CMS Deuce: WordPress and Drupal

For more than ten years, two of the leading leading content management systems (CMS) have been making quite a racket. Sorry about that.

I’d like to weigh in on the two top contenders: WordPress and Drupal. For clarity’s sake I’m only considering the self-hosted WordPress platform, not the hosted option.

The conventional wisdom is that WordPress is a better choice for new users, while Drupal is more powerful but comes with a steep learning curve. Both are open-source (free) so there really is no barrier to entry from a financial side if you are inclined towards tire-kicking either – or both.

I have over six years of personal hands-on experience with WordPress using it almost daily, five of those hosting my own independent webcomic from 2009-2014. That comfort level steered me to recommend and implement the platform for dempsey-doodles-blog-wordpress-drupal-deuce-tennistwo sites for my last employer. An intranet and a portfolio site for the custom builds division of an events organizer firm.

  • Downloads
    There really is no competition when it comes to downloads and installed sites. Created by Matt Mullenweg, WordPress beats the options handily by a factor of ten. It’s what I am using as I type this, so you could say I’m a brand advocate.
    Advantage: WordPress
  • Multi user site(s)
    WordPress has folded in a formerly different product WordPress Multi User (MU) into later versions of the WordPress core. It was very simple to add Subscribers to the intranet and train two staff to be Editors, ultimately moving an HR person into my former Administator role. Any computer-literate professional in the work force can publish or maintain a WordPress site once it is built. Drupal has the ability to fine tune toolbars and limit the visibility of certain site sections to certain users, but it feels like you are “rolling your own”.
    Advantage: WordPress
  • Blocks
    The terminology of Blocks is not one that I love so much, but rather the feature of highlighting the Blocks (via the somewhat clumsily worded  “Demonstrate block regions”) that I find to be a great visual aid, particularly if you aren’t familiar with a theme or have taken over someone else’s site. I’d like to see this adopted as a convention in browsers. I know the beloved Firefox Web Developer add-in can show DIVs, but the implementation is clunky and cluttered.
    Advantage: Drupal.
  • Themes
    For my upcoming Drupal site, a gallery of sketch cards (you can have a sneak peak here), I bought a great premium template from Themeforest, the leading resource for both WordPress and Drupal themes. Since there are fewer Drupal installations, there is a related dearth of portfolio type themes, but I found one I love. In the WordPress world, the third-party options abound and make it hard to decide. With fewer choices,  I’m paradoxically giving this
    Advantage: Drupal.

So, we have a CMS deuce, and it isn’t even tennis season! After starting this post I found a great round-up which adds Joomla! to the game, explained in  concise terms with tables and graphics and pull quotes. Read it here.

What do you think? Agree or disagree? Please leave a comment.

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