If you have large, complex amounts of content to manage, you need a robust content management system. Two of the top CMS systems in the field today are Drupal and Joomla. Both are open source, and enjoy extensive community support.
Here are some areas in which Drupal and Joomla can be compared, as well as some thoughts about how they match up:
- Scalability. Both Joomla and Drupal are scalable. However, Drupal is better for larger sites in this regard. If you have a small- or medium-sized site, Joomla is a better bet.
- Ease of use. Joomla tends to be easier to use than Drupal, while Drupal tends to offer greater flexibility.
- Data accessibility. If your site collects data, whether that’s in a membership site scenario, ecommerce scenario, or a data collection gateway, Drupal is probably the right choice. It’s easier to pull data from Drupal than it is to pull data from Joomla.
- Community. As open source products, both Drupal and Joomla have strong community support. The Drupal community tends to be a bit chaotic and decentralized. Joomla, in contrast, has a core development group that’s smaller and with a clearer hierarchy. Additionally, Drupal tends to have large national developer conferences, while Joomla goes for smaller events.
- PHP 5. Joomla beyond 1.5 requires your hosting company to support PHP 5. Drupal doesn’t yet require it. This is probably a temporary concern, however.
- Programming challenges. Joomla requires you to have a solid understanding of object oriented programming techniques. Drupal doesn’t typically require this.
- Site setups and moves. Overall, it’s easier to move or setup a site using Drupal than it is with Joomla. Drupal even offers support for multi-site setups.
- Plugins and third party support. Both Drupal and Joomla have extensive libraries of modules and plugins. All Drupal plugins are free, while some Joomla plugins may come with a nominal fee.
- Documentation. Drupal tends to have better and deeper documentation than Joomla.
- Design vs Development. If you’re a designer, Joomla has been built with you in mind. If you’re a developer, Drupal is probably the solution you’d prefer.
Making your choice
While it might seem like a cop-out, there’s no clear winner in this battle. That’s part of the reason that both continue to do as well as they’re doing.
If you’re a smaller business with more limited developer resources, Joomla is probably the right solution. If you have more technical resources or if you want greater flexibility and capabilities, Drupal is the right choice.