Over the past decade, web content management systems have become a staple in creating dynamic, content-driven websites. Along with that, debates over “the best” CMS have only grown over the years. We’ll take an inside look at the latest versions to be released by the top competitors, as well as who currently holds the crown as the best CMS.
WordPress vs. Drupal vs. Joomla
In its earlier days, WordPress existed as an easy-to-use “blogging software” for the non-techie audience. But due to the demands of additional features and functionalities from blog users, WordPress has evolved over the years into a full blown CMS. In its latest release, WordPress version 3.3 boasts a new dashboard design for administrative pages, updated database querying functions, a new Screen API for additional administrative page instructions, and more.
If learning how to develop a WordPress site were like driving a car, learning Drupal would be like flying an F-16 fighter plane – powerful but very complicated. Drupal boasts scalability and complete customization of a website, but takes programming knowledge, time, and a lot of patience to get used to. Drupal 7 introduces several usability improvements such as a simplified Drupal installer, easier accessibility to administrator pages, and improved update and maintenance procedures.
Joomla lands somewhere in between WordPress and Drupal in usability and complexity. Joomla is user-friendly for developers and designers both, allowing designers to build attractive templates while developers work on website functionality. However, Joomla is not as easy to use as WordPress, and provides less flexibility and scalability than Drupal. Joomla 2.5 features a new administrative search feature with auto-complete, CMS update notifications, and increased database support.
|Supported Databases||Medium||Low (only MySQL)||High (soon)|
And the Best CMS is…
Well, technically there are no winners (I know, no fun). Like many debaters have claimed, the best CMS is dependent on project requirements and specifications, the client’s preference, and the developer’s expertise. But just to throw a bone, WordPress statistically is the most popular CMS, owning about 54% of the CMS market share of the top 1 million websites, so we’ll crown them “king” of this blog.
From what I see, the top CMS’s realize that improving their weaknesses plays a huge role in winning over more users, especially when their opponents boast those same weaknesses as their strengths. Let’s say Drupal stands on one side of a spectrum that boasts capabilities but difficult usage, while WordPress stands on the other easy-to-use-but-limited side (with Joomla in the middle). Recently, the top CMS’s have been releasing updates that balance out their drawbacks. As a result, Drupal and WordPress are moving towards the middle on this imaginary “capability-to-usability” scale, which is somewhat evening out the playing field. I can imagine this will only spur more nerdy debates among developers over which CMS is truly the best.
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