Drupal and Joomla are free, open-source content management systems (CMS) for publishing web content. While Drupal’s build-from-scratch approach allows for greater versatility, Joomla’s built-in “core” content types allow for faster and easier implementation. Both Drupal and Joomla are developed in PHP and licensed under the free GNU General Public License (GPL).
First released in 2001 by its developer, Dries Buytaert, Drupal is among the older CMS systems in popular use today. It began as the software behind a message board called drop.org, created by Buytaert. Drupal’s name derives itself from the English pronunciation of the Dutch word drupel, which means “to drop.”
Joomla is named from the phonetic spelling of the Swahili word jumla, meaning “all together.” Released in 2005, Joomla arose as a fork (a new development group that takes source code in a new direction) of Mambo, the predecessor CMS system on which Joomla’s original code was based.
Drupal and Joomla share several useful attributes. Both are open-source and maintain robust development community bases. They are written in PHP, and both are licensed under a GNU General Public License, which allows end users to use, modify, study, and copy the software. This freedom has allowed the sizable Drupal and Joomla developer communities to flesh out the functionality of both platforms with wide-ranging expansions and modules.
On one hand, Drupal is often favored by developers for its build-from-scratch approach. This allows for immense flexibility in functionality, at the cost of a steeper learning curve. It also allows for a greater degree of scalability, as websites and applications can be designed from the ground up for complex and large-scale functions.
Joomla, on the other hand, pairs the standard functionalities of a “web 2.0” website with widespread support for themes. It trades the coding flexibility and complexity offered by Drupal for comparative ease of use and aesthetics. It offers more ready-built options in the form of extensions and templates that allow for faster and easier setup at the cost of some the flexibility in scale and complexity afforded by Drupal.
Both have welcoming interfaces. Drupal is organized into various tabs. If the content editing tab is opened, users can only complete that task. Fortunately, the controls adjust to what is pertinent to the page you have opened. Unfortunately, it closes off certain options forcing you to move to a new panel.
For Joomla, just about every editing option is visible at once. This includes the article manager, the image selections, content editing, design options, etc. It is all there for a full appetizing view.
Drupal is inherently complex and has a significantly steep learning curve. There is no toolbar editor; users must know html and implement the code right into the text in order to edit text.
Joomla contains a toolbar and an html editor embedded into the platform. Joomla is often considered vastly more accessible because of the limits placed on extensions, the layout, and the size of the site out of the box (upon immediate download).
An ‘Instant-On’ option for Joomla cuts off all the intense coding features and allows Joomla to exist primarily as a basic website editing system, unlike Drupal which requires a ground-up design for every website, theme and project.
This video compares Drupal to Joomla:
Both systems are very well protected, Going by the track record Drupal is seems to have a more robust security. However, researching the overall exploit list (i.e. sites compromised on each platform) shows that going by the type of sites compromises, Joomla is far more protected.
Drupal is a tech community through and through. The user base is smaller, and assistance will be complicated but very useful when understood. You are expected to know the technical aspects of your own website. Drupal is financially backed by Acquia Corporation.
The Joomla community is much larger, but the users slant a bit less tech-oriented than Drupal. Joomla’s larger community has allowed them to be 100% volunteer-driven.
- Whitehouse.gov runs on Drupal
- Joomla is the second most popular CMS in the world
- Drupal began as a tech message board in the early 90’s
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