In the world of open source CMS there is no comparison more attention getting than an article comparing Drupal and Joomla!. Probably, the granddaddy Drupal vs Joomla! comparisons of them all was posted over three years ago by the Joomla SEO company, Alledia. I extended the discussion Alledia started with my own comparison between Drupal and Joomla. My article evidently struck a chord in late 2006 and currently is approaching near 200,000 reads.
Good comparisons between Drupal and Joomla! are popular because quality comparisons between the two applications are rare. It's very difficult to have passion for one CMS, be well informed on both CMS, and in the end be non-bias in your comparison. In the three years since I wrote my article, I've only come across three additional comparisons between Drupal and Joomla! that I thought worthy to bookmark.
I haven't updated my own article comparing Drupal and Joomla because I have developed a bias opinion over the years that I can't overcome. Both are good applications in their own right, but in the end I almost always recommend Drupal over Joomla!. That's why I'm glad to see Alledia update their own comparison between these popular CMS with "Joomla and Drupal - Which One is Right for You? Version 2".
In re-doing this chart I found that both projects have moved forward but neither has really changed its essential character:
- Joomla is still more user-friendly with a more active developer and designer community.
- Drupal is still more flexible and developer-friendly with a more coherent and stable community.
This chart was initially written for a client who wanted to make a rational business decision as to which was right for him. Please read it in the same way. Neither one is better than the other, but each one is better for different purposes.
The comparison that Alledia makes between Drupal and Joomla! is fair and they do a decent enough job indicating that "out of the box" features not present in the CMS can be obtained with third-party modules/extensions. I also think they are right in giving more credit to the CMS that brings features into the core. For instance, I think for the average CMS user it is not in their best interest to not provide some type of rich text editor when the software is first installed. Kudos to Joomla! and hundreds of other CMS in providing this feature to their users.
I don't want to be too nit picky about the Alledia comparison between Drupal and Joomla! As I mentioned earlier, I know first hand that CMS comparisons are difficult to do. But there is a box in that table that I really disagree with and it is in regards to Drupal and its commercial community.
Drupal's commercial talent pool is very high-quality but also very shallow. Most commercial developers work with large-to-medium size business and charge accordingly.
I just don't see Drupal's commercial pool that small. Over 4000 developers providing Drupal services are registered at Drupal.org alone and I've never really heard someone looking to hire a Drupal site developer have that much difficulty finding a developer. Perhaps, there is a reason why those outside the Drupal community don't recognize the thousands of commercial developers associated with Drupal. In Drupal the "general community" and "commercial community" is united as one open source community. My understanding and observation of the Joomla! community is that this isn't always the case and why perhaps Alledia says what it says about Joomla's general community.
The community as a whole has a tendency to argue and fragment but its also highly dynamic with 1000s of companies offering support and services.
Drupal has had some intense arguments over the years but almost never fragments. Drupal is in the middle of a massive redesign of it's flagship Drupal.org website and needless to say there has been a lot of opinions that have been expressed on how, who, and what should be involved in that redesign. But the strength of the Drupal community is that commercial and non-commercial contributors have little difficulty coming together. Just yesterday, Acquia's Kieran Lal called for volunteers in the redesign and by the end of the day, he had his sponsoring companies and contributors. I wonder how well many other open source projects could bring their commercial people together like that in a single day?
Refer to Drupal's commercial community as shallow? Somebody needs to take another look at their analysis. Luckily, it has been my experience that Alledia is always open to discuss their comparison of Drupal and Joomla! and when convinced they are willing to modify their table. Perhaps later today, I might just go over there and convince them via comments that the use of "shallow" to describe the Drupal commercial support is a poor term to use indeed.
Bryan Ruby is the owner and editor for CMS Report. He founded CMSReport.com in 2006 on the belief that information technologists, website owners, and web developers desired visiting sites where they could learn about content management systems without the sales pitch. Besides this site, you can follow Bryan at Google+ and Twitter.