Joomla vs Drupal vs Wordpress

Why We Choose Joomla Over Drupal & WordPress

In the world of Content Management Systems there is some serious competition.  We often get asked why we choose Joomla for some projects rather than other leading open-source CMS systems like Drupal and WordPress.  Well… here is why…

Deciding Between Three Great Choices – The Showdown

First, let’s take a look at a competition that was performed between the 3 CMS’s… the “SXSW Web Content Management System Showdown.”  Three teams competed to build a community website with the same requirements.  Here’s the results:

Drupal Joomla WordPress
Total Hours 79.25 57.25 90.5
Hours spent on front end 21.75 15 36.5
HTML Validation No (8 errors) Yes No (8 errors)
CSS Validation No (7 errors) No (1 error) No (21 errors)
Page weight 180K 140K 154K
Lines of custom PHP/JS code 220 30 1,808

So what does this breakdown tell you?

First let me point out that the most expensive thing clients pay for is custom code or custom graphic design.  WordPress, while having a friendly and pretty backend, can be incredibly costly and took nearly twice the amount of time to make a similar Joomla site.  That is twice the cost to you the client.  Wordpress is king of it’s original specialty… blogging websites, where it likely would have been a solid competitor of Joomla and likely toasted Drupal.  Bottom-line, Joomla is a nice blend between the versatility of and ease of the two competitors, and therefore usually needs less custom coding, and saves you money.

Drupal vs. Joomla

Drupal is excellent for complex databases or projects that would likely require custom programming, no matter what CMS you tried. For most users, however, Drupal is like using a flamethrower to roast a marshmallow. So let’s take WordPress out of the equation and compare Drupal and Joomla  I should point out that even though Drupal’s stat’s were below Joomla’s above, Drupal took 1st place at the PAKT CMS Awards last year, while Joomla took second, so Drupal is a serious competitor. presented a fair breakdown/comparison of the two CMS’s out-of-the-box.  This comparison is a bit dated, but highlights some major differences.  This however was a silly comparison because Drupal is instantly out-shined by Joomla and Joomla’s flaws are instantly removed by adding a few add-ons that are freely available.  This is the beauty of Joomla.  In fact by installing a single free extension, K2, a CCK (content construction kit), Drupal is instantly brought to its knees.

The Unqualified IBM “Expert”

Now here is an article showcasing a comparison between Joomla and Drupal from the view of an IBM Consultant looking for an enterprise level solution.  He favors Drupal, even while pointing out glaring flaws such as “Drupal’s backend admin functionality is bad. The front end, backend separation is tenuous and confusing. Joomla is far better.”  He also admits Joomla wins in templates and he says about the learning curve, “Joomla is far easier to get up and running.  Even with all the free videos, blogs, etc, Drupal is still a lot more challenging.”  Also read the comments below that article and you will see all the programmers that favor Drupal.  I imagine his choice would have been different had he used Joomla with K2, a powerful and free CCK.

How to choose?  Are you a website programmer or a website design client?

Drupal is favored by programmers and coders, which is why it took first place in the CMS awards, but remember they (programmers) want to do lots of programming… that’s how they get paid!  Custom programming/coding and custom graphic design work are the two greatest factors that increase website design costs.  The competition between the two gets even more ridiculous when you look at templates (graphical layouts and designs) that are available for the two.  Joomla wins hands down.  Using Joomla we are able to eliminate 99% of custom coding and graphic design, saving you lot’s of time and money.  So while Joomla may not be the tech-nerdy piece of code chosen by programmers, it wins for you the consumers.  So unless you are a programmer, you will love having a Joomla site and when the time comes to add functionality you will find it much cheaper to do so, since an add-on has already likely been written.

In a nutshell, WordPress is the easiest out-of-the box to administer, Drupal is the choice of coders and nerds, and Joomla is the most versatile and least expensive.  For complex projects, with a few free tools, it easily beats its competitors…

UPDATE: Our friends over at CompasDesigns posted on article with a simple chart for deciding which one to use:

So why do we choose Joomla?

When we choose Joomla for a project it is usually because the project requires a greater level of complexity and layout and it requires less programming than WordPress or Drupal to make that happen.

Interested in a website project?

If so, contact us now

ps – watch how upset the fanboys, aligned with each CMS, get in the comments below!

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