Anyone trying to evaluate open source content management systems is aware that there aren't a lot of recent, useful comparative reviews. What's surprising is that this issue is true even for such popular solutions as Drupal and Joomla.
Stating in January that, "most comparisons of Drupal (news, site) and Joomla (news, site) conclude that you should select the one that best suits your needs. However, they give too little guidance about how to do that," Webology eBusiness Solutions set out to quantify the pros and cons of each by releasing a survey.
The survey divided questions into five categories:
- Performance/Functional Aspects
- Ease of Use/Learning
Users were classified by their response to "CMS most experienced with," with those answering "Not Applicable/Don't Know" to this question being removed from the analysis.
In general, the respondents were slanted a bit more toward Joomla users than Drupal users. Their roles when working with their respective CMS's break down to the largest group being Project Managers, and other large groups including Programmers and Designers. The Drupal users were, somewhat unsurprisingly, more experienced, with a median of 7 years experience in web development, while Joomla users claimed 5.
In general, there were a lot of responses that fit expectations.
Drupal Users Love Drupal, Joomla Users Love Joomla
Drupal users list the highest client satisfaction with Drupal, and Joomla users list the highest satisfaction of their clients with Joomla. Drupal developers feel that Drupal is easier for developers to learn, and Joomla users feel that Joomla is easier to learn. After all, if you already chose Drupal or Joomla, there was probably a reason you chose it at the time.
Drupal Better for Extensibility and Large Sites
Once you get down to slightly less biased issues, it gets more interesting.
Drupal users rate their CMS higher than Joomla users rated theirs in areas such as documentation (especially core and module documentation) and bugs (core and modules). Drupal users apparently feel that their add-ons integrate better with the core, and their framework makes it easier to extend their CMS's capabilities.
Drupal users also rated Drupal higher than Joomla users rated Joomla for their support of multimedia, social networking, SSL, forums, event calenders, blogging, document management, SSL, internationalization, user management and permission features (a huge gap of 40%), ease of external integration, the ease of developing large, complex web sites, and the quality of add-ons for enhancing functionality.
Joomla Easier for the Non-Geeks
However, Drupal didn't win in every aspect. Joomla users rated Joomla higher than Drupal users rated Drupal when it came to the ability for non-technical people to learn the CMS interface (another large gap), maintenance and upgrading, the ability to create a new and functioning site quickly, the ability to teach clients to use their CMS effectively, and their willingness to put time and money into improving poorly performing extensions.
Which Web CMS is Better?
Sorry, there's still no cut and dried answer, and for that matter, we at CMSWire don't even believe in the question.
If this survey proves anything, it's that the choice of Web CMS depends on what you're trying to do -- which is what we've been saying all along. At least now folks have a more quantifiable set of opinions to look at.
For the complete list of questions and responses, along with all of the numbers, see the Webology eBusiness Solutions blog. And if you want more CMS data (and a little controversy), see our coverage of Water & Stone's most popular open source CMS survey.