Web design, open source development and more

Wordpress, Drupal, and Joomla, oh my! Open Source CMS's at a glance


The world of open source computing is rapidly gaining ground in many markets and industries, and it's easy to see their appeal.  They're affordable entry points into sophisticated technology, and it's not just the little guys using these tools - big brands and corporate powerhouses are using them too.  Freed from the restrictions of closed source licensing, the sky is the limit when your own team can extend and modify an open source program.  

We have experience with all of the current top performers in content management systems, but we have specialized in Drupal since 2006.  It was a great choice back then, and it's an even better choice today.  We originally chose this platform because it provided the most extensible framework with the most powerful returns, despite the heavy learning curve of development.  Power, flexibility, and a tremendous development community are the main advantages Drupal holds over its nearest competitors today, and our years of experience with this platform give us a leg up over competitors who don't special in a particular CMS and are just now branching into this space.

Still, Wordpress and Joomla can't simply be discounted.  They are both great products and platforms in their own right, with a different experience in installation, usability, and development.  For individuals or businesses looking to install and develop their own information or blogging website themselves, with minimal technical expertise, Wordpress offers a famously fast and easy installation process, with a plethora of simple themes available.  For a "brochure" website or blogging software, Wordpress will handle such tasks with ease, but don't expect to be able to add more interesting features without some serious programming.  Wordpress is also well known for frequent security updates, and its addons frequently break with these updates.  

Joomla is an interesting CMS - it split off from Mambo in 2005, and as such is a younger platform than either Drupal or Wordpress.  It featured a slick looking backend with a lower learning curve than Drupal, which has made it a popular choice for small web design companies and freelancers that don't have a strong technical or programming background.  Being a popular choice with designers, Joomla has a large stable of design components available, as well as more complex modules than Wordpress.  It is much weaker than Drupal when it comes to available program modules, and fewer developers are dedicated to this platform.

Drupal is one of the oldest open source CMS's still available.  First written in 2001, it rapidly expanded in development and has become a dominant force in the industry.  While technically a CMS, it has more in common with a true framework than a simple content management system.  It possesses a sophisticated programming interface that has been leveraged by over 11,000 community addons.  If you can dream it, it's quite possible that Drupal can do it.  It requires much more work than Wordpress or Joomla to configure and get started, but it's the clear choice when you need custom development or more flexibility.  Designing for Drupal can be difficult at first, but it is incredibly rewarding when you can plug into the more advanced features available.  

Hopefully this article may answer some of the questions you have about the top three content management systems available, and why we specialize in Drupal for the majority of our products.  If you have a question about which CMS is right for your project, just contact us and we'd be happy to point you in the right direction.

Roanoke: 540-345-2750 or email at info@visualcmg.com