number available to users of the current version of Drupal. (8000 vs 4000 vs 2000)

While Drupal may remain the most flexible of solutions, it’s usability for inexperienced coders is a major drawback (you have to love Drupal to use Drupal). It’s built-in functionality is so thin on the ground that you have to add in a dozen modules before your site approaches anything remotely usable. The key frustration from my perspective is the lack of a intuitive in-line image uploading/management solution. Perhaps Drupal 7 will be better, but for the time being version 6 is frustratingly cumbersome.

Joomla, still at version 1.5, is a solid CMS, but I have yet to create an installation that didn’t need some sort of customisation of the back-end php code in order to get it to do what I wanted.

The key advantage WordPress offers over Joomla and Drupal – is it’s built-in future-proofing. What I mean is, its built in ‘click to upgrade’ functionality for themes, plug-ins and the core program is a major, MAJOR advantage. This is practical from so many perspectives, it means security flaws are easily plugged, it means you always know if you have the latest versions installed, it means you know not to customise the core code (otherwise it won’t upgrade successfully), and it means that this time next year – you won’t be looking at pulling the whole thing offline in order to shoe-horn in functionality that responds to the latest trends.

There are many things that WordPress currently cannot do particularly well, however, all you need do is wait.

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