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Which CMS is best for me?

In today website development there are endless options for bringing an idea on-line. From building a website ground-up to buying a branded solution. All these options have their pros and cons. The options, in my opinion, narrow down to how friendly is the implemented solution with your on-line objectives and time-cost constraints. In my personal experience almost all modern websites require at some level a simple but powerful content publishing administration, and the perfect solution seems a CMS (Content Management System). This article explores the open-source freely distributable CMS’s, as they are clearly market leaders and very attractive no-cost options.

All the software solutions quoted here are extensively tested, widely implemented around the world and thousands of programmers are familiar to their technology. This is a very important feature over bundled software. Mainly “open-source” means that the Information Technology Team will have access to the “source code” of the programs, being able to extend, modifiy and customize the end-user need … simply modify the site at will.

The three major Content Management Systems that are presently up to a professional development, design and commercial point of view in internet today are Drupal, WordPress and Joomla!. For you to aquaint yourselves with them I’ve made a little note on their features in a comparative manner for you to investigate. I’ve had experience using each extensively, and know the ins and outs of actually using the systems. To put this quite simply, I will not be giving you many statistics based on research… I’m giving you first-hand experience.

Each of this CMS systems has its flaws and each has its strengths (which I will explain below) you can build any kind of website with either one. I have built blogs with Joomla and I have built shopping cart websites with WordPress. It just depends on what you need it to do, your familiarity with the system, and how long you have to work on that program, but that doesn’t make it less valuable, it just makes it less useful for the particular purpose you are aiming.

WordPress:

WordPress is an excellent system to use when creating a website that lets you quickly get on-line, but while it is often used as a blog, it can be configured to work in many other interesting ways as well. One particular client of mine recently needed a website that would allow him and his employees to have an internal website for sharing notes, documenting tasks and writing about what was going on. Since WordPress is easy to use and some of them were already familiar with it, it was an obvious solution. Install WordPress on a server that they could access quickly and easily from anywhere with an internet connection, and let them get to business rather than have to learn about a whole different system. In fact, my firms’ website, http://www.pproyectos.com, has been built in this technology.

It is key to know that WordPress is extremely easy to use and setup. I have used it several times with clients that are brand new to the internet and having a website, yet they can pick this system up and use it quicker than the other two. Since WP is already developed to work as a blog, though, it can be setup to do so without any hesitation. Comments are already built into the system, as well as pinging services, multiple blogger profiles, trackbacks and more (these features come seriously in hand when a good web ranking is primary objective). Most of the time nothing needs to be done to those systems either, because they already work the way that the user would want them to.

WordPress, however, is not to be used for everything.For exmaple, using WordPress as a shopping cart for certain type of merchandise (selling products that require booking as hotels, etc.) prooved to be a challenge as another solution had to be implemented as complement. WordPress is not unfriendly to commercial uses, but a very complex shopping cart will have to be coded independently.

WordPress Pros

Simple to use – Little need for modifications
Excellent sharing information in a sequential manner
Even the most elderly of users can get the hang of it quickly

WordPress Cons

Not very developer friendly, you need some experience to code vast functionality into it.

Drupal:

This advanced content management system more closely resembles a developer platform than a traditional CMS. Its not to say that only developers can use the system though, but to say that they will feel more at home here than in the other two. Interestingly, being more developer friendly does not automatically make it more user friendly – in fact the developer has to work hard to make it that way if they need the end-product to do so.

There are dozens of more tags and functions that can be used to develop in Drupal than in WordPress or Joomla. Every single node has its own set of commands and tags that can be placed elsewhere to manipulate the function of the site, and this makes for a very intense experience (whether or not you know what you’re doing). For those that are not so developer-minded, this can be the trial of their lives, but for people who live in code – well, they can literally get lost developing some very cool websites.

Now, these websites can act and function in some pretty neat ways, but Drupal also has the problem that it just doesn’t always look that great. I have seen very few websites built in Drupal that look and feel as good as they function. You can especially see this in the theme directory on the Drupal.org website, where there are dozens of these themes built to prove the exact point I just made. It’s a shame really, because with all of the development advancements the software has, it would almost be perfect with a stronger usability and design interface.

Drupal Pros

Extremely developer friendly.
Can be used to create very complex websites.

Drupal Cons

Not very designer and user-friendly. It’s hard for someone with little code knowledge to make the leaps required to do the very cool things that Drupal is becoming known for.
None or very basic theming (skinning), probably because it has been developers, not designers, that are making the themes.

Getting a Drupal website published could cost you more time, and thus more money, than WordPress or Joomla.

Joomla!:

If WordPress is more for end-users and Drupal is more for developers, and Joomla! is somewhere in the middle. The name Joomla, in fact, means ‘all together’ in Swahili (Urdu). the idea is to concieve a CMS system that works well with designers, coders and end-users.

Designers may choose Joomla because of it’s flexibility. Newcomers to Joomla (and website management) will love the fact that it is very easy to use and even customize as more and more developers create tools that are easier to understand. Developers, likewise, will choose the system because of its large capacity for development and customization. The new MVC framework was built just so that anyone with the knowledge could override the core of the CMS without actually modifying the original code.

Still, it’s far from perfect. It’s still not as flexible as Drupal is with its code. While there are many ways to override what the default code does, there are some parts of the system that just can’t be pushed and stressed as hard as Drupal can be. Also, while Drupal can be used to run multiple websites with one backend and database, Joomla lacks the ability to create multi-sites. It is just powerful enough to be useful, but not enough to do anything.

In a side-by-side comparison with WordPress, Joomla still has some way to go with being user friendly. In each case where I’ve had people use both systems to manage a website, those that lacked good knowledge of the internet or how their website even worked always chose WordPress over Joomla. It is simple enough that it can be taught to practically anyone, but not enough that anyone would want to learn it.

Joomla Pros

Somewhat friendly for all types of users – Designers, Developers and Administrators
Has been rapidly growing and improving itself for the past three years

Joomla Cons

Still not user-friendly enough for everyone to understand
Not quite as powerful as Drupal, and can be a bit confusing for some to jump into

In Conclusion

There is not just one system available to build websites with, but if a quick and user-friendly solution will be priority, then WordPress should be a good choice. If very complex functionality will be required and time and budget are in hand, maybe Drupal can be more usefull. Joomla is neither, and in my opinion, this makes it a little bit weaker.

Besides all you’ve just read, it is my recommendation that the person to explore this CMS software should have a basic knowledge of website handling so to understand the basics of html edition, some coding, javascript and if better, php so to fully understand the potential of this three solutions. Web ranking friendliness is also a good skill to allow you evaluate their potential.

For further information and services, our company can install, customize or upgrade any of this solutions. Please contact us to receive assistance, we will be glad to help.

posted by admin
Miércoles, marzo 10, 2010