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Comparing Joomla vs Drupal Content Management Systems - Part I/II

Joomla! Open Source Content Management System (CMS)Thinking of splitting-out site content pertaining to my experiences as a dad .. to a NEW site, such as raddad.com (oops, that domain name already taken) .. or rad-dad.com (uh, that one is also taken). One reader suggested dadified.

Anyway, I'll find some new domain that will work. (Costs a measly $10/yr, and I already have tons of content I could transfer.)

What do you think of oneraddad.com? or radfather.com? Those two are still available. Ideas? (Shorter the better.)

Now that I have lastest version of MovableType installed (v3.35), and knowing that Movable Type allows you to publish multiple (unlimited) blogs, including to domains outside the one in which MT resides, I could use MT 3.35 to publish to a new rad-dad site.

In the grand scheme of things, despite how much I love cool technology, there aren't many things more important than being a good dad.

Update 03.May.2007 - I got new domain name today (hardnuf.com) as detailed in this post > New Domain Name: hardnuf.com (Adventures in Fatherhood)

••••• today's entry continues below •••••

Drupal Open Source Content Management System (CMS)Actually, I was also looking into installing Joomla! or Drupal, two open source Content Management System (CMS) programs, that everybody is raving about.

Drupal is now at version 5.1, released 30.jan.2007. Joomla has *two* versions we need to discuss.

The CMS Report claims these are considered the top two open source CMS programs, with Drupal excelling in program architecture, and Joomla excelling at function (while some say style).

If you have programming skills, chances are you prefer architecture (Drupal) over function (Joomla). If not, you likely prefer function (Joomla) .. or maybe not, cuz the Drupal Cookbook for New Drupallers says "It's pure myth you need programming sills (especially in php) to use Drupal".

Here's how Drupal ("Community plumbing") describes itself:

Drupal is an open-source content management system (CMS) for building dynamic web sites. Drupal offers features such as user administration, publishing workflow, discussion capabilities, news aggregation, metadata functionalities, using controlled vocabularies and XML publishing for content sharing. With a powerful blend of features and configurability, Drupal can support a wide range of projects, ranging from personal weblogs to large community-driven sites.

A new site would give me an excuse to (install and) play with Drupal. Experience with (arguably) the most powerful open source CMS would look nice on my list of digital skills.

Code Size

Surprisingly, the download is only 729-KB. Compare that with Movable Type, which is 4 times as big, at 3-MB.

By contrast, Joomla! v1.0.12 is 2.7-MB for the *.zip file, yet only 1.9-MB for the tarball (*.tar.gz). Joomla 1.5 beta-2 (released 03.May.2007) is 4.8-MB for the *.zip, and the tarball is 3.3-MB (*.tar.gz).

So Joomla comes with ~triple the code of Drupal, and the new Joomla 1.5 will come with nearly double the code of Joomla v1.0.12 (current stable release). Drupal has a reputation for containing "elegant" code. Might also shed light on Drupal's reputation for stability. Less code = less places for bugs to hide.

Regarding size, this side-by-side comparison (best you'll find), says Drupal 5.0 = 2.89MB, Joomla 1.0.11 = 16.4MB, and Joomla 1.5 (beta 1) = 16.7 MB. Those numbers must be uncompressed.

I downloaded & unzipped Joomla 1.5 beta-2 and it is 11 MB (consuming 20 MB on disk). In other words, it must contain lots of small files. 3,332 files in 633 folders. Dang. That's a lot of files & folders.

You might think (as I do) Joomla with so much more code would be the more powerful of the two. Now if Drupal can really provide more power with so much less code, that would make the Drupal coders look like coding studs. No?

I also downloaded and unzippped a copy of Drupal 5.1. It weighs in at 2.2 MB (2.9 MB on disk), 277 files, 53 folders. That's more like it (much less).

3,332 vs 277 files, and 633 vs 53 folders. 11 MB vs 2.2 for Drupal. Quite a difference. Interesting quote from Dries here:

Our mission was to make Drupal fast, small, clean and on the bleeding-edge of technology. In the early days I focused, completely and utterly, on the aesthetics of Drupal's code. I spent days trying to do something better, with fewer lines of code and more elegant than elsewhere. And with me, many others.

Sounds like somebody who takes pride in their work, with high personal standards, a coding artist, if you will, who inspires others. Recall that Drupal began as something Dries built for himself (& his friends).

This is one of Drupal's main attractions > a certain pride in the code, which forms the program. The phrase code is poetry (typically associated with WordPress) could apply to Drupal. This is (part of) what people are talking about when they say, "the deeper into Drupal I dig, the better I like it."

Subsequent research reveals Drupal leverages power from a light-weight core by its plugin-friendly architecture, utilizing what Drupal calls Modules. Nick says these are the 10 modules you "can't live without" (as stated in Feb 2006, so may not be relevant now).

The first module listed, the TinyMCE WYSIWYG editor, I am using right now in Movable Type, along with a handful of helpful TinyMCE plug-ins (as documented here > Dialing In Movable Type blogging software), so I know how cool it is, and can see why it is listed first.

As a point of comparison, I checked Movable Type v3.35 (blog, not a CMS). It contains 1158 files in 163 folders, consuming 9MB (12 MB on disk). So MT's file-count & folder-count are roughly between that of Drupal & Joomla, while its size (in MB) approaches that of Joomla 1.5 beta-2.

Here's how Joomla! describes itself:

Joomla! is one of the most powerful Open Source Content Management Systems on the planet. It is used all over the world for everything from simple websites to complex corporate applications. Joomla! is easy to install, simple to manage, and reliable.

History

Joomla! (from Australia) is now at v1.0.12 (released Christmas 2006). It is derived from Mambo v4.5, so don't think v1.0 means "immature." Joomla! split-off from Mambo (now at v4.6.2) in a big donnybrook.

History of Drupal, which was born at University of Antwerp (Belgium, Dutch) in 2000, is posted here > History of Drupal. It's a fascinating story, which tells where the name Drupal came from.

While looking for a suitable domain name, Dries settled for 'drop.org' after he made a typo to see if the the name 'dorp.org' was available. Dorp is the Dutch word for 'village', which was considered a fitting name for the small community.

It was only later, in January 2001, that
Dries decided to release the software behind drop.org as "Drupal." The purpose was to enable others to use and extend the experimentation platform so that more people could explore new paths for development. The name Drupal derives from the English pronunciation of the Dutch word "druppel," which means "drop."

Comparisons 

A good comparison of Drupal vs Joomla can be found at alledia, and also here and here. Many comments from actual users posted here. Both CMS's are PHP-based, using MySQL database with GPL license (open source).

Intersting that neither Drupal not Joomla was founded, or is based in the US. Here in the US, Microsoft has released a program they call SharePoint 2007, which Dries feels is patterned (directly) from open source CMS's, incorporating many of the features open source CMS's have had for years. Same thing with IBM Lotus Connections (social software).

In the top video posted here, Dries Buytaert, the guy who founded Drupal (so he ought to know), characterizes the differences between Drupal & Joomla thusly. He says Drupal & Joomla market their products to different target audiences.

Drupal, he says, is marketed toward web sites that are "highly dynamic" in nature, "community-driven," with lots of interaction. Whereas Joomla is for what he calls "brochure web sites", that are more static in nature (less dynamic).

He feels Drupal is the better "platform" because it's "more flexible" and the code is "much cleaner" and "much easier to extend". If you read between the lines, it sounds like he's saying, "Joomla looks pretty. Drupal works better."

In that same video, you'll hear Dries say Drupal has ~400 developers,working on the program. A comparison of the relative performance of Drupal vs Joomla can be found here.

Theme'ing & Templates

Drupal is considered more powerful and flexible than Joomla 1.0.12. But Joomla! is considered easier to use, and can be made to look pretty (eye candy) more easily (than Drupal), cuz of Joomla! templates, which is not so easily done with Drupal (not easy to make a Drupal site look pretty).

At the State-of-Drupal-2007 lecture, given by Dries Buytaert, who founded Drupal back in 2000, much of the question & answer session was dominated by conversation about theme'ing and templates, and how these are needed, and how it's not easy to theme Drupal, especially when you start adding modules, and how (right now) a designer needs to know PHP in order to design Drupal (which is bad, too complicated), and how most designers rather not learn PHP.

One person at that lecture, who mentioned the need to improve theme'ing & develop templates in Drupal, said the issue wasn't receiving as much attention as he had hoped, and issued a plea for others to join him in this endeavor. Whether they will or not remains to be seen (with Drupal 6).

Everyone *was* however, very pleased with the way Drupal 5 turned out.

Regarding themes in Drupal, this site> GeeksandGod, contains one of the nicest, in my opinion. Its dark them is easy on the eyes. (I don't feel like I'm staring at a 100-watt lightbulb, as I do with a white page.) It's easy to read. Simple yet effective color scheme.

The design is fairly simple (which I like), but if you play around for a while, you'll find lots of little effects and touches that lend a certain design elegance to the site. (They have a good amount of info on Drupal.) So it *is* possible to design a nice-looking Drupal site. (I sent an email asking how much work was involved in creating their theme.)

A comment (from Rob Feature, 24.Feb.2007) at Geeks&God Basic Drupal Setup summarizes the differences between Drupal & Joomla regarding theme'ing:

Stock drupal themes are usually pretty ugly. I see two main reasons for this:

1. Drupal is a 'developer's' CMS. You'll find that the drupal community is packed full of php geeks, but you'll rarely find good designers. That's because drupal offers incredible possibilities in terms of what you can do with modifying the code. Less designers involved means less beautiful themes...and as a designer, myself, I too find this frustrating. My solution has always been: just build your own themes.

2. Joomla is easier to use, involves less coding, and is more popular than drupal. This means that coders don't flock to it...but designers do. This fact yields more beautiful stock themes because there's more designers working on the project, and it's a bigger market for them to work in. 

Misc Comparisons

Another common theme I've come across > Joomla provides a good first impression, which tends to wane as you dig deeper into the program. Drupal is just the oppsite. It provides a poor first impression ("initially left a bad taste in my mouth"), yet becomes more appealing the deeper you dig.

G&G is a good site to learn about Drupal cuz they have lots of podcasts (such as Installing Drupal, Basic Drupal Setup & more) which are helpful when your eyes get tired from reading. (There's a lot to read.)

Their discussions deal mainly with Drupal 5, but they also have experience with v4.7, cuz they sometimes comment on the differences between the two. Before getting into the geek stuff, they usually begin with some god stuff. (Can fast-forward thru it, but some of it is interesting.)

They have excellent links, too, which they call edisode links. (I appreciate good links.)

Joomla offers nearly 1600 extensions. Regarding these extensions however, there's an on-going discussion about the offering of for-profit plug-ins for this GPL-licensed CMS. I read some (not many) criticisms along these lines, tho it's obvious some have strong feelings.

Regarding Drupal, I've never read a single criticism about that CMS being involved with for-profit endeavors, despite some obviously marketing their services. In this respect, Drupal seems more committed to open source values than Joomla.

Joomla forums supposedly offer better support, a deciding factor for some. (I know it was for me, when I decided to go with Movable Type over WordPress.)

Drupal was designed more for programmers, site developers & sysadmins (read: steeper learning curve), while Joomla! was designed for the end user. NewsForge says Drupal 4.7 is a "cutting edge CMS." (May 2006).

Google trend query for Drupal vs Joomla shows Joomla more popular and growing faster, with queries for both CMS products seeing a jump beginning the end of last year (Dec 2006). This does not necessarily mean Joomla is more popular, only that more people are searching for that word. (But it certainly implies.)

Might be worth noting that most Joomla searches seem to be coming from countries outside the US, while Drupal seems more popular within US & Canada, or at least similar to Joomla searches.

Test Drive 

You can actually TEST various CMS'es at > OpenSourceCMS, log in (as administrator) and take them for a test drive. Every two hours, the site wipes your changes and starts everything over from scratch. Pretty cool. You can also demo Joomla! here.

Due to growing size, this entry has been broken into two parts. It continues here > Comparing Drupal vs Joomla Content Management Systems - Part II

Word-count this entry > 165 (primary) + 2022 (extended entry) = 2187 total.

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Comments (44)

Rad:

Test of alogblog's MTy plug-ins CCode & TCode to help prevent Comment & Trackback spam:

http://alogblog.com/movabletype/plugins/ccode_and_tcode_for_mt_33_version/

We recently went online with a Drupal-based site. We were Drupal newbies, but had lots of experience with Joomla! and Wordpress. There are a few blog entries on the site about why we used Drupal and our experiences with the initial Drupal install and config that might be of interest to you, such as:

http://opensourcecommunity.org/2007/04/02/making-drupal-scale-drupal-beginner

http://opensourcecommunity.org/2007/05/03/ye-olde-rad-blog-joomla-and-drupal-comparison

I think there is room for a good comparison between both systems. This blog post makes for an interesting read and appears to be accurate. However, the entry is getting long. Maybe at one point, you should start compressing some of the information, or organizing it in sections based on the different metrics (i.e. code quality, code size, themes, support, features, performance, community, growth, etc)?

Joomla 1.5 is not officially released yet so comparing Drupal 5 with Joomla 1.5 beta might not be comparing apples to apples. One could argue that it might be more fair to compare Joomla 1.5 beta with Drupal 6 as both are still actively being worked on. It's certainly not a biggy.

Rad:

Okay, I broke the comparison into two pages, and added subject headings to the different parts. Good advice. didn't plan for this to become so detailed.

I just read in Wikipedia where Dries is one the few BDFL's listed there:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BDFL

"Benevolent Dictator for Life"

You have mentioned google trends, and your conclusion was "... shows Joomla more popular and growing faster".
But Joomla is (was) Mambo fork, so you should try http://google.com/trends?q=drupal%2C+joomla%2C+mambo&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

You can see that joomla inherits popularity from mambo.

We are a Drupal shop, but did set up Drupal, Joomla & Wordpress to evaluate on the clients concerns for (1) multilingual capabilities; (2) end-user usability; and (3) developer usability.

As a national organization in Canada, being bilingual was a must. Check out our CMS comparison.

The community site for Backbase, http://bdn.backbase.com is also IMO an example of a nice designed Drupal community site.

I'd say 95% was done with CSS and changing the liquid template out of the box. We did the luxury of having a great designer in house.

tomy:

Open source content management systems can make the tasks of creating and managing your website a lot easier - and there's no licensing fee involved

The issues on comparisons between Joomla and Drupal are very common these days as they are currently considered the top two open source content management systems (CMS) out there. But, Which one is more usable, powerful and popular ?

It's a simple question with no simple answer

Please go to this link and answer some questions (especially for those who have experienced in using Joomla and Drupal --> Online Survey )

www.2b.ceomalaya.com

your participation is very important to us as it will contribute to the whole CMS communities

ayu:

which one is better between Joomla and Drupal?

Lav:

Here we are almost 2 years after the original article was published and there is still no clear winner between Joomla and Drupal. We have been using Joomla for a while now and are attracted to it's simplicity. However, it can get too simple on occasion, and Drupal has yet to make a significant improvement in terms of user-friendliness.

Mark:

Joomla for newbies and non-tech people, Drupal for developers and people comfortable with programming.

hi, i'm a B.Sc.IT graduate fresher..
i just have one query..m right now work as a trainee on drupal currently..i want to know what is more in demand in market joomla or drupal?? because i want to build my carrer in web development..
so plz reply me ASAP on my mailid

thanking you

each of these CMS has benefit and weakness. But I prefer joomla to build web to drupal. Good comparison review. Nice posting. Thank’s

The issues on comparisons between Joomla and Drupal are very common these days as they are currently considered the top two open source content management systems (CMS) out there.

I have actually used both systems and did find Drupal to be easier to update with its block-module systems...

Joomla to this day still eludes me... :)

Thank you for shatring this informations with, they are really great cms both joomla and drupal.

This is definitely a topic that's close to me so I'm happy that you wrote about it. I'm also happy that you did the subject some justice. Not only do you know a great deal about it, you know how to present in a way that people will want to read more. I'm so happy to know someone like you exists on the web.

stretch :

Drupal is good. I love it already and been quite satisfied with the results upon having it on my advantage.

cameraboys:

I prefer Drupal Content Management to Joomla. Actually I was looking for this information for a long time and finally have noticed this on your entry. Reading this great post I have found so many new and useful information about your manifesto, which I have not known before. I am so glad that I have bookmarked this website because I see that it is full of various and attractive information about everything. Thanks one more time for this publication, it was really interesting to read it.

skin tags:

This is truly amazing. I am really intrigued on this two being compared. I think Drupal won.

Ned:

I vote for Drupal :)
Thanks for nice post !

Careprost:

Great information. I got lucky and found your site from a random Google search. Fortunately for me, this topic just happens to be something that I've been trying to find more info on for research purpose. Keep us the great and thanks a lot.

world travel maps:

What an excellent blog! I am so glad that I have bookmarked this website because I see that it is full of various and attractive information about everything. Thanks one more time for this publication, it was really interesting to read it.

Thanks for sharing
both are good.

I worked on Joomla for a while, it was pretty good, but have found that wordpress is better for my needs and a little easier to use.

Has read all in detail, excellent blog! I downloaded & unzipped Joomla 1.5 beta-2 and it is 11 MB (consuming 20 MB on disk). In other words, it must contain lots of small files. 3,332 files in 633 folders. Dang. That's a lot of files & folders.

Mia:

It is important to try out a range of software when designing websites. I have tried both Drupal and Joomla, both are really good, it just depends which suits you best.

online application development:

You have a catchy site and I have learn some ideas with this. It help me understand how to what is web design. Thank you..

freight:

Thanks very much for sharing this interesting post. I am just starting up my own blog and this has given me inspiration to what I can achieve.

freight:

Its a great pleasure reading your post. Its full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work..

Web Design Sydney:

Great post, thanks for the content very helpful and informative !

India:

I’ll be back soon on your site again so please continue sharing your great tips.

India:

I wonder how you got so good. This is really a fascinating blog, lots of stuff that I can get into. One thing I just want to say is that your Blog is so perfect!

Gene Vaga:

Great information you got here. I've been reading about this topic for one week now for my papers in school and thank God I found it here in your blog. I had a great time reading this.

Gene Vaga:

hey buddy,this is one of the best posts that I’ve ever seen; you may include some more ideas in the same theme. I’m still waiting for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post.

sweets:

Somebody necessarily assist to make significantly posts I might state. That is the very first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I amazed with the research you made to create this particular submit amazing. Great job!

chicken:

This site is my breathing in, really wonderful layout and Perfect subject material.

We tried for the best CMS out there and even tried Wordpress, we had to throw in the towel and make a static website.

Stinks as this is limiting our expansion or even growth on the website.

It's all about presentation and when we do videos for network cabling services or just post blogs, pictures or whatever the best "show" seems to win out.
Always link to your site as you suggest, profile, pictures, hubcaps, forehead.....etc, LOL.
Thanks for the posting and information!!

SC

ukraine:

Drupal is an open-source content management system (CMS) for building dynamic web sites. Drupal offers features such as user administration, publishing workflow, discussion capabilities, news aggregation, metadata functionalities, using controlled vocabularies and XML publishing for content sharing. With a powerful blend of features and configurability, Drupal can support a wide range of projects, ranging from personal weblogs to large community-driven sites.

russia:

Has read all in detail, excellent blog! I downloaded & unzipped Joomla 1.5 beta-2 and it is 11 MB (consuming 20 MB on disk). In other words, it must contain lots of small files. 3,332 files in 633 folders. Dang. That's a lot of files & folders.

Leonardo:

If you have programming skills, chances are you prefer architecture (Drupal) over function (Joomla). If not, you likely prefer function (Joomla) .. or maybe not, cuz the Drupal Cookbook for New Drupallers says "It's pure myth you need programming sills (especially in php) to use Drupal".

master bushing:

Hello Dear, Really your blog is very interesting.... it contains great and unique information. I enjoyed to visiting your blog. It's just amazing.... Thanks very much

Asad:

I tested the both CMS'ses for myself, but I will stick with using Joomla. It's more the comfort that makes me choose Joomla and the user experience. And it's easier to Backup Joomla with the Akeeba backup plugin than backup the whole Drupal website!

College of Engineering:

Saudi Arabia is home to many of the leading universities in the Arab region, it is already a popular study destination for international students from within the region, and also has lots to offer those from further afield

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