Wordpress vs. Drupal: The Prize Fight!
I have developed very large, very small and every size website between. I have rolled my own CMS, used (and even developed extensions for) Typo3, Wordpress, Expression Engine, Mambo & Joomla, WebGUI, SharePoint, MonkCMS/Ekklesia360, DotNetNuke and Drupal. By far, I have been most loyal to Wordpress and Drupal.
At this point, however, I find myself wanting to focus 100% of my attention on Drupal. For the smallest, for the largest and for all the sites between, I prefer Drupal.
Often I feel there is a fight between Wordpress and Drupal in my head. Recently, though, Drupal knocked out Wordpress and now I consider myself to be Drupal at my core. Here's the play-by-play of the fight. (Note: I'm not going to go deep into each point.)
Round 1: Suitability to task
Drupal is heavier, but can respond to more unique scenarios. Drupal comes in with a flurry of punches!
While I can build any site using either platform, that doesn't mean I'd want to. In a complex website, you have many different types of content — home page rotator, articles, blog posts, general pages, calls to action, testimonials … the list goes on and on.
- Drupal wins on custom content types. It is possible with both platforms, but it is simpler to set up in Drupal.
- Even the simplest brochure or blog site will need some extra piece of information. Drupal blocks are more robust than Wordpress widgets.
- We often need to display data in a unique way. Drupal views is the most powerful way to make the web page do whatever I need. In Wordpress, I can do similar things in the PHP of the theme, but it just doesn't compare.
Round 2: Ease of development
Wordpress sucker punches Drupal on theme simplicity. Seriously!
When I develop a site in Wordpress, I have never started from a pre-built theme. I start with beautiful, clean HTML/CSS markup and then add in Wordpress theme API calls.
Drupal needs this simplicity in theming. With Drupal, I start from a base theme like Zen and bend the base theme to my design. This is fine, but on more than one occasion I have found myself spending too much time looking for a style class in the theme — if the code had all been mine to begin with, I would have been faster.
The learning curve for Drupal is steeper — I hear this a lot. I disagree! Every platform requires a developer to check the API documentation. I have used Wordpress navigation countless times, but I still have to check the syntax of the specific api call from time to time. In Drupal, I do the same thing. The documentation for both platforms is rubust. If you know PHP I think they are the same.
Round 3: Robust platform
Knockout! Drupal wins!
Drupal has modules, Wordpress has themes. I can do amazing things with each.
Drupal knocks out Wordpress with Views, Blocks, and Content Types! Enough said.
Today, I can still deploy a small Wordpress site faster than a small Drupal site. That does get Wordpress a number of points for small web shops working to stay profitable. But, by working hard to define consistent processes and keeping our base installation of Drupal up-to-date, we can now set up a Drupal site in about the same time as a Wordpress site. Then, when the client asks for X new function, we smile because we used Drupal and the unique thing they asked to do is possible because it is Drupal.
This is an opinion piece, and as such, I would very much enjoy hearing how you agree or disagree. I'm all ears.
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