Joomla vs Drupal - Can't Make Up Your Mind ?

Have you been deliberating between Joomla! and Drupal? Can't seem to make up your mind on which platform to use? Well, you are not the only person. There are so many people who hold back just because they can't make a firm decision between these two platforms. I too have been there and that sounds like a déjà vu to me. 

Before we compare the features, functionality, and suitability of both of Joomla and Drupal, I want to say from the onset that both have a great collection of modules, applications, extensions (as you would expect of Open Source). To help you get a clear picture and see the differences clearly, I will use a criteria that touches on their complexities/ease of use, features, learning and support, and their best uses. 

Ease of Use

If you are thinking of investing in a CMS then you would want to be looking at how easy or complex the CMS is to use. Of the two platforms, Joomla offers a middle ground between the extensive capabilities of Drupal and a user friendly interface pretty much like that one of Wordpress. On the other hand, Drupal is without a doubt a developer's best friend. It has tons of powerful features to support development of complex websites. But then again, it requires core skills and expertise in web development to operate it. 

Though Drupal requires more technical expertise, it has the capacity of producing advanced web sites. Interestingly, it seems that each release becomes better and better, so if you can't keep up with the learning curve, then it may not be the right CMS for you. On the other hand, I find Joomla relatively easier in terms of installation and set up than Drupal which is built around a complex core. You can expect a great deal of work when updating or maintaining your Drupal CMS. The system itself is slow, unless you use advanced caching, you may lose patience. 

Features, Plugins, and Extensions

Now regarding the features of both platforms, I find Joomla's to be more community oriented as evidenced by the strong social networking features. The JotCache is fully supported in Joomla 1.5 framework and the new versions. The framework also provides control over cachable and non-cachable content. Drupal scores high because of its superb taxonomy and the ability to tag, organize, and categorize complex content. The framework also boasts of superior enhancements which supports greater performance and scalability. 

Although both Joomla and Drupal have a great collection of extensions and modules between them, you will have to pay to use the majority of themes and extensions. There are tons of add ons and modules, though of varying code, quality, and usability. I also find significant differences in functionality and capacities. For instance, Drupal doesn't support image insertion, but, Joomla readily supports insertion and editing of complex graphics.

Learning and End-User Support 

I find Drupal hard to learn and muster compared to Joomla. My major concern is that Drupal has no centralized configuration page something which can be quite intimidating if you are an inexperienced or novice developer. The system is more of a bare frame which you have to fill with components. On the other hand, the learning curve for Joomla is fairly smooth and reasonable.

Moving to the important issue of end-user support, I find both Joomla and Drupal almost equally supported by a vibrant community of members who are committed to enhancing the usability and functions of both platforms. The steady support gives you an opportunity to learn and keep up with developments between both platforms. 

If you are an experienced developer who has a good grasp of back end CMS development and coding, and who wants a more complex, scalable, and highly customizable website then Drupal will suffice. But, if you are a novice who is learning the ropes of CMS, then you had better stick to Joomla until you muster the core functions of Drupal.

Final Thoughts:

My final thoughts are that Drupal is more of a developer-centered platform. It works great for developers who want to build powerful, versatile, and complex websites, online stores, or community platforms. On the other hand, Joomla CMS is great for building relatively complex websites and community platforms with social media capabilities. 

Now that we have gone through the two CMS platforms, you should be in a better position to decide between Joomal vs. Drupal. Most importantly, there is no one-fits-it all CMS solution. You have to assess your needs, expertise, budget, and the purpose for which you intend to use either Joomla or Drupal.