We have implemented many blogs to date that use WordPress and have been very happy so far with the performance, feature set and flexibility of WordPress as a blog platform. Also, we have used WordPress successfully as a content management system for corporate web sites that do not have blogs. At the core of WordPress is a content management system. While it is used most commonly today for blogs, the fundamental attributes of a content management system can be found in WordPress. On first glance, WordPress contains:
- User Authentication / User Management
- Presentation Templates that support HTML/CSS integration for customization of user interfaces
- Content categories
- Content publishing capabilities with moderation
- Support for file upload and file management for use in pages
- Use of themes – both from the library or custom
- Use of plugins for additional functionality
- Suppport of Web Standards
On initial review, the core technologies appear to be very similar. Both WordPress and Drupal are open source and both have similar requirements to run in a production environment. As we continued with our review of these two products, it became more and more clear that we were reviewing two great products that were, in the final analysis, going to end up in different categories.
WordPress is very easy to setup and to run and with some experience, it can be setup and configured for a basic installation in minutes. Before installing and running Drupal, we had heard that Drupal was a more intricate configuration process, we did experience a slightly longer setup time but did not run into any technical difficulty in the installation process. We should note that our installation team has setup both Drupal and WordPress in the past (WordPress more than Drupal), and they are proficient with the production environments. Both environments would require experience with server administration and configuration. To your non-technical audience, neither of these platforms are for the faint of heart from an installation and configuration perspective.
While the WordPress community provides an extensive supply of plugins to extend its functionality, Drupal seems to come very well equipped on the initial installation. Much of the functionality available with WordPress is available on the installation of Drupal. Drupal takes it a step further in how it allows for a more dynamic structure and categorization of content based on a seemingly infinite level of configuration. This is perhaps where administrators tend to complain about the setup process of Drupal as being more cumbersome. The level of sophistication that Drupal offers regarding its taxonomy and categorization system is configurable without the need for custom coding. This is not necessarily a function that WordPress is made to handle on base installation and we have not seen a third party plugin that allows for this level of customization. Drupal also seems to go further in the area of workflow as it more naturally handles workflow through its extension modules.
The Bottom Line:
Both Drupal and WordPress are excellent products. They are widely supported and both have highly regarded sites that are utilizing their technologies. It is difficult to say if one is better than another since they both fall into different categories.
For the hard core blog where simple installation and administration is needed, WordPress is a clear favorite for most. WordPress also offers a core system that allows for simple content management and workflow management. Used as a blog/CMS, WordPress is a great choice for environments where few users will be the everyday administrators.
For those who wish to implement a more complex and further reaching social networking tool, Drupal is a clear candidate. Drupal has a more robust framework and allows social networking applictions to be elegantly integrated. For a more integrated and complex content managed and social networking application with extended user control, Drupal appears to be a clear candidate.
Stay tuned to RD2 for Drupal and WordPress web sites coming soon!