Drupal vs Joomla vs WordPress: Developer’s Perspective

In a CMS discussion group I belong to, someone recently asked:

Is there someone with experience with Drupal, Joomla/Mambo and WordPress who can tell what the differences are? What are the strong and weak points?

For better or worse, I am that person. So here's my summary of the advantages and disadvantages of each of the above CMS platforms.



  • Very clean core code.
  • Good project leadership from Acquia.
  • Some very good developers available for hire.
  • Fewer clowns available for hire (you can either code Drupal or you can't, it's harder to fake it).
  • Can be made very server efficient in the right hands (scaleable).


  • Less ready made drop-in plugins. You're going to  have to get your hands dirty almost every time.
  • More imposing default user interface.
  • Fewer developers.
  • More expensive developers.



  • Good menu system.
  • Strong static page structure (cf. weblog).
  • Built-in membership/community features.
  • Long time on the market.
  • I'm searching here.


  • Built-in performance pretty sluggish/clunky.
  • Horrid built-in URLs.
  • Weak weblog section.
  • Hard to theme. A Mambo/Joomla site looks like Mambo/Joomla, like it or not.
  • Crappy built-in SEO. Leading SEO plugin belongs to a very peculiar developer and is encrypted (have fun repairing the SEO plugin, we reverse engineered and decrypted it for our site to make our changes even after paying for it).
  • Nasty, nasty core code. Very difficult to fix broken items.
  • Fractured community (never healed after Joomla/Mambo split back in 2006).
  • Most good plugins are pay.
  • Rather mediocre developers. Anyone who likes to code in Joomla/Mambo in 2011 ought to see a psychiatrist.
  • Developer pricing is all over the map as there are many old-school Mambo/Joomla developers still ought there churning out convoluted future-resistant code quite affordably.



  • Huge community.
  • Easy to optimise for performance thanks to Donncha O Caoimh and Frederick Townes. Great work guys.
  • Easy to theme in a unique way. A WordPress site does not have to look like a WordPress site.
  • Great plugin architecture.
  • Plugins for everything.
  • Lots of great professional developers.
  • Fast development cycle. Improvements every year.
  • Active leadership from Automattic and founding team. Particular thanks to Mark Jaquith for keeping the community running with less nepotism and more fairness than most collective human endeavour.


  • Fairly weak core code (in comparison to Drupal, but not Joomla!) but core getting better every year.
  • Lots of really crap faker developers in the pool who couldn't build a working website to save their mother's life.
  • Lots of popular but seriously broken plugins which will cripple your website performance forever and make it nearly impossible for you to cleanly upgrade (NextGen Gallery, I'm looking at you but not just you).
  • Really crappy commercial themes which are heavily marketed but compromise your ability to either upgrade or switch themes and compromise performance for the life of your site.
  • Weak static page management without adding plugins. Easily fixed with said plugins.
  • Too fast an upgrade cycle. You have to keep upgrading your site, whether you like it or not, for security reasons. There are no security releases only new versions. Feel the pain for a commercial site with running a full complement of plugins. Corollary: choose your plugins and plugin developers very, very carefully for cleanliness of code and frequency of update.


For a very large commercial project, I can see a justification for choosing Drupal. On a big project, most of your expense will be custom development anyway - everything has to be optimised and integrated - so you don't much care one way or another about a myriad of plugins which you will probably not use. I still wouldn't make that trade-off: slightly better core code for a vast pool of community contributed code. But it's a defensible position.

Joomla/Mambo should die a violent death. We did our first CMS project in Mambo and last year redeveloped a couple of existing sites in Joomla. Our best developers - very platform agnostic - threatened to quit if I accepted anymore Joomla work. Such crappy, convoluted spaghetti code they'd never seen. And these developers have had ample chance to see the worst side of WordPress.

The only justification for a site in Joomla/Mambo is that it's legacy (i.e. you already did a lot of custom development on it six years ago and don't have the budget to migrate) or that you are part of an international network standardised on Joomla/Mambo and the mothership discourages anyone from leaving the central platform (our client's situation). For everyone else, just migrate out and count your blessing that you got your site out alive. Enjoy the fresh air and clean code of WordPress (or Drupal).

WordPress is the platform of choice in my opinion for the small, medium or large business. Whatever holes you can find in WordPress (editorial management process, page management, ecommerce, membership site) are easily solved with high quality plugins.

The cool part about WordPress is that the core is kept clean so that you aren't forced to load code you don't need if you want a simple weblog. Thus WordPress can be a weblog, a corporate information site, a membership site, a store or an international news network.

We regularly develop advanced real estate sites in WordPress, maintain a very sophisticated insurance site, have developed elaborate furniture rental systems and develop the most delicious cooking sites as well as gorgeous online literary reviews. Not to mention political, news and law sites. All in WordPress.

The danger with WordPress include the overhyped commercial themes which don't solve your problems but pretend to (I'm looking at you DIYthemes.com and Thesis, WooThemes and ElegantThemes). A related danger are the weak developers and hangers on who have infested the huge WordPress community and enthusiastically give bad advice, whether about SEO or gallery plugins. These clowns will happily break your website for pay or into a defective by design commercial theme. Forewarned is forearmed.

Just like any other serious professional endeavour you need steady hands on deck when you want to take your site to the next level if you want to maintain performance, appearance and compatibility. Once you have substantial traffic or need ecommerce, WordPress is no longer a DIY venture for the non-programmer.

We personally recommend people start a new site on WordPress.com unless they are developing for an established business. Once you have an audience or a functioning business, self-hosted WordPress is the way to go. Even the sky is not a limit. There are few sites we could not develop better and faster in WordPress.


Serbo-Croatian: Drupal protiv Joomla protiv WordPress: Programersko gledište

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386 Responses to Drupal vs Joomla vs WordPress: Developer’s Perspective

  1. ScienceMan

    Agreed as to the fate of Joomla/Mambo. We put it on an important departmental research group site at a major university, and while initially the users enjoyed some of its features, it became a major security hole and we ripped it out completely after less than 2 years of use. DO NOT USE it for anything you are not willing to babysit constantly – and I mean constantly, almost daily – to watch for security problems. Its fractured developer base (in some cases, antagonistic) and immature code has cost us many hours of grief and if I ever see it on a production system at our university again, I will physically power it off.

  2. Wow, Alan, someone has had an even worse Joomla/Mambo experience than I have. I didn’t think it possible. We actually have happy Joomla/Mambo clients, but I look forward to sharing your comment with them as I’d sorely like to get them off of Joomla/Mambo ASAP. Development on its creaky foundation takes about three times as long for half the impact.

  3. Hi there can you comment on / review drupal gardens?

  4. HI Jason,

    Drupal Gardens looks like a great way to get started with Drupal or to run some low maintenance/limited Drupal sites. WordPress.com is free to start with a much stronger base offer but I do like the look of that annual pro plan at $12/month on special. Much better than anything WordPress.com can offer, you’d have to go self-hosted to get that kind of power. Almost worth picking a Drupal Garden pro plan up as a test bed (no powered by in the footer, support available) for fun.

    But I don’t think we want to get distracted by an ongoing serious affair with another CMS though. We did a lot of Drupal work at the end of 2010 for an existing client. While we enjoyed a new challenge in an interesting ecosystem, we were happy to go back to WordPress. I don’t know if you’ve had a look at our WordPress plugins section but we’ve been really productive in 2011 adding new plugins and improving existing ones. The sleeper plugin in there is FV Thoughtful Comments. It knocks Intense Debate and Disqus flat on their backs for effective comment moderation but using your own database instead of a slow external server.

    Thanks for suggesting Drupal Gardens though. People do need to know about an easier way to get started in Drupal.

  5. There is no such thing as “Joomla/Mambo”… There is Mambo, still successfully used by many, and there is Joomla.
    To be taken seriously, you should acknowledge the difference, that is, if you know the difference, which I doubt.

  6. Hi Randy,

    Mambo/Joomla has the same convoluted codebase and outdated architecture. In fairness, I should say Mambo was a great pioneer in Open Source CMS, hitting the market in under the GPL in 2002 with a relatively mature code base. WordPress 1.5 didn’t arrive until February 2005. Prior versions were not suitable for use as a CMS.

    Curiously Drupal’s open source CMS history dates back to 2001. Not quite sure why Drupal had such difficulty achieving penetration early on. Probably as you needed to be a programmer to set it up properly. Mambo early on had a very good auto install.

    But all that’s history now. Mambo/Joomla spent more energy fighting one another in the crucial 2005 to 2007 years than improving the tired architecture. Alas, Randy the code and architecture are outdated and hard to work with.

    I don’t know who won the Mambo/Joomla civil war in the end. From the outside, it looks like Joomla. Who lost? The users and the platform. History is a relentless mistress.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  7. I think “reviews” of this nature can be extremely misleading… In my opinion, the users can’t lose. Drupal is magnificent, WordPress is awesome, Mambo still meets lots of needs out there, and Joomla, particularly the newest version shows every sign of being the most versatile, most extensible Open Source CMS available.

    There will always be good reasons to choose one over the others, but in the end, a wise choice will be made based on what the site-owner’s goals and needs are.

    If a developer advocates one over the others, I’d say it’s more of a reflection on his particular skill sets and prejudices than anything else.

  8. Hi Randy,

    We gave Joomla another chance last year. We would really have liked to have liked Joomla. We were also working in Drupal and would be happy to continue working in Drupal. On the other hand, we’ve given up an active client whom we like, just to get Joomla out of the shop.

    So I don’t think it’s fair to say that our evaluation is a “reflection of prejudice”. It’s real world experience from developers who have recently used all three platforms in real world projects.

  9. Alec,

    My sincere and profound apologies! I didn’t mean for that remark to reflect on you. At least you tried the software and found it wanting for your application.

    My real complaint is against those whose experience is ALL in one given package and feel like they must denigrate the others to get work.

    In my arena, I make no secret of the fact that I work in Joomla only… and I insist that a client with questions about Drupal or WordPress and their suitability for a given site consult someone who is knowledgeable in those systems.

    We, after all, do not benefit by leaving a client in a setting where our solution falls short of his needs, nor do we benefit by using a software that makes it more difficult to reach his goals.

  10. Hey Alec,

    Thanks for your comments!


  11. To any serious Joomla person this looks rediculous at best. Here is a counter point stating why we choose Joomla over wordpress and drupal in most instances… Maybe some of your readers would be interested…


    Let’s correct a few inaccuracies…

    Joomla has no built in forum software, but can integrate with several forum tools.

    Joomla has a wonderful built in SEF URL ability (pretty URLS)… you obviously didn’t turn it on. Built in SEO? Guess you aren’t familiar with the menu item manager to set title tags and the ability to use a wide variety of SEO related tools. In SEO competitions there has been little difference between the SEO favorite wordpress and Joomla other than that WP sites get indexed faster. Leading SEO tool? You must be talking about a sh404SEF extension that is more of a SEF (search engine friendly) URL tool than an SEO tool and one I would say mostly just unnecessarily duplicates already built-in functionality. Perhaps defining your use of SEO would be helpful here?

    Fractured community? Joomla has a very strong community… the sheer amount of extensions and software for joomla is a simple testimony of this fact. I’d like to see how you would try to rationalize the drupal or wordpress developer community is stronger. Joomla’s community is MUCH larger than Drupal’s and with size I suppose comes some fracturing? Not really sure what you mean, but since the mambo split, I know of know of no surious Joomla offshoots or fractures. As for mambo… who cares? I haven’t heard that word mentioned by any web guy for years. Putting the two together takes joomla back to its 1.0 days… it’s a totally different beast now. That’s like comparing xbox 360 and playstation 3 to the original Nintendo. Seems silly.

    Nasty core code that needs to be fixed? Sigh… Again, I’ve NEVER had to touch the core code to fix anything… and none of the developers that write software for it ever give instructions to alter core code in order to use their extensions and addons. If you are messing with the core code in order to achieve a desired output, you are not using joomla correctly and there is most likely an addon that can do it for you. There are several CCK tools for Joomla as well such as K2.

    Here is why Joomla is awesome (Real Advantages)…

    – MVC overrides (so you don’t have to alter core code in order to change virtually anything).
    – Beautiful SEF urls… that are relative urls and make cloning sites or moving servers easy as pie (easier than WP).
    – Awesome built in caching system that turns each page into a static HTML page preventing database queries.
    – The best addon directory of all three, with over 7000 extensions, and many commercial ones that actually work amazingly.
    – Incredible versatility – Joomla is the best way to integrate a wide array of tools and can even easily integrate with wordpress for blogging and Drupal for CCK and PHPBB for forum, etc. using bridges ad a wide array of tools.
    – Has wonderful ACL permission controls for sites that need a wide array of permission roles.
    – Awesome templates – Such as the Gantry system from RocketTheme and similar systems that allow endless layout possibilities on each page.
    – An unrivaled module/widget system
    – Worderful front-end editing and submission – as well as backend control.

    Joomla’s biggest challenge at this point is the disinformation pushed by WordPress and Drupal people that don’t take the time to actually push through Joomla’s learning curve, which really isn’t that hard. The other drawback is that the administration area is no where near as intuitive as wordpress, but this will soon change, probably in 1.7.

    When it comes to saving money… We use WordPress for simple, basic sites and Joomla for more complex sites (becuase we can eliminate nearly 100% of programming, which is the most costly thing in designing sites). Drupal is the baby of programmers, but programming is not cheap and takes longer.

  12. Andrew Wong

    Are you saying that Joomla and 1.5 and now 1.6 is still crappy? I’ve not had any of the issues you mentioned. I agree Mambo was a mess, but I’ve found Joomla quite usable and easy to use vs. Drupal, and I have implemented quite a few sites with it.

  13. Hi Alec!
    I’m a graphic designer and consultant and found in CMSs great tools to present a diferent product to my customers. I use Joomla and WordPress in my projects.

    I feel you were a little bit TOO harsh on Joomla.

    I daresay Joomla is for those who are not afraid to look under the hood. That’s my case. Its installation process is easy and straight forward, as long as you know how to create a MySQL DB. Creatinga a template is easy, as long as one knows his/her HTML and CSS.

    WordPress is PREEEEEEEETTY and works for one’s everyday needs. People simply LOVE it. Its plugins are really easy to install. It’s meant for the general audience that wants to put up a blog easily. BUT, if one tries to do something else that is NOT a blog, there’ll be a little trouble in paradise… AND unlike Joomla, which uses one PHP file with specific Joomla insertions, WP templates I find complex to put together.

    Everytime I put up a site I have to go here and there to have things the way I want them to be. Of course, when you are a newbie to the CMS you get more confused of where and what to do.

    I don’t agree with many things you say and DEFINETELY don’t think Joomla deserves a slow death. It DOES need some improvement here and there, that’s a fact, but don’t all the other CMSs do?

    Brazilian government uses Joomla in more than one of their website, being our Ministry of Education the most known one. I heard security issues were fixed by the in-house team. People seem to be happy with it around here.

  14. Tim

    The inaccuracies in your article are so bad that they are actually funny, maybe this was an attempt at April fools that you just didn’t finish in time?

    Why is it that all the Drupal fan club think the only way they can promote Drupal is by pointing out so called flaws in other projects. How about you just concentrate on what you know and tell us why it’s good.
    Your review is like to comparing Windows 3.1 to Mac OSX, which shows your obvious bias.

    Firstly lumping Joomla and Mambo together demonstrates that you have no authority to comment on either product. I personally can’t comment about Mambo, but Joomla has never had a built-in forum.
    You say performance is petty sluggish, where are the bench mark tests to back up this opinion? What versions of each product are you comparing?
    Can I point out that if someone did custom development on a Joomla site six years ago, then they weren’t using Joomla, they were actually using Mambo, because Joomla is only 5 years old.
    Sounds like your only Joomla exposure is Joomla 1.0 which I’d like to point out is a discontinued product no longer supported by the Joomla project. Effectively Joomla 1.0 is just Mambo rebadged, which did have some pretty awful code. Joomla 1.5 was the first real Joomla version which introduced the Model View Controller MVC. Joomla 1.6 is almost a complete rewrite, and most of the legacy Mambo code was removed. There has also been a lot of work cleaning up the core code and getting rid of any inconsistencies.
    Unlike WordPress and Drupal, Joomla actually has an object oriented framework.

    When it all comes down to it, Drupal, WordPress and Joomla are all just PHP code running on a mySQL database, and all three projects can learn a lot from each other.

  15. almost 100% of what you write about Joomla is just plain wrong!
    Sorry …. but seems to me you never used Joomla.

    SEF URL is build in, many free gpl extensions, great dev frameworks like gantry-framework.org/
    etc, etc, etc …

    doh! You dont know what you write about …

  16. Nice Joomla design:

    just two examples I did (shameless I know) …

    just two examples from the template-industry

    … but of course there are more cool wp-sites than j-sites. No doubt about it.

  17. Very nice written but I most correct you in one point. Acquia is not the project lead of drupal. the project lead is dries and his co-maintainer(s).

    Acquia is doing respectable work and mostly people think drupal is acquia but they are not.

    drupal is the community and acquia is the commercial part where dries can get money for his knowledge about drupal. :)

  18. James Hodgkins

    Wonderful review Alec.

    The danger with WordPress include the overhyped commercial themes which don’t solve your problems but pretend to.

    I’m considering one of the themes you mention, could you expand on this at all? Thank you.

    –> Hi James you may wish to leave your question on the article comparing Worpdress commercial themes linked above. Thanks! Alec

  19. I am not going to state the fails you listed in your article …I just wanna tell you that If you were going to post something you should be sure if it’s write or wrong … All that you posted about Joomla is wrong … Either the advantages or the disadvantages … You didn’t even bother installing it and testing it for sure I can tell…
    I am a huge fan of the 3 CMS you talked about … WP is amazing, Drupal is superb but Joomla is Superior too … It’s just a matter of what you feel like working with …
    Note: There’s nothing called Joomla/Mambo … Mambo is dying since 2006. Joomla is something completely difference since version 1.5 . I doubt you even know that its code with written from the scratch up again.

  20. Donna

    The statements about Joomla are in accurate.

    “Built-in but very inadequate forum system.” Joomla does not have a built-in forum system.

    “Leading SEO plugin … is encrypted”. Joomla is GPL so everything in Joomla’s core is GPL, and all third-party extensions in the Joomla.org’s directory are required to be GPL. Maybe you are referring to a third-party plugin. What does that have to do with Joomla?

    “Hard to theme”. Ridiculous. Since 1.5 Joomla has had template overrides for output of the core components. Different templates can be assigned to particular menu items.

    Joomla’s security team is on top of all security issues. If sites are having security issues, it’s probably a crappy 3rd party extension which is not in Joomla’s control.

    “Most good plugins are pay.” The worst extensions I’ve had were the ones I paid the most for. The major Joomla developers usually have a free version and a pay version.

    I want to repeat for emphasis Randy’s comment — there is no such thing as Joomla/Mambo! You cannot lump them together in a review.

  21. Dan Milward

    I disagree with you Helvecio.

    I think you can pretty much do anything with WordPress. We have made a shopping plugin that has had well over 1M downloads, it has generated many millions of dollars of revenue for WP users around the world, we have contributors based all around the world, its multilingual and it just keeps on growing.

    We have also built a game creation website which is the main reason I’m commenting on this thread – because it is about as far away from a blog site as you can possibly imagine. All the game data is stored as a Custom Post Type, all the in game items, characters, and tiles are stored as Custom Post Types and when you play a game in the Open Source Flash Engine all that data comes from WordPress. Its scalable and for the most part all living in the cloud. And with BuddyPress it comes with a social network where people can share games.

    In fact you tell me one thing you can’t do with WordPress. And try doing that on Joomla :P

    The days of WordPress NOT being powerful enough for ____________ have long since passed.

  22. Scott Wolpow

    I work in both Joomla and Drupal. I have also used WordPress.
    You can not compare them. They are different tools.
    Not sure if you used Joomla or Mambo, it seems like you used mambo.
    As for performance I know of a Joomla powered site that gets 40,000 logins per minute.
    I do agree that because Joomla is so easy to install the base and the components, there is a high level of people who claim to be developers. Most are just installers.
    Drupal is great if you want a highly customized site. If you want a brochure site with basic functions, it can be built in Joomla in 1/2 the time.
    Please go and use 1.5 and 1.6.
    Then report back to us.

  23. Hi Henning,

    Thanks for posting those Joomla sites. Some of the work is quite nice. Not what I’d want to call showcase WordPress work but not as stiff as most Joomla/Mambo sites I’ve seen.

    What does worry me are configuration pages like this:

    What an awful way to build a website with clunky machine code everywhere.

    Even more disturbing is that the tendency for extra CSS and js files to proliferate like rabbits has not ended with Joomla 1.5. Here’s a typical Joomla header from one of the sites you sent in:

    <link rel="stylesheet" href="/design/plugins/system/rokbox/themes/light/rokbox-style.css" type="text/css" /> 
      <link rel="stylesheet" href="/design/components/com_gantry/css/gantry.css" type="text/css" /> 
      <link rel="stylesheet" href="/design/components/com_gantry/css/grid-12.css" type="text/css" /> 
      <link rel="stylesheet" href="/design/components/com_gantry/css/joomla.css" type="text/css" /> 
      <link rel="stylesheet" href="/design/templates/hb_formamente_j15/css/joomla.css" type="text/css" /> 
      <link rel="stylesheet" href="/design/templates/hb_formamente_j15/css/style1.css" type="text/css" /> 
      <link rel="stylesheet" href="/design/templates/hb_formamente_j15/css/extended.css" type="text/css" /> 
      <link rel="stylesheet" href="/design/templates/hb_formamente_j15/css/demo-styles.css" type="text/css" /> 
      <link rel="stylesheet" href="/design/templates/hb_formamente_j15/css/splitmenu.css" type="text/css" /> 
      <link rel="stylesheet" href="/design/templates/hb_formamente_j15/css/template.css" type="text/css" /> 
      <link rel="stylesheet" href="/design/templates/hb_formamente_j15/css/template-safari.css" type="text/css" /> 
      <link rel="stylesheet" href="/design/templates/hb_formamente_j15/css/typography.css" type="text/css" /> 
      <style type="text/css"> 
    .module-content ul.menu li.active > a, .module-content ul.menu li.active > .separator, .module-content ul.menu li.active > .item {color:#CD5A1C;}
    a, .module-content ul.menu a:hover, .module-content ul.menu .separator:hover, .module-content ul.menu .item:hover, .roktabs-wrapper .roktabs-links li span, body .rokstories-layout5 .vertical-list li.active {color:#CD5A1C;}
      <script type="text/javascript" src="/design/media/system/js/mootools.js"></script> 
      <script type="text/javascript" src="/design/media/system/js/caption.js"></script> 
      <script type="text/javascript" src="/design/plugins/system/rokbox/rokbox.js"></script> 
      <script type="text/javascript" src="/design/plugins/system/rokbox/themes/light/rokbox-config.js"></script> 
      <script type="text/javascript" src="/design/components/com_gantry/js/gantry-inputs.js"></script> 
      <script type="text/javascript" src="/design/modules/mod_rokslideshow/tmpl/rokslideshow.js"></script> 

    Again, this is slow and it’s also an awful way to build websites with disparate hacks showing up even on the front end. This kind of mess is what makes Joomla a relatively weak SEO platform.

    Hi Donna,

    Thanks for sending the link to JoomlaBamboo. Those are really attractive templates! They look a lot like normal good-looking WordPress sites.

    But why start with a CMS which requires a brilliant CSS designer to get to ordinary?

    Hi Jason Hull,

    Glad you guys have a good caching system. You need it as Joomla uncached was a very nasty server destroying beast. But a good built-in static caching system is definitely a big advantage for any dynamic CMS.

    Thanks for your informative post.

  24. Bethel Goka

    Hi, Alec

    I concur with those who say that you were a tad harsh and not so objective with regards to joomla!

    If you were objective as a developer you would have pointed out what exactly you mean by ‘crappy code’ with regards to joomla! In addition just because you tried it out and it did work out for you does not mean it doesn’t work.

    Furthermore I beg to differ with your notion that all joomla websites look alike, i think that boils down to a web-designer skills.

  25. You blaim wordpress for fast update cycles?
    do the other systems have a one click upgrade system? :-P
    i`ve said enough

  26. Hi Bethel,

    I’d love to see some Joomla sites which don’t look like Joomla sites. Feel free to post a list.

    Hi Ramoonus,

    You look like a nice young chap. How many commercial websites are you maintaining in WordPress?

    I can assure you that the breakneck upgrade pace of WordPress causes serious issues for commercial sites with a full set of plugins. Recently we solved the WP 3.1 Top Categories breakdown for the community ourselves.

    Many, many people were facing broken sites with no recourse until we did. And similar events happen with every significant upgrade. Security fixes would be great, with major upgrades on an annual cycle. I understand why Automattic chooses not to (less code to maintain) but their schedule is very tough for commercial web apps built in WordPress.

    For the Joomla buffs, thanks for your contribution. We’ll be publishing some more detailed remarks on what we didn’t like about Joomla code later today.

  27. I`ve got over 10 sites to update, takes me approx half an hour
    meaning 2 cups of coffee

  28. Great work Ramoonus! Drop me an email with a list of your ten sites and you’re hired. We’ve got a lot of work on deck.

  29. ijat

    U got a lot of work on deck alec? perhaps maybe because u r using drupal. u know nothing about joomla alec.

    Actually we have a lot of work on deck, because we are really, really good at what we do and our clients tend to send their friends. Thanks for asking. Might I recommend a remedial spelling course to you?

    Making the web work for you, Alec

  30. Donna

    @alec: Joomla sites that don’t “look like Joomla” sites:

    quizilla.teennick.com (MTV)
    Food2.com (a Foodnetwork site)
    TheNateShow.com (Sony Entertainment/Harpo Productions)
    parpharm.com (Par Pharmaceuticals)

  31. Donna

    This is a Joomla template developer whose templates and sites don’t look anything like the core out-of-the-box template that installs with Joomla: joomlabamboo.com/

    And what does frontend layout and design have to do with the Joomla framework? Ever heard of CSS?

  32. @Ramoonus , truly man you said enough!
    I wish Joomla had something like that :) …
    It’s coming to 1.6 soon

    @Scott I agree with the comment above that most people calling themselves developers for Joomla are just plain installers … If you asked anyone to make a modification to the extension he might fail! This is because Joomla is too-easy to use … It’s super user friendly…

    @Alec, who said Joomla websites all look a like! It’s a matter of the way you theme it! I think you say so because Joomla! commercial templates are widely available over warez websites and people use them over and over again … But this is not Joomla’s fault! this is no body’s fault!!! it’s too easy to grab a template from the internet and use it, you cannot blame Joomla because 1 million websites were created using the same template! Blame the website creator cause he didn’t hire a good designer to create a brand for himself.

    I could post some of the websites I’ve worked on . Every one and every layout is genuine doesn’t have anything to do with the themes provided by template clubs or the core templates comes wish Joomla by default!

    Any layout or design can be achieved with Joomla… It’s just the way you code it.

  33. The problem with such evaluations is that they make people believe they have to start off with choosing between Drupal, WordPress, Joomla! or -fill in your favorite CMS-.

    That is misleading, since the first and foremost choice to be made, is whether one needs a CMS at all. Between a hosted solution, a CMS or a (RAD) framework.

    Many people build sites in a CMS that would have been much faster/cheaper, more maintainable and cleaner in a framework (I must stress, for the unenlightened few, that this is /not/ the same as “built from scratch”). While often people have a site built in some CMS, spend thousands of dollars, hours of meetings, for a site that would have been free and set up in minutes, if a hosted solution is chosen. Hosted can be Drupal Gardens, or WordPress.com, but also Tumblr, Facebookfanpage or a simple shop at etsy.com.

    Choosing between these three is hard and requires a lot of insight. Insight that very few developers, consultants and so on will give you. A Drupal-developer will hardly ever tell you that you really don’t need her, but instead should spent a few dollars on a hostname and a wordpress.com site. A Joomla!-shop will hardly ever tell you that you should actually consider hiring Django! developers instead.

    But if you really want to be effective and efficient, first and foremost: decide if you need CMS first, before choosing between the several CMSes.

  34. What you wrote on this blog post about Joomla is just foolish. You should have done some additional research. Ebay and other public companies us Joomla. We have so many case studies were Joomla! is the preferred CMS. I would suggest you go back to the drawing table with your blog post.

  35. Frank

    Its very clear from your article that you have done very little research before publishing this article. You points on Joomla are clearly misleading and misinformed at best.
    Personally I have been using joomla for a while and I believe that its a very flexible system and your creativity is limited by your css or design skill.

    Please do your research right before publishing something like this.

  36. Just wanted to mention about your Joomla/Mambo disadvantage:

    “Hard to theme. A Mambo/Joomla site looks like Mambo/Joomla, like it or not.”

    Speaking as a professional Theme/Template provider for Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal (among others), Joomla is very easy to theme. WordPress might be a little easier but that’s only because it has less functionality. In fact I would suggest that the mere fact that it’s SO easy to theme led to the huge arms race in theme development for Joomla that may well of helped greatly in it’s success. We were doing things in Joomla themes that were leagues ahead of anything in the WordPress or Drupal communities years ago. They are catching up now for sure, but that’s also helped along because a lot of cutting edge Joomla template providers, are now also porting their advanced features to WordPress and Drupal. I know we are, we have already ported our Gantry framework to WordPress, and it’s a real theme framework, written by professional developers.

    Also regarding your statement about how a Joomla site, always looks like a Joomla site, just look around. There have been other examples in the comments, but I know for a fact that our templates don’t look like Joomla (whatever that means) because the designers who design for us don’t even know or care what platform they are developing for, and our end results look the same on ALL platforms: Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal.

    It really feels like you wrote this about 5 years ago and forgot to post it till now. Your information is so out of date and just plain erroneous that I only have time to post on this one topic!

    Good day!

  37. Dan Milward

    Unless somebody has some new information, I think between everybody here that has posted its all been said.

    Q. Joomla is dead.
    A. No it isnt dead.

    Q. Joomla is actually really great.
    A. No it isn’t.

    Q. You can make nice Joomla themes.
    A. Ok fine.

    Q. Joomla is great under the hood.
    A. Maybe. Not.

    Q. Drupal is great for the big jobs.
    A. WordPress is great for the big jobs too.

    WordPress has a better UI then all of the above – and this makes up for all other developer related pros and cons so long as the site does its job. In some crazy parallel universe maybe it’s actually better to write whole new websites from scratch.

  38. More Detailed Development Notes

    Last fall we were working with Joomla, Drupal and WordPress at the same time. Hre are the versions we used: WP 2.9-3.0, Drupal 6.19, Joomla! 1.5

    Installation process:

    • WordPress & Drupal single click installs, no stupid questions asked. After configuring database access only admin email was requested.
    • Joomla! Too many questions asked at the beginning, most of them could have been left for later.  

    What you see after fresh install

    • WordPress & Drupal clean and empty environments with only a single hello world post or page.
    • Joomla! The homepage right after installing looked like a huge add … it’s just the default theme, but I had the impression that there’s too much of everything in there and I didn’t know where to start to turn everything off.

    User experience of backend:

    • WordPress & Drupal: very intuitive and clean backend, and I basically never had problems searching for something, creating new content, installing or setting up plugins. Everything was logically placed.
    • Joomla!: I’ve always spent ten minutes searching for what I needed. What I found really irritating was the whole mechanism of changing something. The menu was not active when I was in the edit mode, and I coulnd’t quickly leave the current page – instead of single click, two clicks were needed to move anywhere.

    Multiuser experience:

    WordPress and Drupal shows a warning when you’re trying to edit the same file, but Joomla! blocked the all access to the file. When my colleague was editing a page I was not able to even open that page in the back end. Even when the page was already closed by the other user for several minutes, the lock was still there for me, which was very frustrating. We ended up editing the backend under the same account.


    • Again, looking for WordPress or Drupal plugin was easy, most of the time the built-in plugin installer did the job.
    • With Joomla the whole plugin experience was much worse. Maybe I just had a bad luck with plugins, but those few I used were hard to configure, poorly coded and not easy to use for the end user either.

    Custom coding:

    • We haven’t done much custom coding for Joomla, so I am not able to do an in-depth comparison. From what I saw repairing other people’s plugins, this wouldn’t be that easy. One would have to spend a lot of time Joomla! specific practices and structure to be able to do even reasonably good custom coding.
    • With WordPress and Drupal, the custom coding experience is far more enjoyable. Both enjoy a system structure in both which far more obvious and with more robust underlying coding practices.


    For me personally, WordPress is the number one with Drupal being just behind it. I’ve done more work in WordPress than in Drupal, so it’s easier for me to do advanced work today in WordPress. Still, it wouldn’t bother me at all if we switched full time to Drupal. On the other hand, I would prefer to give up web development than continue to use Joomla! There’s not a single aspect of this CMS which I enjoyed or found to the benefit of developer or end user.

  39. emakki

    You said it Alec, developer. Drupal is more to be liked by developers! Joomla! is more friendly to clients. You know, they ask for several components to be in the site and they are installed quickly by the client. However, Joomla provides more flexibility and features that NEEDS more time to spend on, but I am sure it is less time than coding each feature the way you like!

    As for the built in contents, there is a check box or selection for not having it, but may be you were in a hurry since speed is important to you unlike regular user who install and configure not install and code configurations.

    I agree that Drupal is for developer mainly, but Joomla developer also make code adjustments because they know where to find the files responsible for their custom coding needs and almost always the needs are not in the core files of Joomla. Since you are used to Drupal, where you have to code to do simple stuff, then you think Joomla is like that.

  40. Donna

    Well, apparently, you were not paying attention to the questions asked during the Joomla! installation process, since one of those questions was whether you wanted to install sample data.

    As to the plugins, why would you blame Joomla from some crappy third-party plugins that you installed? Joomla didn’t make those plugins.

    It is very easy to build extensions in Joomla if you take a minute to look at the API. The developers of those plugins you used were probably not using Joomla’s framework. Some php developers just use straight php to Joomla.

    If you want to see how Joomla is coded, look at a JOOMLA extension, not a questionable third-party plugin.

    Do you think you should retract your statements about Joomla’s built-in forum, since there is no such thing, and Joomla’s “encrypted SEO” since that does not exist?

  41. Donna

    This is a quote from Mitch Pirtle, one of the founders of Joomla!(R): “Anyone still combining Joomla and Mambo into the same thing is clearly in the wrong decade.”

    On the subject of Drupal vs. Joomla, Mitch says: “Ultimately, some folks like to work the way Drupal works, and others prefer Joomla. Drupping your pants and taking a #2 on either just because you have a severely inflated sense of self worth is a waste of my time.”

  42. Scott Wolpow

    Does anyone RTF?
    Joomla has sample content, which you must select, otherwise you get a nice empty site like WP and Drupal.
    Just like Drupal and its many CSS, the RocketTheme example should have used the theme Gzipper which compresses the files.
    It is always about the right tool for teh right job. I just now got asked to build a simple site. It will rarely have new content, no forms, just a basic brouchure site.
    Guess what? I will use static HTML, SSI and CSS. Will build it in a few hours. No reason to use anything else.

  43. Mike

    “Mambo/Joomla has the same convoluted codebase”

    I lol’ed

  44. We have tried every open source CMS put out since 2001, and were avid users of Drupal for 3 1/2 years. We’ve been using WordPress for client sites since 2005. We have tried (and migrated sites from) every version of Mambo and Joomla.

    While there is some great enthusiasm here for Joomla (specifically the last 2 versions), it cannot be denied that the synopsis is still:

    1. The learning curve of wordpress if light years better than Drupal and Joomla
    2. The amount of sites running wordpress far exceeds Joomla and Drupal combined (probably combined x10)
    3. There is more free help and support for WordPress than the other two combined
    4. There are more free and premium plugins and themes for WordPress than both combined
    5. If you’re a developer or designer there is far more available in WordPress than the other two

    Even if Joomla or Drupal is great, I couldn’t recommend to any clients for the reasons above. As apple has trumped Microsoft in many markets, maybe this will change in the future, but as of right now WordPress is by far the dominant force – and best choice for most businesses.

  45. Debbie

    WOW I can not believe the harshness you have received for this awesome review that matches my sentiments 100%.

    We have our own custom cms that we developed in house but it is for site that we maintain 100%.

    Our customers had been requesting a CMS they could edit themselves and I started the hunt for a new solution. I looked at Joomla and Mambo first.

    Both had a lot going for them from a developer standpoint.

    A few years back I was offered a whole batch of clients if I would take over hosting the Mambo and Joomla clients of someone I was doing some work with.

    I was hired to clean up a joomla site that had run amuck by the customer not know where to do what.

    After a few months of testing we decided against the business deal – even on VM’s we did not want the headache of Security, Bandwidth & Support requirements. We are small hosting company, we own all of our own equipment and do not operate like the big guys or resellers.

    I think both Joomla and Mambo have a lot going for them but I also think they got to a place I hope WordPress is NOT headed (though I do fear it may be).
    That is a place of Creaping Featurisms and code bloat.

    Some of this argument is much like mac vs pc – you like what you know and nobody likes change.

    What got me looking at any of these was my clients requests for a cheap and cheerful site they could edit and maintain themselves.

    WordPress won – easy to teach them how to do what they need to do and what they need to stay away from. Although I was billing them more for cleaning up Joomla “oop’s I dunno what I did” errors I like them feeling more competent because they are much happier paying me and asking me to help with what they are not comfortable doing.

  46. lol Alec, You really put it out there. I have only been working in CMS systems for 2 years. It funny that you prefer Drupal over Joomla. I did not have big issues on sites I built Or rebuilt but clients had prior problems wheras In Drupal the first update I had sent my site haywire and the entire site had to be restored. I do love WordPress and used to really like NextGen.. What’s up there? Most of my wordpress problems have been with NextGen recently sad to say. I do like the idea of a choice… and People with existing Joomla sites seem to need my services more often… SO it helps the economy! I was surprised though when I got a potential client from google in San Diego and not one member on the joomla forum offred to contact this client (I’m East Coast and she wanted onsite training and updates)

  47. Hi Scott,

    That’s great if AdminPraise doesn’t need separate licensing for each site (process) once you have the code.

    Was misled by this page: kyleledbetter.com/jui/

    Thanks for clarifying that point.

    We can’t take part in that challenge right now as our workload is too high but I’d love to see a shootout. The initial design will probably bias the results in favour of one platform or another. I expect the leaders here will be WordPress and Joomla, not Drupal.

    I’d also be even more interested in a performance shootout between the three platforms under load in a typical shared environment with standard caching enabled.

    We’ve just completed a huge round of testing of WordPress vs various Apache, Litespeed and Lightppd. We’ll be testing performance again on various webhosts. Quite frankly we are a bit tested out right now.

    Making the web work for you, Alec

  48. @ alec

    Nothing what you mentioned on that site (formamente) is typical for Joomla. I could have packed it all into one file or compress it.
    Actually that site is not 100% finshed so I decided to leave the css like this for now. I have seen wp-themes that have same amount of js-scripts and css files. I just mentioned that sites to show that Joomla sites dont’t have to look like old-school portal-style sites.

    Same goes for the configuration of the menu you showed.
    That has per se nothing to do with Joomla itself. That is just one specific menu-ectxension wich is in fact easy to use. And since you can judge it only by those little hints and screens in that article you can’t see how easy it is to configure a so called mega-menu. (personally I have never been a friend of dropdowns anyway).

    Joomla has been build on a mvc structure. So you can decide yourself what the html output should look like. Same goes for the css. Since I’m not the greatest designer/coder myself I tend to have a rocksolid … structure wich could be stripped down for sure.

    The wp-backend itself is for sure the best of all the cms’ mentioned here. But Joomla is not as bad as you think. Also it should be mentioned that the backend-template can be changed too.

  49. Donna

    Alec, I still have not seen one valid example of any of your claims. Everything you said either is 100% erroneous or refers to 3rd party code, not Joomla code.

    I believe this article was written purely for the linkbait value.

    Furthermore, I believe this blog article fits the definition of libel and is actionable. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation

  50. Joe

    Nice post – some well-reasoned arguments.

    I’m interested in your thoughts on NextGen Gallery, as it’s a plugin I’ve used on some sites. Would you consider writing a blog post detailing the problems with this particular plugin?

    It’s probably too much trouble for me to migrate, as I’d have broken shortcodes everywhere, but it might help others come to a decision before installing it. I’m particularly interested in the performance hit you mention.

  51. Hi Henning,

    AdminPraise is very nice looking indeed. I’d just worry about having to deal with more crap that I have to install, license (time consuming) and troubleshoot. Reminds me a bit of the Rolls Royce hood kits for VW Beetles in the 80’s.

    Hi Donna,

    Yes, the forums claim is overstated. What Joomla has out of the box is built-in support for a membership/community site.

    But no, this is certainly not libel. These are my honest impressions as a developer who has built his first CMS site in Mambo and has subsequently used Joomla in commercial products in parallel with Drupal and WordPress.

    You should give WordPress a try some time. It’s a really great easy to use and client friendly environment.

    Hi Joe,

    NextGen Gallery turned up in a couple of our commercial projects in 2009 and in one in 2010. We found NextGen Gallery conflicted wildly with many plugins and really slowed the sites we were working on.

    You can probably rip NextGen Gallery out and replace it with our Foliopress WYSIWYG/SEO Images very easily. Foliopress WYSIWYG lets you create lite galleries like this just using images and lightbox. Foliopress WYSIWYG is lightning fast as the galleries are actually stored as flat html and images instead of having to be recreated for every page view. Dance sample gallery, SEO sample gallery.

    PS. We looked at other gallery software for WordPress and didn’t like either the SEO implications or the performance issues, which is why we enhanced the gallery potential in Foliopress WYSIWYG/SEO Images as a lightweight solution for ourselves and our clients.

  52. Scott Wolpow

    @Alec What license for Admin Praise? It is GPL and free. Time consuming? It took almost 45 seconds to upload and select it. No trouble shooting, it wokrs fine.
    Can you explain what you meant>
    Also in Drupal 6 and below can you install anyting from the admin area in a base install?
    Both WP and Joomla allow for this.
    How about a challenge.
    How fast can a site be built in the three CMS.
    One set of specs, a mock up of the site with sliced images, prepared content and defined styles. Nothing fancy, just a basic set of content and user management.

  53. Scott Wolpow

    It could be libel if Alec’s purpose was to damge Joomla’s reputation based on statements that were untrue. Further he has to be a creditable source.
    So yes, it is Libelious.
    He is an expert at CMS’s.
    The facts were not true and if a potential client choose Joomla, he would not get the business. So therefore a jury or judge could infer he meant to hurt Joomla’s reptuatation.

    Next comes damages. Joomla, realy Open Source Matters, would have to prove damages. That is difficult to assess. My opinion it would be small because your false statement would not be read by anyone that makes the choiceof CMS at the end of the day.

    Eric, I am curious, why did you overstate yourself? What was the purpose?
    It is clear you have not really used Joomla in the past few years?

    Some may feel that you are you just trying to justify to client that Joomla is not a good choice, when the truth maybe (note the word maybe it leavse the choice to the reader and saves me from libel) that Joomla is too much of a challenge to you.

  54. Scott Wolpow

    BTW My last line in my previous post was meant in good humor.

    We can have a challenge later this year. We can agree on basic specs. Have graphic artists create a full PSD mock-up. Vote for the ten best and use a random event to choose the final design.

    Then each team builds the site, under controlled environment.

    Then we can run tests on identical machines.

    The performace Guru is Mith Pirtle. The machine sjust work harder for him. I know what he has done and major sites run off his Joomla code.

  55. I’ve built hundreds of WordPress sites and a handful of Joomla sites. Our site http://interactiveonline.com uses Joomla 1.5.22.

    I wasn’t too happy when Joomla came out with version 1.6 which is not an upgrade, but requires a migration. Joomla users went through this same headache back during the 1.0 > 1.5 migrations. Migrations basically require a Joomla site owner to fork out more money to a designer to rebuild their site and migrate the data. Joomla is a great solution but plan to rebuild your site every time they come out with a new branch which is every few years. That could change in the future depending on if the Joomla developers implement an easy upgrade feature between branches.

    So I usually suggest WordPress now since it can always be upgraded with 1-click from the WordPress admin area. This doesn’t require the site owner to rebuild or migrate their data which tends to cost thousands of dollars for most companies. WordPress has had an excellent track record as far as site owner being able to apply patches and plugin upgrades with 1-click.

  56. Hi Scott,

    As an opinion piece on a piece of software which is clearly marked as such, I think I’m free from libel in most jurisdictions.

    Our whole team doesn’t like working with Joomla. Even now looking at the menu systems makes me queasy. Our dislike is based on real world commercial experience (we weren’t playing around for fun, but delivering international standard commercial sites) in the case of all three CMS.

    But hey I don’t like MS Windows either and there are hundreds of millions of happy and unhappy users.

    Given a choice between either Joomla for web development or MS for my own computer environment, it would be really tough as to which would be more unpleasant. I’m not sure my choice wouldn’t be to seek other work.

  57. Scott Wolpow

    @Interactive There is no reason to migrate from 1.5 to 1.6 unless you need the functions.
    Yes all us in Joomla are baffled at the numbering system, but it is a title.
    Joomla migrations are in mind for the future though.

    @Eric Yes Opinions are not libelious, but untrue facts are. You stated that Joomla had a poor quality built in forum and encrypted SEO. Those are false statements.

    What makes you queasy about the menu system?

  58. Donna

    It’s not an *opinion* when you make statements about Joomla’s “built-in forum” which does not exist and never has, and Joomla’s encrypted SEO, when Joomla has no encryption and is 100% GPL. (And I think you meant “SEF”, Mr. Experienced Developer.) Etc.

  59. This article is just sad. Even sadder are your snarky remarks to those defending Joomla. Until recently most WordPress sites looked exactly like every other wp site. One widget side bar with the same stock modules in them. I built a wp site a few years ago and found I had to hack all kinds of special page templates myself, forget CSS, I had to learn how to copy chunks of PHP to change things. Want multiple widget positions? forget it. Finally over the last year or so, theme makers have broken out of that. The RocketTheme wp templates actually have overrides so you can put widgets on different pages and in different locations on every page. Customized menus? Not until WP 3. I actually had to hard code some of my menu items on my keynoteuser.com site (back before 3.0) in order to get what I wanted in the menu. Then I spent DAYS searching for plugins to do various things that just work in Joomla. More recently I built a WP 3.0 site with a new Rocket Theme and was at least refreshed to see that they’d included a bunch of things that I had been forced to use plugins for in the past.

    All that to say, you’re complaining about how hard it is to make Joomla not look like a joomla site, when BUILT IN it has functionality to put modules in a zillion different places and on any page that has a menu item linking to it (with several popular, free extensions that allow you to even override that).

    I seriously doubt you’ve really every built anything in Joomla 1.5 or higher. So you installed the stock engine with the stock template. Seriously, does ANYONE use the stock template? Even the free templates from Rocket Theme have “rocket launchers” that will literally install a completely demo site for you in a few clicks.

    As far as joomla sites looking like joomla sites, here’s one of mine (featured on the gantry site no less):
    I’ve been building Joomla sites for several years, each time I go back to WP I am frustrated at the the admin and the lack of built in features (thank GOD for the new menu system in 3.0, but ever try to remove more than one item at a time from it?). “Click, Click, where’s the frickin…” those sliding panels are a lesson in patience (why force users to click more than once to find something hidden in the admin?).

    Each of us likes what we’re used to, so your team is used to something other than Joomla. Fine, be man enough to admit that you just like what you’re used to (and I’d add-aren’t willing to spend enough time in another tool to be able to offer that tool to your clients).

    I guess what surprises me the most is your arrogance. Serious joomla developers come here and defend your absolutely incorrect information and asinine assertions, and you just thumb your nose at them.

    That’s just sad.

  60. Hi Donna,

    As I’ve mentioned, Joomla has community features built-in. Has had them from the early Mambo days. Forums are an natural drop-in in Joomla. Forum and membership capability is a plus on your side of the balance sheet (you have to use FluxBB on WordPress to get anything similar with single login). Why are you complaining?

    In any case, it’s just software. No need to take my dislike of your preferred CMS so personally. I’m glad Joomla has still has some fans.

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

    To be honest all the features you are holding up as wonderful, I loathe.

    I prefer to get into a template and drop in my html/PHP directly with my own bone-dry CSS in style.css. Just code the sidebar. I don’t want to install a bunch of junkie add-ons just to create menus.

    Working in Joomla is worse than working in Dreamweaver. There’s another tool I loathe.

    We work in BBEdit and TextWrangler. Our idea of an overblown WYSIWYG editor is CSSedit. We like working with the raw code. We like lean sites not mechano assemble-it kits.

    I built enough model airplanes as a child not to want to do it as an adult.

  61. Hi Donna,

    Wow, the Joomla community seems to match the software. Joomla does not endorse any third-party extensions. Good to know. Positive attributes are negatives. I just can’t figure you people out. You already know my thoughts on the software.

    It seems Joomla and I are just not a good match. No doubt there are clients stuck back in 2004 who really like the Joomla system. There are people stuck back in 1980 and disco too, so you are not so out of date after all.

    It’s all relative. In ten years, WordPress will probably be past its own best beyond date too.

  62. John

    This article made me realize Jersey Shore is not so bad after all. Lord help us all, if not those with a blog…

  63. @Scott Correct, it’s not required right now but will be in the future if a Joomla site owner wants to receive any type of support from the community. Try finding support for 1.0 sites (it’s non-existent). Overall Joomla migrations to newer versions is require simply for being able to get support for the software.

    WordPress is far more advanced with keeping up with core and 3rd party plugin upgrades which are always 1-click.

    Joomla doesn’t have any of this, especially between new Joomla “branches”

    Like I said Joomla is an excellent solution but it has a way to go as far as how it manages core upgrades, 3rd party extensions upgrades and branch migrations.

  64. I just cant figure out why you even bother with any of these cms’s then. Why not use something like CouchCMS or just roll your own? You wrote an article that SOUNDED like you were trying to help folks figure out the difference between these products…what you’re now saying is, you like one of them, and the other’s are crap because of the way YOU create sites. How does that help anyone? Now I realize this is simply an op-ed piece on crap you don’t like, not a helpful article at all (you aren’t even concerned about spreading wrong facts!).

    I really hope someone else helped out that poor soul on the discussion list, because you seem to have missed the entire point of the question.

  65. Hi Brian,

    There are lots of reasons to use a ready made CMS:

    • To share the security and core coding burden among hundreds of developers.
    • To allow a client to expand a site in unlimited ways.
    • To allow guest posters to easily contribute to a site.
    • To include advanced web apps.
    • To provide high quality semi-automated SEO.

    My values in a CMS include:

    • Offer a gorgeous backend work environment.
    • Clean output code.
    • Easy to customise look.
    • Easy to add additional functionality (self-coded and third party).
    • Very clean and attractive source code in the backend.

    Joomla delivers on almost none of that. I’ve never enjoyed my time working with Joomla. I’m sorry.

  66. Scott Wolpow

    Joomla delivers all that.
    1) As secure as Drupal, more secure than WP
    2) Can also be expanded by any authorized user, very easy
    3) Guest posters can comments, but that still needs more work in Joomla
    4) Joomla 1.5 and 1.6 both support advanced apps
    5) What is semi-automated SEO and why would you use it? Do you mean SEF? Joomla has that built in.

    6) I will give you the default Joomla back end is not pretty, but that can be changed.
    7) How is Joomla’s code not clean? Cite examples.
    8) It is very easy to customize output in Joomla. How is it not easy?
    9) In Joomla it is very easy to add new functions, takes less than a minute.
    10) Source code is clean.

    I agree that Drupal keeps a tighter reign on the code released into the wild. But then Drupal is a closed society. Only approved code makes it. It does slow down the process. Joomla should have a system to certify code.

    I feel the same way about WordPress as you do about Joomla. But I will look at it again later this year, after I play with Satchmo Project.

  67. Guys dont’t you get … this is no discussion … only purpose is to tell Joomla people your are dumb, silly and you dont deserve to exist on a world where we (=alec) the cool wp-users live. So unsucribe this blog …

  68. I’m still looking for the “forum” or “community features” that are built into any of my Joomla web sites.

    I’d be really grateful if you could point them out to me as they are obviously a hidden joomla secret.

    (the last line is a joke the joomla community understand)

  69. Nice site Brian. Who’d have thought Joomla could look so good? One thing is certain at least one co-founder of Joomla is a better designer than Matt Mullenweg.

    Though I must say you Joomla priests and acolytes certainly do seem to have a bit of an attitude:

    Powered by Joomla. What is Joomla!? If you don’t know by now where have you been living, under a stone? As a co-founder of Joomla! I’m not likely to use anything else, am I?

    Henning, you are welcome to make the case for Joomla. I’m certainly not going to do so for you. And cannot, as my own experiences have not been positive.

  70. Your post says *some correct* things but also very inaccurate ones.
    The fact is the founders of Drupal, Joomla and WP get very well along, and the “power users” of all three communities also. That is a fact.

    Some people here need to understand better that it is about the quality of those implementing rather then establishing comparisons between CMS’s… biased by sheer ignorance. Sad.

    Btw, I use Joomla! And so does the Tour Eiffel: toureiffel.fr/

  71. Kareem

    Admiration/promotion of a Open Source CMS platform(s) by way of ripping undeservedly on another one in this day and age is truly a sad practice done by all three camps of the big three (wordpress/joomla/drupal).

    having worked with all three (i actually like wordpress least, call me insane) its a regular thing to see on the respective forums:

    • joomla/drupal fans treating WP as limited blog software
    • joomla fans treating drupal and its environs as if it were a unusable and needless mess
    • drupal fans treating joomla as if it’s a 1920 Model T jalopy
    • WP fans angrily hitting out at everyone who understates their beloved platform

    the fact is. ALL three have benefited tremendously from each other

    • Drupal’s CCK offering has pushed similar functionality demand for Joomla!. hence we’re now seeing such great products like K2, ect…
    • Joomla’s wealth and quality of theme providers are now bringing thier quality work to Drupal (much needed) and WordPress such as Rockettheme, Joomlart, ect.
    • WordPress’ (and Joomla’s) intuitiveness has spawned a major rethink of Drupal’s interface. hence the work that went into Drupal 7

    point of it all is…all three platforms have evolved to the point where it’s a matter of personal preference. cant we all just get along? or at least make an effort to check out the facts before talking trash about a platform and passing it off as facts? at the end of it all, with every site deployed in J!/Drupal/WP its another small victory for Open Source. i mean, that same site could’ve been using Sharepoint or Interspire Web Publisher :)

    if you want a truly painful cms to use, there’s always DotNetNuke.

  72. Zudie

    I do not agree with your opinion of Joomla. I am developing both Joomla and WordPress sites. WordPress definitely wins when it comes to easy client updates and good blogging.

    But when you need more functionality you are faced with many plugins which quality if often debatable. There are a lot of bad developers out there so it is very hard to find good tips on how to solve certain issues.

    I find Joomla way better structured and much easier to adjust when you need more functionality. Plugins have better quality and cover much more functionality.
    I have built very large sites with BreezingForms and don’t know of any plugin that would offer the same for WordPress.

    And about a Joomla site always looking like a Joomla site. That is pure nonsense. If you know how to code and use stylesheets then you can create unique looking sites (same is true for WP).

  73. Pingback: WordPress Community Links: Big stack of Dummies edition | WPCandy

  74. Alec,

    While I won’t use Joomla again, I don’t agree with your Disadvantage bullet that Joomla sites look like Joomla. An example of a site I built as I was checking out Joomla, and haven’t updated or used for a couple of years, looks like a custom design (good or bad), http://glassbirdphotography.com. Otherwise, I agree with your warning folks to steer clear. Outside of straight XHTML/CSS… I’m a WordPress devotee.


  75. techcrunch.com/2011/04/13/hacker-gains-access-to-wordpress-com-servers/

    “WordPress is silently running many of the sites you visit every day, but it seems like every time you hear about it, something has gone terribly wrong. Well, today is no exception. WordPress has announced that a person or persons recently gained root access to several of the WordPress servers. The site source code for VIP customers was likely downloaded by the intruders.”

  76. Hi John Snoddy,

    At last a comment of yours which is publishable (as opposed to straight execration). You’re learning.

    Wow, that breach is really not good. Agreed. Alas, when you are at the top, everyone is gunning for you.

    I’ve finally figured out what sticks in the craw of you Joomla developers. You thought you were winning the CMS wars back in 2008 as you’d beaten Drupal early. And then WordPress happened. Drupal held its limited market share but Joomla has sure taken a fall.

    A well-deserved one in my opinion, although I’m still impressed by Brian Teeman’s clean, fast and vivid site. Perhaps you are onto something: Joomla may not be held back so much by its core code but by its users.

    Bonne journée!

    PS. Thanks Fernando for the graphic. Link on image.

  77. Scott Wolpow

    What bugs Joomla people, is people posting incorrect information.

    WP is great for basic clean sites, where you do not need ACL or high traffic. Out of the box WP is for low traffic sites.

    Joomla is the next level in complexity. Great if you need community management and lots of out the box solutions. The price you pay is less flexibility.

    Drupal is the hardest of all. Very little complete solutions. You can build what you want. You need to be more experienced.

    In all three cases I am talking about out of the box.

    Any good professional should be able to use all three and make it do what you want.
    after all they are all PHP and Mysql

  78. Anonymous

    I think it’s unfare an pretty lame wen developers critique others code without actually calculating or using quality assurance metrics.

    Drupal for instance at least has unit tests. WordPress is a nightmare of code, worse than Joomla architecturally.

    Joomla probably has the clearest interpretation of MVC of any CMS not just Drupal/WordPress. Drupal is a strictly procedural code base – which is fine. The entire application execution/pipeline is unique to drupal, not standardized at all. WordPress is even worse. Joomla at it’s core, at least implements a router, dispatcher and controller, model view components, which if you understand patterns (especially MVC) becomes fairly obvious to step through.

    Drupal on the other hand (as with wordpress) is a collection of hooks/callbacks that get invoked and makes far more difficult to figure out what is going.

    I think you got your reviews way off. Joomla has historically had horrible support for users and community. It’s ACL was sorely lacking (and updated in 1.6). Likewise Drupal has always been flexible enough in this regard it satisfies most peoples requirements.

    WordPress, I haven’t used much of, or lately. But a quick glance at the core code and I smell insane amounts of coupling, presentation logic mixed wih business logic mixed with data access logic. blah. This makes for quality code? Maybe for a first year PHP developer.

    Viva la Drupal :)

  79. Great article! Thanks for your honesty.

    First off, I am an expert HTML and CSS coder who can create a working website from scratch, and integrate a website into a CMS. I have over 6 years of experience designing and building websites for various companies and individuals.

    Over the years of using CMS’s, I have been in constant search and testing for the best CMS. After extensive testing, I have found that Drupal and Joomla are too difficult to use for myself and also for my clients. My conclusion is that WordPress and ExpressionEngine are definitely the best CMS’s to use for any website. I’m glad to hear that someone else agrees that WP is one of (if not the best) CMS to use.

  80. Interesting enough, this very site is made using wordpress…… Why not Dupral?

  81. Druplah

    Agreed, Drupal should be awarded, and joomla should die a tragic death, i made one joomla site, my client said it sucked and would n pay it, i made on drupal site and my client over payed me (SAME CLIENT!)

  82. Jelte

    Interesting blog post.
    I started my cms experience using Joomla. Once you get the hang of it, you get a certain mind set. The backend is quite logical actually.
    I recently set my mind on broadening my experience. Started with WordPress, but had quite a different experience. Man, that cms gives me headaches! Why in the name of all that’s good are so many people working with it?
    Must be me…
    Anyway, my point: I guess the only difference in you choice would be what fits with you. Yes, you might think Joomla to be crappy coding. You might be right. I don’t care, it works perfectly. Never a security issue, flawlessly running on all sites, some with quite a few users on it.
    Better still; I find it quite easy to instruct my clients to use it. They hardly call for assistance, which is a plus in my eyes.
    Google seems to accept the sites and even seems to like them. Some of my sites are up against big competitors and they still seem to win in the rankings, though I only have a fraction of the budget they have.

    You might be right about the code. But which of my clients is looking at the source code? Which of their users is looking at the source code? Google certainly isn’t. And I couldn’t care less about what other programmers think, I care about my clients making money with their sites.

    And for me: I almost never have to change the code. Which frees my hands to do the bit which I find interesting: marketing.

    So nice blogpost. Interesting to read a different opinion. And I’ll be happily sticking with Joomla.

  83. jack

    Joomla is disgusting and is an offense to the entire software development profession. I only wish that were an exaggeration.

  84. Johann

    Funny. I have just read through all these comments and have become nothing wiser… All of you are arguing in circles. Even though I am not a Joomla user I would like to learn it. I currently use wordpress and have been fairly happy with it. This is about the 12th review between the CMS’s that I have read and the comments always try to put down WordPress. I think if Joomla didnt take me 3 steps to do one thing in wordpress I would also use it as it looks that I can customize a lot more. But then again I have never needed to go over as there is always some 3rd party plugin in wordpress that anyway does what I need. Furthermore I actually searched an easy way to create an online business directory service and am looking for the easiest platform to do it on so any help would be appreciated. Thanks

  85. Andrew Wong

    Have any of you even looked at Joomla 1.5 or 1.6? 1.6 is an all new code base completely rewritten from the ground up. I love it and have been using it for all my projects. And contrary to it looking like a cookie cutter site you should see some of the sites built with it.

    They look anything but cookie cutter.
    flemingsteele com


  86. Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for stopping by.

    The portfolio section on that site above is broken/non-existent.

    Hopefully you can find a more complete Joomla sample site in the future.

    Making the web work for you, Alec

  87. David

    We use wordpress for everything right now. Have around 50 wordpress sites and a goal of 300

  88. I love drupal but harder then WordPress. Nice article thanks.

  89. Jim W

    This was very entertaining. The article was very informative, Alec, thanks.

    The catfight after the article even more entertaining. I personally only have used WordPress. I’m thinking about learning Drupal. I’m very well scared off from considering Joomla, more so because of the behavior of its acolytes than anything said in the post.


  90. hi Alec

    great post I was deliberating which platform to use. I agree Joomla is terrible. I would like to ask what plugins you used to create the directory based websites you have built.

  91. George

    Thanks Alec, I’ve been looking for someone to put Joolma into context for me from an experienced user/developer perspective. You just answered all my questions :)


  92. Hi Geoffrey,

    For small directories on a WordPress site, we used our own FV WP Link Robot:


    For dedicated directory sites, we use PHP Link Directory v3.

    Making the web work for you, Alec

  93. Adrian

    It seems your forgetting the point of a CMS or blog, that is satisfying the end user making the C. How easy is it create, upload, edit, update, tag, categorize, publish, retract, schedule, work flow the content. It should be as invisible and seamless as possible to a journalist, blogger, writer, photographer, video editor and so forth.

    On another note: I cant help but think of drag queen entertainer RuPaul whenever Drupal is mentioned. It should be called DruPaul.

  94. joe

    What version of drupal are we talking about?

    Version 6 was OK for me for a couple of sites, whereas version 7 has been really buggy with lots of issues especially plugins which don’t even work. I’m using .dev versions to get around the crappiness of the situation in 7, so talk to me about which version. They are different as in night and day.

    I would choose wordpress over version 7 any day, and considering starting the project from scratch in either wordpress or drupal 6. The problem with drupal 6 is that they’re already working on version 8 which means an unsupported platform sometime soon.

    That pretty much leaves me with WordPress, but version 7 is really impossible unless you write your own modules and not rely on plugins, which means very serious development with a team of programmers.

  95. Hi Joe,

    Thanks for the feedback about Drupal 7.

    Hi Adrian,

    And what is your point exactly?

    I don’t think I’ve forgotten about the end user at all. This post deals with the CMS from a developer’s perspective. If you’d like my end user perspective, oh-la-la, I’d have to say how absolutely archaic, creaky and rigid Joomla seems.

    With WordPress it’s very easy to develop custom posts with custom fields. Here’s a sample interface we developed for our FV Simpler SEO plugin to make entering SEO information easier and more intuitive in WordPress:

    Wordpress custom interface development
    Wordpress custom interface development
  96. DanD

    If we already have a website (created by someone using Dreamweaver) and want to add a lot of audio files that are easily searchable by speaker, topic, or title, would one of the CMS systems do this or would we be better off writing own interface to MySQL?

  97. stu

    Is was asked by a client to explore the diff cms you talked about above. I was shocked to read that Joomla was dead or should be. I suddenly thought i had missed the boat and that i should be user WP or Drupal. I felt like i had been some noob who is still using Joomla. I am glad Joomla people have replied to this thread as i believed what you had written. After reading the whole thread i have realised that you are getting into a tit for tat, my dads better than your dads, situation.

    Now i know less than before………

  98. Pras

    I am looking to pickup a CMS for my classifieds.. initially thought this discussion going to help me.. but finally, confused and concluded that every ones needs, experience and affection is different.

    Some what helpful.. mostly useless.

  99. Hi Stu,

    Honestly, I think you are a Joomla developer yourself.

    Assuming you aren’t, here’s the deal on reactions to this post.

    1. The WordPress people wholeheartedly agree (many of them ex-Joomla) and can’t be bothered to comment (there are whole huge discussions about this article behind the firewall at LinkedIn).

    2. The Drupal people are not offended one way or the other, so only a few commented.

    3. The Joomla die-hards are up in arms and picketing this post in force.

    Sad truth: Joomla sucks. I can’t get a single developer inside Foliovision to work on the platform without a gun in their back. Our developers will work on Drupal if asked with no complaint.

    If you’re stuck on Joomla, maybe it’s worth waiting out your next major site refresh to move. But if you’re building a new site, you’d be bonkers to build on Joomla.

    It’s not the Joomla people’s fault that Joomla is not very good. Mambo (the predecessor) was ground breaking software in 2000/2001. Coding standards and web interface have grown up a lot in the mean time. Joomla is legacy code/concept. The Joomla team have tried to code their way out out of the abyss in which they find themselves but to little avail. Sometimes, it’s better just to start fresh.

    Have a nice day!

  100. Great comparison. I had no idea that Joomla was dying a slow death (at least indicated by the graphic above. Makes me glad we chose Drupal and WordPress.

  101. Steve

    Hi Alec,

    I don’t know if you will have time to answer this but I am getting ready to hire a company to build a website for me. My website is primarily a database made up of categories and lists. For instance one category might be “Things to Do”. Within that category might be a subcategory of “Bowling” and then within Bowling will be a list of all the bowling alleys in a certain geographic area. There will probably be 3 or 4 main categories (“Things To Do” and two or three others and then maybe 20 subcategories under each of three or four main categories. Within each subcategory might be hundreds of entries- say if the subcategory is “Restaurants”). So potentially the lists and database will be fairly large.

    The company I am thinking about hiring wants to use WordPress because they know it better than Drupal. They have built some attractive non-blog websites using WordPress. However almost every review I have read indicates that this is exactly the type of website that is perfect for Drupal because of the flexibility it allows in manipulating and displaying data. Would you mind giving me your opinion as to whether WordPress can effectively be used for a website like I have described. Will I be able to search and display the lists in a variety of ways? Can you think of a reason to not use WordPress for a site such as this.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated. I feel like I need to make a decision without the knowledge and experience to do so.



  102. Hi Steve,

    There are no issues building a site like the one you have planned if the hierarchical pages number up to 1000. Between 1000 and 10000, I’m not sure which system I would build in. At over 10,000 pages, I’d probably build in Drupal.

    Pages ≠ posts

    WordPress can handle tens of thousands of posts.

  103. Scott Wolpow

    I agree, I would use Drupal, in fact I am building a number of sites that do exactly that in Drupal.
    Could it be done in Joomla or wordpress? Yes.
    But use the best tool for the job and in this case it is Drupal

  104. Sorry Scott,

    I would use WordPress unless the site is absurdly large and/or I had a lot of money/time to waste building a Drupal site (about double to triple the cost of building on WordPress).

    Put another way, you can build the same thing but more attractive and with more features in half the time at half the cost in WordPress.

    Making the web work for you, Alec

  105. j03

    Joomla! users = Douche-bags, will get into strangers’ cars for candy, need to read more books, listen to Ratt.

    WordPress users = Fan boys, drink The Kool-Aid, fooled by corporate lies, listen to Justin Bieber.

    Drupal users = Hardcore geeks, would rather write module then go to strip club, tell the cheesiest jokes, listen to Orbit.

    Python or Rails users = F that.

    Nuff said. Close thread. And… you’re welcome.

  106. Fohlin

    I really enjoyed reading all of this.
    Alec, please, give up. You can´t win this. Especially not with a patronizing tone.
    In my opinion it would be better to learn the systems before trying to tell advantages and disadvantages to anyone else.

  107. Hi j03,

    Not a very good defense of Joomla in my opinion. Not sure what corporations and capitalism have to do with WordPress.

    Anyone without strong tendencies to self-flagellation has left Joomla/Mambo long ago. Joomla is like a horse and plow: quaint remnant of outdated technology. Sure you can plow a field that way, but do you really want to?

    Hi Fohlin,

    I’ve developed large sites in all three systems. Sorry Joomla doesn’t score higher in my ratings: been there, done that. Don’t care to go back.

    When you get a chance, give WordPress a real try. There’s a huge demand for WordPress developers so if you’re any good, you won’t go hungry. I don’t think I know any Joomla developers who moved to WordPress for any substantial period and moved back to Joomla. On the other hand, I know dozens of Mambo/Joomla developers who moved to WordPress and never want to go back.

  108. j03


    Uhhh, I definitely wasn’t defending Joomla! there bub.

    What’s with the exclamation point after Joomla anyway? Oh yeah, it’s Joomla!, not supposed to make sense.

  109. I’m a graphic designer; have designed a lot of skins without looking under the hood- finally time for me to get feet wet in a CMS. gleaning from this long and valuable conversation, it sounds like I should start in WordPress. Questions: is there any way to tell the better templates from the non-functional?

    Anyone have recommendations on best training/tutorials for getting up to speed in WordPress? eg. Lynda.com, dummy guides, etc. Thanks all.

  110. Hi David,

    If you are a designer, I highly recommend you start all designs from the TwentyTen template and have the CSS customised. Our testing of some popular WordPress commercial themes showed they included a lot of sloppy code, especially those with a lot of automated back end customisation, generating up to 10x as many DB queries and up to 10x slower to load.

    There’s a lot of free documentation at WordPress.org and lots of great tutorials scattered around the web. We’ve not used any purchased guides and we’ve become pretty good at WordPress. If you’re a video learner, perhaps you should try the Lynda screencasts. Most of our team learn much better from written documentation.

  111. martine

    Wow, this article was a bonus for me. I expected a subjective view, which I got, but the subsequent chatter and bickering was far more enlightening.

    I have worked with Joomla 1.5, scared off of 1.6 and do not look forward to the 2.5 migration next year when 1.5 ends. I feel dread when a client suggests creating a CMS using Joomla because for me, it is a pain to work in and the bloat is overwhelming at times.

    I have also worked with WordPress while I feel pretty happy working in the UI, the security has been a real issue. Many many holes. And also every time WP updates it hoses some of the functionality on a few of the sites.

    I came to this article because I need to develop a closed users community that is secure, and allows for group functionality and interaction. Almost like an educational site that would hold searchable student records, accessible only to the member faculty.

    So, what would you all suggest? I am leaning toward Drupal, but have never worked with it …

    And that you Alec for initiating the spirited debate.

  112. Hi Martine,

    There’s a few simple things to do which help a lot with WordPress security:

    1. lock down your server. Examples: Do not be running with loose permissions. Make sure your probing IP’s will get cut off very quickly.
    2. use conservative and well-maintained plugins.
    3. develop in a way which makes it easy to upgrade (subject for a longer article)

    Over time, we have had minimal problems with security. Every CMS has security vulnerabilities so while WordPress vulnerabilities are widely publicised, I don’t think they are any worse than you’d face with other CMS.

    For your closed user community, S2 is fantastic and very affordable membership software. We used the free version with great success and have upgraded to the developer license to support the project.

    Best of luck with your community project!

  113. Scott Wolpow

    Wordpress is perfect when you have clients without a real budget. You also are very limited to functionality and the coding is all over the place.

    Joomla 1.5 will be supported for quite sometime, no matter what OSM states. 1.6 and 1.7 are great steps forward, but I think Joomla has to stay with one API for a while.
    That will be discussed at a Joomla future development conference soon.

    If you are in the USA, then you must go with very high security as Student files are regulated like HIPPA and other records. They must be encrypted.
    That really leaves only Drupal.

    I think people find Joomla tough because they can not get the thought process, which does need improvement so that people with lesser skills can use it.
    As to being a debate, those opposing Joomla have never shown any proof or examples from 1,5.x. They site misinformation from 1.0

  114. Scott, please give an example of what we can’t code in WordPress (“limited functionality”).

    The “thought process…people with lesser skills” can digest. You’ve got to be kidding me. I was very deep in the Joomla thought process: it was the first CMS I ever used. Joomla was still an awful and inflexible experience.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Joomla and its twisted thought process is for masochists. If you like clarity and approaching a task with an open mind, Joomla is not for you.

    I’m sure there’s a way of encrypting files on the server using at least WordPress. If you are going to throw bombs like this, I’d like to see the official citation which says WordPress is not welcome in the American educational community.

  115. Scott Wolpow

    I never said you could not code what you wanted in WP (or Joomla, Drupal, Plone, Nuke etc). Any good coder can do what they want.

    It is limited in scalability out of the box. Any large site using WP has modified the core code.
    Yes we know that years ago you formed an opinion of Joomla and never looked back. You made incorrect statements about misconceptions about Joomla.

    I also agree that Joomla thought process is not for you and it must confuse you.
    WP is very simple.

    I never said WP was not welcome in the American Educational Community.
    What I said, that when you handle student files, they have to be treated in a certain manor. For example, you must encrypt them. The SQL server must be on its own physical machine, that is isolated form the outside world.
    It can not be on a cloud, though that is changing.

    It has to do with security, not the CMS.
    I know Joomla and Drupal can be locked down, but I would choose Drupal as the better tool.

    WP has far too many security issues.

    Joomla 1.5.23 is very secure and I doubt the core can be hacked. I can not say 100% for all community contribs.

    BTW I am building some sites in WP for those who want do not need the capabilities of Joomla or Drupal.
    I use the best tool for the job, I do not let ‘religion’ factor into what I do.

  116. WPer

    This post is GOLD to me. I love how specific it is per platform and how straightforward. I have been a victim of some of the wordpress plugins and crappy theme developers. Thanks a lot for writing this.

  117. I just read your article today, and I couldn’t agree with you more — but I should say I don’t have any experience in hard-core development in Joomla or Drupal, so I really have absolutely no idea how hard that might be. Creating sites is one thing; knowing what extensions and plugins or themes to pick on any platform is another; actually implementing a design is a third issue; and finally, using the site from the backoffice is yet another issue.

    Ironically, I started working with CMSes back in 1999. At that time, their purpose was mostly to give programmers more free time (and thus reduce the cost of development); needless to say, the few CMSes existing back then were all targeted to developers. Designers, maintainers, and end-users just came in as an afterthought. I remember testing Mambo when it came out, and I just laughed and laughed at how people could take it seriously… when I was using something so much more powerful and easy to use, built by the company I’m still working with.

    Over time, however, the cost of maintaining one’s own CMS also rises, as more and more novelties are introduced, and the ability to quickly tweak the code and add whatever is needed becomes more and more important. I remember to test early versions of Drupal and was actually quite impressed, even back then; but the learning curve was (for me) too high and not worth the time invested in it.

    Around 2005, for my personal projects, I finally gave up using the custom CMS from the company I still work for; I was spending far too much time maintaining the old code for things that didn’t pay! So, it was time to use something a bit more powerful and flexible. But I was lazy: I wanted something which would be childish to use, super-easy to install, with next-to-zero administration, and flexible enough to look good on the frontend. To be honest, I wasn’t very keen on using WordPress, because it had this terrible stigma (which I believe it will never shake off) of being a “blogging tool”. I just gave it a try because some of my projects required little more than “blogging”. For over a year I kept giving people excuses for ashamedly using a mere “blogging tool” instead of some “professional” multi-purpose CMS and considered in public that I was really not “using a CMS” but just “a nice cool toy”.

    But then the inevitable day came when I had to face real customers with real needs. This meant that at some point one has to calculate the costs of doing a project and show off the tool to the customer for them to pick. This is where things started to go seriously wrong. I remember a project from last year using Joomla which one of the content creators needed to have a separate site for a month to test all the options on the backoffice just to make sure she made no mistakes on the real site and understood what she had to go through each time she wanted to add a simple article to the site; another project I was marginally involved in used Typo3 (clearly inspired on the complexity of the Joomla backend) and, since the content submitters were volunteers, only one or two actually ever managed to post anything at all. On the other hand, I was surprised at how cleverly a developer tweaked a high-traffic site done in Drupal so that the backoffice became childishly simple to maintain — now that was clever programming! After that example, I understood that any serious Drupal development, when “sold” to the customer, has to show them the most simple backoffice that does everything the customer wants and not a single menu item more, which you can do with Drupal. So for projects with unlimited budget, I still recommend doing them in Drupal, instead of reinventing the wheel and creating a CMS from scratch, say, using Zope or Plone or anything similar…

    On the other hand, I started showing off WordPress to some customers to see their reaction. They usually stare at me blankly after doing a very short 30-minute presentation of all the functionality of the backoffice. And then, after I leave, they start immediately to add content. In one of my recent projects, while the project was still at the early stages, the customer’s computer-illiterate users were already submitting content on my return trip from the presentation, pretty much shocking me when I returned to the office to continue my work — and see how much content has already been done. In one case, the customer even forfeited the planned two-day training session — they said it would be a waste of time, since those two days could be better employed in adding content instead of spending them in “training sessions”. In the mean time, a two-year-old Joomla project still has just one qualified content submitter and another one “still in training” who often requires minor adjustments on her content after submitting the articles for approval — while on the WordPress projects, people have “migrated” to edito/administrator status and are happily reconfiguring the whole of their sites to better suit their tastes, and my biggest task is to prevent them to break everything because they’re so good at figuring out on their own how things work…

    So my conclusion is that all these CMSes have different focus. Drupal clearly focus on the high-end programmers, which earn money from doing full development, and so they have a complex, powerful, and cleanly written framework upon which they can deploy any project, at possibly the cost of redoing the backoffice in a way that the experience with one Drupal installation matters little when using a different one (which might not be relevant in most cases anyway). If you’re a programmer, and the biggest issue with your project will be tailor-made solutions, then Drupal is definitely the way to go.

    Joomla, strangely, has a focus on designers. Web designers who don’t want to do any programming gravitate naturally towards a tool where they can tweak the design as they wish, and Joomla is the oldest tool that makes that process relatively easy. So long as they don’t need to train users to use Joomla, it remains their best choice, since with an adequate supply of extensions a relatively good-looking site can be built. And the best choice is to run away when asked to demo the backoffice and estimate the training costs.

    WordPress, due to its heritage, focuses on the users. Even though we have come a long way since the days of WP 1.0, the “tool designed for computer-illiterate users to blog” very clearly shows WP’s strength: this is the kind of tool that anyone can learn how to use in seconds, not days or weeks. And I’ve certainly exposed the most computer-illiterate people to WordPress over the years and saw their reaction; except for some Blogger users — which is even simpler to use, at the cost of pretty much being useless for anything else but a simple blog — I have never encountered anyone having difficulties in using WordPress. In fact, I’m often surprised at how quickly users without any previous experience are immediately using it, tweaking it, and, most importantly — aren’t asking any questions.

    For me, WordPress’s selling point is really how easy it is to use. It’s true that the first question I always get is “but isn’t WordPress just a tool to do blogs?”, to which I now answer, “no, it’s a tool as easy to use as any blogging tool, and that’s why so many bloggers also use it”. That gets some nods, specially when showing a clever design which has absolutely nothing to do with a “blog”. Then they take for granted that the tool is really just “simple”, and that’s what they expect from a site’s backoffice. When they’re forced to move away from WordPress, they cry and complain (even though, as said, a clever Drupal programmer will find a way to give them an even simpler backoffice to make them happy).

    In some cases, when I have a potential client in mind, and I have about a week to prepare myself, what I do is simply to grab the existing HTML from their current site and drop it in WordPress; when I go to the meeting I show them their own site, and then demonstrate how it can be so easily changed in WordPress. Many are not impressed, they “expect” tools to be simple. However, the ones who have worked closely with previous developers on a non-WordPress site usually stare at me in disbelief. I quickly tell them that it’s easy to get 90% of the common functionality of any corporate site in WordPress; it’s the remaining 10% that actually takes time. So WordPress will save them 90% of the development costs and time. Some of my recent customers prefer to hire me for a couple of weeks instead of having a team of [insert your favourite CMS/framework here] developers doing the whole work for several months and adding extra weeks for training and documentation, even if they agree that in some cases, [insert customer’s favourite CMS/framework here] might be “better suited” for the task.

    My job is mostly helping customers to make the best decision overall — this means not giving them the best-programmed tool or the best design or the coolest environment. It means juggling all the factors together and presenting them the optimal combination of design, price, development time, and ease of use. So far, I haven’t found anything that beats WordPress. But obviously in some cases not all those factors are important, and then other choices might become popular…

    On the other hand, I believe you have been very honest in describing some of the most important disadvantages of WordPress. One is certainly the proliferation of “fake” WordPress “experts”; the other one is the plague of “commercial themes” which are next-to-impossible to change/tweak/upgrade. It’s also true that WordPress has a gazillion of plugins, and of those, a huge percentage are not being actively developed and so are crammed full of bugs and/or security exploits that they are a serious risk (the recent announcement that the Plugin database will not list any plugins that has been updated in the past two years may go a long way to minimise this risk). On the other hand, from a maintenance perspective, where WordPress really shines is in its migration path. When starting a Drupal or Joomla project, the first question is what version to use, because that will limit the choice of plugins (and available expertise); some of my friends who are active Joomla developers still stick to 1.5 just because their favourite extensions are still not available for 1.6 or 1.7, and they cannot replace all of those by equivalent functionality for the newer versions (Drupal suffers from the same problem as well). WordPress (currently at 3.2.1 as I write this) never poses such restrictions, perhaps because it has such a small release cycle, forcing pretty much everybody to continuously develop their plugins and themes for the latest versions (or abandon development altogether). You’re never stuck with a particular core distribution but will maintain your site years after years without requiring to rewrite it from scratch (my longest-lived WordPress installation is now six years old, and went from WP 1.5 — I think — to 3.2.1. Every plugin had been [automatically] upgraded in the long process, but it’s always “the same site” — no need for “migration tools” or exporting the content to a “fresh install” or tweaking old plugins to work with newer versions, and so forth).

    Anyway, this was a long rant, my apologies. I should just add that I don’t sell WordPress installations because I’m a WP fangirl. It’s just because it’s the tool that my clients fall in love with. But obviously that for my own projects I use it as well. And occasionally I’m “forced” to use Joomla or Typo3 and will have nightmares just looking at the interface… on Drupal projects, of course, a clever programmer will have gotten rid of the nasty default interface for me and replaced it with something that a normal human being can use, so I rarely complain as loudly…

  118. Oh, and I agree with @scott when he says: “I think people find Joomla tough because they can not get the thought process, which does need improvement so that people with lesser skills can use it.”

    I completely subscribe that opinion! After working in the IT industry for two decades, I still haven’t understood the thought processes behind the many choices made by the core Joomla developers. My skills are simply not good enough.

    After 24 hours of deploying my first WordPress installation, I was tweaking the chosen theme’s core files to my content. And complaining all the time because the documentation wasn’t good enough! Put into other words: if I had picked up a good book on WordPress before tweaking my first theme, I would probably have taken much less time…

    So, indeed, you’ve perfectly described my own attitude towards Joomla. I guess that if Joomla would look like WordPress, and have a similar way of “thinking”, I’d love it. But then again, if that were the case, what would be the point of changing? And on the other hand, if all I wanted is to have something that looks like WordPress but is something completely different, I could do it on Drupal instead… given enough time and budget.

    BTW, a very lucid presentation on Drupal vs. WordPress: slideshare.net/jenlampton/wordpress-is-better-than-drupal-developers-take-note-4830309 It shows that at the Drupal community is very clever and paying close attention to the right matters. I can believe that in a few years there might be a Drupal pre-installation that simply has a checkbox that says, “look like WordPress” and will readily use WordPress plugins and themes… but be still Drupal beneath.

    On the other hand, I found it fascinating that there is a market to add almost-full WordPress functionality to Joomla: extensions.joomla.org/extensions/news-production/blog/blog-integratios/6659 — one wonders what the point is in keeping Joomla still working beneath WordPress.

  119. hiranya


    I just want to know within 1 month,which i can learn fast, joomla or drupal?I am a PHP developer with smarty,codeigniter experience.I have done a little bit custom templating in WP.Both joomla and drupal has huge learning curve.I want to choose one.I dont want to waste my whole life learning all cms’.All u guys posted here have experience in both joomla and drupal….one more clarification is that why there is need of joomla,drupal etc. as there are other frameworks like CakePHP,Zend,Symfony?I m confused..

  120. Hi Gwyneth,

    Thanks for your well thought out and detailed comments. Your voyage is more or less my own. Our clients have never been the corporate guys with six month development periods and corresponding budgets. There’s never been anything we haven’t been able to do in WordPress more quickly and more affordably than in either Drupal or Joomla.

    Sure any tool can work – we trade in content at the end of the day, not in code – but some tools get the job done faster and with less hassle. There is something very special about the WordPress community and how we’ve built the strongest CMS in the world in open source in competition with Adobe, Microsoft and all the other behemoths who have all wanted to control that space.

    For a period of time, Microsoft themselves used WordPress for their internal sites. We know as we moved them from Typepad to WordPress.

    Again, I don’t mean to run down Joomla: Joomla was the first open source CMS success story which paved the road for Drupal, WordPress, Typo3.

    Hiranya, I think you have your answer.

    WPer, I’m glad the post was helpful to you. I tried very hard not to hide behind jargon and to treat real world experience in clear terms.

    Scott, all your entries smell of FUD. Doesn’t work on me coming from Microsoft and works less well coming from you. All online platforms have security issues.

    A properly configured server is the place to start thoroughly locking down any CMS. With some attention to security, WordPress is just as secure as any other platform.

    You’ve saved so much time and money on development on WordPress, surely there’s lots of savings from which you can afford good secure hosting and to properly secure your site.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective though.

  121. martine

    I wanted to post a follow up to my earlier questions. Again, I cannot express how helpful this article and all its posts have helped me decide.

    (maybe my findings will also help hiranya:)

    After reading this entire post, I went over to the library and checked out a few books. The first set was the Joomla books (for Dummies, Idiots and the Visual Quick start book) Seemed simple enough, I have a few clients who use Joomla. I set up a test site on a vacant domain I had and installed a 1.5 site. But there was still just so much “stuff” to get through. This is going to be a mammoth project and I really do not have a whole lot of time to fight with the framework.

    The next set was WP books. That was really easy to install! I also have a few clients who use WP, and they do get a lot of spam mail and there are constant attacks on their sites, so I was worried about that. I found a few widgets that supposedly solve that. And I figured as we go I can tweak some things and tighten everything up. The downside here was that I could not find a way, without becoming a WP developer (which I just do not have time for) to actually get WP to allow me to incorporate the security and user features I need for this project.

    Reluctantly I next checked out some books on Drupal, (Beginning Drupal 7 and Drupal for Dummies) I was extremely apprehensive as I have read that the learning curve for Drupal is pretty steep. I have learned a lot of things by fire in my 20 + years of being a designer/developer. The funny thing is that the interfaces and framework of it just seemed more logical. The site structure would be more like what I would have planned out if I were creating this CMS from scratch, and I am able to create a user interface for my client that also appears to be pretty straight forward.

    So my summary: I chose Drupal 7. May not be the choice for everyone, but looking at all of the viable CMS options (with accessible community support or readily available to me)

    To hiranya, if you have a library near by, do go check out the books for each CMS and take a little time to check them each out see which fits best for YOU. I ended up with the CMS that I initially was most intimidated by.

    So thanks everyone for the great info, and good luck.

  122. hiranya

    Thanks for your valuable advice.I have done a quick research as you told.I concluded that joomla may be easy to learn but it has more learning curve,limited customization for plugins,unstable etc.Even i dont understand how it behaves like a cms when it has less to customize option.WP may have less functionality than joomla but it fully suitable for small and medium projects.I got that at first drupal is difficult to learn,but once we beat the learning curve it will provide more flexibility in all respect.In drupal’s official forum lot of people migrated from joomla to drupal.That’s the real scenario.

  123. Linda

    Hi Alec, thank you for the clearest advice I’ve seen. And great that its based on experience, not just being a mad fan of one platform or another.

    I LOVE wordpress, it’s flexibility, ease of editing, and all the easily available extras, but was relectant to use it for a ‘blue chip’ type site because of the constant upgrades and security worries.

    I read so many reports that led me to think Joomla was a better bet for security and user assignment, that I was almost sold on it, but that interface is just such a pain, and the code is hidden under layers.

    Drupal on the other hand, I only just gave it a run this evening, (before I ended up here) and it’s surpringly friendly and easy to pick up. I agree with the last two users – be not afraid!

    I have one question, there’s been a bit of knocking of commercial themes, including the Thesis framework. Any opinions on the Genesis framework?

  124. Hi Linda,

    Glad the article helped.

    Commercial themes: We did some serious performance testing of WordPress commercial themes.

    Thesis actually scored really well in the technical benchmarks but Thesis is such a bear to wrestle with in terms of advanced development that we hate Thesis. Honestly we recommend starting with TwentyTen. Hybrid (base framework is free I think) looks somewhat interesting but in general we don’t like frameworks. A lot of added code and bloat for no good reason.

  125. Alec,

    Thank you so much for the article. Our non-profit has been looking for a CMS to use for a new website we are building (the old one uses Sitestrux), and have had trouble choosing one that would work (between the three you mentioned). We are hoping to make a site with similar capabilities to http://www.compassion.com and in terms of functionality we would need similar options of sponsoring a child, recurring payments on the website, and a relatively easy daily maintenance. Would you say, from your experience, that wordpress would serve all our needs and be the best choice for us? If yes, what, in your opinion, would be the best way to get started?

    Thank you for your time

  126. I completely disagree with your post. Its very clear that you had bad experience with Mambo and you are just hating Joomla and the whole project. Joomla 1.0 and 1.5 was very different. In fact joomla 1.5 was completely re-writen from scratch. And the things you say about joomla templates? Have you ever made a joomla 1.5+ template. Converting an HTML template to joomla is 5 minute job. Google “Nooku Framework” and check what is smart coding with joomla (if you are a coder like you say).

    I can spend my whole day arguing with your post. But i wont. Next time when you put a title like “Drupal vs Joomla/Mambo vs WordPress: An Experienced Developer’s Perspective” do your homework before comparing them.

  127. You’re absolutely right Anditko, I don’t like Joomla. Neither do any of our development team. We’ve done multiple projects in all three CMS’s in 2011 so our experience is recent.

    We have no reason not to like Joomla, other than how unpleasant the structure is and how little fun it is to modify/enhance the code.

    Joomla seems to have a place with designers with no ability to code PHP themselves. That is not our case.

  128. Reverend! My thoughts exactly on both WordPress (Thesis creates more problems than it solves. You have to learn 2 APIs and Hook structures instead of just the WordPress ones) and Joomla (a pile of crap).

    I’ve never tried Drupal and develop mostly in WordPress (much better with custom taxonomies) for CMS, but almost always end up writing mostly my own code anyway instead of using a canned plugin solution. I’ll give Drupal a try.

    Thanks much for the nice clean breakdown. Gives me something to show the clients to help them decide what they want (and dissuade them from wanting Joomla).

  129. WillKatt

    Thanks, this article (and comments) have actually helped me to make a choice for my own website – in favor of Drupal if anyone wonders disregarding the main war was between Joomla and WordPress which I like and use for a blog but totally agree that upgrades are far too often for a lazy maintenance with once selected plugins that sometimes stop working and not always is possible to fix (I’m still with broken permalinks because I see no way to remove Top Level Categories in plugins or among wordpress files and nobody has been of help in the wonderful community).

  130. Hi Pete,

    Glad to help!

    Hey WillKatt,

    You’re not looking hard enough. Foliovision upgraded Top Level Categories to work with WordPress 3.1+

    Unfortunately the hackers don’t rest so the upgrades can’t either. Whether it’s WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or anything else.

    Making the web work for you, Alec

  131. HSP

    I think that you are a very funny man, saying the most joomla sites look like joomla. Well have you looked at your own site?

    If this is what wordpress can achieve im glad im using joomla.

    I have been writing PHP for years and i find the codebase in Joomla easy to work with. If your development team has problems with the code, maybe you should get some that can code…

    I have made different sites in Joomla, small, biig some shops, with redShop and used many different components for joomla – for free.

    All you say about joomla is wrong, it might be true for Mambo, which wasn’t very good and had some bad coding. but the joomla structures is good, easy and well documented on joomla.org

    There are worldwide conferences “joomla Days” and a strong community, that always help when you are in dire straits.

    WordPress is fine if you just want a blog ore a small web page. I don’t diss wordpress im just saying if you are making a bigger page with over 10 menu points and some menu structure wordpress wont do.

    Drupal is follow up on joomla, but not as flexible as joomla, maybe in a few years – and if joomla stops evolving ;-)

    try having a look at molajo using the joomla engine and making a new top layer, opening the opportunity to design your own back and frontend as you want it – exciting – only with joomla you get that drive to reach the future.

    just my 2 cents ;-) – have a nice weekend.

  132. Hey HSP,

    Strange, we get a lot of positive comments on the elegance and speed of our Foliovision theme.

    In any case, we’ve built lots of 30,000+ page sites in WordPress for real estate and insurance as well as media. Check our portfolio.

    My impressions of the three CMS are what it says on the tin: my impressions and those of our six person development team.

    Glad Joomla is working out for you.

  133. martine

    Wow, I just completed my first core update in Drupal. It was so easy I was expecting some major hassles, it was a little too easy, I almost thought I had to have done something wrong. Nope, just a really logical application.

    I have also installed several modules that make sense to me. I tried the upload feature, had some errors, but I was easily able to find instructions (on a “non-wiki” page – I just hated that about Joomla) and upload the packages using my FTP app.

    I am so glad I chose Drupal. I realize it is not for everyone, and I sure would never dis someone for choosing what they prefer, but so far, so good. I’ll post more as I get closer to a live site.

  134. factotum

    Nice write-up!

    I think a point is being missed by the haters. Those that gave Jooma! a real honest try in the past don’t want to go back. I gave Joomla! an honest go about 5 years ago. It’s to late to go back now.

    It’s not like I’ve been sitting on my hands for 5 years waiting for Joomla! to come around! We move on. I’m not going to trade the last five years of working with Drupal and MODx just to give Joomla! another chance. If it works for someone that’s great.

    But in the last 6 years I have me two, yes two, ACTUAL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPERS that work with Joomla! by choice. The rest that I’ve met that can’t go beyond copy-pasting PHP from a how-to all share the same mantra: it’s a quick profit.

    I’m sure there are others that really know what they’re doing but they seem few and far between. Anyone can be whatever they want on the internet.

    It’s all just marketing psych 101.

  135. What great advice, thank you. I was in the process of developing a database for one of my sites. Someone suggested that I choose between Joomla and WordPress. I was very familiar with WP because I had already used wordpress.com for a blog a few months ago; and now I am currently hosting 2 different blogs using wordpress.org. You’re right, there seems to be a WP plugin for virtually any problem or vision that I have for my site.

    So based on your article, I will scrap the Joomla idea for my new database. It seems WordPress is the way to go. Thanks again for your insight

  136. Sven Vess

    Wow Alec you must hate Joomla for some reason when you writing something like that…

    So I only get here into one thing from you, more will be to heavy, because then I need to write a minimum of two sites…

    You wrote in a comment on webprofessionals.org/: “Our CSS team doesn’t like working with Joomla either as it’s much more difficult to remove the visual signature.” and you write here in this article: “We regularly develop advanced real estate sites in WordPress, …” So to be fair I only clicked the first 3 sites, but on every of these advanced sites it just take me a max of 10 secs to see that this is WP regarding to visual signature.

    Also the comments here from some people about the Joomla security are awesome, awesome bullshit of course. There are not more holes than in other software, but when nobody installs updates or has a crappy server install, of course then Joomla is very danger to use, but wait uhmm all the others then also danger…

  137. Hi Sven,

    Your point about CMS security is well taken. All online CMS need tending. The hackers continually invent new methods to penetrate sites and plugins.

    I’m very curious about what visual signatures (not in source code) but in the front end, you found on our very diverse sites like:


    I don’t think there is a WordPress visual signature as all these sites look very different. WordPress is very flexible that way. Bending Joomla is a lot harder.

  138. Aaron Williams

    Hey Alec – great article!

    When discussing WordPress you mention the following as a disadvantage:

    Weak static page management without adding plugins. Easily fixed with said plugins.

    Would you mind telling me what plugins you would recommend for static page management?

    Thank you so much!

  139. Hi Aaron,

    Here’s a couple:


    We have an advanced page manager of our own we use internally but haven’t released it publicly as it needs some work to be brought up to date. The two plugins there should give you a running start.

    Making the web work for you, Alec

  140. Philbert Appleton Sanchez-Appalopania III

    Your review was full of lies! (Joomla! sucks much worse than you let on) :{)

  141. Something that wasn’t mentioned about WordPress which is a big factor in my decision to use it for specific clients is ease of training. When I train clients to use Joomla, it typically takes 2-3 repeat sessions before they “get it”. For WordPress, it seems they figure it out on their own during the first session and proudly proclaim they “get it”.

    Drupal has the advantage of the custom admin template which when used properly can make training much easier, but it takes a lot of skill to setup a Drupal site properly and if you don’t have a lot of experience, a broken Drupal site can make your life a living hell (thank god for the backup function).

  142. Bryn Howlett

    Joomla is the best ever but don’t tell anyone because drupal is horrible and wordpress is good for blog so lets not say anything more about joomla because i can build sites out so fast its not even funny crushed my drupal developer competitions.

    [wow, that’s a persuasive, well-written comment bryn. another brilliant joomla defense.]

  143. Simon

    The advice to use Drupal for very large sites, is terrible, specificlly for any large site that has lots of updates wich renders caching to be of limited use. Drupal has terrible performance, not merely the actual speed, but things like high CPU & high memory usage, it uses caching as a band-aid, but this only works on more static sites.

    The other issue with Drupal is bugs it has zillions of the damn things, many of which don’t get fixed (or take months), to the point you have to ndup finishing them which rather defies the point.

    For a very large site, the best solution is a framework, not a CMS.

  144. ZenMasta

    This feels like a very biased and uninformative article. A mambo/joomla site look slike a mambo joomla site?? There are some really nice templates and sites out there. I used drupal once and just from that experience you forgot to add some pros to the joomla camp. Easy to setup and configure with minimal training. hows this for your pro… “i’m searching” lol did you search using alta vista? any google/bing search for joomla extensions is going to land you in a boat load of options.

    I’m not saying drupal doesn’t have strong points, as I said I used it once and briefly. But you completely discounted joomla and it seems you have little or no experience with it. Additionally why are you grouping it up with mambo? My guess is you haven’t used joomla since it was still virtually the same code base as mambo, and that was how many years ago now?

  145. No sadly ZenMasta, I’ve used both old versions and new ones. I was really surprised at how little progress Joomla had made. We were really trying to give Joomla a fresh chance in our environment. In the end, we gave up the client rather than go through the comparative torture of working in Joomla on a regular basis.

    I’m still astonished at the quantity of typos and poor written expression from the pro-Joomla crowd. It’s as if Joomla truly appeals to the special needs children.

  146. Sune

    That says it all.

    “I’m still astonished at the quantity of typos and poor written expression from the pro-Joomla crowd. It’s as if Joomla truly appeals to the special needs children.”

    But they could figure out to use Joomla and you couldn’t.

  147. Actually Sune we had no problem figuring out how to use Joomla. Difference: we just didn’t like using Joomla. And that’s what the article is about.

  148. Scott Wolpow

    Have you tried 1.7 yet?

    Also eBay is about to release to the Joomla community a Uniform Content Model system.

    2.5 which is coming out in January will really rock.
    WP is also very hackable out of the box.

    A leading authority on security will not even install it on his machines.

    The major sites using WP are really using a different version.

    I am now playing with Concrete5. Looks like someone came in and cleaned up WP.

  149. Hi Scott,

    Thanks for stopping by.

    I think we covered the issue with security above. All CMS and CMS hosting need some hardening to be safe.

    Would you care to explain your comment:

    The major sites using WP are really using a different version.

    I’ve waited decades now for a version of Joomla which would be a pleasure to use. I can certainly wait a few more months.

  150. Allister Fugill

    Dear Alec,

    I have to laugh really – and it’s been been funny to watch the silliness. Everyone has there favourite CMS, usually because they bothered to invest in getting the best out of it. Yours isn’t Joomla. That’s OK. Mine is.

    There’s been some good stuff written about everything – although to be honest there were a few entries from people that seem to need to do a bit more growing up.

    You seem to be pretty evangelical about WordPress. Frankly I’ve never used it, but I’m sure it’s great. For me, I LOVE Joomla and have used it successfully for years. It does everything I need it to do and more, and I’ve never had a problem with developing and maintaining sites with the tool.

  151. Perhaps one reason why I like WordPress is that it does not do “everything I need it to do and more”, but I can make it do what I need it to do with little fuss and not much programming, and there is the difference :)

    Nevertheless, I’ll be honest enough with the Drupal crowd (which seems to be a vocal minority here — very likely they’re busy developing sites while we argue :) ), and admit that Drupal does exactly what one wants to do with it, provided one knows how to programme it to do that.

    As for Joomla, I can only say the following: after spending two days struggling with Xoops (no, you don’t want to know…), suddenly going back to maintain a Joomla site was a pleasure! Put in other words, compared to the myriad of alternatives out there, I’d certainly pick Joomla, if the choices I had did not include WordPress (or Drupal). A cynical, sadistical client which would offer me the three choices — Typo3, Xoops, or Joomla — would have me not hesitate an instant: I’d immediately pick Joomla and never regret the decision.

    Another plus for Joomla: installed on exactly the same server, Joomla’s backoffice can be faster than WordPress’s own, when searching for articles in a complex site. Then again, searching for articles is something I almost never need in WordPress — I’m usually presented with exactly the articles I wish to see :) While under Joomla I have always to fish around to look for the ones I wish to change…

    In a way, I think I know what bothers me most about Joomla (or Typo3, Xoops, and similar CMS). Whoever created it in the first place had most certainly a background in desktop publishing (something that was developed in the 1980s), and viewed sites as an extension of desktop publishing, because at least one category of sites — online news and magazines — would find the abstractions familiar: a “page” is divided into “blocks”, and text goes into all those blocks. Designers worry about how to do the layout of a page based on the blocks it has and what each is supposed to display. Journalists and editors — content creators — supply content and figure out which block should display that content. This means that content creators have to have a working knowledge of the ultimate design of the website, and here is where the analogy breaks — in most commercial platforms using collaborative desktop publishing system, content producers just submit content, editors approve it, and it’s up to the designers to make sure that the content goes to the right place. In Joomla, this last step has to be in the mind of the person writing the content, and that’s why for the end-user this becomes frustrating and confusing. Unless, of course, they have a background in graphic design and desktop publishing; in that case, the analogies are similar and familiar, and I can understand that a crowd with such a background will love Joomla because it works in such a familiar way to them: websites are just online pubications. That’s the driving metaphor underlying Joomla (and Typo3, and Xoops, and probably several others).

    WordPress, by contrast, separates the roles more clearly. Content creators don’t need to worry about where their content is going to be displayed: that’s the role of the CMS engine, which automates the process. They only need to worry about what they write, and classify it according to the type of writing. This is much more closer to what a modern media agency does with their journalists — they just write whatever they wish and tag it accordingly, not letting them worry about pagination or the way their content is going to be displayed. Thus, people with a background in copy writing, journalism, or similar content production, will be immediately familiar with WordPress — its metaphor is “Just write; let us (i.e the engine) worry about where your content goes”.

    Of course, when someone with a DTP background sets up their first WordPress site, their first question is “where are my blocks?” Because WordPress, by default, has none. Of course you can define them — there is no limitation, at the template level, on what you can do — but usually there are no “blocks” from the perspective of the content creator: there is just content. “Blocks” are template/theme worries which should not be in the mind of those who write content. DTP experts might get confused and thus find WordPress “too limiting”.

    Similarly, someone used to simply write content will get daunted by the plethora of design decisions they have to make when publishing an article under Joomla. Why should I, as a content writer, have to worry about my content appearing under block X, section Y, approval Z, first page, middle page, whatsoever page, and check them all in the correct order to make sure that my content appears? That’s demanding too much of the average, non-DTP-expert user. They just want their content to be published immediately by pressing a button after writing it. Of course you can make a super-simple Joomla template with just one block, just the home page, and somehow automate the whole process, but let’s be honest — most Joomla backoffices are not configured that way. They require users to switch their mindset from a journalistic one to a DTP one, in order to manage one’s content.

    You can say that Joomla is not as hard to use as a commercial, high-end collaborative DTP system for newspapers and magazines — of course it isn’t. But the difference is that high-end collaborative DTP systems can be incredibly hard to manage from the perspective of the DTP expert which handles the layout, but easy to use for the content producers. Joomla simplifies the workflow, but it still requires each content producer to be aware of the DTP-ness of the whole site in order to publish a single article. But journalists and content producers are not DTP experts. Not even with a “ultrasimplified DTP application”. They’re used to far simple things and relying on the engine to hide the complexities of handling design.

    And that’s why I cannot, in good conscience, recommend Joomla. In my experience, even in the simplest sites, with a handful of blocks and categories, end-users simply send me their texts and images to “get published under Joomla” because they cannot figure out on their own how to do it — and don’t wish to learn the DTP-ness of the website, it’s irrelevant to them. Under WordPress, there is nothing to learn. There are just articles to write, images to upload, and a single button to press to get your content published. That’s all it takes.

    I deliberately leave Drupal out of this comparison, because, of course, Drupal can be programmed to work either way :-) Or even support both simultaneously! Granted, with enough tweaking, and thanks to the taxonomy support of WordPress, you could — if you were masochistic enough — to pretty much emulate Joomla’s DTP-ness under WordPress as well. Some commercial templates, for example, are fond of creating tons of “blocks” where you can drop widgets and content, and have special article types for each block. This is certainly possible and becoming increasingly popular among some template designers, showing that there is a market for having a website where the complexities of its design have to be exposed to the end-users writing content, for some obscure reason that eludes me…

    Finally, there is a last aspect which is fundamental to many website developers: ego. Joomla’s complexity and difficulty to grasp for users who never used a CMS before is very appealing for someone presenting its backoffice to a prospective customer — “look how complex this is! But I designed it all for you very cheaply!” In the minds of some, complexity equates with “a lot of hard work”, and since that complexity is built-in into Joomla, it means no effort at all to make something look very complex — a win-win situation. By contrast, WordPress — specially at the journalist level — seems like a very simple product to use. It looks good, sure — the backoffice is very cleanly designed — but somehow it seems that it’s little more than Blogger on steroids. This lack of complexity is only appreciated by end-users which will actually use the product; but sometimes it gets frowned upon by decision-makers which frown upon anything “simple” by labeling it as a cheap, vulgar product. I have been faced with that attitude very often; that’s why I tend to include in my demonstrations a short walkthrough to change a WP-based website to show them how the incredible complexity and flexibility is all hidden under the admin options, which will never be seen by regular users, who don’t need that amount of complexity. This sometimes “wins” over a client, specially one that appreciates that time is money, and that they cannot afford to have overwhelmingly complex user interfaces which take weeks to learn for a new user. But not every decision-maker thinks that way.

    I used to have this attitude regarding Drupal: the backoffice seemed to be so complex, so daunting, that it would be impossible to sell a Drupal-based solution to anyone, because just explaining the major items in the backoffice would get my audience to snore loudly. Then I got a tip from a Drupal developer. You don’t need to show them the whole backoffice. You can add a few modules and you’ll get a simple, clean, easy-to-use backoffice to show off to your clients and impress them. I certainly was impressed — now I could give end-users something they can use with little training and with which they might already be familiar, while keeping the complexities of Drupal’s backoffice away from prying eyes, and just in the hands of the developers. That’s how it should be :-)

    If there is a serious drawback and limitation in WordPress’s approach, it’s on the way backoffice interfaces are handled for very complex projects. It’s not that they aren’t possible — it’s just that each plugin developer will handle the interface for their plugin in a different way (note: Joomla’s extensions have the same problem, of course). I understand that this comes from the historical development of plugin interfaces: plugins were supposed to change small aspects of WordPress’s functionality, and the backoffice for that plugin would just present a few scattered options and settings. But these days some plugins are small CMS-inside-CMS of their own, with complex menus and structures, and hard to grasp — specially because the philosophy behind the interface might be at odds with the overall interface philosophy for the rest of the backoffice. Some commercial theme & plugin developers have been struggling with this, and offering frameworks to try to encourage plugin/theme developers to create standardised approaches to their interfaces, but it’s definitely not a widespread message. Latest versions of WordPress handle this partially by adding more standard ways of doing the same thing, and introducing taxonomies which can be handled from the backoffice using the familiar interface has gone a long way to make the process far easier, but there is still a lot to be done.

    Drupal, by contrast, can have a totally personalised experience for all areas, and there might not be any interface discrepancies among the many modules, so long as a programmer polishes them all up. I find that this makes for a “cleaner” experience, with two obvious disadvantages: higher costs (of course), and an impossibility to bring a user’s experience with one Drupal installation to a different Drupal installation — the backoffice might just be completely different to accomplish the same thing. Joomla and WordPress, at least, have the same backoffices for all websites, and the experience gained with one installation will cross over to a different installation, even if there is extra functionality which requires learning. Both approaches have merit. I tend to favour the approach used by WordPress/Joomla because it makes upselling a new site based on the same technology much easier — you’ll be able to claim that users familiar with Joomla or WordPress will continue to be able to work in the same way, with the same content, even though the whole website is completely different and bears no similarity with the old one. Under Drupal, this might or not be the case: an updated website might retain all content, but the backoffice might be completely different and specially tailored for the new website. Both approaches are adequate, depending on your client’s expectations. If someone is angry at a website built with WordPress, and wants something “radically new”, even though the new website is totally different, if the client sees the old and familiar interface, they might get exasperated — “oh no, not that interface again!”. While under Drupal you might be able to sell a completely new website with a radically different backoffice, but it’s still Drupal beneath — the client doesn’t need to know, they only need to know how the “new” backoffice works :) I can see this as an advantage for some, and a disadvantage for others.

    In conclusion, and as I’ve commented before, my own decision about using a platform over the other is not really about me and what I like most. Of course it counts a little: the more easy the platform is for me to develop what the client wishes, the cheaper the project, and that is an advantage when comparing prices (I’ve recently seen this in practice: a Joomla website which required 6 months of development under constant discussion with the client about all the tiny tweaks until the client was happy was replicated in 48 hours — content and all — in WordPress, with exactly the same front-end design and functionality. Guess what’s cheaper to develop. The Joomla website was designed by a professional webdesigner who only knows Joomla and does all his projects in Joomla, and has done so for a few years; it was not exactly something done by a Joomla newbie). But ultimately what worries me is what the client wants. I’m not good at selling something that they do not want, and they always want conflicting features: the most complex and flexible system with the easiest interface that even a child can use without training, for the lowest development cost and the shortest deployment time. When having that kind of customer, I have serious doubts that anything else besides WordPress can fit the bill. As many have repeated here on this long thread, it’s when clients want a fully personalised experience and don’t care about development time & cost that Drupal shines, because it can be tailored to do exactly what the client wants. But those high-end projects are rare. For the rest of the time, you’ll be always struggling with conflicting requirements — the client wants fast, good, cheap, but even if you tell them to pick two, they always want all three. If under “good” the client also means “easy to use” besides ust “looking good”, there is hardly any alternative that allows a developer to give them exactly what they want, for the price they’re willing to pay, and for the impossibly short deadline they wish the project to be completed. There is just WordPress.

  152. WordPress is the easiest but yes there are lots of clowns out there too due to how easy it is :)

  153. James V

    I am in favor of Joomla because of its extendability. It is easy (with a little effort) to integrate more functionality. Joomla is a good backbone for a community driven website. Ever heard of Community Builder? The thousands of dollars saved in development costs saved by open source groups to make online communities is tough to measure. That is the spirit that everyone needs to fall back on.

    So here is my breakdown of the CMS’s:

    • Joomla – Great for site backbone and authentication, unlimited possibilities + great extensions
    • WordPress – Great for blogging and quick setup, unlimited possibilities + great extensions
    • Drupal – Never used it, comes off as a very customized setup, not as many extensions (could be wrong)

    Joomla follows the Model View Controller type framework, those of you that actually code will appreciate this. It is not difficult to implement your own PHP apps completely integrated with system globals. I like to use Joomla 1.5 as my backbone. All user authentication goes through this. I also use wordpess for my blog and magento as my shopping cart. This to me is a complete system. I don’t use heavy plugins in my software either (minus Community Builder for Joomla). Learn a little php and it will go a long way. The more you understand about the software you are arguing about, the more you can appreciate its value. If you are going to consult on web projects do so constructively. It really defeats the purpose of a thread meant to inform and share useful experiences when it becomes trivial flame wars with no solid basis. To each his own. WP is great but really it’s a tool for beginners (which is not a bad thing). When you become more knowledgeable in web development, consider moving up to bigger frameworks like Drupal or Joomla, better yet just make your own CMS with CodeIgniter!

    All in all WordPress and Joomla are both worthy contenders. That’s why we are talking about them.

  154. My goodness James. Everyone from the Joomla! side is complaining when I talk about Joomla’s strength’s for community sites. And here you come supporting my case that Joomla is oriented towards community sites.

    Other than that, your post is full of the usual Joomla obfuscation and disinformation. Point by point.

    • None of us who don’t use Joomla care about the Model View Controller, nor should we.
    • You use three CMS simultaneously? This supports my point that the Joomla crowd are closet masochists. I can’t believe how much unnecessary pain you take on with a WordPress weblog and Magento shopping cart and a Joomla static pages site. I hope you don’t do the same to your clients.
    • WordPress is anything but a tool for beginners. WordPress is a tool for winners who like to get really sophisticated and easily extendable and fast loading sites built quickly.
    • “Better yet just make your own CMS with CodeIgniter.” Masochists all of you on the Joomla side. I can think of nothing worse in 2011 than starting a CMS from scratch.

    Unfortunately you are taking your masochism out on your clients. What you do in the privacy of your own bedrooms doesn’t worry me. What you do to your clients does.

    I don’t see a place in the middle for Joomla for clients quite frankly. If a clients wants a powerful and easy to build site, WordPress is there for you. If a clients wants to build a nearly custom environment and has a huge development budget, Drupal is waiting for you.

    If a client wants a world of pain and sadomasochistic developers, Joomla is waiting for you.

  155. Sid

    Huh. Joomla is good, WordPress is easy. I am creating a new site today in Joomla, though I tried in WordPress because I wanted it to be easy for my client to administrate. I just couldn’t get the full functionality out of WP that we needed, and so am going with what will work for this particular project. Someone else has my clients ear saying similar things to this article: “Don’t go with Jooma! It’s dying! WordPress is the Savior!! WordPress does everything!! It ends the war in Iraq & cleans the Oil out of the Gulf!!! Don’t let him build you a site in Joomla!!”

    Well, with a limited time & budget, a WordPress website will not achieve what we need, even with hundreds of dollars in commercial plugins. With only 2 Joomla plugins (one commercial, one open-source) – I can give the client a website that actually does what we need by the end of the day. (I already spent most of my evenings last week trying to make it work with WordPress as the heart of the website – all because a WP fan-boy wouldn’t let my client hear of using Joomla – and kept getting 98% of what we needed) It’s really about getting 100% of what you need and which solution provides results when you need them.

    What would I prefer? The budget to build the entire site without any of these CMSs! CMS applications can be either “heaven sent” or “the devil’s work” depending on how much you want to rely on them for a base.

    I do like WordPress, and I do like Joomla. I can do more in Joomla, but I’ve also worked with it longer. I can tell that Alec has his preference, and maybe it’s because he is slyly marketing Foliovision’s WordPress plugins. I imagine if they developed more Joomla plugins, these articles would show a different bias.

  156. Listen Sid, once again it’s an honest article.

    Our services are fully booked out for the next three months. I’m not marketing anything. Just trying to help less experienced folk avoid fright night experiences in the loony tunes world of Joomla.

    Returning to your jealous screed for the acclaim WordPress is getting – there is about zero useful information in it.

    Would you care to tell us what you couldn’t manage to do in WordPress which was easily accomplished in Joomla?

    If not, then your diatribe is nothing but senseless innuendo.

    Given the track record of the Joomla advocates above (under ten cogently argued comments out of about 125), I’m not surprised.

    Again, the stupidest thing anyone in their right mind would propose doing in 2011 is building sites from scratch instead of on an existing CMS framework.

    Why on earth are Joomla developers in particular so keen to throw out millions of man hours in development to start from scratch?

    It might have something to do with how incredibly frustrating an environment Joomla is to work in. If I worked in Joomla, I might think about throwing it all away and starting from scratch too.

    You don’t need to do that. You could just learn how to use WordPress properly and get on with enjoying life and building better sites.

  157. Scott Wolpow

    What exactly is frustrating in Joomla?

    2.5 will be out soon, and eBay has contributed a new core set of libraries that enable a Unified Content Model.
    Correct me if I am wrong, but WP does not have really good ACL with core.

    It also does not have strong community features.
    Can you name any large site that uses the same WP that everyone downloads, because we all know that when you see a large site with WP it is heavily modified.

  158. Sid

    What couldn’t I get with WordPress that I could easily get with Joomla? A membership-based website with recurring payments managed through Authorize.net. I’m not developing a custom component, nor trying to, but rather finding the best existing solution for my client. WordPress does have some nice shopping cart plugins, and nice membership plugins. However none of them manage recurring billing other than via a PayPal API or by way of a 3rd-party bridge to Authorize.net (nearly doubling our merchant transaction fees). For this one specific need, without the time to develop a new component or plugin, Joomla’s extension community offered a solution that worked for us today. BTW – there’s a great opportunity for any WordPress developers reading this – the WP Community could use a solution for Recurring Billing through Authorize.net (ARB).

    One big concern that this article did raise, is that I haven’t used Drupal on anything beyond hobby projects yet, and I should. If not just to be competitively savvy, but to be able to work within all these platforms, rather than limit myself to one or the other. I learned long ago not to trumpet one platform for all my needs just because I am comfortable with it. Just because one is more popular, doesn’t mean it’s better.

  159. Hello Sid,

    Thanks for a useful reply. We have personally built membership sites with recurring billing in WordPress with the free s2 Membership Plugin. We’ve paid the optional developer license as the code was useful to us in building commercial level software (we didn’t in fact need the pro module, but you may). Here is one of the sites in which we implemented s2 successfully: My Cake School.

    I have some good news for you. s2 Membership Pro does support recurring billing through Authorize.net.

    I have no idea why you would start in on Drupal Sid when you still have a great deal to learn about both Joomla and WordPress.

    Amazingly enough for a web expert your own homepage is a single jpeg image.

    sid levi anderson joomla specialist
    sid levi anderson joomla specialist

    With your hands full attempting to learn so many CMS, it’s unsurprising you don’t have time to build a proper site in at least one of them.

    Note to buyers of web development services who may be reading this post and the comments: seek a specialist company to work on your website. For a Joomla site, find Joomla specialists. For a Drupal site, find Drupal specialists. For a WordPress site, find WordPress specialists.

    Making the web work for you, Alec

    PS. If you really must develop in Joomla, I can recommend Brian Teeman above. He’s the only Joomla designer/developer’s work I’ve seen which has impressed me. If anyone can make sense of Joomla, it’s Teeman.

  160. Sid

    Again, you seem to be replying to assumptions you are making rather than anything I have said. I never said that I didn’t have time to build a proper site, and my personal homepage is not the end-all of my work. Ever heard of a placeholder? What I did say was that I could build in a day with Joomla a site that I couldn’t build in WordPress, without hundreds of dollars invested in licensing just to test functionality, and many more hours of customizing & integration.

    I appreciate the link to S2 Membership, but their plugin is limited to 4 User Levels.

    Listen Alec, I know this is your blog, but you sure have a way of talking down to people,. Maybe that’s why there is so much dissent in your comments section. If you can’t debate without getting your feelings hurt, maybe you shouldn’t use the comments section on your blog. It seems anytime someone comes to the defense of Joomla, you attack them as much as the CMS.

  161. Sid

    I take back what I said about the S2 Membership User Levels. With the Pro license, you can create up to 100 User Levels, and this plugin should be able to achieve a membership-based site with the recurring billing via Authorize.net. Of course at this point, I already have a functioning member-access website, integrated with a shopping cart delivering physical & digital goods built in Joomla. The time needed to invest in integrating a plugin like S2 Membership w/ a shopping cart has unfortunately passed for this project, but worth looking into for future ones.

  162. Hi Sid,

    If you are going to hang out on the web telling people how to build a website, I suggest that you get your own site in order first. That’s not a placeholder, it’s a single jpeg image for your whole web development and film production company site.

    I could build in a day with Joomla a site that I couldn’t build in WordPress, without hundreds of dollars invested in licensing just to test functionality, and many more hours of customizing & integration.

    Sid, I don’t believe you. Your don’t have a website. How can you make claims for the efficiency of Joomla over WordPress when you do not have a website? Contract us. We’ll have a good looking WordPress site up for you in two days with all your contact and custom forms and video built-in.

    Maybe you shouldn’t use the comments section on your blog. It seems anytime someone comes to the defense of Joomla, you attack them as much as the CMS.

    Sid, if you will read the start of the thread I had quite a bit of patience at the beginning. After dozens of ad hominem, unsubstantiated and illiterate attacks from Joomla monkeys who can’t build websites, my patience has worn thin.

    The only Joomla advocate on this whole thread who can build websites at a high level is Brian Teeman. And he’s one of the core Joomla team. (If Brian Teeman ever tires of the UK and/or Joomla, he has a standing job offer to come and live and work in Vienna or Bratislava with us.)

    We do build such websites. One Hong Kong sailing club had been limping along with a broken Joomla website with infinitely nested sections. Lantau Boat Club now enjoys a content driven, easy to administer very visual site focused on images of sailing and race results in WordPress. We rescued years of invisible content in the move.

    Anyway Sid, thanks for stopping by.

    Rational debate is welcome. You’ll notice you walked out of here with a membership solution for WordPress which matched your requirements.

    Not a bad consultation considering the price of admission.

    Happy Holidays!

    Making the web work for you, Alec

  163. Sid

    Gee, thanks Alec for the consultation. You continue to attack me instead of any arguments for or against Joomla or WordPress. My personal webpage is not my business webpage, and I am not on this forum to sell my skills, so have no need to publish that information here.

  164. I don’t know Sid. Looks a lot like a business web page to me. I’m afraid at this point you don’t have any credibility left here.

    Like most of the Joomla crowd. I would suggest you learn to develop first rate sites before expounding on best web development practices.

  165. Pingback: WordPress – software to create a business website

  166. Saad

    I built my site at the end of 2009, since then i have quoted jobs worth 4~5 million dollars and have a revenue on the north side of six figures.

    What did I use? WordPress.

    and I am not a programmer at all, I have a mechanical engineering background. That should tell you something about how freakin powerful wordpress is.

    So imho, if you are going to build a $<5 million / year business … you don't need anything more complex or more articulate then wordpress.

    One thing I would strongly suggest everyone avoid as plague (and i failed to do this) is DotNetNuke.

    What a God Awful disaster that was. That stole 1.2 years of my life and $$$$.

    Ah well; you live you learn!

  167. Farshad

    Though you have pointed out some useful tips of each of these systems, I think you were too dramatic about the Joomla! I’ve learned and used all these systems, however I’m not platform-magnetic about any of them, I think the best solution is not a unique choice for every case thus I use all three of these platforms and integrate some others if required. In my opinion WordPress is clean, simple and polished, Joomla can be very powerful if you know how to tweak thing and is great because of its vast extension directory and at last not the least is Drupal which is ROBUST in core but flexible if you know what to do and as you said good choice for complex corporate websites, however I think it’s not a very creative choice for all web projects!

  168. markwk

    I’m a Drupal guy and have spent time getting over the learning curve. I’m wondering if Joomla or WordPress has anything equivalent to Drupal Views?

  169. Scott Wolpow

    Since the current version of Joomla does not have a Unified Content Model, there is no way to implement views. However this comes close.

    Remember Joomla is a different tool.

    Most components have a complete set of features as opposed to Drupal which have micro features.

    This extension is like a roll up of a few modules.

  170. Michael

    I am not a web developer – but I have been keeping an eye on these posts for a few weeks as I’m a business owner and need a brand new website for my company. It’s interesting how Saad mentioned DotNetNuke – what a horror. 6 months ago I spent $3500 for a terrible website built on this platform that took over a month to develop – it was a terribly easy 4 page site (Not the same site I need now). After wising up, I did some research and found WordPress. What a shock to find out I could have developed a better website for free myself with WordPress in about a minute with no training at all. What a great program.

    After doing more research, I learned of Drupal and Joomla. Everyone has their opinion on which is best. I lean towards WordPress simply because of my experience with it and how easy it was for me, a beginner to work with for no money investment. But I’m no expert to say which is truly better or best. It’s amazing how many web developers there are out there that don’t even use either of these 3 platforms. But after my research, I want a site built on one of these platforms because I don’t want to be completely beholden to the developer forever if something happens. I keep reading how it’s important to find a developer who knows what they are doing, has a good portfolio, etc to trust. But quite frankly, I don’t know who that is. Many look good – the guy that built me a terrible dotnetnuke site looked good at first too and said how great a CMS it was to build my entire company around it.

    As a business owner, how do you know someone isn’t going to overcharge you for even a poor WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal site? Often you don’t find out till they have already taken your money or several months after the site has been running. It’s amazing how much I can even do on my own with WordPress. But I don’t trust myself that I will be able to do the whole site and not make a huge mistake that crashes the site or something. The biggest thing other than info on the site, is I want to put lots of videos on the website and in the future, have a system where people can login and rate products.

    Every developer I talk to says theirs is the best – they all say each one of these platforms is the best for my needs. I can’t find anyone I am willing to give any money to. Are there any suggestions on where I can find a list of “trusted developers” who use these platforms but don’t charge $20,000 for a $5,000 site? Many of you know what to look for when knowing if someone can develop a quality site and about how much it should really cost and if someone is way overcharging. Any suggestions on what a business owner should be looking for considering using one of these 3 platforms? Likely WordPress?

  171. As admin of a non-profit website with about one million hits/year and as a Mambo/Joomla user since Mambo 0.x I agree with this article:

    – Joomla 1.5 was slow, but Joomla 1.7.x is dead slow, it even kills our server regularly (CPU and memory usage exceeded)
    – most extensions are now paid (unafordable for non-profits like us)
    – the update/upgrade processes have always been a struggle

    We would like to migrate to Drupal right now…

    best regards,
    Ricardo Cristof

  172. Scott Wolpow

    @Michael- WP is very simple and sounds perfect for your needs. No matter what mistakes you make, you can recover. Just remember to back-up your files and DB.

    @Ricardo- I have a number of 1.7 running and I do not see any issues with speed. What is your set-up?
    What extensions cost more than a few dollars if that much?
    Update will be much better in 2.5 which will be out in a few days.

  173. Hi Scott,

    Again, WordPress is not simple. It’s as simple or sophisticated as you want it to be, instead of constant PIA like Joomla! or high overhead setting up basics like Drupal.

    Your promises about 2.5 being better than 1.5, 1.6 and 1.7 – I’ve been hearing that song for the last 8 years. It’s a hell of a long time to wait for a working system.

    Microsoft loves to make empty promises like that too. Oh, the next version of Windows will really work…We’re still waiting. Why trade on hope when you can have easy to use and powerful WordPress now?

    While you Joomla people have been whistling in the fields, WordPress.org has introduced Custom Post Types and in WordPress 3.3 have improved scalability of static sites by a factor of 100 (when using URLs with no dates in them).

    Why should anyone torment him or herself with Joomla again?

    Making the web work for you, Alec

  174. Hi Ricardo,

    If you’re a non-profit and have a limited budget, WordPress is the better ticket than Drupal which will need a lot of work (paid or volunteer) to get the same result.

    Good luck with your new site.

    Making the web work for you, Alec

  175. Scott Wolpow

    When was the last time you used Joomla? You still refer to issues that are quite old. 1.5, 1.6 and 1.7 all work, quite well.
    I am guess 8 years ago.
    2.5 is out in beta and will have a RC within a few days.
    But I agree if you have a low budget and just want a simple site go with WP or better yet use Concrete5.

  176. Hi Scott,

    Once again: we used Joomla 1.6 in 2010 and 2011. It was still a really lousy experience. Still.

    I haven’t yet heard any good reasons to use Joomla over WordPress, apart from already being sucked into the Joomla ecosystem. Joomla appears to be primarily the domain of nearly incompetent developers without their own PHP skills, who learned Mambo/Joomla (first generation open source CMS) and don’t want to move on to the next generation.

    There’s a few sharks in the pool who do know how to program and they encourage the incompetent developers to stick around to buy all their paid extensions.

    Why on earth would someone want to experiment with Concrete5 when WordPress is a mature system which can be adapted to almost any purpose more quickly and less expensively?

    If you want bad web advice, just seek your nearest Joomla consultant.

    Making the web work for you, Alec

  177. Alice R

    Hey Thanks, Alec. I was battling Joomla for weeks trying to figure things out, and did the same stuff with WordPress in a matter of hours. Much appreciated. This post saved me a bunch of time.

  178. Chad

    If you call Joomla! Mambo you’re a fucking idiot.

  179. John Smith

    I was looking for a comparison between the CMS-es and ended up at this article. To me, the article is just someone’s personal (professional) opinion and experience, nothing else and nothing more. And I do not know if I could say I took a lot from the article, but I definitely got much from the comments.

    My God, I think all Joomla! supporters who posted here need a hug. Please line up and I’ll give you a free hug – think nothing of it.

    Going into such lengths to charge the author of this article with libel just shows how much our world has been brainwashed into political corrective-ness and over-protective-ness (“Someone think about the children!”).

    Besides, the author is entitled to his opinion, just like you all are to your own. If you don’t like it, go someplace else, the address bar is above the header. ^^^^^

    Next, the squabbles about all sites looking like this CMS or that one was pointless. If you all are who you claim you are (designers, coders, artists), then you can make any site look like anything you desire.

    If not, please go sit in the corner or even better consider switching professions/interests to knitting, as Web building is definitely not for the “weekend warrior” kind you belong to.

    Reason the Web is borked today (imho) is because so many of you believe you can do something you really can’t, and end up causing more damage than good.

    It’s like all those M$ “drones” out there who were in sales for 10-15 years and then figured that if they crammed a bit of tech lingo from some MCSE book they could become “experts” and get paid six figures.

    Sadly, these kinds of people are now running (parts of) our Internet, and thanks to them the proliferation of M$ platform has been so thorough that we have millions of zombies/bots on the Net.

    But I digress, because your failure is only made bigger by all these CMS-es you stand behind of and defend with your last breath, which in turn appease you with “features” and continue luring you into an endless loop.

    Lastly, I’ll say that you did a disservice to yourself and the CMS you were defending. If you think you have succeeded in making a point about anything, you are only kidding yourself and should snap out of that “legend in your own head” mode.

    As someone who was honestly looking (silly me) for professional opinions of others working in the same field, you have only helped me realize I should write my own CMS, or use a framework instead of jumping into any CMS mentioned here.

    Thank you.

  180. Oliver

    Hey, evangelists: You don’t have to “believe” in something. You can as well just use it for the purpose it’s built for, to solve a specific problem in a specific way. Wether that’s based on objectivity or subjective ideas.. well, who cares. Go on, be happy..

    If you have so much “spiritual” energy, the local bible-group might be a better place to spend that.

  181. @Chad

    Your comment made is indicative of the tone and level of most of the Joomla advocates. I let it through only as an indicative sample. Most of them are longer hate filled diatribes.

    Guys (collectively), it’s not my fault that Joomla is such a pain in the neck to work with. I wish it wasn’t.

    @ John Smith

    Care to come out of anonymity some day and wear a name with your opinions?

    This discussion is not pointless. The CMS was something like an airplane when it was invented. A cardinal change in web development which previously had to be done in desktop applications and synced back up to the web. Not good at all for collaboration.

    Mambo (later Joomla) was one of the first out of the gates in the year 2000. Open source commercial software was in its early going as well.

    Unfortunately that early lead meant that most of the application is written in older software development patterns and was coded in a long out of date version of PHP. PHP was more limited back then and by today’s standards, coding practices were atrocious. Arriving too early has been the bane of Mambo/Joomla since. The early mistakes/paradigms have been very hard to stomp out without losing any backward compatibility. So Joomla remains a hybrid of hideous out of date software practices and more recent rewrites.

    Drupal came just a little bit later in January 2001. From the beginning, the coding and architecture was a bit better than Mambo (later Joomla) and attracted a higher quality programming community. But Drupal was much harder to get started in. Consequently, Joomla became the designers’ CMS and Drupal the coders’ CMS.

    Like three wing planes, both Joomla and Drupal gradually became obsolete as single wing planes came along like WordPress.

    WordPress 1.0 suffered from atrocious code. There’s still a little bit of it kicking around. But WordPress was very easy to install.

    When SixApart stubbed their toes hard with the Moveable Type 3 license, WordPress was in the right place at the right time. Enough top level bloggers (many of whom were good PHP hackers or at least knew lots of them) enough momentum started that there is a veritable army of excellent coders cleaning up WordPress every week and every month.

    Matt Mullenweg is no genius as a coder. His genius lay in developing the community in the right way that so many people give back so substantially to it.

    There is no coder or even company which could provide the rich depth of WordPress without putting themselves into bankruptcy. As long as WordPress exists and is free, the CMS market is almost shut. It is so much easier to use and has so much available for it out of the box due to the plugin architecture that to use anything else is basically just burning money or time.

    Writing your own CMS at this point would be like building your own car. You’d end up with the horseless carriage: you cannot match the millions of man hours which have gone to build WordPress (or even match Joomla or Drupal).

    For everything negative I’ve said about Joomla, Mambo was a huge leap forward over updating websites from a local hard drive.

    All three PHP main open source CMS, WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, make a site owner’s life so much easier than what was there before. And a solo coder could not match even Joomla in the Sisyphean task of trying to catch up to the web on your own.

  182. hiranya

    I tried joomla as first cms but after 1 year i migrated to drupal.


    1>I found joomla very hard to master….clumsy oops
    2>most extensions are paid.
    4>My company shut down 2 joomla projects after it’s unstability issues.

    I love drupal for its high quality code, easy to integrate, as it is said it is Content Management Framework, it’s true,modules are free and well maintained,learning curve is not so steep as it is said.


  183. Bronwyn

    Thank-you for this interesting and indepth [from a total novices’ viewpoint].
    My wordpress website has been hacked and it was suggesed that I get a ‘professional’ site.
    My concern is about security on the site, however I am feeling far more confident after reading this article. I will look for professional web manager.

    Many thanks

  184. Glad the article helped you Bronwyn.

    Damn right your site is hacked Bronwyn. Here’s Google’s report:

    Of the 6 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 0 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 2011-12-30, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 2011-12-30.
    Malicious software includes 24 trojan(s), 6 exploit(s), 3 scripting exploit(s).

    I suppressed the link to save our readers.

    Whether you are using Drupal, Joomla or WordPress keeping up to date with security patches is important.

    Also don’t forget to host with a reputable hosting company with a reputation for security.

    It is the Wild West out there folks or the Silk Road or whatever you’d like to call it.

    Oh, we do have a rescue service btw, for totally compromised WordPress sites. Please contact us on our pro support incident form with the details of your situation: foliovision.com/seo-tools/wordpress/pro-install

    The cost of cleaning your site and locking it down varies by size and how severely your site has been compromised and what backups you have available. Our rescue service is guaranteed to keep your site safe for two months after the rescue.

  185. Scott Wolpow

    Wow, I agree with Alec.
    Yes no matter what system you use, always apply patches when they come out.

    On another note:
    Why does WP keep the URL and path in the Database?
    This makes moving to a new domain very hard.
    In Joomla and Drupal, the URL is not relevant to displaying the site. And (in Joomla) if you want to specify either, it is done once in the conf. file.

    The only other CMS I use that has a URL in the DB is Magento and that is only in two rows, in the same table. And that is just the domain.

  186. Hi Scott,

    Glad to hear we agree on something.

    If I had to rebuild the web overand had to choose between:

    WordPress + Magento or Joomla + Drupal

    I’d certainly choose the first two. Including the URL in the database allows WordPress to build absolute paths when necessary.

    It’s a single field to change in general setup. I’m surprised this 10 second GUI change presents an obstacle for you to using a CMS. But then again, the Joomla mentality is very particular.

    Out of the Joomla, Drupal and WordPress, the only one a beginner can reliably install would be WordPress. The famous five minute install is how WordPress took off back in 2006 and overtook Joomla in 2009.

    wordpress vs joomla vs mambo vs drupal
    wordpress vs joomla vs mambo vs drupal

    Making the web work for you, Alec Kinnear

  187. ivan

    Joomla can only survive if they write code from zero (maybe in joomla 2-3.x).

    If you look at the admin panel, WP is much more powerful, easier and flexible. If you look “under the hood”, logic programming and clean code is much better than poor Joomla.

    Generally, be smart and choose WP (or go to psychiatry and stick with joomla). :)

  188. Johann Marion

    Hi Alec

    Such an insightful discussion. WP is the way to go after this.
    I’m just in my beginning of creating a company, very exciting times, and the concept is like let’s call it a mini version of Etsy.com or e-bay.com

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting to get a size even close to those pages, but the concept is similar.

    I hope in 3 years time to have approximately 50,000 items for sale. and with just 1 image of max 2 mb, that would be a 100gb server on the photo side of it. So basically quite a lot of pages. the initial first 2 years I would have approx 10000 sites.
    this not including the customer login pages or the person selling on the site pages…

    is that killing the WP straight off?
    Would you still go for a open source CMS? I haven’t found a single marketplace template that I could potentially use.


  189. Scott Wolpow

    As I am open minded and not blocked by a bias, here is a great link about security.

    WP did very well.
    Remember that all they looked at was core. Third party items are not subject to the same tests or standards in WP or Joomla. They both suffer from people doing what they want and poor code writing.

    Drupal is much tighter in modules and code.

    Always keep in mind these are tools, not religions.
    Right tools for the right job.

  190. G. Daba

    I am a sysadmin and DBA by trade (unix, solaris, linux) and been messing around with CMSs for as long while, but always avoided the big 3 (drupal, joomla, WP) because I wanted to stay away from the herd .. LOL

    I have also recognized the need to have more than one CMS tool for various scales and sizes of projects. So, this has been an enlightening post (especially the comment exchanges). Alec, I understand your angst joomla, but in these things there is no need to be religious about platform choices. What works for one designer/developer may not work for the next .. and what works for one project, may not work well for the next.

    I think drupal is real solid, and I am liking it more and more. I have also started looking at WP .. thanks to your providing some good solid advice around templates and plugins and security (the WP noise out there is deafening and scary, and off-putting). I guess I will still take a look at joomla (2.5 when it ships .. well, I already played around with everything else .. LOL) ..

    I have enjoyed messing around with so many different CMSs, and the following are some of those I found great for various needs/reasons:

    – concrete5 (flexibility)
    – dotclear (the best non-WP blogging IMHO)
    – nucleuscms (comes second to dotclear)
    – django platforms (but theming them was painful)
    – radiantcms (ruby-on-rails) and its php clone, wolfcms (flexibility, easy theming)
    – pixiecms (php) and nestacms (ruby) .. the best very lightweight CMSs I encountered, and easy to theme too .. getsimplecms (php) is not too far behind those two ..

    Note: In my tests, I was focusing on systems that required minimal coding to extract basic functionality and get up and running quickly ..

    So, I thank all that shared their knowledge and experiences here .. It has been enlightening .. especially after filtering out the emotions attached.

    In general terms, I did learn a fundamental lesson from my experimenting with all these systems: coding on the backend will never lead to great web sites .. frontend (CSS and javascript) skills are as important for designers/developers .. Often people struggle with various platforms because of the lack of those skills ..

    In the final analysis, everyone’s needs, personalities, experience, circumstances will drive their platform of choice ..

    Alec, on another note, is there any good WP plugins you could suggest for classifieds .. thanks in advance for responding

  191. Hi Johann,

    I won’t suggest a custom CMS often but if you want to create a serious auction site, most of the code will be custom anyway. I’m sure there are some good WordPress plugins. We’ve built great WordPress stores with inventory like Stagers Source, but I’m not sure I’d want to build an eBay site on a WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal foundation. If you did, the only code which would help you much is the core login code. You’d even need to recode the admin side for managing auctions.

    Hi Scott,

    Thanks for that very good security link. I was also a bit surprised about how well WordPress comes out of it. A lot of the issues with WordPress have to do with how much new code and new features WordPress.org generates. I’d honestly like to see security updates running in parallel rather than constantly having to update core. But that’s another discussion. We’ve managed to learn to live with the update pace by not coding to fragile hooks and by picking our plugins carefully.

    I do see situations where Magento might be a better solution or Redmine. But I absolutely fail to see a situation where Drupal or Joomla would outhit WordPress at this point, apart in a huge custom coded project where Drupal could match WordPress (but cost more).

    Hi Daba,

    Your post is indicative of the dangers for productivity which come with jumping from one CMS to another.

    I’d suggest picking one CMS and getting very, very good at it. The most extensible and flexible and efficient is WordPress at this point.

    For classifieds, we’ve had success with Another WordPress Classifieds Plugin on our Hong Kong Sailing Club project.

  192. Mike the Lawyer

    Wow… I can’t believe that I haven’t discovered your site before. I’ve been around the CMS arena for many years and your review is not only hilarious but, more importantly, dead on accurate.

    The one problem I’m having is with regard to member management. WordPress core is getting better each year but I’ve found that it does far too many joins (what’s up with the usermeta table?) and there is a serious question as to its scalability. I’ve heard that the upper limit can max out when you hit just 10-20k users in WP. It has by far the most potential but it’s incredibly weak when it comes to user management. I think you’re right about small to mid size sites, just not sure how low the bar is for “mid-size.” Joomla… there is a reason I abandoned it long ago…

  193. G. Daba

    Hello Alec,

    It was a learning experience, while engaged in my primary tasks .. and absolutely no regrets about that. There is indeed a huge and vibrant CMS world out there besides WP. The idea is to be open to needs, and not religious about technologies .. Perhaps, this comes with my unix background. Just like I would hate a world where microsoft dominated and ended up conning unsuspecting users about technology availability/possibilities/options, I would hate a world where we all jumped onto the bandwagon of just one CMS out of the so many great systems out there.

    I have come to respect PHP as a very mature coding language just from digging deeper into drupal. Before drupal, I tried very hard to avoid PHP oriented opensource apps .. in preference for python and ruby apps. What’s more, in drupal I find solid enterprise scale building platforms to work from, such as openatrium, voicebox, openpublish, etc .. so many of them. But, just my serious peering into wordpress (because of you) has also opened my eyes to its possibilities. Thanks for that.

    In any case, one of the main reasons WP put me off was because almost all WP sites I have looked at look the same, and I do not like that look at all at all. Given the insights you have provided into WP (thanks again for that), I have looked around, and have seen some great looking templates that deviate from the standard WP look.

    Thanks for the feedback on the classified .. the one on the boat club meets my modest needs.

    You are a good guy, and many of us visiting your site have gained from the experience .. Just try to tone down on the technology religion, and leave yourself open to other possibilities. It is always better for the world when there are choices .. especially if the other choices are certainly good enough, and in some cases/projects, much better choices.

  194. Hi Mike,

    We’ve just successfully dealt with issues of scale on a site with 30,000 posts and 400,000 comments: WordPress performance tips for big sites. I hope it helps.

    With the right team on board, all these scaling issues are easily overcome (whether comments or users).

    Whatever CMS you choose, for a large scale site, you need competent hands on deck. WordPress is no different, except there is less work to fix it properly.

    Hi Daba,

    Comparing WordPress (free open source GPL software) with Microsoft (closed, proprietary) is quite rich. When WordPress reaches end of line as something much better has been invented, then WordPress must be replaced (just as Mambo/Joomla needed/needs replacing). Glad you’ve woken up to PHP at last.

    I’m wondering why you find all WordPress sites looks the same. Have a gander at our portfolio: we’ve built top real estate sites, totally artistic sites, insurance sites, furniture stores all in WordPress and many looking nothing like WordPress.

    Again, I think spending one’s time experimenting with different CMS is time lost at this point unless you have VERY special needs.

    If you have a lot of time on your hands of course. We’re a bit busy here making the web work for you and for our clients.

    We can change the web and change the world in WordPress. That’s good enough for me.

    Send me a telegram when something even vaguely better comes along.

  195. Scott Wolpow

    The only CMS that I know of where they all look alike us CRELoaded and that is because of the templating system.
    You should be able to make anything look exactly the way you want.
    Even Magento if you like to drive yourself wacky with Zend.

  196. robydago

    All (and especially Alec),

    can WordPress be used as RAD for data driven apps?

    I’m looking for a tool to build what one could do easily with Microsoft Access for example; but I want to use a a free tool and web based.

    I couldn’t care less about themes, and all typical social\forums\blogs\etc. apps that CMS can easily manage.

    Right now I’m looking into Drupal and it seems that it has the needed functionality, either in core or via contrib modules, to build and mange fields, relations, queries, etc.

    So far, it seems to me that it should be doable with little or no coding with Drupal, but I was wondering if the same thing could be done with WordPress, ’cause Drupal is not that easy to learn and, from what I hear from everyone, WordPrss should be way easier to master.

    Since I havent’ invested too much time learning Drupal so far, I can still dump it and switch to WordPress, but only if it can do what I need.

    p.s. I’m not considering Joomla, but if anyone can suggest it for my particular use case, I’m agnostic and wiling to listen.

  197. dAv!d

    there is a lot of outdated Joomla information here, which has gone through three core updates since this was posted – and comparing a one-trick pony like WP to full-site web apps like Joomla and Drupal is unfair. They are for completely different purposes.

  198. Bharath

    Great Comments and Reviews! These are really helpful to those who have a confusion in choosing among 3.

    Personally I would like to thank you Alec, he is absolutely correct and comparing wordpress with others is always wrong. Ever and Forever WordPress can realize the needs of its user, whether its ECommerce, Corporate, News/Magazine, Online Portal, Classified site or any other.

    Remember that the great sites like Ebay.com, Sony, Samsung, Ford and Wall Street Journal are made with wordpress.

  199. So, all Joomla! sites look like Joomla! sites?

    bdlhotels.co.uk/ (50+ separate hotel sites on one Joomla! install e.g. hiexhamilton.co.uk/)

    I could go on…

    Our developers are quite happy to code in it and don’t really recognise any of the issues you mention. They’ve also used Drupal and WP. Maybe you need better developers? ;-)

  200. Hi Scott,

    It’s a lot easier to make a WordPress site look like something else than Joomla. Drupal is easier yet as there is no real mold: you get very little out of the box. You’re right, though about Magento: it’s a bear to template.

    Hi Roby,

    We don’t use WordPress for RAD development but we have developed a lot of light web apps on top of WordPress and development has been very easy and saved us a lot of time rather than building from scratch. You’ll have to check around for the specific tools you need.

    Hi dAv!d,

    Sorry but we’ve been using recent versions of Joomla and it’s still painful. Others who’ve switched away (many) confirm that Joomla still hurts.

    As WordPress is a full CMS, I fail to see the difference between WordPress, Drupal and Joomla in that respect.

    Perhaps WordPress has a superior blogging module to the others but that’s not why WordPress the better CMS. It’s the modular infrastructure which allows powerful and useful plugins to built quickly and efficiently and availability of said plugins set it apart. Oh and the very, very easy advanced templating.

    You can build more in WordPress faster and for less money. What’s not to like?

    Hi Bharath,

    Not sure why Ford or Samsung or Sony sites are great sites. As far as I know they are just the sites of big companies. Wall Street Journal has some pretty strong capabilities although the URLs are hell for SEO. I.e.for an article about Russian natural gas supplies to Europe: online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203711104577200852563136204.html At one point at least the new Wall Street Journal Magazine was powered by WordPress.

    Much of the NY Times is powered by WordPress. TED, CBS (many major stations), CNN, Red Hat, Time.com, some BBC, NBC Sports, Dowjones, Life.com, eMusic, O’Reilly are all with WordPress VIP alone.

    WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world and powers 6.45% of the top 10,000 US websites with a 55% share of the CMS market. Joomla has a share among top 10,000 websites of 0.43%. Drupal is second with 2.61%.

    So yes, many top sites are custom built – about 90% of them. But of those which are not custom built WordPress successfully powers 450 of them. Joomla 43.

    eBay is an example of the kind of site which should definitely be fully custom built. But there are less and less sites which are worth starting from scratch.

    Even if your core project includes substantial custom code, it’s so much more efficient to leverage the work of an existing CMS in:

    * login security
    * user management
    * social technology
    * archive organisation

    Among CMS, the clear leader here is WordPress. Drupal can nearly match WordPress on huge sites (spend over $100,000) and arguably pulls well ahead somewhere at the $500,000 mark.

    How many businesses do you know who are looking to spend over half a million dollars on website infrastructure this year?

    Alas, your sarcasm is as ill-placed as it is uninformed.

    Making the web work for you, Alec

  201. Lars VC

    Heck, i’m joining in one this one!

    I’ve done some work in Joomla, you know the “almost-for-free-because-you’re-a-friend” stuff and nothing special. My day job evolves around J2EE/business process software and not webdesign. But doing it is fun.

    I was around when Mambo came to light and actually used it for some team site thing back then at the company I was working for but I still remember the pain, joomla 1.0 did my head in and 1.7 you say? Well, time is just too precious to fiddle with it and see where it breaks, I try to stick to 1.5 really.

    But it give me headaches and sometimes you can actually go one step-to-far, your site is fubar’ed and backups are your friend, sometimes a mere db restore isn’t enough and you’re good to recopy all the files too.

    The idea of having categories and this and that and all the dynamic stuff is nice, but you end up entering categories and menu items for days on end sometimes and that is just plain boring. Many of the plugins I installed required me to go down into the code to get the result I wanted, ie:to have them (sometimes just somewhat) seamlessly plug into the main site.

    The last site I done is this one: http://www.rainerbrandbenelux.com and basically it’s a bunch of static joomla articles on top of a heavily hacked version of a rockettheme. I ended up hardcoding the static articles because I couldn’t take it anymore and just wanted a working design back-to-front. The webshop (virtuamart) works nicely but required a few evenings of php/css battling and I remember backtracking on earlier design choices because something wasn’t working. I ended up choosing this simple, static approach, just a bunch of articles that all interlink, a contact module and virtuamart. All works nicely and the owner is extremely happy with (mainly coz it’s free I guess). When he wants to update something it can be done in whizz and I provided him with some documentation/screengrabs on how he can update articles, add stuff to his webshop, etc all from the backend. The backend is good, credit is due there, but it is amazingly complicated and sometimes downright counter-productive. The rockettheme missioncontrol steps in to help, but still it’s overwhelming when shown to the client on how to add articles etc.

    So basically that is what I use Joomla for, I spice it with some template, some modules, have some other modules to show some other modules in articles or some other positions to finally get a consistent site design/flow going. But it’s given me time after time headaches where I didn’t expect any, either you go for the dynamic categories/articles etc and loose all the site build-up exactly like you want to have it, or you try to find another way around some problem, but for me it mainly evolves around finding method’s that don’t clash with something you done on the site earlier or that clash with how it should look.

    Thank god there is Rockettheme.

    So there you have it, I use joomla because I know alot of it’s ins/outs and I don’t want to go down the (x)html/css from scratch route.

    But, I got another request now for a new website and the prospect of battling again with Joomla just takes the fun out of it for me, there is too much effort involved in terms of going back & forth during design/development to test implementation methods of the site layout and see where it /could/ break and I can’t just deliver yet another almost static design, I’m not learning or enjoying it.

    My question: will WP love me for those type of sites? Or should I move over to Drupal to get my kicks?

    My best bet I guess is to try them both and see where I end up, but WP seems to be new black and checking the themes etc it sure looks like I can accomplish what I need without battling the platform too much.

    Questions! Questions!

  202. We’ve just successfully dealt with issues of scale on a site with 30,000 posts and 400,000 comments: WordPress performance tips for big sites. I hope it helps.

    Thanks for the reference and the information, which is quite useful. We may need expertise as we’ve got a huge user base we’ve just converted. Some of us lawyers really aren’t that bad. ;)

    there is a lot of outdated Joomla information here, which has gone through three core updates since this was posted – and comparing a one-trick pony like WP to full-site web apps like Joomla and Drupal is unfair. They are for completely different purposes.

    I agree. For all of Joomla’s core revisions and modules, it does almost nothing well. I’d rather have an adaptable one trick pony than one that is generally a nightmare to administrate and teach others to administrate. Granted, there are some incredibly impressive Joomla add-ons I’ve seen, but none of them make many user-based functionality simple. For every 1 really good Joomla extension I’d say there are 50 terrible, 45 mediocre ones and 4 passable extensions. It has done a few things far better than WordPress (like membership) yet even that requires extensions that make for amazing displays on the front end but a clunky overall experience.

    My thought is that if you’re building a site it’s really a choice of two with a rare exception. You can’t fake Drupal well and you had better have a large budget. WordPress will accomplish most things pretty well but will have its challenges with very large scale projects unless you truly know and understand its limitations. Most people throw around names but don’t appreciate why they are working. Sometimes its very misleading.

  203. Hi Lars,

    Thanks for the detailed hands-on contribution on using Joomla for a reasonably sophisticated and attractive website which is client administered. Sounds a lot like our own experience.

    If you can build that watch site in Joomla, you should be able to pick up WordPress within days if not hours. Development will become a pleasure again after a first tough week. The instant templating inWordpress is fantastic. Watch out for WordPress commercial theme performance issues. Best to start with Twenty Ten and build up for a site on which you expect to have substantial traffic.

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with Joomla on large sites.

    We remain delighted to help you with any WordPress scale and performance issues you are encountering. It is pay to play though, especially for lawyers.

    We are just as good as WordPress VIP and a lot less expensive.

    Making the web work for you, Alec

  204. Eco

    I am newbie and have some limited, frustrated experience with both WP and Joomla, which actually forced me to learn more of HTML CSS PHP JScript JQuery :-). At this point, I feel better/more control by doing hands on editing in dreamviewer. I guess I’ll spend another 2-3 years doing no CMS editing/learning, especially after reading such a long thread :-), and then if I am not satisfied with the results move to one of the CMSs available. BTW has anyone heard any good things about squarespaces and expressengine, in terms of custom layouts and heavy traffic/content handling?

    Thanks a lot,


  205. I’m a Joomla nut myself. I dont use wordpress because its not developer friendly and doesn’t allow me to do what I want and I dont use Drupal because I couldn’t build/program in it at a reasonable price. Joomla allows me to still build and code when necessary, but the extensions are enough to tweak without having to charge an arm and a leg. The thing about them all (CMS) is that its not a replacement for building. I dont use joomla templates or nasty code unless I have to. The basic moduel positions and layouts arent that clunky unless you have a template.

    I like WordPress for simple blogs and Joomla for basic sites and social networks that need that handy dandy extension directory.

  206. Wouter

    I really like Joomla. I enjoy using the out of the box plug-ins and components.

    Complain about commercial extensions? That’s funny they are a few bucks and offer great support. Let’s see what a Drupal developer costs to get anything done that’s out of the box in Joomla.

    For a few hundred bucks I build about any website with any structure in Joomla. Just get: Jomsocial or CB, Contentbuilder, Akeeba, JCE Editor (Yes!!), Akeeba, RS Form, Feedgator, Sh404,… or check reviews between +9000 extensions, make a nice template, easy!! and your up and running.

    Updates/migrations? Common guys that’s easy and straight forward! Prefer going true thousands of line code?

    Is a great cms not all about price/quality? So is it not great spending more time outside in the sun, having happy customers that pay only a few bucks? Anything they ask is done in no time. Click install and tataa :)

    My clients understand Joomla in no time and the JCE editor is great for them (yes, my clients are not web-developers :)

    I have the feeling that programmer’s using Drupal don’t like the idea of ending up with just a hand full great developers in the world delivering the latest trends for a few bucks available to anyone who can click ‘install’ and oh yes open source ofcourse…

    I already used J2.5 for several sites, great stuff :)

    Drupal is probably great for hard core programmer’s, but it’s just not my peace of cake. Why spent time and money on development when it’s out there for you to use in seconds.

    Yes… I know there are exceptions, there always are. I just speak from my experience. I choose to sit back, relax and enjoy the instant result experience of Joomla.

  207. Are Joomla commercial modules available at reasonable prices? Yes. Do they look nice? Some of them look spectacular. Wonderful we got this far. But when it comes to user interface, Joomla is the clunkiest of the lot. With the very rarest of exceptions, everything in Joomla is ratcheted into the framework. Technically everything will work but will your users want to use it or learn how to use it? Since I last used it on a project in early 2011, the answer was pretty much a big no.

    Now if you want to compare it as a compromise to Drupal, I’ll agree any day that it’s a far better cost compromise. But I keep repeatedly finding very few instances where a WordPress site isn’t a better choice than Joomla. And if I’m building social networking, none of them are properly built for SN.

  208. @Wouter you have wonderful clients… just last week I lost another Joomla site. The customer is a non-profit organisation with little computer skills. After having successfully trained a volunteer for a month to learn how to use basic things on Joomla (i.e. submit an article…), the volunteer gave up; as a result, the organisation forbade me to suggest anything else besides Blogger (YUCK!) which is the only thing they understand well enough to operate — to which they reverted.

    So the next site will be in WordPress, aggregating content from a dozen Blogger sites into a single, unified experience.

    I’ve still got a last Joomla site to maintain (for a different client). I’m now wondering how long it will take until that client gives up, too — at the moment, they refuse to use the backoffice, and so send me the texts to update, which is not exactly what was supposed to happen!

    Thus, in my experience, new clients that are “exposed” to Joomla will quickly give up… and that has little to do with how easy and simple their sites were to set up, or how cool they look (while the design was not my responsibility) — because they do look good enough indeed.

    Still, I *did* lose a WP customer to Joomla once. They’re still using Joomla. Their trick was to slash content to a third, eliminate all functionality that required some custom-developed plugins, get rid of multilingual support, get rid of multimedia, and ignore valid HTML/CSS support — and the mandatory European accessibility rules for creating websites. They don’t even support RSS feeds… or have the content timestamped. I had to do all that and much more :) On the other hand, it’s true that they still manage to get people to update the articles once in a while, and they’re using Joomla 1.5 (!), so I guess they’re happy with the super-simplified results…

  209. Wouter

    @Gwyneth Llewelyn I do think it’s a matter of knowing the ins and out of Joomla.

    – Why slash up content? I use JCE editor and my clients write like no other. Click “Read more” and you’ve got yourself the traditional blog layout.

    – Translation? Install Jomfish takes 10 seconds…

    – RSS? Where to start choose between plenty ext. Click and install

    – Get rid of multimedia support? Please check the extensions directory. I yet have to find something that is not possible.

    – Timestamped? You mean created/modified/publish/unpubish/… dates? Yes/No makes them visible in the front-end (article/category/menu, all settings on any level)

    I do agree that you have to tweak Joomla (extensions yes, programming no!) to make it work for your clients (front-end). But who does not want the best of 2 worlds. Drupal + WP = Joomla

    When a WP client calls you and asks to include a community or any advanced community based application… what do you do?

    I never say it is not possible! But: I also do not charge them a week development (Drupal). I just click/install and style. Only a few hours work + amazing fully featured community = Happy customers!

    Want Facebook + WP? Have a look at: Jomsocial + Easyblog. They work seamlessly together btw. Tell me 1 thing that is not possible using these 2?

    Developers have a look at content builder for Joomla. Anything is possible from there on!

    I believe instant results + endless styling posiblities is the future.
    (And no hacks!! Ofcourse!! Check out Joomla Component/Module/Style overrides)

    After a few years I can say that with Joomla I can build any kind of website in just a few days, productivity is most important to me. This is all I ever wanted for myself and my clients projects.

    I do have great respect for the WP and Drupal community but to my opinion the best of 2 worlds is Joomla!

  210. Jim Curry

    Best article and finest discussions I’ve read for a long time, couldn’t resist my two cents…

    @michael – I would say, from a background of futzing around with websites since 1995 and helping other business owners in the ‘quacksands’ of the web since then that the place to start is a business model. Do the research – business and market – and derive yourself a separate business plan for each product/service, with a pragmatic vision, locked-down goals, tight business rules, and a marketing plan with clear, detailed success criteria.

    Frankly, if you’ve got that piece in place, a web deployment strategy should almost fall out of it. If it doesn’t, there’s likely something awry with the business idea. And the test for any agency pitching for the work is how they react to the business plan – if faces light up as they realise that finally they’ve found a client who knows exactly what they want, consider working with them. If their faces fall, as they either don’t get business plans, or (more likely) realise they’re not going to be able to foist their pseudo-consultancy process on you, you’ve found a dud.

    My strong advice would be don’t, under any circumstances, no matter how much guff they give you about being a ‘full service agency’, employ a web firm to tell you what makes a good business idea. That’s your job.

    Sorry, this is way off-topic – the point I really wanted to make here is that, as a semi-pro WP cowboy, even though I find WP frustratingly obfuscatory and fragmented at the code level, it wins hands down every time because of the power it puts in the USER’S hands, with its fantastic out-of-box user back-end.

    Surely the logical arc of Web 2.0 in its purest form is towards doing ourselves out of a job, as we empower clients to build and maintain their own sites, without being held to ransom by people like us. This whole debate is ultimately, after all, about clients – and should be *only* about them.

    Given the present embryonic nature of user-centred CMS build tools, the day when drag-and-drop CMSs (which take the CONTENT as the starting point, as Gwyneth so rightly says, instead of the backasswards design > structure > content nightmare currently foisted on us by clusterf*cks like Joomla!) seems pretty distant. But when that day does finally arrive, I wonder what we’ll make of threads like this, bickering about who’s got the best UCM, and whether my MVC is bigger than yours.

    Remember how we all used squabble about whether goose feathers made better quill pens?

    No, nor do I.

    As clients become more sophisticated (as they seem to do with frightening speed these days), the debate is going to be/increasingly *is* about which tools are most effective at enabling *them* to build and maintain *their own* product/service deployment platforms.

    And for my money – as in money I’m earning right now doing just this for ordinary sole traders and craftspeople – the shape of the Web’n’.0 future is a thousand times more likely to be a WP-like evolution than a Joomla! regression.

    So how about another take on these CMS reviews, Alec? How about reviewing them again, but this time, evaluate them all soley on their ability to enable users to create scaleable, modular web presences, right now, that they can actually use to do real business with, right now?

    Making the Web work..for ME, Alec ;-)

  211. @Wouter, I think I was too tired when writing my comment — my apologies to everybody who might have been misguided by my bad wording.

    What happened in my case was slightly different. There was a set budget for doing a relatively complex website with lots of specifications. There was not going to be a maintenance contract, not even one for “adding more features as we think about it”. Instead, I got 30+ pages of specifications (it was a government job), a set budget to work with, a (rather bad) web design in PSD, and a set time to do everything, plus training.

    This was pretty much what I did. Some of the features were hard to implement, because they were originally based on what a legacy platform costing 10-20 times more was able to do. The requirement of “zero maintenance” and a very low training budget issue also meant that things would simply have to work over years without any further costs. There would be no “extensions” to either the budget and/or the time. So WordPress was my choice mostly because its focus is on the *end-user*. At the end, they found it so simple to use, update, and tweak to their content that they “spent” the training cost in adding an extra feature or two; they were more than happy with the 20-page-manual I wrote specifically for them, plus links to many online resources, if they ever wished to change everything.

    For political reasons, after half a year of operation, they moved the contract to another company (that’s always the risk after elections…). This time, I’m assuming that they had an even lower budget (they viewed it as merely a “site upgrade”, not a new site…). The company that did the job picked Joomla 1.5, ignored all the specifications (yes, really!) and just gave them a very basic installation. By simplifying the web design, they actually came up with a rather nice design (more eye-catching and less confusion than the design I had — which I couldn’t change a single pixel). But to be able to meet the cost requirements, they simply gave them a basic Joomla installation. Even though Joomla comes with a lot of functionality, I suspect that the “finished” site has perhaps a tenth of the functionality — possibly even less. They didn’t care. They *could*, as you said, add all those plugins and configure them properly, and give them a half-decent website, even running on Joomla — most users might not even have noticed the difference on the main areas. But no: even installing something as simple as a RSS feed would mean another few minutes of work, so they just ignored that and went ahead with as little functionality as they could. I have no idea how they managed to get a final approval — I remember how picky they were in my case with the tiniest details (like making sure that the proper level of menus was activated, on a site with a hierarchy 4-5 levels deep and over 3 levels (!) wide) — but I can imagine that they looked at their budget, saw that it was impossible to do a site according to all specifications they had, and so just focused on getting the least amount of work done to fit into the budget.

    Of course people work for different rates, and I have no idea how much work was involved. I don’t even have an idea if they had the same budget as I did. These are just my assumptions. And the result, based on those assumptions, is simple: for the same amount of time and money, a company managed to set up a site in Joomla with a tenth of the functionality that they had with WordPress. This doesn’t mean that Joomla couldn’t be configured to do the same thing; as you mention, there are plugins to do the same thing. But for some reason, time and/or budget constraints limited my “competitors” to do just 10% of the job in the same time. The client is still happy with Joomla, since I’ve seen that their site continues to be updated, so that’s also besides the point.

    I think that you summarise your point of view very well with this paragraph:

    After a few years I can say that with Joomla I can build any kind of website in just a few days, productivity is most important to me. This is all I ever wanted for myself and my clients projects.

    The focus here is: “Joomla is great for me, the developer”. I agree. Early generations of CMS have been designed having the developer in mind, and making development easy and straightforward. Joomla is a child of that generation of CMS.

    WordPress, by contrast, focuses on the end-user. This is not to say it’s “harder” to develop in WordPress than in Joomla (in my experience, it’s the other way round; but I’m sure that anyone with “a few years of experience” in Joomla will think otherwise; at the end of the day, it all comes down to how much experience you have with a tool). It simply means what @Jim Curry has stated:

    As clients become more sophisticated (as they seem to do with frightening speed these days), the debate is going to be/increasingly *is* about which tools are most effective at enabling *them* to build and maintain *their own* product/service deployment platforms.

    Do you see the difference here? Clients of Jim Curry, like my own, are interested about how effective the tool is to use for them. They care little about how easy/flexible the tool is for developers or programmers — except in one detail: how much it costs!

    And here, of course, we can argue about the differences. This can even be scientifically done: give the same template to a Joomla or WordPress developer, and the same set of specifications. Make sure that both developers have a few years of experience in their chosen platform. See how long they take, in hours, to come up with the same result. And then we can see the difference (of course, this experience has to be repeated for more than just one group). Then put an end-user in front of the final site, and see what they can make with it with:

    a) zero experience, no instructions, no training
    b) just a simple manual, no formal training
    c) X hours of formal training

    If after a few weeks the end-user is starting to tweak the site to their own tastes, we have a winner :)

    My own contribution to this comparison is that Joomla developers, to come up with the same solutions as WordPress developers, take far longer (yes, of course anyone can set up a Joomla site in a week which looks professional and even nice; that’s not the point — the point is: does it meet with specifications or not?), and training new end-users takes often so long that they just give up and never come back again; while WP end-users normally don’t require any training at all, and in a big project where every cent makes a difference, reducing training & maintenance costs does make a difference at the end of the day. I have yet to encounter a situation where the reverse was actually the case, i.e. where end-users became instantly familiar with Joomla but took ages to understand how WordPress works. We need a few counter-examples to my own! (Perhaps there are none!)

    Again, this is not a claim that “Joomla cannot do the same things as WordPress”. It most certainly can. That is outside the scope of my argumentation. Of course there are 10,000+ plugins and extensions that will make Joomla behave in pretty much any possible way. Some of these are more powerful than their WordPress counterparts. In some cases, Joomla might have free extensions where the equivalent plugin for WordPress is commercial (the reverse, of course, might also be the case). To repeat myself: I’m not contesting that claim at all. I fully believe that you can build pretty much any site according to some specs using either Joomla, WordPress, or Drupal. My main questions are: how long does it take; how much does it cost; how much training and maintenance is required to keep the site up.

    BTW, I’m deliberately leaving Drupal out of my comments, because I have no experience in deploying a Drupal installation for a client. All I know is from a few Drupal projects where I had a minor role as just the system & database consultant. From what I saw, someone with as little as 6 months of experience developing for Drupal can easily come up with a solution that meets any requirements and is simple to use, by developing a customer-tailored backend that does only what the customer wants and nothing else. But I have no way to estimate how long that takes. Perhaps, these days, a very experienced Drupal developer can do a customer-tailored solution in as little time as an experienced Joomla developer, and since they can add, as a bonus, a minimalist backend which any user can figure out on their own, the question that begs asking is why they should choose Joomla at all…

    At the end of the day, at least in my country (Portugal), I tend to agree with Alec that Joomla is mostly used due to its legacy — i.e. sites created with Mambo or early Joomla installations close to a decade ago will continue to use Joomla just because their end-users are familiar with the concept — but also because of some “delayed” perception of the available solutions. By this I mean that 6 or 7 years ago, open-source enthusiasts who managed to persuade their clients to get rid of a personalised solution for their CMS (which gets increasingly high maintenance costs and forces a company to stick with a single vendor, which might go bankrupt and stop supporting their tool) and adopt what seemed to be the only “full” CMS solution back then which required little additional development — which was Joomla in 2005. Drupal already existed but required a lot of custom programming. WordPress was still seen as a “blogging alternative” (mostly to Moving Type) and not considered as a “general-purpose tool” (and perceptions are hard to change!). So a lot of open-source enthusiasts back in 2005 started offering Joomla solutions and never even considered looking at something else. This lead to a relative popularity of Joomla as a free alternative to commercial CMS which could pretty much do everything, and since most commercial CMS at the time had horrible back-end interfaces, Joomla was even seen as an improvement. Also, popular open-source activist groups in my country, as well as left-wing parties (who support open-source projects very enthusiastically) tended to adopt Joomla in 2005, thus even fostering its use more and more. (Most of these political parties and open-source organisations have moved to Drupal since then, but they left a long period of endorsing Joomla as “the” open-source alternative to commercial CMS).

    In my country, thus, WordPress is still viewed as a “blogging alternative” which is harder to use than Google’s own Blogger platform! There is a psychological barrier to overcome, and this is not always easy to do. By contrast, in some environments, Drupal has earned such a great reputation as a solid “programmer’s tool” that clients aren’t even aware that it’s a commercial product: they just assume that the “licensing costs” come somewhere in the middle of a long list of development time for a new site. In a sense, it’s good news for open-source platforms — they have earned some credibility in the corporate environment.

    But I digress… I second @Jim in thinking that Alec should be encouraged to write a whole new article based on the three focuses of these CMS:

    – programmer-centred: Drupal
    – (web) developer-centred: Joomla
    – end-user-centred: WordPress

    and give estimated costs for developing the same solutions, with the same set of specifications, for a medium-to-complex website using any of those tools.

    Because either one can set up a relatively simple, hassle-free, not-heavily-customised website in a few hours or a few days.

  212. Pingback: Comparing WordPress, Drupal and Joomla in 2011 | Ian Dunn

  213. Wow! This conversation is still going on after 10 months. Obviously some kind of nerve got struck here.

    It seems people get very evangelical about this stuff. I like and dislike lots of things about Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress. I cannot say any of them fantastic solutions. They all have horrible faults like anything else. I utilize the good design patterns I find in these system and discard the rest as digital junk.

    All there is to take away from any of these systems in the long run is good design patterns. 5-10 years from now all that code will be obsolete but some of the design ideas will still have value. As a weak example I will say that not many people still use Smalltalk but the design patterns invented with that language are the foundation of many recent and popular coding ideologies.


  214. Hi Peter,

    Interesting approach.

    I’d be inclined to look at:

    * what can I do today with this system (there was a point where Joomla (at the time Mambo had a substantial advance on WordPress: competitive until about 2008)
    * what does the future of this system look like

    Like you, and despite my Joomla detractors, I am platform agnostic. At some point, WordPress too will be an anachronism. Technology comes along. And we will move with it.

    Until that date comes along, I can do more with WordPress right now and for the foreseeable future more quickly.

    That means simple websites can be very inexpensive and easy to maintain and complex websites with substantial budgets can have more wonderful features.

    There is simply nothing competitive out there. There have been so many hundreds of thousands programming hours and ingenuity put into core WordPress and into plugins that WordPress has become an incredible framework and platform unto itself.

    Only a paradigm shift could put another CMS ahead of WordPress.

    That shift is unlikely to come from either Joomla or Drupal.

  215. Chris

    Joomla! isn’t easy to theme? Are you kidding me?? Joom is a piece of cake to theme! Encoded SEF plugin? Give me a break. Messy code? Have you looked at 2.5’s code? I wouldn’t call that messy at all.

    And let’s look at some of the most popular extensions… one of those being Jomsocial… for Joomla, not WP or Drupal. WP has Buddypress, which is a joke compared to Jomsocial, and Drupal, as far as social community, is horrid. Joomla also has better forum extensions, like Agora and Kunena.

    If you truly knew Joomla, you would have known to turn on sef. Then what you have is perfect SEF URL’s. Once I saw that remark, I knew everything else from that point on in your article was biased and lacked merit.

    They all have their advantages and disadvantages, but after working with them all, I firmly believe the best blend of all worlds is Joomla. When you look at all aspects, including Joomla’s slick easy admin interface with one-click updating vs. Drupal’s ugly, clunky, slow admin area and WordPresses limited functionality (without heavily modding)… the clear winner, to the overwhelming majority across the web… is Joomla.

    Sorry, but you’re dead wrong… and in the minority with your belief’s.

  216. Jelte

    Great to see this discussion still running. Thought (since this is your website and you obviously do a great job in writing engaging articles ;) ) I’d take a bit of time to agree with you Alec.
    The CMS of the future is unlikely to be Joomla or Drupal, or WordPress for that matter. Not because they’re no good, but because there’s always somebody who invents something better.

    I like the flow of rising and falling systems. Expanding user bases, building up momentum and then, suddenly, losing it and withering away. There’s something natural about it.

    I love the way they all have their strengths and weaknesses, and the way the development teams make good and bad decisions for no good reasons at all. Then again, I also like a good discussion between an Apple and a Microsoft fan. Or Toyota and Landrover. Or whatever makes people religiously advocating their own choice, feeling the need to find whatever ridiculous argument they can think of to justify their decisions. These discussions all serve a purpose: figuring out what the next great invention needs to look like.

    Meanwhile, for those already knowing which systems is which: whatever makes you whistle when you get out of bed in the morning is the right choice.

  217. George

    My work with CMS is limited, I’ve worked with all 3 systems. I agree with the author, actually. Joomla has given me such a hard time with Drupal you can create everything you want. Worpress, clean code, too and easier to learn. I am a joomla administrator and I am telling you it’s not good!

  218. tony

    Leave all this substandard PHP stuff behind – use Java and build some real, high-end systems that put any PHP system to shame!

  219. @Jelte and others: yes and no. Using the argument that “the best thing is the shiny new one that comes around the corner” is not always true — our consumerist spirit just likes to believe it is. A typical example is Unix: 43 years of rock-solid permanence, and its user base is still growing, and unlikely to disappear just because someone just happened to invent a better operating system. Apple and Microsoft are still around, after 30 years of battles, and they are still the top two companies in the personal computer industry. The Internet, despite its many faults, has launched with 4 nodes 43 years ago (no coincidence — the same year Unix was released ;) ), and it is still around, even though theoretically much better internetworking mechanisms have been proposed and even implemented.

    Good things tend to get better. They don’t tend to disappear and be replaced by something completely different. It’s just mediocre things, which enjoyed success for a while when there were no alternatives (or bad alternatives), that get replaced with something “shiny and new”. Even if you don’t want to stick to examples 30 or 40 years old, you can take a look at Google, eBay, and Amazon — all solid business models, all providing very specialised services in their area, all still around and growing. Of course they have reinvented themselves over the years and got better and better — that’s the whole point. But they all started as very good systems compared to alternatives.

    In my mind, the CMS of the future will evolve from the currently “best” CMS in the present, and not be replaced by something totally different. The only question worth asking is if among the current alternatives there is one that is clearly above all others without a shadow of doubt. This is definitely arguable. I think there is, but I’m biased :)

    @tony: Java: love it or hate it. I’m part of the hater minority, because I have been very unfortunate to maintain Java application servers in the past, and they were a true nightmare to keep up running with high performance. Then again, your experience might be exactly the reverse one. PHP is, IMHO, a good tradeoff: not the fastest of languages; not the most clean to write code upon; but easy to maintain and lightweight enough to make PHP-based application servers a breeze to keep up with high traffic lows on middle-to-low-end hardware. From a system administrator’s perspective, that’s all that matters. But, as said, your experience might be the opposite one, and thus your encouragement to use Java, while I’m usually after rowdy Java programmers with a hot iron :)

  220. Karyah

    Alec, sorry I’m seeing the discussion late. But please experiment with joomla! 2.5 and pray for repentance.

  221. TJR3217

    I have read this entire site and have found it entertaining to say the least. There are MANY fallacious arguments herein by Alec as well as Joomla users.

    I have absolutely no bias, but understand how to spot it and it is everywhere herein, with many people asserting declarations about the virtues of WP (you included, Alec) or the virtues of Joomla. The truth is that after cross referencing this blog with other blog posts, it seems the claims against Joomla are refutable. What is most disturbing is the blog owners continuous / association of obsolete platforms (Mambo / Joomla) with a clear goal of having a gadfly effect.

    I found it incredibly amusing when the tables were turned after being accused of maligning a competitive and useful tool for self-serving purposes (the sale of his own plugins). This may not be absolutely true, but the tonality went from one of condescending and derisive to that of defensive and openly hostile. That was a train wreck, Alec.

    Clearly, people from both camps have had excellent results, myself included. I researched every claim made herein (those of which I had no personal experience) and it seems that most are made from old impressions. It would seem that Alec’s shop positions itself as a WP shop that can provide customization after the major components (plugins) are selected and homogenized. It seems this shop also has some in-house apps it has developed in WP. This suggests that there is a strong motivation for bias. This is not an absolute rule, but it would be foolish to ignore its blatancy.

    One of the questions never answered (among many) was whether or not a 30K page site can be built in WP with the same core that is downloaded. The claim that such a site would require code mods was never refuted. Two other ridiculous references made here were that WP is great for a “simple” site and that Joomla somehow had an ad-hoc (sic) code structure, when it is quite clear that a very sophisticated site can be built in WP and Joomla has been coded from scratch in 1.5 and is now on 2.5 (by the way, 2.5 does have a one click update feature, like WP).

    Both platforms suffer from malfunction when a full core upgrade is made. Then again, so does Social Engine and nearly every other type of system.

    I am familiar with both of these systems and find them both easy to use, with strengths and weaknesses. Overall, they are both solid choices. Alec, I own a virtual consulting firm that helps turn ideas into functioning businesses. I currently employ 11 developers (21 total employees) with various experience in all of the platforms herein as well as Social Engine and others. I have found that a developer with a specific preference will bitch about any given assignment if it does not fit into his or her map of the world. And will cling to his or her core assumptions with a kung fu grip that would make GI Joe jealous.

    You have not substantiated one claim you have made about Joomla other than cryptic references to the shared experience of your shop (your graphic of WP superiority intimates searches, not empirical evidence of actual usage). Referencing this was laughable. I have no ax to grind for Joomla, in fact I prefer to use WP myself, but your assertions here appear to be somewhat baseless and attributable to your own foregone conclusions. You seem to be one of those guys who looks at a circle and says “that just might not be round enough” (that was a fallacious argument based on an appeal to ridicule). Here is a sound and cogent one:

    If Joomla is a horrid CMS system and if it is dying, there would be empirical evidence of a decline in its use. This is not to be confused with a search of WP or Joomla, nor would have anything to do with another CMS platform surpassing it in usage numbers. It would mean that there were less users, YOY, from a baseline sample, independent of any other usage of any other platform.

    This is not the case with Joomla. In fact, it is the opposite. How do you reconcile this? Again, I must point out that I do not have a preference, but did want to point out that you have not provided one shred of evidence of your claims. Therefore, they must be assumed to be merely biased declarations and not facts.

  222. Aracaris

    I have to disagree about Joomla sites having to look like Joomla sites. They can (in my opinion) be very very easy to make look however you want. Same with WordPress and Drupal sites. In fact even though I work most extensively with WP (by far) I find Joomla is the easiest to theme for, and to get to look however it is you want it to look. In many many ways WordPress is the easiest of the three to work with, but I find if you want to do non-standard (for the CMS) designs WordPress is the most challenging out of the three to deal with.

  223. Mike from NetworkCorridor.com

    Enough leave Wpee alone you know as well as anyone he is crying on the inside, listen to his remarks.

    His defense over and again is not to answer the questions about his remarks and the lack of attention to detail, he is simple doing the only thing he can do. That is to bash something he has already demonstrated he knows nothing about..

    He is a cat in a corner and knows he has to continue his rants until he get the comments he needs.

    By the way I simply am looking for my best choice in a CMS presently.

    I think I will call him and ask for 100 joomla sites and see if he changes his mind.

  224. Hey TJ,

    We have excellent results when we are forced to use Joomla! as well.

    These are just my impressions and my team’s impressions from working on both platforms.

    I have never positioned my article above the definitive empirical look at Joomla! I do think if you actually had to do any of the coding yourself, you’d quickly tire of Joomla! As you mention, you prefer to use WordPress yourself. I guess that says it all and the rest of your post is just so much pretentious drivel about the nature of argument.

    You seem to be missing your years in the high school debating club.

    Thanks, but we have websites to develop for clients and a world to change for the better. For the moment, WordPress is the better tool for those goals.

    Hi Mike,

    Your comment is typical of the juvenile mindset of the Joomla! developer, lashing out at anyone who shakes their delusions. Thank heavens this post is the only place where I have to spend time with such people.

    Your point about an order for 100 Joomla! sites:

    We are firmly booked out for the next two months. We are very good at what we do. So no, I wouldn’t go bottom fishing for 100 Joomla! sites. I might try to change the client’s mind about going with WPMU if the project seemed interesting or important enough.

    If the order came from a near and dear client with a very good reason for staying within Joomla! (part of a network with an existing 500 Joomla! sites), I might consider hiring a Joomla! developer. But I’d have to be really attached to the project for affective reasons to do with the mission/content.

    Go ahead and develop in Joomla! It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

    A cursory look at your home page reveals your current development team cannot even manage proportional thumbnails of headshots of your authors.

    networkcorridor com
    networkcorridor com

    Based on your current development standards, Joomla would suit you well.

  225. Mike

    I could not help but notice your comment as I received a message in my in box.

    Regarding your comments we have taken some time away from finishing up the site due to other pressing concerns. In addition to our programmer having been determined to have little experience and only works with WP. Site is getting a redo, thank you none the less.

    If you would allow me to take a look at 10 of your sites I will give you a novice critique of your projects.

    I will offer a critique of your site if I see it appear in my email , but I will not be drawn into your hate for others and joomla, it is not nearly as impressive as you think. I did not like how I saw you treating people then and I still do not.

    List some of your sites here and I will send you some comments. Leave your hate for others at the door and we will get along.

    Good day to you and may your WP trails be good for you and your family especially.

  226. Tony

    A world without Joomla would not be the same, a world without WordPress would not be the same.

    I use them both for the excellent qualities that they have.

    I first listen to what my client desires, then I make my choice, not the way around!

    In the past two months I build tree community based sites for very good paying customers with Joomla 2.5 (2x Jomsocial 1x Community Builder), and two nice and clean looking blogs in WordPress.

    I build my own templates and themes and I love it!

    Don’t turn your back on one of the two, then you will end up on blogs like this trying to defend your choice…

    Love WordPress Love Joomla! Enjoy the best of 2 worlds!

  227. Hi Mike,

    Our sites are a matter of public record in our portfolio.

    If your programmer doesn’t have much experience and you can’t finish your websites, maybe you are lost in the wrong thread here. This is not a body issues group therapy session.

    Your opinion about Joomla, WordPress or Drupal will not help the world or anyone else at this point.

    Hi Tony,

    I don’t think you can go as far as a solo developer riding two horses.

    Thank you for confirming my much disputed point above that one of Joomla’s few remaining strengths compared to WordPress is in community sites.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  228. Tony

    Hi Alec,
    I am a solo developer and I do use Joomla and WordPress. Why not?

    Few remaining strenghts? What do you mean? Joomla is great you are clearly riding one hourse and this website is clearly a WordPress blog.
    You are not only missing the great community features of Joomla, I could name many more. And let’s face it pages/blogs, custom layouts, foto & video gallery’s you can create with just about any decent CMS, but when you look for more you need atleast Joomla and if possible Drupal.

  229. What about the resistance to attack spam for joomla, wordpress, and drupal? thanks ur sharing

  230. ChrisS

    I’m not a web developer, but need to replace a really ugly and badly out-of-date Intranet (created with MS Visual Studio by an ex-employee). We’ve downsized and are now a 60 employee company with fairly standard requirements and a small budget, so I have been researching open source solutions. Thanks for provoking and hosting this discussion, which has been very helpful – WordPress seems to fit the bill. Our IT is supported by a company with both unix and windows expertise, would you recommend using a LAMP or WAMP stack?
    PS Any sign of the Libel writ yet?

  231. Mike


    In your reply to a post we made, I did not say we cannot finish our site (why change my statement), I said we are working on other projects presently, two new software’s and two sites for scratch. Of which most likely we will use our own frame work, or possibly working with Code Igniter, Cake PHP, Kohana, Ruby on Rails.

    Regarding our present project you referred to we will go back, use the same present frame work or build from our own framework, not to be so concerned.

    [long boring usual repeated ad hominem insults, I mean pages and pages of them]

    This has become a little more entertaining and a little less Encyclopedia like.

  232. Hi Tony,

    Would you care to reveal to us what that “more” is for which you need Joomla or Drupal? i.e. which cannot easily and more effectively be executed in WordPress.

    Hi Dewita,

    If you need protection from spam, allow me to recommend FV Antispam which works hand in hand with Akismet to reduce spam to almost nothing (FV Antispam gets the machine spam first and Akismet gets the human spam afterwards).

    If you have a difficult to moderate site, our FV Thoughtful Comments is great, allowing the site owner to do all the moderation in the front end in context.

  233. HI Chris,

    Definitely go for LAMP if you have a choice. I know the Windows version can work, but it’s a pain to work around.

    Hi Mike,

    Usual dilettante rantings from someone who doesn’t know what CMS or even framework to use and thinks everyone else is as clueless s/he is.

    Really go and look at our portfolio and compare it with the miserable crap you’ve done and tell me after that your opinion on frameworks or CMS has any relevance here.

    I.e. put your money where your mouth is.

    We do every day.

    Frankly I’d like to hear from accomplished Joomla developers who have a portfolio and the credentials to back their opinion. The only Joomla advocate with the work to back up his viewpoint I’ve seen is Brian Teeman.

  234. Scott Wolpow

    Most serious developers in Joomla look at your posts a just non-sense.

    But I will suggest a session at the Joomladaynyc.com event coming in September to review all your WP sites.
    Alec, may I ask if we can use one of your sites to see how secure it is?
    And please make it a complex site.
    (No the site for this year is not done yet)

    As to a complex Joomla site look at jfkmc.org. I built that. (no longer associated with it)
    Rebuilding recrib.com in 2.5, then adding new functionality. (The current site was built by another party that did WP sites. I guess Joomla was to hard for them)

  235. Mike


    Why did you sensor my thought for the day, I was finally taking you a little serious.

    It is not as you described, it was not as long as the one on April 4th posted above. I saw it posted as it waited approval.

    My thought is it was truthful and you took a personal offense. Outside of making a statement that I did not think you did your research , I did not say much about you.

    Go ahead and post it, it is not my best work.

  236. Hi Scott,

    Great, so the new approach to some refreshing honesty about Joomla’s code is to try to hack the sites of the messenger.

    Just when I thought the Joomla crowd had reached rock bottom, you surprise me again.

    You are welcome to review our WP sites at JoomlaDayNYC.com.

    Your sample site is not particularly attracive, but does load reasonably spritely. The site could be built in any CMS from what I can see. I don’t see any advantage to Joomla, WordPress or Drupal for such a site. Actually advantage to WordPress and Joomla, as it would be cheaper to develop such a site in either WordPress or Joomla.

    Hi Mike,

    You posts are boring and repetitive. And mostly ad-hominem.

    Anything insightful gets posted. Preferably pithy.

  237. Scott Wolpow

    Are afraid of any type of security testing of one of your WP sites for security issues?

    I said I built it, I did not design it. You should have seen what they wanted. I doubt you could have built the site as fast in WP. There are actually sites that are not apparent.
    BTW this was a nightmare.

    What about lincolncenter.org
    That is a pretty complex site.
    Lots of custom coding.

    I would love to have a build off. WP v Drupal V Joomla

  238. marcel

    well, I use Dreamweaver and Frontpage. I must say: I NEVER saw more b*llsh*t programms as joomla. This is very “nice” for beginners but if you want to make a “serious” website and use a serious content manager, DO NOT USE joomla. It’s normal, it come’s from the “freeware” nonsens. And then, it is not so “free”, once you want to start making advanced pages, you have to pay…

  239. Lars VC

    Is the bullshit detector malfunctioning or is the channel squelch turned down a level or two?
    @Marcel: Could you be so kind, dear sir, to enlighten us and divulge what “serious content managers” you are referring to?

  240. Tony

    @Marcel Frontpage was discontinued in 2006..

    WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, are the top 3 CMS systems that run about 60% of all websites on the internet (with WordPress on top).

    Joomla has millions of users/developers and growing… enough said :)

  241. Hi Scott,

    Any site can be hacked, if the hackers are motivated enough.

    The issue with a build-off is that it would have to be done in controlled circumstances where the number of developers working could be monitored and one could be sure that the requirements were not pre-leaked to one team or another.

    But one could say we are in a build-off every day against Joomla and Drupal. We’ve lost a couple to Drupal (huge budgets, web development an incidental costs in comparison to content generation and advertising) but none to Joomla.

    There are lots of complex WordPress sites in our portfolio. I’ve referred to a few by name above. Try not to be so repetitive Scott. It’s boring for everyone, including me.

  242. Scott Wolpow

    I also do not have any website, yet I am very busy. Besides having over 8 Joomlan 6 Drupal and 2 Magneto jobs.

    I also manage servers for a major Arts company in NYC. (The server gets 20K + uniques a day, so the server has to be optimized with Caching).

    In 2012 I am building my own CMS based on the Joomla Framework form from eBay github.com/eBaySF/joomla-platform I already have 20 monthly clients waiting for it.

    My clients do not care if I have a nice site or not. I am not a designer, but a builder of sites. I create functionality and I hire designers to achieve the look a client wants.

    I solve their needs.

    When I was dealing with sites below $5,000 (which is WordPress) in budget it was very important to have a nice business site. Clients in that range were more concerned with shopping. They did not have the time nor the budget to invest in going through a process.

    When I moved up to the $50K+ level, I found they did not care at all. They wanted my expertise.

    If you want to look at a public site that uses Joomla and I created look at jfkmc.org.

    A very low cost Joomla site is commonsensefund.org
    (Under $3,000)

    I have many others but in most cases I work with Branding and Marketing companies who take the credit. (and yes they also have crappy sites).

  243. Hi Scott,

    You’ve just made my point beautifully above:

    Clients can pay you $50K+ for custom Joomla and Drupal sites.*

    Or they can pay Foliovision (or other first rate WordPress developers) between $2,500 and $15,000 for WordPress sites.

    I can see that situation is very advantageous to you. I cannot see that it is so advantageous to your clients.

    I really don’t understand the pride you and your partners take in having crappy sites. Happily for the community, not all Joomla developers are so indolent. Brian Teeman’s site is superb.

    You are fortunate to have such tolerant clients who are happy to be paying more for less.

    * Sites with a lot of lock-in as Drupal requires a lot of unique code for every site.

    ** Sites with very little lock-in as most of the functionality can be built out with existing public plugins. Most of what is custom can be programmed in a minimalist way, using existing calls comparatively easily unravelled by a new programmer.

  244. Scott Wolpow

    The Drupal projects I am working on now can not be done in WP or Joomla, without a lot of hacking or building your own extensions.
    The Joomla projects can not be done in WP because WP lacks the functionality. ie good ACL without using BuddyPress, which is another nightmare.

    For instance I am building a site where you can have peer to peer selling with triggers based on actions or inaction.
    On the lower end, I can build a site in Joomla just as fast as you can in WP.

    In order to do a fantastic job I must go through the correct process. That means discovery, IA, wireframes, and mock-ups.
    A budget of 2,500 for me precludes that.
    But I am in New york City, not Slovakia.
    Our cost and standard of living is much higher.
    Our population density is also higher and we have larger business who can afford to pay my rates.
    However I am starting a division for lower budget sites and would hire your companies like yours for those jobs.

    As to having a crappy site of my own, I am simply too busy, but I am finishing off phase one of my new corporate site.
    I do not get business from people searching for a web developer, I get it from word of mouth.
    My company builds business, nit just a site.

  245. Hi Scott,

    Thank you for your detailed response.

    Actually Scott our Euro is worth more than your American dollar. Sure NYC is an overpriced hellhole, but I would not characterise Bratislava/Vienna region as low-cost. I would say our standard of living is a great deal higher than yours: we enjoy the clean Danube, nearby forests, reasonable café prices and far more affordable high culture. Nor do we have to face ludicrous rents.

    Through agile development and experience, we manage to eliminate a great deal of “process” passing the savings directly onto our clients.

    You are cherry picking prices: $2,500 to $15,000. We do build sites up to $25,000 but that includes content work which I did not include in the development budget.

    You simply cannot build the same quality of site in Joomla that we can build in WordPress in the same time. Joomla at the low (and for the most part middle) end looks like Joomla: and that is bad news.

    Our clients are all over the world, including in New York City. I don’t know how you can stand the NYC clients btw: the most unpleasant and unreasonable we face. It’s that population density thing: rats become very aggressive as well when packed too tightly.

    Basically you are getting your clients through personal networking. We get most of our clients via referral and repeat business as well. The exclusive (dis)advantage I can see for your clients is that they get to meet with you in person. Our clients for the most part never meet us face to face, although we do video conferencing and hands-on training via screensharing.

    We’ve built helped many clients build businesses from X hundred thousands per year to X millions per year as well.

    But we are getting a long way away from CMS here.

    I do not think building peer to peer selling would be any more difficult in WordPress than Joomla.

  246. Scott Wolpow

    The Euro, that currency that is about to collapse?
    New York City is the center of the world. That is why everyone wants to be here.
    If you can make it in NYC you can make it anywhere (a nod to Frank).
    I can also have three major airports to take me anywhere in the world.
    Within a 1 hours drive I have mountains and beautiful country side.
    We have the clean Hudson river, where you can Kayak.
    There is a movie studio down the street where they filmed MIB 3.

    We have non-stop culture, and most of it is affordable. I realize that what we can afford and what you can afford is different.
    We make more money here.

    >> You simply cannot build the same quality of site in Joomla that we can build in WordPress in the same time. Joomla at the low (and for the most part middle) end looks like Joomla: and that is bad news.
    That is pure nonsense. You can make any Drupal, WP or Joomla site look like anything.

    And what does a Joomla site look like?

    [examples stripped as unfinished development sites]

    I agree that a person who does not know what they are doing will keep the default templates. The same goes for WP sites.

  247. NYC is the last place on earth I’d like to be, apart from perhaps some of the more violent cities in Africa.

    Your arrogance and myopia is typical of the denizens of NY.

    The banker/trader parasites harbored in New York make more money. Everyone else? In relation to the prices/rents, not really.

    New York is a horrible place to live, unless you have more money than sense.

    It is harder to get a Joomla site to look like something else than the default template. There are a lot of Joomla developers who neglect to do so. Still there are enough offenders on the WordPress side as well (Thesis sites anyone?). Fair point.

  248. Sam

    I used Drupal before, but I find it complicated for someone like me. I am student and while I am taking computer science courses too, I think it is time consuming to make a site look good on Drupal compared to WordPress. The lack of a good selection of themes and plug-ins can be a huge problem when you are a personal blogger.

    For commercial use, Drupal is great, but for general daily use WordPress is better. The security of Drupal far exceed the security of WordPress too.

  249. Julia

    I have used Joomla! (1.5 & 1.6) to build 2 small web sites – I wanted to try it out. I’m afraid that I hate it. I just do not understand the terminology. Following examples always left me flummoxed because basic terms were not explained – e.g. what was an article and how does it relate to a web page? So – as a developer it just did not work for me. I did eventually manage to jump on the CSS long enough to get it to do what I wanted, but really not for me. So, I’ve really enjoyed the article and following discussions (why are Joomla! fans so uptight?), and am off to try WordPress.

  250. It’s probably catnip to the cats, but some of you may be interested in our evaluation of WordPress 3.4.

    WordPress 3.4: More eye candy instead of much needed performance fixes

    It’s really high time Matt Mullenweg and crew focused on core scale issues.

  251. Hmm perhaps the “CMS of the future” might be… a mix.

    Here is another little story. A potential client I might get, a non-profit, has been using Drupal for some years and is very happy with it — the site is
    pretty fast, has all the functionality the client needs, has flexible different areas, all driven from a single point, and, in general, they were enthusiastic about Drupal. There was just a slight catch: the backoffice is a bit daunting, specially when introducing new content producers to the site. While a mandatory complex backoffice in Drupal is a thing of the past — I’m aware there are a lot of ways to expand Drupal so that it’s backoffice becomes really very simple — being a non-profit, they have some reluctance in doing some costly development hired from pro Drupal programmers, or, as an alternative, paying for expensive training for the latest content producers. Some of those have thus moved to WordPress for areas that require a lot of updating.

    When this came up to my attention, I thought that it was pretty silly to move bits of a rather good site (a moderately complex one) from Drupal to WordPress. Drupal can most certainly handle the bits that currently WordPress is doing. And the backoffice, as said, can be simplified. On the other hand, if most of the users editing the site seemed to be already familiar with WordPress, the thought crossed my mind that the alternative would be to redo the whole site in WordPress. How long would that take?

    The biggest issue seemed to be that there where several different areas with different layouts — one of which actually having a totally different look, unrelated with the original design. WordPress, in the past, was viewed as not being very good at handling those. The customer, in this case, wants to have the ability to quickly add new areas (or tweak existing ones) by moving bits around — e.g. no sidebar, different article layout, extra menus on some areas but not all, and so forth. Plain old WordPress is not up to that from scratch — traditionally, this also required custom programming, and, as such, it would be a little pointless to abandon Drupal, which handles this kind of thing easily, for WordPress, which would require custom programming.

    So looking around for some ideas on how to do a demo to show off the possibilities of WordPress I stumbled across something called the Gantry Framework. Joomla fans will be familiar with it: this was something developed by Rocket Themes for Joomla, some while ago, and subsequently ported for WordPress. Inspired by Joomla, Gantry introduces the ability to split a page’s layout in dozens upon dozens of elements, each being tweakable (from the backoffice, not via custom programming), and allowing as many different combinations in the same site as desired. Doing completely different sites from one menu option to another menu option is as easy as clicking two buttons and setting a slider or two, and dragging and dropping a new set of widgets on that custom configuration — not a single line of code is needed.

    Well, I thought, this is “it”. Thanks to work done using the Joomla philosophy, and subsequently ported to WordPress, now I had a tool that transformed WordPress in something worth competing head-to-head with Drupal — but requiring no programming. In fact, I was actually surprised that I could develop from scratch an almost-perfect clone of a Drupal medium-sized and medium-complexity site — in just two weeks. I got carried away and went way beyond just a demo: after getting used to do things “the Gantry way” (or should I say “the Joomla way?”), which took a few days to learn, I pretty much did all the site and even copied over 95% of the content. This impressed me most of all :) Sure, the “demo site” is not a 100% faithful “clone” of the Drupal site — there is a lot of CSS tweaking to be done, and while perhaps 90% of the CSS is now properly replicated, the remaining 10%, to make the “demo site” a pixel-perfect copy, would probably take me another two weeks (plus fixing some slight bugs here and there).

    The potential client was impressed. It has still not become a client yet, but postponed a decision to after a big event they’re having which requires all their attention (and the site needs to be up during all that time!).

    The conclusion? WordPress, borrowing a framework from Joomla, suddenly is able to compete head-to-head with Drupal in terms of flexibility — handling everything from the backoffice, with point-and-click, drag-and-drop, push-slide approach, and sprinkling a bit of CSS around. The Gantry Framework is not perfect. Many people comment that it is too slow, breaks a lot of plugins (for example, I’ve certainly not managed to get it working with the popular e-commerce solutions like WP-Commerce or WooCommerce — both “insisting” to be frameworks of their own and not “playing nice” with Gantry or any other “foreign” frameworks — I had to go with eShop, a much simpler e-commerce solution which however allows for far more simpler personalisation; a similar problem appeared with The Event Calendar, which I had to replace with Event Manager, which has the same functionality but requires more CSS to look as nice as The Event Calendar), and has some bugs which frustrate serious WP developers — some blaming Rocket Themes for basically being too Joomla-friendly and treating their WP port as a “secondary” accomplishment. I cannot claim to be knowledgeable enough with the Gantry Framework to either agree or disagree with these statements. What I know is that it pushed WordPress into a somewhat completely new level. I wouldn’t be surprised if many pro WP developers, looking at the demo site I did in two weeks, would believe me that I haven’t added a single line of PHP anywhere, and that an end-user with little knowledge of WordPress can create completely new layouts from scratch just by visually clicking on options on the backoffice.

    Joomla functionality and philosophy, Drupal flexibility and adaptability, WordPress ease-of-use, and no custom programming required: that’s what WordPress is able to offer today, with just the right combination of frameworks and plugins. Perhaps the only catch is that by forcing WordPress to do all that, performance suffers — I cannot be sure (I have so many layers of caches, proxies, and optimisations on top of everything that it’s hard to say!). I can tell that the original site in Drupal is far faster and more responding that the “demo” I did — but it runs on a multiple-core dedicated server with probably little else besides Drupal in it, while my “demo” is on a popular shared hosting server with a thousand websites, so the comparison is unfair…

  252. Brentini

    This is just about the most ignorant post on this particular subject that I have ever seen!

    How long does it take to convert an xhtml/css based template to a dynamic CMS like Joomla (or for that matter Drupal or WordPress)? Literally 20 minutes at the most. Seriously! Noob alert!

    The author of this article is at the height of ignorance and is clearly a noob!

    Hire a real developer. The CMS is irrelevant to any good developer. It is only based upon the preference of the client. If you cannot code, time to learn how to, or give up and let the grown-ups talk now!

  253. Brentini, you are clearly not working on the same caliber of sites we are.

    Most top tier sites not include a lot of advanced functionality built directly into the template, which also interacts with a sophisticated set of plugins.

    That level of work cannot be properly coded in twenty minutes, even by Mozart.

  254. I have been reading this page since yesterday and I am surprised at the thoughts put down by the OP.

    I am sure a lot of people have done justice to Alec's wrong opinion about joomla.

    I am a Nigerian based Developer and I used to go the long route of Dreamweaver et al. I ran into Joomla in 2009, self-taught myself (not so difficult as you are made to believe) and since then I have been using joomla for all my clients and its been so great an experience for me.

    I was once a WP user but the allure of joomla made me desert WP and since then I've had no regret(s)

    You don't have to make your sites look the same, with knowledge of CSS, we customise our templates to our client's desire/taste.

    Alec, you like Drupal, we like Joomla. Let us joomla fans be.

    @Scott, if you ever need to pass down jobs of $2,500 etc, we will gladly help handle it. That is no small amount here in Nigeria. I am sure Alec can pass that over too. :)

    Some of our joomla jobs are below:


    cheers all.

  255. phpfunk web development

    Your review of the three platforms is spot-on. I agree with you 100%.

  256. Alan

    I love being a developer that can step back from the front end theming and just enjoy programming what I need with the minimum of fuss.

    I’m interested in the limits suggested above:

    “As for performance I know of a Joomla powered site that gets 40,000 logins per minute.”

    This would make about 650 hits per second. Bootstrap memory being around 32MB of a small site (being generous here) and a 2 second load, that’s 1300 concurrent requests on the server and as PHP doesn’t share memory, that is about a 42GB RAM hit. This is probably more hits than a standalone Apache server could handle even if all extensions were disabled and the site was static HTML. Maybe the logs were misread?

    Personally, I think WordPress is the choice for non-developers / designers and that Drupal is the choice for developers.

  257. Scott Wolpow

    The site is quizilla.com Not sure what they are running now, but the person who built it used Joomla core

  258. Ok, I have a decision to make. We need to reprogram http://www.indonesiaorganic.com for tons of reasons, too extensive to list.

    I’ve been told it’s a directory site by a Druple programmer who said I HAD to have Druple. I just talked to a WordPress programmer who said it’s a blog site. I talked to a Joomla programmer who said anyone recommending WordPress just ‘doesn’t want to do Joomla or doesn’t know how’.

    I don’t care as long as I get a LOT more functionality, able to grow to thousands of pages, improve everything (such as 2 level drop down menu), easier CMS than what we have, potential to add ecoommerce. We also need a 2 language site, either with a better translator than Google Translator or a human translate and enter.

    Druple quote was $15,000 (western prices, here less). WordPress quote $1200, Joomla $2,200.

    WordPress – need 2 parallel sites for 2 languages, Joomla can use Joomla program with one site and most 2nd language needs to be entered.

    Money is a HUGE issue and we need to . I don’t want to program AGAIN in a short time so we need to invest in this now with assurance that it will last use for 3-5 years with our planned HUGE growth.

    How do I choose?

  259. Hi Darsih,

    Thanks for stopping by.

    I see no reason to build two parallel sites in WordPress.

    We recently built a site in three languages on a single install with qTranslate, including updating FV Simpler SEO to work with qTranslate: http://kittseetanz.at

    There’s only a single post number for each post.

    If money is such a huge issue, you might want to scale back your specs and focus on the core until you have more resources. Or find more funding Why should developers work on your commercial project for free?

  260. Scott Wolpow

    @Darsih It is not a Drupal site.
    You could build it is Joomla and use the built-in multilingual capabilities.

    Why build more than one site?

  261. Hi, thank you for the quick response.

    Great info about languages, I can give info to the WP programmer if we go that way.

    Re funding, we’ll find the funding when we know we can talk about what we’re getting as a good investment and effective.

    The project is a not-for-profit, social enterprise, so not commercial. We hope to fund through a company’s CSR program.

    The site you referred to is a very basic blog, not at all what our site will be.

    *****With the HUGE difference in quotes and my not understanding the ‘whys’ of the 3 languages/programs, I’m still confused about which to use, given that the 3 I’ve talked to all call the site different things: blog or directory site.

    So the question remains, who can recommend whether to use Druple, WP, or Joomla for us?

  262. @Scott, Quizilla is using something called "QWizard Portal Platform 1.0 [Lancelot]", whatever that is. It doesn't look like Joomla to me, but it could be a heavily-modified version of Joomla. At least it runs PHP (calling index.php on that site works).

  263. Hello Darsih,

    I concur with alec; there is no reason whatsoever for doing two parallel sites on WordPress for two different languages. I personally use WPML which is not a free plugin, but it’s incredibly cheap. You can see a comparison between qTranslate and WPML. And these are not the only plugins doing translations (both tying in with automatic translations, or manual translations done by professionals) but probably the two best known.

    Looking at your prices, I would only say the following: your current website is of the kind that is very, very easy to do BUT has a lot of content to transfer. It doesn’t even support a RSS feed, so I can guess it will be hard to export all the content. So maybe the companies that provided you quotes are also charging for the time it takes to copy everything.

    $15,000 for such a Drupal site seems to be rather high. BUT perhaps they are taking into account the amount of time they charge you to move all the content. It still seems a bit high, though.

    $2200 for a Joomla site seems adequate, but I’m almost sure they expect you to copy all the content by yourself. Have they proposed a standard template or are they giving you a pesonalised design? If so, I’d consider it very cheap; a commercial, personalised design should cost around US$1000-2000, depending on its quality.

    By contrast, US$1200 for a WordPress site seems rather cheap. I would not advise using that company, just for one reason: they don’t seem to be aware that you can use WPML/qTranslate to turn WordPress into a platform fully supporting multiple languages. Also, for that price, I’m sure they’re not giving you a personalised web design, nor copying the content over.

    So I would get back to each company and ask them the following questions:

    1) Are you aware of plugins/extensions allowing multiple languages to be used in a single website from the same backoffice? Do you have experience in doing multilingual websites?
    2) Are you including a standard, free template? Or are you suggesting a commercial template which I can pick from a list? (These are usually very cheap, from US$15 to $70 or so) Or are you doing a fully personalised web design just for my website?
    3) Does your quoted price include the cost of manually copying all the existing content to the new site?

    Once you ask all these, I can imagine that the Drupal developers will answer “yes” to everything and add a personalised web design for you. This would explain their higher price, and would perhaps not be so far off. The WordPress developers you’ve contacted are too cheap — they will very likely not give you a personalised design, nor move the content over. And they clearly have no experience creating multilingual websites. Stay away from them :) I cannot comment on the Joomla developers.

    As a comparison, I’m currently moving a set of sites created with four different platforms (one of which is Drupal) which is far, far more complex than your own website — it includes events, calendars, e-commerce, auctions, two different blogs, galleries, plus a wealth of information — but which has less content overall. Everything is to be placed under a single administration backoffice using WordPress, with three completely different layouts (not merely small changes, but three different templates), two of which have been adapted from the existing web design (meaning that I couldn’t use a “standard” solution but convert the HTML for use by WordPress) and which have slight differences depending on the section/area. All the content is to be moved manually. I will charge US$3000-5000. A completely new web design from scratch would be some US$1000-2000 on top of that (I would have to hire a professional web designer for that, and integrate their HTML on the WordPress platform). I don’t charge more for multilingual sites: after all, it’s just another plugin to add.

    Hopefully this information is useful for you.

    All the best of luck for your project!

  264. Hi Darsih,

    The site I referred to you is working in three languages. If you’d like to see a complicated site, we can show you some of those too but they are not trilingual. In any case, it looks to me like you were fishing for a free professional consultation. How nice of Gwyneth to help you.

    I’m still far from convinced that your project is not for profit. The CDDB started as open sourced user generated content before it mysteriously became Gracenote.

    Hi Gwyneth,

    Thanks for additional suggestions on WP multilingual sites.

    Foliovision would not want to take this project on under any circumstances. Unlimited deliverables, constant budget pressure, infinite feature creep.

    A project like this, for the developer, is almost certain to end in tears. And I don’t think Darsih would care a bit.

  265. Scott Wolpow

    It is a custom Joomla install and was the catalyst to separating Joomla Platform from the framework.
    That framework is now available.
    The newest Joonla has CLI.
    You can use the above tomake just an appand build your own custom app using the core.

  266. Hi Gwyneth Llewelyn,

    Everything you said is very valuable and I learned a lot. I can’t ethically go looking for funding if I don’t know what I’m talking about and need to know that I will ethically use donor(s) funds. I just iidn’t know how to evaluate which of the 3 (subject) to use. I’ve read everything I could google for and was still confused.

    It sounds like you recommend Joomla. The programmer who gave me the quote is Indonesian, married to an American, living and programming in Joomla in Florida over 10 years. Here in Indonesia, good programmers are few, if any. I’ve been burned twice before with ‘local’ programmers because I didn’t know enough, wasted my personal funds.

    The prev quotes included moving only up to 15 pages, the remainder I will do, up nights if need be. However, you have inspired me to ask her to quote moving the whole thing. She may be faster than me, especially if she could use some technology that I don’t know. Thank you Gwyneth.

    I worked with techie programmers, so I understand that you’re just grouchy. I’m American, married to an Indonesian organic farmer (all his own small business) and worked in management positions in Silicon Valley and the US for decades. I’ve used every cent I have left in the world to do this, and it IS not-for-profit – I work 12-14 hours a day by myself at this point. My rent is $200/month and I live and work in a village house, don’t even have a car, only a motorbike. If you’d like an overview, I can send it to you. Profits will be reinvested into other social eco projects – that’s not-for-profit. I don’t need to make more than enough to feed and clothe myself for the rest of my days – we are a social entrepreneur initiative to help more than ourselves.

    I’m not shopping for a developer and apologize if that’s what this page is for – I thought it was a conversation blog. I give away huge amounts of information all the time because I’m becoming a resource and expert in this area.

    I was not looking for a quote, I was looking for expert help to determine which of the 3 programs I should use, why prices for the 3 quotes given me were so different. Gwyneth answered that, graciously.

    My reference to 3 languages was programming languages, apologies for confusing you. My post was for help on the subject to know how to evaluate between the 3 programming languages.

    To the other readers, thank you for listening to my questions (and my little rant in return). Always open to learn more if others wish to comment.

  267. Who owns your site Darsih? I imagine you do. I for one am not falling for your sad tale.

    I’m sorry, but you weren’t looking to contribute to the conversation. You were after a personal consultation.

    While there is some good information in Gwyneth’s reply, she does miss the major point. Which is the point of the article above which pretty clearly answers your questions above.

    * Drupal is expensive
    * there is no real point to using Joomla, it’s a second best alternative put next to WordPress
    * you can do what you want better, cheaper and faster in WordPress

    You don’t need to determine the differences between CMS frameworks, you need to find a good developer. For that you need some resources. Or trick someone into working for free.

    And no I’m not grouchy but I am very suspicious of people who behave like you – who don’t do any useful background research and then jump into advanced conversations with basic questions. Frankly I should not have published your first post and may still remove it. “I’m just asking…” sounds rather like practised and cynical excuse from you.

    Based on your post here, the “huge amounts of information” you give away is largely disinformation and red herrings. I pity the recipients of your largesse.

    Constructive contribution and informed comment about the pluses and minuses of Drupal, Joomla and WordPress is the subject of this conversation.

  268. To be very honest, I just participated in one Drupal project and two Joomla projects — while I have developed close to a hundred WordPress ones on my own, often with just a designer as a tiny team. Of course those WordPress projects widely varied in scope and complexity; and many of those were done for charities (or for my own personal use!), and, as such, while they might have been “interesting” in terms of learning to develop under WordPress, don’t obviously count. Others, while they were for commercial entities on a low budget, were hardly more than just a commercial web template pasted on top of a standard WP installation with a few plugins, and sold as a “finished product” — because that’s pretty much what WP can do for relatively simple projects, and the clients didn’t complain: they got exactly what they wished for — a flashy site, with lots of appeal, looking highly finished and professional, done in just a few days. It’s not only possible to do that in WP pretty easily, but it’s rather what WP is so good at. If that’s the case — Darsih mentions “just 15 pages” — I can very well imagine that you can get a quote for merely US$1200 for a brand new WP install. It’s certainly possible to do it for even less: as said, even a gorgeous commercial template may cost no more than US$70, and if nothing more is needed than “just 15 pages” of content, well, for US$1200, I would even throw in free hosting for 5 years in the bargain :) I just mentioned that a WP developer that didn’t know about WP’s multilingual abilities was not a serious one to consider!

    I didn’t understand the issue about “the three programming languages”. Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress are all developed in PHP, and besides JavaScript, I wouldn’t expect developers to need to learn any other programming language.

    Saying all that, and taking my limited knowledge of Drupal and Joomla into account, I totally agree that I have missed the main point, which is that I cannot understand the interest or need to develop in Joomla these days, but I would compare that to the same level of stubbornness that makes people continue to use outdated software because they’re so familiar with it and refuse to move on :) I still have nightmares when my two Joomla clients get in touch with me because one or two things aren’t working as they should and expect me to figure out what’s wrong with them — and I’m totally clueless about what’s wrong. The more WP evolves, and the more fancy plugins are introduced that change specific aspects of WordPress to make it work in so different ways — and I evaluate lots of new plugins every month, just to get a taste on what people are doing and pushing WP into limits as yet unexplored — the more I get amazed that people are still sticking to ancient or proprietary platforms, for no other reason than a misguided delusion that they are “better” somehow, or because the meme that “WP is for bloggers” is so old and so often repeated that it’s pretty much impossible to shake it off.

    It’s true that I have yet to install a very recent Joomla version to make an honest comparison. But the point is that I’m very reluctant to do so. What would be my reason for wasting precious time in doing that? For me, the crucial point is that someone is selling a plugin to allow WP to work inside Joomla, which somehow acknowledges that the only way to get around some of Joomla’s limitations is just to install WP “inside” it. The reverse doesn’t exist; in fact, several tools have been developed to ease the transition from Joomla to WordPress and I intend to use that one to get rid of one of my Joomla installs (I only wished I could do the same to the other one as well!).

    Still, there is some criticism I can make about WordPress. One is that the sheer amount of functionality starts to “weigh” a bit on the overall engine. The original post here at Foliovision is more than a year old: WP has been extensively developed since then — every year it seems to bring out as much new functionality as all the past years taken together! (and all that without breaking legacy support with older versions!) — and now I’m noticing that things just take a little bit longer to work. Fortunately, WP is very optimised to display content; it’s when content gets added that things may take a bit longer than before.

    The other criticism is that starting a new theme from scratch — specially one designed for a very complex website with lots of different page templates — is not as smooth as it could be. Most frameworks I’ve tried — and be patient with me, I just tried out a dozen, there are far more of them around, and perhaps I’ve missed the “right” one — assume that web designers will create “WP-friendly” templates which can be easily integrated into the framework. Putting it in plain English: those framework developers assume that anyone using them will create a design that takes their own particular CSS guidelines into account. This works well for web designers who are, at the same time, WP developers.

    Since I’m not a web designer, but have to work from existing templates sent to me by external web designers, who have no clue about WP “framework guidelines”, I can pretty much get any sort of garbage that has to be “tailored” to work inside a specific template. This is not always easy. On the current project I’m working on, which fortunately didn’t have a strict deadline, I attempted to “port” the existing template successively to four different frameworks — Gantry, Essence, Roots, WordPress Bootstrap — and at each stage I stumbled upon hurdles that would take so much time to overcome that I had to give up on them. All these definitely need the web design to be tailored to their specific requirements — it takes too long otherwise. I had to fall back — with some reluctance — to the old Carrington framework, which is a bit dated (e.g. it doesn’t yet use the get_template_part() standard WP functionality but replaces it with its own way of dealing with partial templates), and has its own quirks. But it works beautifully with web designs that weren’t created having WP in mind — even though it adds unnecessary overhead.

    This is not necessarily WP’s fault: WP, at its core, provides tons of different ways to help developers to “port” design, and there is really no “best” method for doing that. At the end of the day it mostly depends on the developer to pick what he or she prefers to complete a project in WP quickly. Sometimes it might be easier to adapt existing CSS to “fit” into a specific template than to work around the template framework to deal with “uncompliant” (from the WP perspective!) CSS; on other times, the reverse is sometimes easier to do, even at the cost of some loss of functionality for not using a more sophisticated framework.

    Maybe you could run a feature article comparing a few frameworks/templates you have run across in the past; I understand that you use now your own framework for most WP development.

  269. Hi Gwyneth,

    We’re just adding some more webservers and while we are at it we are switching most of our hosting from Litespeed to nginx. Names are back. It turns out nginx does not like short form PHP tags and ignores them but without throwing an error. We’ll regex for them going forward.

    What you’ve said about dread of using Joomla rings very true so I won’t comment further.

    In terms of WordPress getting top heavy, it is something which concerns me. I would prefer that there were stable releases with security fixes (not at 2.0 or 3.0 but at 2.9.2 BEFORE new features get put in). For the moment, it is under control although I highly recommend that everyone involved with WordPress get very good at implementing a caching solution (we prefer WP Super Cache for stability, W3 Total Cache has too many configuration issues). Just today we did a 1000 user test on LoadImpact and found that by turning off WP Super Cache our load times went 10x higher and we couldn’t handle more than a few hundred users. With WP Super Cache behind nginx, we were able to handle over 1000 concurrent users with no slow down and almost no CPU load. We have no idea yet just how many concurrent users we could handle and it would cost us hundreds of dollars to find out.

    Frameworks: we highly recommend TwentyTen for speed, compatibility and lack of cruft. I also had some fun with Justin Tadlock’s Prototype this summer. The code was quite clean. We are not entirely convinced by the need for a framework and daughter themes. If you want lightweight, code as close to scratch as possible with no unnecessary CSS or admin options or extra libraries. Most commercial themes are completely out of control.

  270. xanthusmccoy

    Easy to teach them how to do what they need to do and what they need to stay away from in WordPress. Although I was billing them more for cleaning up Joomla “oop’s I dunno what I did” errors I like them feeling more competent because they are much happier paying me and asking me to help with what they are not comfortable.

  271. Paul Donovan

    I have developed lots of sites with Joomla ever since the split from Mambo — dropped Mambo completely then. I’ve become quite comfortable using it. But alas it seems like I can never teach any of my clients how to manage their own web sites and they all seem to grumble every time they want to do anything with it.
    I am starting to build in WordPress. Its’ low overhead, simple nature, is good for basic sites that don’t need a lot of features (but can expand to lots too). I just don’t want to waste all the time I’ve spent learning Joomla to do the re-learning of WordPress.
    I “know about” Drupal but I’m not even interested in trying it out (after a bad first intro 3 or 4 years ago).
    I have one client who had a site built with Moveable Type — Yikes that developer didn’t know what he was doing, its a mess. And the site has mushroomed into chaos and I can’t convert it to something else because it’s a huge site with too many posts.
    Joomla gets a 6 on the 1-10 scale. WordPress gets a 7. Drupal gets a 1. Moveable Type gets a 4.

  272. Raymond

    Hi Alec,

    Nice article there. After going through around 90 comments from top I have been swinging around to use joomla again, now that version 3 has been announced too, however, due to previous experience with joomla, and the amount of time I spent with wordpress after that, I don’t think I am going to give it a second look by any chance.

    There may be great joomla developers but to use joomla one exactly needs to be that, a great joomla developer. WordPress is far more intuitive and easy to use than joomla. and if wordpress.com is running on wordpress I don’t see issues with scalability. One only needs to know how.

    On that note I would like some suggestions. I am trying to build an article directory using wordpress, i built one too but I am having constant performance issues. I constantly have to switch hosts or be worried about downtime. Can you give me some tips on how to go about a wordpress site with constantly growing userbase and content.

    my site is [deleted – spammy article directory, the kind thrown out of Google’s index during Penguin updates]

  273. Thanks for sharing your real world experience Paul.

    Raymond, your spammy article directory seems to be running okay. You probably need to tune your caching. We recommend Hyper Cache these days (both WP Total Cache and WP Super Cache have had their issues lately).

  274. Leon

    Not sure what all the negative comments are about joomla. Joomla sites look like joomla sites when they have a bad developer. I have built sites that look nothing like joomla sites. Budgets everyone. Joo la is more widely used than any other cms. It also has the largest extension, template, support and general communities than any other open source product. Design, implementation, security, usage and feel are up to a good developer that takes time to do a good job. Cheers.

  275. Raymond

    @Alec: Lol, yes my A D looks spammy because of the articles and in-the-face ads. I don’t know but I really, didn’t post my link here, for link value. I genuinely needed advice. I already searched a lot on google for a solution but I thought an expert advice would be a very good thing to move in the right direction.

    This project is an experiment so I am doing all sorts of different things on it, learn new thins.

    I always have my sitebackup.zip and sql.zip ready to do and undo my site after each thing I try on it. This site gives me enough traffic, content and pressure on resources to learn things I want to learn. Site behavior and user behavior.

    I am trying to learn how to control high traffic WP site without downtime. I can take down this site anytime without any problem but doing the same on my production site would be even unthinkable. The ads keep away serious and real users. Current users won’t mind if the site goes down.

    So I don’t mind the traffic and spam and google as well.

    I only mind how I can control the uptime without affecting user experience on site. I am just one man. I have a social project which I want to execute using WP. There would be a lot of traffic and content so I thought a little hands on training on a dummy site would be good. This A D is just a dummy site.

    My site is working fine right now because I moved my site to a higher spec VPS, from the shared account it was earlier (after one full month of downtime on it). I am using wp-supercache as of right now. I tried using WTC but it crashed my site immediately after activation and WSC has memory and cpu usage issues.

    So I wanted to know how I should go about it. I will try the hyper cache plugin with the DNS round robin and cloud solutions that I found while waiting for reply here.

  276. Hi Leon,

    The dislike of Joomla has everything to do about how difficult it is for an end user to learn and what a bear Joomla! is to program/customize (unless you’re Brian Teeman but I don’t think Brian would have any issues writing great code for WordPress).

    For the end user, you need to special training: a bad sign for any software: although I have to say the built-in WordPress media manager is a bit of a nightmare as well, our Foliopress WYSIWYG is a lot easier to use to post images with a simple lightbox. What is especially confusing is the elaborate structure to a Joomla site (don’t bother to tell me how it works: I know, I’ve built successful Joomla! sites).

    For the developer, the convoluted code base is really frustrating after working with better structured code like WordPress or even Drupal. A good developer can work around it. I mean people manage to cook gourmet meals while they are canoe camping. It doesn’t mean that it’s the easy way to do it.

    Hi Raymond,

    WordPress does need good caching and decent hardware backing it up if you are trying to run a large and sophisticate site. If most of your users are logged in (forum/group weblog), you’ll need a lot more power behind your site as caching doesn’t work very well for logged in users (there are real tradeoffs to be made when caching heavily for logged in users, i.e. they won’t see the latest comments). But all forums require more metal or at least a stronger VPS so this is not unique to WordPress.

    Our Thoughful Comments really helps if you are using WordPress like a kind of forum/discussion site.

  277. WordPress is well known for being the least secured CMS.Furthermore,WP plug-ins and designs too come with their talk about of online cyber criminals and uses.

    while in Drupal Growth, however, seems to be the most secured CMS of the three, with the least wide range of online cyber criminals and uses, on a typical.

  278. Expert commentary on CMS security from someone who runs her own home page on tripod and posterous.


    You couldn’t invent this nonsense if you tried.

  279. OneCebu Team

    Your views are well pointed. That’s the reason why I choose Drupal, because when the need arises to scale up and serve a much much bigger community and more complex requirements. I’m sure Drupal could handle the job very well.

  280. Alec, great article! Something people are hungry for to read. Especially the potential clients….

    I completely agree about the crappy commercial WordPress themes (most of the experience made with E****** Themes and t****f*****.net) which we had to use for low budget projects. A company comes, they want a spaceship but pay for a horse trailer. So what to do, you try with a commercial, sometimes expensive theme that “fits the most” for this project. And what you can get is heavy to load, slowing down the whole thing, difficult to customize and at once, just making a very messy thing with the service you would like to deliver. I would suggest to the designers who cannot code from scratch a fully blown WordPress theme:
    1) work with a developer who can, or
    2) migrate to some online solution which you investigate that it is bullet proof, where you can recreate your web designs, or
    3) find a framework that can keep the things together and not just to create even more problems – good output code, easy to handle, easy to optimize, and so on, and
    4) investigate, check, investigate and check again until you get to the right premium theme developers out there. After couple of tryouts you will start to distinguish mediocre from good.

    And of course the host – if you’re building wordpress sites, work with a host for wordpress sites.

  281. Rowby

    For those using this article to decide on whether to use Joomla, please be aware that the initial postings are seriously out of date.

    Joomla 3.0 is a much different animal from Joomla from April 2011. Without wanting to go into details, I only suggest you Google to more current reviews comparing Joomla to other CMS solutions.

  282. Ahmad Alfy

    @Rowby, Irregardless of the date, this post is a junk. Joomla at April 2011 was never that bad.

  283. What is so much better about Joomla than when this article was written?

  284. Rowby

    Joomla 3.has many new features and because it no longer has to support the old “Mambo” and Joomla 1.0 code it makes it easier and more efficient for developers to create new extensions. Also with the adoption of the Bootstrap framework Joomla supports mobile out of the box.
    See this: joomla.org/3/en for its mobile capability plus enhancements to Joomla 3.
    Before Joomla 3 (I think it was Joomla 2.5) the templating was separated from the technology, which gives the designer ways to create pages any way they want.
    There was a complaint in either the article or one of the early posts about Joomla’s SEO. I have been using the Joomla SH404sef extension which brings a toolkit of SEO features to Joomla.
    While it’s true that Joomla is not for everyone, when I am building a full-featured site I prefer Joomla for its construction and ongoing maintenance.

    And equally I have found Joomla’s support community is amazingly helpful.

  285. Rowby

    BTW I have recently built a few sites in WordPress and it seems to be improved too. However some things that I can easily do in Joomla I can’t as easily do in WordPress. Perhaps there are similar solutions but so far they have eluded me.

    For example I can easily use the free Joomla extensions Akeeba Backup my site, including the database.

    What I like about Akeeba backup for Joomla is:

    1) One click and both site and database is backed up. With options to exclude folders if desired.
    2) Easily downloadable backup files
    3) Fast and easy restore of site using menu system.
    4) No need to give site administrator access to hosting company’s cpanel. The site administrator can do regular backups before and after making changes to the site without any special skills.

    I have only found a good paid extension for WordPress, and it’s licensed by domain and is good for only a year, as I recall.

    Even more important to me is Joomla’s extension site http://extensions.joomla.org I can easily find the extensions I want in their well-organized website, along with reviews about the extensions. I don’t find a similar site for WordPress.

  286. Hi Rowby,

    Thanks for your contribution.

    There are lots of WordPress backup plugins but from our own experience one is better off using OS level tools on large sites. I imagine the same rules apply to Joomla as well.

    I can easily find the extensions I want in their well-organized website, along with reviews about the extensions. I don’t find a similar site for WordPress.

    You might like to visit wordpress.org/extend/plugins/ some time.

  287. Sid


    Joomla actually has a *directory* so you can find and compare extensions by category. With WordPress you just have to hope that different developers used the same keywords to tag their similar extensions. You’ll have better luck Google’g for WordPress plugins than finding them in the extensions directory!

  288. Sid, this isn’t some schoolyard taunting match, despite the best efforts of Joomla advocates.

    The plugin directory search does work pretty well, but yes, tighter categorisation could be useful. Glad to see Joomla getting something right.

  289. Lance Thomas

    These three are very powerful as CMS tool but I choose Joomla as it provide me lots of functionalities and even it allow me to develop a website that can be customized according to the my needs.

  290. You Joomla folks again are starting to sound like a PTSS outpatient ward.

    All of Joomla, Drupal and WordPress allow you to develop a website which can be customised to your or the client’s needs, Lance. They are CMS’s for crying out loud.

    Argh….hair-pulling stuff. And I’m deleting most of it.

  291. Gwyneth Llewelyn

    Hmm. Recently I had to move a Joomla website between servers using Akeeba backup. I agree that it’s relatively easy to use and does the job quite well, exactly as announced. On the other hand, Akeeba is an interesting extension: when it installs properly, it does the job well; it’s complex underneath the interface, which is easy to use. When something fails, it’s impossible to get it working and/or upgrading it — you simply lose the ability to do backups. I actually have two sites where Akeeba simply stopped working altogether, and nothing I do gets rid of the errors — probably short of re-installing the whole site from scratch, which is not what someone will do on a production site — so I resorted to manual, OS-based backups instead.

    Granted, long-time Akeeba veterans will probably know about all those errors and immediately know what to fix. While I’ve been using it for two years, I’m not an expert.

    On the WordPress side, it’s true that there are a trillion backup plugins, many of them paid, and most of them crippled in some way. Some only do database backups; some backup everything but do not allow sites to be moved across servers (you have to manually fix settings afterwards). But there are a few that work like Akeeba and are even easier to setup. These are rare, and not easy to find: basically, you have no other choice but to test a dozen or two, see which one works best for you (while testing them out first!), and stick to it…..[removed plug for commercial service] Different users have different needs, and there is, IMHO, no “best” WordPress backup solution.

    I could agree that Akeeba Backup is better than any WordPress backup plugin that I have ever tried if I never had any errors with Akeeba :) Having the bad experience on having Akeeba completely failing on two sites, throwing all sorts of incomprehensible errors and refusing to even display the panel interface, I’m reluctant to flag it as an excellent product. I might have been just unlucky. But I guess that this pretty much describes my everyday experience with Joomla: I’m constantly “being unlucky” with it!

  292. Rowby

    Akeeba has never failed me in all my joomla backups.

    However you need to set it up properly and there are new automatic configuration system that does it.

    Also they have included links to how to do backups and how to restore them.

    I think while Akeeba was always good to me, it’s much better for new users today.

    I was slightly distracted while writing my previous post. I should clarify.

    1) Akeeba includes links to videos on how to do backups and restore them. The links are now on the component itself.
    2) Not sure if Akeeba makes it clear but you often manually have to restore your original .htaccess file. If your host already has an .htaccess file akeeba’s copy may not be able to overwrite it because of permissions issues. And Joomla usually relies of a custom .htaccess file. I recommended to Akeeba that they make this clear, and they may or may not have highlighted this recommendation.

    But I am getting too technical for this post. The main thing is I totally trust akeeba with my many Joomla client sites and recommend it highly!

  293. Hi Rowby,

    Akeeba does sound pretty complicated.

    Again our testing has shown it’s to use OS level tools for backups of larger sites.

    And you can use those OS tools with WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. Nice!

  294. Scott Wolpow

    Wow Alex and I agree. I used to use SSH commands like tar etc, but now I use GIT and I can move any site within minutes (depends on the size of course)

  295. Aimee Maree

    You should consider re-doing this post based on Joomla3 I would be interested to hear your thoughts then. I have been doing Drupal for 6 years now and started on Joomla, though Joomla3 has me leaning towards Joomla due to the mobile responsiveness?

  296. Martine

    Good Point Aimee.

    I actually ended up with Joomla 2.5 and have become quite proficient in it. The difference between J 1.5 and J 2.5 is amazing and the learning curve straighten out considerably. So once I was exposed to that, my plans for Drupal soon faded.

    I do have a client who is using a Drupal site and while compared to J 1.5 or 1.6 it appears better, J 2.5 had everything I wanted and needed and was easier to deal with it. All the clients that had Word Press sites have since been converted to the J 2.5 sites and are much happier.

    Just my 2 cents. : )

  297. Hi Aimee,

    Would you care to share with us some of the Drupal projects on which you worked? I’d love to see your Joomla 3 work as well.

    Hi Martine,

    While Aimee’s post seems sincere enough, I have trouble believing that many of your WordPress customers happily moved to Joomla.

    Could you show us some of the WordPress sites you have moved to Joomla?

  298. Martine

    Hi Alec,

    We were able to offer them more functionality with the new Joomla sites, plus, because I learned how to actually create my own responsive templates in Joomla 2.5 rather than WP, it was a logical upgrade and a very easy sell. They appear to be very happy with their new sites – plus the ease that they were able to login as an Editor or Publisher to do minor edits was fantastic for them.

    I had never figured out how to set that up for them in their original Word Press sites, so when it came to updating what they already had, I showed them how others were doing it on their Joomla sites and they were on-board.

    Here are few of them:

    [edited out: three sites, two of which are using Joomla, one of which doesn’t load at all. Neither working site is in the top 1,000,000 US websites.]

    Of course I would never presume that Joomla is the end-all be-all over Drupal or even Word Press, but for me, this worked out really well.

  299. Martine

    I have however, elected not to upgrade to Joomla 3.0 at this point. I guess I want to wait and see what everyone else says about that before I jump into re-learning it all over again. : )

  300. Hi Martine,

    There is no advantage to Joomla over WordPress for logging in and “doing minor edits”. I’m astonished that you had not been able to set up client editing in WordPress.

    I feel like I’m imagining this conversation, it can hardly be real.

  301. Martine

    Hey Alec

    Well for me Joomla just works better. I do not see myself going out to buy a Joomla jacket or go to a convention or anything like that, but I was not impressed with Word Press because I could not easily get it to do what I wanted. I did not feel I had the control over the design, etc. Perhaps I did not spend enough time with it. Similarly, I felt the same way about Joomla 1.5 (why I came to this forum last year) and was prepared to crack open the books to try to learn Drupal. I really like how easily I can control what I am doing in Joomla 2.5, the PHP and folder hierarchy is logical to me. So I can “fix” things easily.

    Fortunately, I found one I liked – Joomla 2.5. I certainly did not mean to upset you or “dis” what you use. If Word Press works for you and your clients that is wonderful. But for me, this seems to work better. That’s all. No offense intended.

    Why did you remove my sites? Do they only count if they are high ranking? I just finished redeveloping them, so is that statement really fair?

  302. joomla developer

    Drupal – Very clean core code.
    Joomla – Good menu system.
    Wordpress – Great plugin architecture.

    It’s very nice points you mentioned about joomla, Drupal, wordpress

  303. Hi Martine,

    I’m afraid your sites did not make the grade as active successful sites. They were journeyman rank work with almost no traffic to which I don’t want to link from Foliovision or this article.

    This article is about using a CMS for professional services where a certain level of developer expertise is expected.

    Our criteria for choosing WordPress to repeat myself:

    * ability to perform under load (Drupal and WordPress both pass the test, with caching, not sure about Joomla)
    * ease of development of front end (WordPress and Joomla score quite high here)
    * rich plugin architecture (WordPress scores highest here, although all systems have some good plugins)
    * clean core code (WordPress and Drupal score high)
    * good developers (Drupal scores highest here, WordPress next, Joomla scores lower)
    * affordable developers (WordPress and Joomla score higher here)

    Overall you can see that WordPress does best against the full list of criteria. What a beginning developer likes or not is not one of our criteria. Again, this article is about choosing a CMS for long time pro work on dozens if not hundreds of sites and as the front end for deep web applications such as those you can see on http://lsminsurance.ca

    Good luck with your development. I’m glad you’ve found a tool which you like. Plan to move to Joomla 3 sooner rather than later as it looks like a significant step forward and it’s not much fun getting stuck on legacy tools. You will get a lot of unpleasant client questions if you are selling them 2.5 when 3.0 is out there.

  304. Michael


    Drupal is not a developers friend! Its like playing with legos, I’m just stacking settings on top of other settings. There is no easy & fast programming. With Joomla atleast I can write OOP code in MVC and actually get something done.

    Drupal sucks at using PHP, plain and simple.

  305. Michael Stevens

    Joomla has come a long ways, but this article was outdated when it was written. In fact the version it refers to is Joomla 1.5 and we are on version 3.0 now. With that said, 1.5 was still much better than drupal in terms of developing custom applications. Try to do anything app-wise with Drupal and your going to be in a world of hurt. Joomla is much more framework oriented and you don’t have to bang your head over ridiculous hooks and bloated modules. Also not to mention, drupal doesn’t even use any of the fancy OOP styles in PHP5. The system was designed back in php4 and not much has changed since. Drupal is for the dinosaurs, and cannot be as useful or extendable as Joomla.

  306. Olivier

    Alec paper is outdated now.

    Anyone that seriously want to evaluate joomla framework and roadmap should have a look to this :

    I should had that joomla is not only a perfect CMS professionally designed for developpers, it’s also :

    – an all-round CMS
    – very adaptative
    – many great add-ons that can easily help anyone to design web sites for specific usage
    – a hudge community around (users, developpers, IT experts …)

    To be honnest, if I had to start from scratch with a CMS today, I would choose joomla.

  307. Fantastic. Dracula is back from the tomb!

    Seriously, the new Joomla developer area does look well-organised.

    Thanks Olivier (you might want to grab a gravatar as an image will make your comments more persuasive). WordPress needs all the competition it can get. Core is getting very lazy and breaking too many API’s and hooks too often.

  308. Robert

    @Alec – You managed to stir up almost religious wars with what seemed like a pretty balanced view of someone who has used the different platforms. Who knew that there were CMS fanbois who would work themselves into such a state!

    @Michael Stevens – Your comments about Drupal made me laugh… It’s fascinating that people who haven’t got a clue what they’re talking about can state things so definitely! Fancy OOP styles indeed…

  309. Guardian

    Started shamefully with Mambo, then picked fast first Joomla, and after that years and years of intensive web building with Joomla.
    Many sleepless nights with Joomla.

    Last 1-2 years i started with Wordress and Drupal. Will keep it short, Joomla doesnt deserve to many words.

    – WordPress, light years ahead of Joomla today.
    – Drupal, rocket science compared with Joomla stone age mindset of core community.

    Joomla is a joke, a very bad joke. You wait for each new version to get some basic PHP image management in core and all you get is “Resize it with Photoshop, then upload it to Joomla site”

    Maybe God will forgive me lost years spent with Joomla. I myself will never.

  310. Guardian

    Sorry, forgot to mention.

    Drupal “Views” (now in Drupal 8 core) is alone worth as at least Joomla’s 300 best reviewed extension/modules/plugins.

    And that number of 300 is very low, i have been generous.

  311. Kathy Daunt

    Drupal, joomla and WordPress. Among this I find Joomla as the good to move with.

    The main thing I don’t wanna go with WordPress is, it is often vulnerable to attacks. It is not security trusted.

    The reason to go with Joomla is, it has nearly 4000+ plugins for free. Makes a site unique and gives professional look.

    For Drupal, in terms of loading it is one step behind WordPress.

  312. Guardian

    Kathy, “free plugins” is not good argument for Joomla.

    Other CMS have more free plugins.
    So, be careful when you use something for Joomla sake.

  313. Mike

    Aren’t Drupal’s modules mostly free? Drupal sucks, try programming in it. Wait Drupal replaced programming with ‘drupal hooks’ from php4…… So ‘try hooking with it’ should be the correct phrase. Drupal is in last place, considering it has less than 500,000 active sites/downloads and joomla has something like 30 million. So I’m sure if your looking for an extension you will find it for joomla before you will find it fro drupal. Everyone here posting about drupal and this article in general are weekend warriors who really dont use anything else. How many of you can say you use drupal, wordpress and joomla almost every day? I work with many different solutions and drupal just blows. Maybe if some of you were actual developers who work in multiple environments, you might have a worthy opinion. But if the only thing you have ever used is drupal, then of course everything you say is going to be dumb.

  314. Jordy Brisbin

    HI have experimented with these, but found myself frustrated. After lots and lot of research, i found that it was actually easier to build stand alone websites completely from scratch. That seemed relatively easy, compared to figuring out how to make everything work.
    Supporting multiple templates appeared to be very complex. I wanted to build a large site with multiple navigation menus and themes, and stand alone seemed the only practical way… I hope a link is ok: I want to show my multi-template hand made simple site. easy as pie.

  315. Guardian

    Joomla fans again shoot themselves in foot.

    If you go after statistics and number of CMS installations, is it not WordPress then better then Joomla ?

    Cant you simply use some arguments ad logic that is of use for Joomla ?

    Give us very concrete things that are possible in Joomla, but not in WordPress and Drupal ?

  316. JustBe

    Donna had a very clear and good points.

    “It’s not an *opinion* when you make statements about Joomla’s “built-in forum” which does not exist and never has, and Joomla’s encrypted SEO, when Joomla has no encryption and is 100% GPL. (And I think you meant “SEF”, Mr. Experienced Developer.) Etc.”

  317. Joomla has always prided itself on its easy community features. I don’t care if it’s built-in or an add-on module which everyone uses.

    And yes, SEF is exactly what I meant.

  318. Scott Wolpow

    I mostly build in Drupal at this point because I am working on sites with large budgets.
    WP lacks and real security and almost 100% of the Community version can be hacked easily.
    That said, I have been building with others a new set of components in Joomla that takes the best ideas from Drupal.
    As to high traffic sites, Lincoln Center in NYC uses Joomla. Here are some others.
    @Alec- A site does not have to have high traffic to be a good site. It must meet the requirements of the users and the owner.

    Would love to have a stress test, security showdown with all three.
    For even more fun lest see how out of the box Joomla, Drupal and WP do with out of the box Varnish.

  319. Guardian

    There is much theoretical talk here. When i read some comments i wonder if some people have used any of those CMSs for more than 2 months, if any time.

    Just today i had to log in into one Joomla Admin and change/add some things in stupid JCE editor table. Some images and text in table, rows.

    As an experienced Joomla developer i suddenly had lust to pull out my hair, it is not possible to explain.

    And in last 2 months i made 2 websites in WordPress with Tablepress plugin. Visually edit tables, drag and drop columns, rows. So easy, so not possible to destroy layout. And so science fiction for stupid Joomla.

    It is only one example of many, how Joomla crawl behind WordPress and Drupal.

  320. Giuseppe Calamita

    Hello all, from my personal experience with Joomla, Drupal and WordPress I may say that: Joomla is the first choice if you need to built up a project with complex database functionalities or features; and if you need a great flexibility of your layout in terms of what functionality to place where: (they are available component, module or plugin; if compared to WordPress that features only one widget where you may embed all of the plugins available if compatible). Joomla is more stable if compared to WordPress when you install many plugins; it is more scalable too and user friendly; (I keep always wondering which is the real meaning of that term; it is only a matter of everyday use and personal taste; otherwise where is a meter to measure it?). Regards,

  321. Hi Giuseppe,

    Not sure who has ever done a stability comparison between overloaded Joomla and overloaded WordPress. I recommend you cut down on your plugins on both platforms.

    In terms of design flexibility, even a standard WordPress theme has multiple headers, footers, sidebars.

  322. Giuseppe CALAMITA

    Hi Alec, I agree for the WordPress theme issue but stability I tested in deep. I like all of those WordPress: theme editor, drag & drop page builder, drag & drop sidebar footer customization plugin and so on. My point is that in them you may only add widget or custom code; in Joomla any template (WordPress theme) features a defined fixed layout where in any position on it you may add not only modules (similar in concept to the WordPress widget) but component and plugin that gives you the ability to add complex functions, that’s the great difference!

  323. Guardian

    Sadly i did not discovered all those Joomla “possibilities”. In all my many, many years and intense working with Joomla.

    But i discovered all those possibilities in Drupal after 6-12 months. And i discovered all those posibilities in WordPress after only 2 months.

    So, is problem in me ? Or Joomla ?

  324. Guardian, your experience echoes my own. Thanks for sharing. I think we have got a lot of people here who should give WordPress a serious go and enjoy faster development and easier site administration.

    Giuseppe, if you can’t put what you need into a Widget (and you can put basically in there: there are empty PHP widgets), there’s always the template. You know that simple file of PHP and HTML that everybody seems to have forgotten how to edit. In a good simple WordPress theme (rather than one of those ten layer commercial cruds like Thesis or WooThemes), it is very easy to edit the theme itself.

    We are supposed to be developers here no? Not drag and drop end users unable to even cut and paste code. If you want drag and drop everything, Weebly is way ahead of Joomla and WordPress.

    Personally I’m far more interested in performance and stability than worried about having to spend an extra five or ten minutes implementing complex functionality up front.

  325. Kirby Hopper

    You mentioned some commercial WP themes you don’t like. Any you do recommend?

    BTW – I’ve been to Bratislava – beautiful city. One of Europe’s best kept secrets.

  326. Guardian

    My love in WP can be explained best with this words.

    For 1/2 hour i can with Amdinimize arange Admin panel for my clients (end user, owner of website, BEGINNER) as i wish in the last detail.
    And i can say to them, “Go, login and play, test things. There is nothing you can destroy, layout and design stay the same. They can even edit/add content in all widgets, without risk they will by mistake disable widget.

    And they react very nice with positive words on WP admin panel.

    How was it in Joomla ?

    • First that reaction from beginners, always, always the same: They reacted strange and in despair when they see Joomla adnin panel. Because it is so unlogical, so stupid, so not made for humans.
    • It is mostly “all or nothing”. Give editors access to something, or not. So if you give them access to K2, you are in big trouble. They can destroy much on front side. There is no option to fine tune what they can access. Unless you want to change core code of component, and lose days on it.
    • But why, when you already have better CMSs for that ?

      One more big time difference between Joomla and WP admin panel. And it is one reason more i love, love WP.

      • When you install plugins in WP, in 80-90% cases when you go to use them you will see them as they are part of the WP core. They fit visually and with logic perfectly.
      • When you install some extension/module in joomla. You go to use them and you will see that they dont look like they are part of this system. They look odd, strange. Whole Joomla admin panel is like traveling cirkus. Strange colors, strange design everywhere.

      Now, i have my own explanation why it is so, but other people could have another explanation.

      Third party developers try to justify prices, or try to compensate poor CMS with parot colors and strange design.

  327. Giuseppe Calamita

    @Guardian and @Alec: I’m talking of my personal experience only; a cms is supposed to be like a construction toy I mean to be compliance to the O-O development paradigm. Using a cms for a complex project does not mean developing software objects from the scratch; the only Joomla if compared with other cms offers you unique extensions (complex database implementation and so on) that are not available in WordPress or Drupal. I know by having coding skill set it is possible to build up anything, but the point here is to use already existing building blocks of code and the native flexibility of any Joomla template for featuring those complex functions without anytime to custom code anything. Finally the Joomla stability that overcomes the WordPress one. That is my experience in research and socially driven complex projects.

  328. Guardian

    I comletely understand what you are saying. I was Joomla man not so long ago. But that doesnt match the truth. I know that now.

    What is complex database implementation in Joomla ? Fabrik forms are most advanced in Joomla community.

    But i can tell you, Fabrik forms doesnt even come to 5% power of Views in Drupal. WP has also something similar but not so powerfull. I know that, spent months on Fabrik forms. Buggy, never worked OK, never gave any error when saving until it render whole website useless. Views are so inteligent, it even wont allow you to save if you chose setings that can bring down your website.

    Or that Mumbo-Jumbo (one man maid) Seblod ? Whole fuss about one extension that give you something other CMS have almost all of this in core.

    Other plugins are more or less represented well in all CMS.

    I used to build complex websites in Joomla. But i build now more comlex with Drupal, WP. I build more easy, with more joy, and can build more complex.

    All of this with not even 2% of time i spent on Joomla. How will it be when i spent on Drupal / WP equal time as i spent on Joomla ?

    And now i can give much more power to clients, beginners. Of course if you want to charge them per hour (content adding and editing) Joomla is better choice. But with all time and nerves lost i dont know if i would call it earning.

    Joomla is time losing, not worth anything. Maybe it will change to something better, but would not hoe so much. From time to time i take a peek on extension repository and support forum. And i see it is all the same old story.

    Maybe they in next 3 years make some decent multilanguage CMS. Or this sleepeng beauty developer of Joomfish save their faces and make extension for last Joomla versions. It is neverending story that span through several years now.

  329. Giuseppe Calamita

    @Guardian Hello, I know very well Fabrik and all of the other extensions that WordPress and WordPress lack. It is a stable and always improving extension that give all of the web developers the possibility to build up complex web sites. Nothing to compare to Drupal or WordPress. The same happens for many others complex extensions. Thank you.

  330. Hi Giuseppe,

    To me your last answer doesn’t make much sense. Guardian is probably also not a native speaker but his post follows a certain clear logic. At the risk of getting myself into trouble again, most Joomla advocates seem to have a very particular psychology where complexity is simplicity. Alas I am unable to fathom it.

  331. Guardian

    So you are basically saying Fabrik forms is more advanced and complex then Drupal Views 3 ?

    Well, dont know what to say.

    Have you seen Joomla extension directory ?
    Their “community choice” (picked by core community, what a joke) photo gallery scripts are Joomgallery and Phoca Gallery.

    Joomgallery reload and bounce whole webpage when you slide between photos. Phoca gallery looks like i did it with my butt.
    And they are “state of art” in Joomla.

    I see also in new 3.2 version is the same old story. Resize it with Photoshop then upload to Joomla website.

    Wake up, it is year 2014. on door.

    To not be missunderstood, i admire Joomla third party developers. They are very talented. I blame Joomla core for limiting them (third party developers) to make more, better.

    Why it is so i dont want to investigate and search for. I dont have time and it is not my problem, as long there are alternatives in CMS world. But something is wrong, and no fancy talk about MVC, Framework, latest PHP standards, blah…blah can change that.
    I want to see results in community, not nice talk.

  332. Giuseppe Calamita

    @Alec thank you for your answer that gives me the opportunity to show you better my view. I’m an informatician and as such I like to improve myself continuosly. I’m proud to say that every morning I go to read the latest updates, specially when I’m involved in a cms project (WordPress, Joomla or Drupal). Yes I’m one of those privileged peoples to know how to use them. Once again talking about my only personal experience I may confirm all of the comments above. Which I like the most is to be free to choose between many options when I’m committed to a new project like:
    1 – well this time I may only build up a wordpres web site (for opportunity reason);
    2 – this other time I may freely choose to select the more suitable CMS for that project;
    Thank you all of the developers community that allows us till three options :)

  333. Mas Elias

    I just got out of a horrible, horrible 2-year web app development cycle based on Joomla.

    Even a year ago I’d say “what a bullshit article!”. Now? I agree with every single (bad) stuff you said about Joomla.

    I’m moving to WordPress.

  334. Full Wordpress Convert

    I have a similar stance as Mas Elias. A couple years ago I’d have read this and said “fanboy”. But that’s changed. I’ve used both Joomla and WordPress for a long time for a lot of different circumstances and styles of sites. So I’m very familiar with both. Drupal I really should at least check out some day.

    Another dev friend finally convinced me to just jump ship on Joomla and switch to WP only. The money spent for access to the high quality plugins, apps, etc could be better spent on just one platform that everyone wanted. Agreed.
    Of course I had to start by swapping out all my own sites that still ran Joomla to set the example. A complete redesign of several project sites.

    That was a 1.5 years ago now. I can say without fail that absolutely there is no looking back. I’m so much happier with everything being a WordPress core now. It’s all greatly simplified, and I guess we all get into habits to the point I had no idea just how much time I was spending babysitting the Joomla sites constantly.

    Jumping ship was and continues to be good!

  335. Olivier

    I beleive that joomla 3 is the killer to this discussion.

    BTW dear “Full WordPress Convert”, Comparing a current WP version with a 2 years old Joomla version, is a non sense really.

    Best regards,


  336. Hi Olivier,

    Joomla is like the girlfriend who’s cheated since you started dating her. Why should we believe here in 2013 that her behaviour will be any better?

    Most of us dated Joomla for years and put up with her cheating. She’s not even that good in bed.

    Enough thanks.

  337. Guardian


    No, it is not. It is lie or false statement. I know that because I updated a site to all new Joomla 3.

    Right now i am making full blooded galleries with WP core code, Joomla 3 doesnt even have simple image management.

    Making galleries in WP core makes it possible to add whatever you want inside galleries. In Joomla third party extensions you cannot add custom fields to galleries. Not unless you are talented in programming as they are in core community.

    Just one simple example of many, many other.

    Then there is one very important thing. WordPress and Drupal core community has its own projects, as “third party” plugins.

    They maintain them, update, fix bugs, etc. Only reason they are not in the core is to make people have optional choices. But as they are plugins made from same people that make core so you can freely call them core code.

    I wont mention them by the name, who knows knows what i mean.

    I dont know anything like this in Joomla. Whole Joomla core community is weird and “God alike” creatures.

  338. Pedro

    ¡Valen madres todos!

    Si no están de acuerdo no le hagan caso y mejor pongan un puto enlace de la información correcta y déjense de mamadas.

    ¡Todos son bien chingones y confunde más a quienes comienzan a informarse, bola de imbéciles!

  339. Madge

    Joomla! is on github.

    Drupal/Wordpress, not.

    What’s does that say? Perhaps that Joomla! is at the moment more flexible and open in terms of inviting developers.

    Currently developers want to leave LinkedIn and show a track record for reading and working on other people’s code — that place is github.

    If Drupal or WordPress go to github, then I lose interest in Joomla!, it’s that simple. But I don’t think that will happen soon.

    I’m sorry Joomla! Magazine, but from the HTML source it looks like The Hill went Drupal (“sites/default/files” etc etc).

  340. Madge

    Ok I just looked at the Joomla! 3.2 demo, this is the latest release. Ok I’ve suddenly lost interest… deleting github forks… back to drupal/wordpress
    Goodbye joomla books…

  341. Giuseppe CALAMITA

    Hello, the best option when you realize a web project is to unite, to complete the functionalities of both CMSs: if you prefer the look-and-feel of WordPress in a Joomla web site without to give up to the joomla features you need the best option is to use one of those extensions that bridges the twos like this: wp4j.com/blog
    You’ll have a full WordPress web site in a Joomla installation.


  342. the best option when you realize a web project is to unite, to complete the functionalities of both CMSs: if you prefer the look-and-feel of WordPress in a Joomla web site without to give up to the joomla features you need the best option is to use one of those extensions that bridges the twos

    Oh great Giuseppe, that way I can fight two CMS’s at the same time and will have to employ two sets of developers and will have to cover security issues for both systems.

    No thanks.

    If I have to use Joomla at all, I’d rather just suffer with Joomla by itself.

  343. Kevin

    A real developer should be able to code in notepad and be proficient in using Dreamweaver or similar real development tppls. If they can’t do either then they are simply not a real qualified web site developer.
    Wordpress and Joomla are not web designing tools. They are for creating BLOGS and that is all they are good for.

  344. Guardian

    Nice Kevin. Then you end with static HTML website, and still to expensive for client. Maybe in some Dreamland.
    Tell us what keywords you used at Google to get to this discussion ?

    For other Joomla boys, some simple question. This is routine in WordPress, standard, nothing breaking new and giga special. Show us Joomla exstension that can do this :
    wordpress.org/plugins/shortcodes-ultimate/ ??

  345. You know, @Kevin, that comment is full of prejudice… and also completely outdated. It would be like saying, “a real programmer punches cards and writes assembly code straight from memory instead of using a high-level programming language. Java and C++ are not languages for real programmers. They are for creating [insert stupid application here] and that is all they are good for”.

    See how ridiculous that is?

    Even more ridiculous is presenting “Notepad” as a developer tool. Sure, in 1992, there were few alternatives (but there were a few). “Real developers” will at least have a programming environment with a syntax checker and a way to address version control (perhaps — why not? — using Notepad++…). And not so long ago, Dreamweaver would spew out horrible HTML, and “real developers” would stay away from that. I remember my company making some real extra money just from fixing Dreamweaver’s HTML for customers who were clueless why their pages were so heavy!

    Still, times change, Dreamweaver is much better, and it’s true that it has become a good tool in the toolbox of any “real developer”. Drupal, WordPress and Joomla are just other tools in the same box: all with the simple goal in mind — write reusable code. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Don’t start anything from scratch. Leverage your maintenance costs by having whole battalions of crowdsourced teams constantly fixing and upgrading 99% of the code for you, and focus on the 1% where the real value is (and get paid for everything!), which is your unique work and contribution.

    You almost forgot to say: “Real developers don’t use Apache or nginx, that’s for weenies. They write their own webservers in Perl.” Sure, you can do it, and the first ever webserver was even less complex than that, but why would you bother to do that, except as an exercise in proving it can be done? Apache and nginx do the whole work much better with a gazillion of features, and, best of all, you don’t need to maintain the code.

    “Real developers” are like “real artists”. They share something in common: they want to get paid for their work, and that also means putting the least amount of effort into the maximum amount of work (higher margins!)

  346. luis escajeda

    You may be right

    I am a Joomla! lover, not a Joomla! boy as you said

    But, can you compare Buddypress vs Jomsocial?

    It is my opinion that Jomsocial is still more powerful than Buddypress,

    But I may be wrong

  347. Hi Luis,

    I haven’t looked at Jomsocial. We’ve done more work with bbPress (v1 actually is our favorite as it’s ultralightweight) than with BuddyPress. In my opinion if Jomsocial is more powerful than BuddyPress it’s overkill. There’s too much puffed up social crap on what should be straightforward informational or community websites in any case. My favorite social video remains this one about the early Facebook.

    Thanks for pointing out Jomsocial for those looking for a social solution.

  348. Guardian

    Don’t know man, never tested Jomsocial. It costs 99$ and there is no demo install. I read it is good.

    Last time i checked there were circa 50% commercial add-ons for Joomla, circa 50% free, Joomla search function doesn’t lie. Translated it means, 50% of add-ons you cannot install, test and try to adapt to your needs.

    Worth mentioning, BBpress, BuddyPress are done by people who make WP core. Jomsocial is not done by people behind Joomla core, as i know. I did huge mistake once, making all my websites heavy with K2 extension. Thank God there is commercial plugin to convert all this to WordPress.

    You make mistake and you are stuck, head in the wall.

    Don’t blame developer(s) of K2, he is very good. But as i said before there is something rotten with Joomla core, it doesn’t allow developers to shine.

    Last time i checked K2 (or Joomla) didn’t have image rebuild function, if you change size of some image presets.

    Didn’t mention K2 without reason. In WordPress plugins use WP core article manager, core media manager to 100%. That way you can always upgrade your website painless, ad new options painless.

    Ah, better to say nothing. People tend to believe i spent few weeks or few months on Joomla. How to explain to someone ?

    PS: I still in this moment let my clients log in in WP Admin panel adapted (very easy) to Editors, beginners. And i still in this moment get reactions “o, this is very easy, you don’t need to make me tutorials for this”.

    How it goes for my old Joomla websites ? They had it a hell to learn how to ad all content and change content. I guess they lost lust for web editing, all articles are very old. But, don’t have to go very far away, I myself have still Joomla website and don’t have any lust to login in Admin. Last time was I believe a year ago. Despite it is very adapted by me to make me save as much time as possible.

  349. The cool part about WordPress is that the core is kept clean so that you aren’t forced to load code you don’t need if you want a simple weblog. Thus WordPress can be a weblog, a corporate information site, a membership site, a store or an international news network.

  350. Hi Suratmi,

    Thanks for stopping by. Clean, minimal core is a benefit of Drupal as well (unfortunately Drupal doesn’t have anything like the amount of well-maintained free and inexpensive plugins/modules that WordPress does).

    It’s certainly true though that WordPress is leaner than Joomla which is trying to tilt in all directions at the same time. Joomla could be a lot better of course and adopt this lean core approach. Of course then Joomla would be a lot like WordPress.

    On my end though I’m very tired of the endless WordPress updates and breakneck development schedule with no stable version/security patches only which is constantly breaking business sites or leaving them insecure. Clients are tired of it as well.

    At this point, there is no perfect solution.

  351. @Alec I guess that what some might see as an inconvenient (constant upgrades all the time, making sure that the code has all security patches and latest bug fixes) is seen by others as a huge advantage!

    Personally, I rather prefer something that gets updated frequently to get rid of bugs and security patches rather than the alternative: a “stable” version that is around for 1-3 years, without many updates, but that at the end of that period is so bug-ridden and has more security holes than a Swiss cheese — because, well, hackers, spoofers, spammers never sleep and will not fit their activities to pre-defined schedules.

    Other things should already be standard from scratch, namely, multi-language support (there are excellent plugins doing that already, each in a different way, though), as well as the toughening up of security like BulletProof Security does (which only works under Apache). Such tiny details are often annoying and they could definitely be improved on.

    With time, I expect these things to become more and more standard. But, in the mean time, it’s a roller-coaster trip through a nightmare of upgrades. Hey, but it gets smoother all the time :-)

    So, sure, WordPress is not perfect. But it’s plodding along to become perfect :) That’s mostly what matters to me!

  352. Actually Gwyneth, as I said, I think WordPress is becoming more of a pain in the backside every month.

    Ever seen one of those fancy kitchen machines? You know the ones with 16 blades and 12 other attachments. The kind which if a single thing breaks the whole thing just stops working.

    wordpress overly complicated food proccesor Philips HR7766
    wordpress overly complicated food proccesor Philips HR7766

    That’s WordPress these days.

    I prefer to do my cooking with discreet appliances:

    Kenwood BL710 simple blender
    Kenwood BL710 simple blender
    russell hobbs desire 18558 simple processor
    russell hobbs desire 18558 simple processor

    Actually I prefer good stainless steel pots and sharp knifes and a shopping board but what appliances I do have are very simple.

    WordPress is already trying to do too much for too many people and paying little if any attention to low maintenance and high security. Fortunately Joomla continues to be consistently awful and complex enough that WordPress wins as the lesser of evils. It didn’t have to be this way. WordPress could have stayed focus on being lean, stable and secure.

  353. DWD

    Great thoughts Tom…

    I would go with Drupal, just because of the modules it offers and the large scope for custom modules. Moreover, we at DWD use Drupal for more than a decade and many website requests that I receive are for Drupal.

  354. Thanks for your input DWD.

    Drupal’s great….if your organisation has really deep pockets to recode what is publicly available code for WordPress. Granted there is a certain amount of security by obscurity with Drupal, which one no longer enjoys with WordPress. A tight security ship is probably no more trouble to run on WordPress than on Drupal though, just on Drupal it’s probably a longer time you can get away with your shirttails flying in the wind.

  355. I guess its time for a follow up blog post on this guys ? I think this was written with Mambo & possibly Joomla 1.0 being the focus. Joomla 1.5 was good & 2.5 was much better.. The current 3X series absolutely rocks..

    At the same time WordPress has grown by leaps & bounds as well with some awesome new features in 3.9

    I am not going to go on & on.. I would just suggest you revisit how all these projects stand now & do a fresh comparison :)

  356. Hi Parth,

    Not a bad idea but:

    • Drupal hasn’t changed much.
    • The underlying issues with WordPress remain about the same.
      • ridiculous pace of updates, breaking business sites several times/year for no particularly good reason
      • no stable/secure trunk
      • huge security issues for sites which are not maintained due to popularity).
    • finding someone in their right mind to work in Joomla and compare it with anything remains a challenge

    After the last round of work we did in Joomla which triggered this post, we refuse to take on any Joomla projects which don’t involve immediate migration away to WordPress. This wasn’t coming from me: our PHP developers refused to do further work on Joomla.

    Joomla to WordPress migration we take on gladly though and do a cracking job of it.

    Thanks for the suggestion!

  357. Guardian

    Alec what updates you are talking about ? What makes so huge problem in WP ?

    I find it very easy myself. Can first update on localhost but dont even do that. First check what plugins have updates, then with FTP client pull those folders to not loose customizations. Update on livesite (leasy to do it first on localhost). Then with Beyond Compare quick compare code, change back my customizations and put folders back with FTP client. I takes me so short time that i dont even bother some few visitors will (maybe) see wrong style or small layout problems for few minutes only.

    Only problem with core updates i found was post-formats.php and custom formats. But this one is easy to put back from backup files. Literally 30 seconds.

    And if everything works OK i dont even update plugins unless they have security fixes. Let them collect few updates after each other, Editors dont see it anyway, just Admins.

    Knock on the wood, never any plugin update ruined my websites, made it went blank. I know Nextgen had this problem, thank God never used it for my websites.

  358. Hi Guardian,

    We don’t build simple sites (well we build those too) but sophisticated business sites or online applications with a WordPress core.

    The tri-monthly changes in WordPress core do wreak havoc on those sites. We’d far prefer to live on security updates for two years and then do a full refresh on those websites/applications on our own timing.

    We also have built hundreds of them. Maintaining one WordPress site is not a big deal for pros (not fun for clients, let me promise you). Maintaining hundreds is.

    Our clients are not happy about paying us to ensure stability through updates. They prefer that to having their sites go down (as I said these are often very high traffic media sites or serious business sites). WordPress is wasting millions of the world’s billable hours on narcissistic, messianic forced updates.

    Better not to bring up Nextgen Gallery. That plugin is at the top of our short banned. If there was ever a reason to move from WordPress to Joomla, Nextgen Gallery would be it.

  359. Fillip Cornor

    Hi All,

    Alec: Thanks for the share first.

    In my opinion, if it is a small or large projects we use joomla. The reason why use joomla is we get almost all kinds of extensions in it for any kind of client requirement and most of them or free. We are still successfully running the websites developed in joomla 1.5 (which is out dated) But we never had a problem.

    WordPress is good if you wish to use it with a template that you like and designed and developed by a theme developer. But we are using it for simple blogs to few adsense sites. custom build corporate sites with lot of requirement by the client may not be possible with wordpress i think.

    We have no experiance with drupal /mamboo.

    I can say joomla is best for developing corporate sites and ecommerce sites with less investments.


  360. Guardian

    What does it mean “corporate websites” ?
    It can be all from Hallo, About us, Contact us menu links….and complex database with workers reporting hours via website.

    Anyway, i tend to forget about Joomla and get notice via email from here.
    As months working with WP go i can for sure say, and i am 100% sure, WP kad beat Joomla in any complex project you can imagine. I am on the verge to think that WP has reacht border to beat Drupal in that sense too. But will wait with this conclusion for a while, one or two years. Difficult, if not impossible, to beat “Views”.

    My whole experience with Joomla and WordPress can be explained with theese words:

    – Joomla, constant lack of possibility, constant struggling with totaly unnatural tweaks and fixes.
    – WordPress, mainly problem is to chose between plenty of possibilty and options.

    First one gives you constant stress, headache and worriing will you be a fool in the eyes of clients.
    Second one gives you relaxation, enjoying developing websites, and big smile on the face.

    And mostly important from human perspective, WordPress core guys actually talk to you when you write a feature request, or bug issue, on WP Trac system. They are trying, and work well whole the time.

    Just recently i had one client converted from Joomla to WordPress. I didnt influenced him, he used another web developer. But i knew all the time that he get sick every time he logged in Joomla admin panel.

  361. George

    I am on the same boat with Guardian but I am unlucky enough to still administer a Joomla 1.5 website for my employer!

  362. babe

    The only justification for a site in Joomla/Mambo is that it’s legacy (i.e. you already did a lot of custom development on it six years ago and don’t have the budget to migrate) or that you are part of an international network standardised on Joomla/Mambo and the mothership discourages anyone from leaving the central platform (our client’s situation). For everyone else, just migrate out and count your blessing that you got your site out alive. Enjoy the fresh air and clean code of WordPress (or Drupal).

  363. Guardian

    Inspired by this discussion I devoted my last night reading about present Joomla and future version. Checking demo, exstensions etc.
    Nothing has change, almost nothing. Same old beating around the bush. A lot of fancy talk about framework, MVC, models, controllers, and at the end so boring, so abstract, and so nothing saying. If I would need to find a parallel in past or real life for Joomla it would be communism and USSR, promises of better life that never comes. I read those fancy talks for years and years and really never much concrete changed, except small UI fixes.

    I see they fight and argue with biggest third party developers. (commercial exstensions, money)
    it is good, to clear the air, for so long time they had to much influence on future of Joomla.

    And again I have to compare it with WordPress / Drupal.
    Since I left Joomla I catch myself reading a lot official documentation of those two. Reading and understanding well. Checking videos, reading and testing some implementations i dont need for present projects.

    I don’t remember doing anything of this when I worked with Joomla. I tried, but official documentation is as their fancy talk about framework, MVC, controllers, models…abstract and at the and they say one big nothing.
    I said once it is CMS made for monkeys, not humans. And I was monkey for many years.

    Drupal and WordPress core comunity is light years ahead Joomla core community. You enjoy reading about roadmap, development of future version. If you worked just short time with those two you get directly a picture what they try to do for future versions, what they do now. In the least detail understandable.

    Whole last night spent reading about Joomla and I still have no clue what features new Joomla will have.

    And I have never seen in WP, Drupal community so much hate as there is between big players developers and Joomla core people, and inside those groups as well. They never left Mambo syndrome, it just continues for years and years.

  364. I agree with @Guardian regarding the ‘Mambo syndrome’ — that was probably one reason why I steered away from Joomla eons ago, as I was worried that the constant splitting and forking would go on and on, leaving web developers never with a stable core codebase. This didn’t happen — Joomla, AFAIK, has not been gone through further forks — but the mentality might still be there…

    By contrast, I was quite pleased that the Drupal and WordPress community very recently joined efforts to fix a security issue that plagued both platforms (regarding XML-RPC calls). They made no secret of having collaborated together to please both communities. Such collaboration is maybe a sign of the times: core developers from both might continue to work together for benefit of all. They might still continue to be quite different platforms — they have different philosophies and visions behind each, after all — so we won’t have a ‘WordPal’ or a ‘DruPress’ in the future. Nevertheless, it means that both might benefit from each other’s code and helpful communities of contributors. And this is quite welcome!

    Some years ago — but not that long! — we saw something similar happening at the operating system level. The group deriving their ‘inheritance’ from old BSD Unix, split among NetBSD, OpenBSD, and FreeBSD, united their efforts in a single platform. NetBSD, in particular, had lot to offer: their core vision was rock-solid security, while FreeBSD focused more on performance. Still, that ‘merger’ might make more sense. What was much more surprising was the announcement that core developers from FreeBSD (after ‘unification’) would be working closely together with the core developers of the Linux kernel. This is more surprising than it might look like, because, although from the console (and application) level, they look ‘similar’, they are quite different products at the core (more even so than Drupal and WordPress!). But there were good reasons for the ‘joint effort’. FreeBSD’s TCP/IP stack was far more advanced than Linux’s, and, thanks to the inclusion from NetBSD’s security features, it was also considerably more secure. FreeBSD’s virtualization techniques were also more advanced, more robust, more lightweight, and far more debugged than the many Linux alternatives. By contrast, Linux supports far more hardware, has way more drivers for all sorts of things, and is more ‘modern’ in detecting hardware and using it to enhance performance; it’s also much more likely that a hardware vendor these days might release a Linux driver (because it’s so popular as a server OS, as well as the most popular ’embedded OS’ — just think of all the Android phones out there!) but hardly worry about FreeBSD, which just has a slight edge on a tiny market requiring rock-solid security features and astonishing performance.

    So they joined forces. This means that as soon as a bug/feature is developed for FreeBSD, it appears on Linux, too. Device drivers for Linux (perhaps not all, of course, but an increasing amount of them) slowly start to work without changes on FreeBSD as well. Security issues detected on either platform get fixed on both. They are still very different systems, even if sharing some common code, and will continue their separate roads, attracting different users depending on their needs and their philosophies. But the common work done together benefits both communities.

    I see this happening with Drupal and WordPress. WP 3.9.2 is perhaps the first publicly announced case where both communities participated in fixing a security issue that affected both platforms. I’m sure this collaborative work will continue in the future, because it makes sense.

    Strangely enough, the Joomla core developers seemed to have been absent from this collaborative work. One might think that the main reason for that is that Joomla is not affected by the same security issues as Drupal/WordPress. That might be the case on this specific issue — but what about future issues? Drupal/WordPress users might draw some benefit in the future, knowing that now that there is a ‘bridge’ spanning both core developers, future issues will very likely be addressed simultaneously by both teams.

    Joomla will have to do their work on their own, in isolation.

    That should give us some pause for thought.

  365. Juuso Laanti

    I have to administer ages old mambo site, it’s A HUGE FUCKING PAIN in my ass, I loose sleep for this piece of crap WP is ages ahead everything I try to do feel unlogical and feels like huge struggle I’m thinking of coding new site with WP for free just to get rid of this god awfull piece of cms.

  366. Hi Juuso,

    That’s exactly how I felt when I wrote this article. Now that Mambo/Joomla are out of my life, it’s only 80% as complicated. Imagine reducing one’s stress by 20% just by getting rid of a CMS. It’s the most clear cut decision in the world.

    WordPress has its own issues with no maintenance releases for security just upgrades which often break legacy plugins. But it’s nothing like the pain of Joomla.

    I think you owe it to yourself to migrate that old site. You should make the client pay at least a good portion of your work though.

  367. Guardian

    If you can upgrade your Mambo CMS to some Joomla version you can use this WP plugin: fredericgilles.net/fg-joomla-to-wordpress/
    And here is also plugin for people using Joomla K2 extension: fredericgilles.net/fg-joomla-to-wordpress/k2/
    Or free version with less options: wordpress.org/plugins/fg-joomla-to-wordpress/

    Tested both many times and converting went without a glitch, they converted all, very little work in WP needs later.

    Joomla is distant past now.

    I play with hooks, filters, actions, functions.php and i feel as magician, wizard. So pleasant, so enjoyable, only heaven and your fantasy is the limit.

    Did even one localhost website for all code snippets, tweaks, have almost 500 different of them. More then 90% of websites i build are covered by those tweaks, no need to use Google anymore, not much anyway. Not single one tweak demands touching core/plugins files, not single one. Change all aspects of website and keep core/plugins updates/upgrades well.

    When I read WP documentation, I understand it perfectly. When I tried to read Joomla documentation, none of it made any sense.

    Joomla is stupid beyond repair.

  368. Thanks for those migration tips Pericam!

  369. Paulo Werdana

    The real deciding factor comes down to what you really need your site to do in the end and how much effort and time you are willing to put into it. Being an experienced IT specialist – I left robust and powerful Drupal in favor of more popular WordPress and don’t regret about that. I consider WordPress to be one-fits-all solution – hardly any other CMS comes close to it in terms of multifunctionality and flexibility. By the way, I managed to switch from Drupal to WordPress without getting my hands dirty (found an online converter which performs migration with minimal human involvement).

  370. arash

    joomla codebase is really really nasty .
    anyone just saying it is great havent seen good clean code base.

  371. Rob

    There’s a lot of wordpress fanboys in these comments.

    It’s policy on no breaking changes (whilst good for end users) means it will never advance to the point of some of the newer cms’s around these days.
    It’s based on php 5.2 which was end of life 4 years ago!

    The idea that every extension is a plugin that can only be overridden with hooks and filters (regardless of if they make you feel like a wizard) is just mind boggling.
    You can only administer widgets on one page for the whole website, so if you need a lot of separate positions within a template it’s just a mess.

    Content builders are a joke that fill your content full of shortcodes which in turn mean you can never switch to a different theme not using that page builder without having to go through every post and removing the code.
    It’s basically a way of getting around the flaws in the underlying system.

    In Joomla, modules are assigned by menu items to a position so you can have as many positions as you like within a theme without having one mess of a widgets page. If you want to change themes then you just reassign the modules (or change the position names in the new theme to match your own ones). Assigning to a menu item also has it’s drawbacks but it is infinity better than a system that was originally designed to have one sidebar shown on all pages and cannot break that way of working due to their own policies.

    If you want to change the output code of a wordpress widget, what do you do? Hack it and then re-hack each time you update?
    Joomla is built in an mvc structure so all modules and components have view files separate from their logic. You can override any extension view by copying the view file into your template and then editing the html to make it what you want. Your edits are safe when updating the extension.

    If you are just a site user and you like wordpress then fine, use that. But for any developer saying ‘I use wordpress and nothing else as it is the best’, you really need to open your eyes to the other systems out there or you will get left behind.

    Drupal 8 – built on symfony2 components,
    Joomla 3.4 – separated into frameowork and cms, using composer
    grav – super smart flat file cms,
    ghost – blogging platform built on node,
    octobercms – built on laravel
    pagekit – laravel based cms

    wordpress, still the same as ever and will never change.

    Use what is best for the job, not what you feel comfortable with. WordPress has a lot of drawbacks for many types of site, don’t lumber a client with something that doesn’t ultimately suit them.

  372. Hi Rob,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment. As really active WordPress developers, we wouldn’t agree that WordPress doesn’t make changes to core database and/or break existing functionality. At least once a year an update comes out which does break lots of pro sites. The issues with core breaking sites has gotten better in the last year and a half though, thank heavens.

    I one hundred percent agree with you about page builders. WordPress theme developers are too clever by thrice cramming their themes full of bloatware. Lean is good.

    On the other hand, a modular system with literally many thousands of quality free plugins is irresistible to any client on a budget. While I’m sure there are developers out there who can build bespoke websites better in months than what we cobble together with WordPress every week, our turnaround time on quality sophisticated websites or even online apps is something of which other platforms cannot even dream.

    Other car manufacturers built better cars than Henry Ford (Studebaker, Buick, Cadillac are those who survived for some time) but he built them to a high standard and less expensive. Web development alas is not based on military budgets. WordPress has turned out to be the most efficient engine.

    That may change one day – in fact, I’m sure it will – but that day is not yet. It seems to me the underlying fabric of the web (PHP/MySQL) would have to be changed first. Otherwise the advantage in code man hours is too great to overtake. It’s hard to believe that WordPress was a failed project (b2/cafelog) in a 2004 market where Moveable Type in Perl absolutely dominated. Before the Mena and Ben Trott made their fatal error in May 2004 to impose expensive (about $299/website) licensing on Moveable Type 3. The Trotts pulled back on the licensing in 2010 but far too late – the damage was done. WordPress had its stranglehold in blogging and was starting to devour the CMS world.

    Until Automattic/Wordpress make a mistake of that magnitude, it’s a WordPress world. Relax, one day they will. Just as the Balmer years eclipsed decades of Bill Gates’ work.

  373. Guardian

    Nice to have a joomla fan here for change.

    I wont comment all bullpucky, no point.
    Can only say that most of the modules for Joomla are very limited. Will leave others to decide why it is so.

    I read “mvc structure” mantra for years in Joomla community. Sound nice and fancy, but when you start to use it then it is very different story. How will you override something that doesnt exist from scratch?
    Try to use Joomla module and use it for K2 output. Try to use K2 module for output from some other extension data ? Then come and talk about “mvc structure”.

    I have not been on Joomla demo for half year. Tell us did they implement PHP image functions in Joomla ? Or is it still “open Photoshop, resize, then upload on Joomla”.

    And see this: Put memory card from digital camera, show all those huuuuuuuge images to WP media manager, WP resize main image to your desired size in PX, no overhead on server, gives you your desired image presets sizes, put all sizes where they belong, all in matter of seconds, all automated.

    When Joomla manage this then come back and talk. I would not comment your comment if you mentioned only Drupal. But Joomla, blah.

    Come on, it is year 2015. and Joomla still doesnt have PHP image management in the core.
    You said WP “never change”. They work as on amphetamines. From Beta to stable for 2 weeks. All this tills you in Joomla community talk stupid talks about “mvc structure”, etc..

  374. Guardian

    Whern we mentioned Drupal better we say few words about it, Or I can say anyway, others can have own opinions.

    Last 2 days had some work on one of my Drupal website. It is always the same old story. Error after error, after error. Mostly warnings and other errors that dont ruin website, but server struggle with this code. And milisecond here, milisecond there you got slow website.

    If i could explain Drupal (7) with few words it would be “Linux in its early days”. Community is made of bunch of advanced coders, but not many of them bother to fix bugs and problems in its modules. Some workarounds often.
    Drupal core usually gives no errors and problems. Third party community is problem. (Here i compare this community with WP community, nothing more, nothing else. I dont expect someone needs to be ultra nice to users when he codes for free)

    Yes, Linux when all this began in Linux community. Error here, error there, fix this, fix that, this dependency ruins something totally on the other side, fix this, fix that, error again. Something like this is Drupal today, third party modules of course.

    And all this job at the end gives you very slow Drupal installation. Drupal is slow even when installed default, compared to WP. And believe me, tried everything to make it faster. Noticed Drupal 8 is much faster on default install. You cannot tweak to much on localhost and make unrealistic real life enviroment. Then you move website to shared server and wonder why owner kicked you out.

    Drupal cache takes care of most of it and is very impressive, specially with some extra cache modules installed. But this is not “it”. WordPress is fast even without cache activated. I could play away myself in some test websites and install extremely huge amount of WP plugins, even WooCommerce shop besides other plugins, with many WC plugins. Not even 30% slow as Drupal 7 with few modules.

    Important to point to that I am talking about plenty of Drupal installation, plenty of different servers, different configurations, etc…
    Always the same, one characteristic, slow, slow, slow…
    Cache takes care of anonymous users, but working in Admin panel as Administrator is everything but pleasant experience.

    Now, people behind Drupal are smart, and will never say in documentation Drupal is only for dedicated server, not shared hosting. They usually say that online as forum users, and commenters.

    Other problem in third party modules community is more than often advice to hack module core code. Something you can see not often in WP third party plugins community. It is strong NO-NO.

    From my own experience groovly measured updating third party modules gives errors and failed update in 1 of 5 try, in some period of times 1 of 3 try.
    I say again, I compare just with the easy update mechanism in WordPress. But, updating modules in Drupal is kind of low intensity horror. You never know if your database will be unusable after. In WP is usually click select to update and dont think about it again.

    No, so long there is not so strong and good community of coders as WordPress has.
    All is well organised in WP community and has purpose. They dont work on avalanche principle as Drupal community.

    But, i will stay with Drupal all the way. Seems Drupal 8 and Drupal 9 will change paradigm totally.
    Learned one important lesson with Joomla, never depend on just one CMS. Learn as many as possible.

  375. Hi Guardian,

    I’m bewildered. Most of your points about the issues with Drupal (each website is highly custom, not cross-compatible) ring true. On top of that you like the WordPress community, find WP auto-updates troublefree (I disagree).

    Why on earth would you be sticking with Drupal in this case?

    Frankly after doing a fair amount of work on Joomla! and Drupal, we decided to focus only on WordPress at Foliovision (about the time of the original publication of this article). Knowing one CMS and knowing it very well is in my opinion the right path forward.

    We chose WordPress for the reasons above (I just scanned the original article, most of it is as valid today as four years ago). Had we chosen Drupal, we would just do Drupal and would have contributed a lot to improve the platform. We’d have different clients and that would be fine.

    PS. No I can’t imagine choosing Joomla!, I’d think I’d prefer to leave web development altogether.

  376. Guardian

    simply because I made huge mistake once. Could and know how to work only with one CMS (Joomla) and was stuck with this pointless circle of madness and no progress.

    Not anymore, I want to know and learn as many CMS/Platforms as possible.

  377. Hi Guardian,

    This is like saying because Dodge cars break down a lot, I’m going to keep cars from all major makers in my garage. An expensive hobby.

    If someone has time to waste and to play around, yes, experimenting with different CMS’s might be fun. We’re not doing this for fun. We’re in business to build our clients the most amazing websites in the world as efficiently as possible.

    In this case, it’s far better to know one CMS well than to half know half a dozen. If WordPress ever drives us to despair, we’ll make the decision on what to move to then.

    In the meantime, I’ll support WordPress. Indeed, I’ll be speaking at Wordcamp in Bratislava next week (Saturday April 18) on how to effectively support pro plugins, making customers happy and not making yourself unhappy. If anyone is in the region, feel free to stop by and say hi.

  378. Actually Guardian I can think of one exception to multiple CMS. In a very big shop, it may make sense to handle additional CMS’s for types of sites.

    Specifically a strong case could be made for Magento for really large stores (I’d still build such a shop in WordPress). Or for instance a forum based site may be better in one of the dedicated forum solutions (although one has to remove so much code for a decent user experience it’s debatable) – again we built our forums in bbPress with full integration and have been delighted with the lite solution.

    Weblogs, corporate, product and news are all most efficiently coded and launched in WordPress.

    We even thought long and hard about building project management in WordPress but in the end didn’t feel it was sustainable economically. We were also concerned about security issues. With a website getting hacked is not the end of the world. With project management, it very well might be. Security is task one, two and three as project management by its nature contains highly private and strategic information.

    A similar situation exists with full CRM (beyond a user database and something like Satollo’s Newsletter Pro).

  379. Mark Simko

    Obviously biased, and not fact checked article.

    Obviously snarky replies to Joomla supporters. Guess that is necessary when defending misrepresentations.

    Joomla was way ahead of WP in 2007, and still is. Better features, and better technology. And more complete.

    I am still astounded that WP is half-baked. No caching, no meta-description, no group ACL. Spaghetti code. C’mon!

    With WP, you have to hack code when you shouldn’t have to. You have to look for plugins when you shouldn’t have to.

    WordPress sites look like WordPress sites.

    The custom widget screen gives you a text editor. No good page and widget publication control. Not really a CMS. Just an overblown blog platform.

    More sites built with WP as a testament to its superiority! That as stupid as saying that McD makes the best burgers because they’ve sold the most. The correct interpretation is that it is the minimal, cheapest, quickest way to fulfill basic requirements, and no more.

    And to all those wishing Joomla die, keep wishing. New features in each release keep Joomla way ahead of WP.

    Don’t understand Joomla, too bad. Just because you can fly a kite, don’t expect you can fly a plane. Your beloved simple web site builder is not a true CMS (yet) and may never be. So go fly your kite.

  380. Hi Mark,

    Your reply takes me back to 2007. While I loathe the frequent WordPress updates which break core (as recently as this month, WordPress changed text encoding breaking updates for large sites), your claims that WordPress is just spaghetti blog code masquerading as a CMS is far more preposterous than my original claim that anyone using Joomla in 2011 should seek psychiatric care.

    I don’t know what to say in 2015. Frankly if I were starting from scratch and didn’t have very specific publishing workflow or ecommerce needs, I’d probably go with a service, whether WordPress.com or even Squarespace.

    All of these CMS beasts now need too much feeding and maintenance. We’ve created monsters.

  381. Scott Wolpow

    I am happy about WordPress. In the past month my company posted 10% increase in revenue thanks to it. It gets hack so often I starting crews just to handle the extra business.

  382. ARASH

    Well , Both of these cms , joomla and wordpress are old generation cms , I mean from developer perspective, joomla is claimed to be MVC to help separation of concern to help developer to build more maintainable component and plugin , but digging to code you will see it lacks very big component that is ORM , nasty nasty code , just because join and join and join in every sql line you write and even worse not having any IDE and intellisense support to ease your development . joomla model is DTO not domain model and this makes thing a bit confusing ,also there is no unit test in neither of these two cms , and even worse in case of documentation , joomla documentation is just very basic API reference without any sample . I will make this comment a bit short by recommending you to have look in .Net CMS , like umbraco , Composite c1 , Orchard , NOT(DNN) , SageFrame

    And about wordpress , it just needs a good sauce. Joomla and WordPress guys may hate me for this comment, but I think this is favor for you . you want your software go ahead in this cms matrix , then refactor your code .

  383. Scott Wolpow

    Umbraco is 100% Garbage. No one uses it. Try and find 1 meetup in the USA. Total nightmare.

  384. ARASH

    Scott , could you elaborate about being nightmare or garbage ?

  385. Scott Wolpow

    @Arash Where do I start.
    1) The documentation is horrid. Search on an error and you almost always get a previous version.
    2) Its like Plesk, to do anything you need to go to three or four areas to make a change. ie adding new content makes sense only to a hardcore .Net developer, not normal people. Kinda of like Magento
    3) You can not make a custom menu, you are forced to use what they think makes sense.
    Now it could also be that the project I took over was done wrong.
    Bottom line Is very few people use it. Last book published was years ago.

  386. Ari

    Yes. I agree..
    I almost dying customizing joomla template.

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