CMS WARS, JOOMLA VS. DRUPAL and the winner is…

Posted by: superduperadmin

Comparing two of the most successful content managementsolutions on the internet world today…What makes one edge over the other?. Which is the best among the two?

CNP Integrations, as a leader in the field of social networking community portal design and CMS integrations, we are often asked to provide a client with recommendations on how to best implement business solutions with the right technology match. We have found hands down that Joomla in most cases is the best choice for SMB’s (Small to mid-sized businesses) or also labeled as SBE’s ( Small business enterprises).

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Google traffic through first QT of 2008 and later statistics show even more growth (Joomla=Blue, Drupal=Red and Wrodpress=orange - Other Opensource CMS's in lower lines)

One of the big growth trends in the marketplace is the development of social networking or community sites, referred to in the popular book “Groundswell” by Forester Research gurus as “Social Technologies”. With the way consumers are now in control and competition is getting more and more global, this capability is becoming a very important tool for businesses to connect with segmented groups and to grow communities of targeted customer profiles. When it comes to community building there is no question both Drupal and Joomla are suited for the task. Drupal has in its core several features that cater to this while in Joomla several of these features are built as extensions that are managed by third party developers (The most popular including; Community Builder and JomSocial). Both systems essentially have the same types of capabilities but with Joomla!’s component based approach there are now several flavors of these community building components that have evolved since the new Joomla 1.5 release. This approach offers greater flexibility in the end for building out portal frameworks to more unique customer specifications and thus providing more options for creating an end user experience that matches the business model of the customer’s vision. Joomla has grown a repository of over 4500 components, modules and extensions and Drupal has a small fraction of this.

Another important aspect that needs to be considered is SEF or Search Engine Friendly urls. This is where you see stuff “like ?itemid=123” in CMS generated page urls. In order to be competitive and if you are going to have any kind of web based business you are going to need to do some search engine optimization on your site and perhaps even pay per click marketing etc. The friendliness of your site for search engines can be a make or break against the global landscape. Again both CMS Systems have this capability but Joomla has several components that will accomplish this and depending on the other extension you choose for your site there are choices to best fit the specific configuration of your site.

Ecommerce is yet another biggie that folks often compare these two CMS comrades. With 40% or traditional retail going out of business and a decline in manufacturing at the lowest in over 30 years combined with high gas prices having consumers holding back on spending and driving less and for a host of other reasons; there is going to be a boom in businesses needing to develop their ecommerce capabilities. For online shopping cart systems, Joomla has Virtuemart, Digicart, an integration of OSCommerce and a few other options, all of which beat Drupal's ecommerce add-on. Virtuemart is the most popular of these choices and really has all of the features you will want and need with support for most of the common payment gateways. In fact, if you have paypal account you can set up the basics of Virtuemart in less than an hour. OSCommerce or the new Magneto ecommerce platforms are good standalone options if you do not need very much CMS capability and are a hardcore ecommerce power users but for 95% of what most companies need the Virtuemart and Joomla combination will give you everything you need.

One of the biggest advantages that is unique with a Virtuemart and Joomla Solution is the fact that this combination is fully integrated with the infoathand Customer Relationship Business Management (CRBM) solution which in turn synchronizes with the popular accounting software package Quickbooks. This integrated business solution delivers a full transaction life cycle management solution that sets a Joomla approach 10,000 light years ahead of anything Drupal can offer. For more information on infoathand solutions visit http://www.learningcrm.com you can try an online demo or sign up for a 30 Day Free trial. After you have reviewed the product information this is well worth the time to investigate. Another quick not on CRM, both Joomla and Drupal offer extensions connecting the popular non-profit oriented CivicCRM.

For social media sharing and multimedia management tools, Joomla! Also takes the lead in features and capabilities.Yes, there are plenty of podcast, photo galleries and video embedding options but a couple key component extensions worth mentioning are one, Seyret Video which is an excellent video library component. It has many of the features of a Youtube style system and infact you can use it to manage Youtube videos along with several other formats for internal and external delivery sources. Another great library tool is MusicBox which is a very versatile music library management component with artist/label relationships and other categories or classifications. We have even changed the language file slightly in one case to support a radio station’s playlists. It is now very easy with Joomla to have your own "you tube" meets “itunes” environment for your user community. For Photo Galleries, Joomla! has the best integrations with Gallery2 and the Flash gallery Expose the ever popular Zoom Gallery and many others to numerous to mention. CNP Integrations also offers several custom options with players we have build or modified which can give you just about any configuration or presentation you could ever need or imagine.

There seems to be a common demand for web sites with list management systems to offer vendors, distributor and membership or other lists to their users. Both Drupal and Joomla have the capability of yellow pages directory type listings but the Sobi2 Business Listing Component/extension collection for Joomla offers the most features and configuration capabilities. It has things like Google maps integration and subscription management to name just a few standout features. Other great extensions/components like Document management with DocMan, AEC Subscription, iDevAffiliate and several other 3rd party solutions have really given life to Joomla as a superior development option for most feature rich social networking community sites.

Joomla and Drupal have great graphical user interface (UI) for content management and administration capabilities with several WYSIWYG editing options. I personally found the Joomla UI easier to work with though. There is a whole community of spectacular design firms generating regular templates for the front end design. Most offer source files for complete flexibility of branding and customization. With over 4500 (and counting) components/extension in the Joomla catalog there are far too many to get into so you will have to do some of your own research but so far we have covered some of the biggies for the average system.

In addition to the www.joomla.org or www.drupal.org extensions library’s, there is also a new portal specifically for CMS extensions you will want to keep an eye on www.cmsextensions.com. Since the changing of versions of Joomla and policy changes combined with folks now developing components that are compatible with many CMS’s this new portal is offering a neutral place for folks to exchange and access components that are not available anywhere else.

Probably the most important reason that Joomla has grown so much more popular and thus surpassing Drupal with features, flexibility and capabilities is due to its usability for non technical users. While Drupal has made considerable strides since their 5.0 release, in general, Joomla is best known for being the most user friendly CMS on the market. There are far too many features and capabilities to compare shoulder to shoulder with these two powerful environments in a single article but CNP Integrations plans to releasing a white paper that gets into more nitty gritty in the coming weeks and you can also visit our web site for a comparison grid that helps hit the high level features. Another good resource though they are often behind a version or two is www.cmsmartix.org. We should have some specific component reviews and comparisons posted in our forum at www.cnpintegrations.com to help folks sift through this endless sea of groovy features and cool stuff that can be done with these web powerful tools.

One of the key aspects of any business platform is will it have what you need as time goes on and much like any type of machinery you have to ask “will I be able to get parts and service? It is often very expensive to migrate systems like these, which tend to grow very rich with content. Drupal and Joomla are both here to stay but Joomla currently has a much larger developer community to call upon as you get into the woods with building out your CMS and a much larger catalog of stable prebuilt extensions with rich feature sets to choose from.

In conclusion, we are happy to support either platform since both have merits and value depending on the client needs but we tend to lean heavy towards the Joomla! Camp since we feel you can get a lot more bang for your buck in most cases.

CN