This presentation is all about my exploration of content management systems over the last couple of years. It's includes short descriptions of a half dozen CMS's and a much longer argument on why I chose Drupal.
Drupal: My Search for a CMS
My project is on the content
management system, Drupal. I have
spent the last couple of years searching
for the right Content Management
System (CMS) for my website projects.
My hope with this presentation is to not
only give you some idea as to what
Drupal is capable of, but to share my
experience with CMS's, in general.
What is a CMS?
A content management system is a
website software built to simplify the
creation and maintenance of content. It
allows the user to create, edit, delete
content without having to know HTML.
Depending on the complexity of the
system, varying levels of technical
skills are required to set up, configure
and customize the CMS.
There are many different types of
content management systems. Listed
below are a few types of content
management systems and popular
examples of each.
General Purpose Portal CMS:
Learning Management System:
This is a pie chart from the hosting company siteground.com showing which content
management system most of their clients use. There are probably hundreds of articles
online debating over which is the best: Drupal, Joomla or Wordpress?
With the diverse range of projects I'm
working on, I've been trying to find a
CMS with the following functionality
Permission and access control
Flexibility of design
A user-friendly user interface
Scalability (a software that can handle
lots of content, features, and users
Adequate documentation and support
Before I dive into Drupal, I'd like to
briefly go into some of the software I've
tried, what I liked, and didn't like about
Drupal: The Alternatives
Here are some of the other software I've explored
before finally setting my sights on becoming a
Wordpress: The world's most popular blogging
Joomla: Popular multi-user portal website. Ideal
for newspaper or magazine websites.
Elgg: Highly regarded open source social
Typo3: A powerful yet complicated CMS rivaling
Drupal for functionality and scalability.
CMS Made Simple: A user-friendly CMS that
makes making websites simple.
Textpattern: A designer's blogging alternative to
CMS Made Simple
I used CMSMS to convert one of our
company's static HTML website into one
the company could update themselves.
The entire process of installing the
software, recreating the template, and
moving the content took me less than 3
Very easy to add, edit, delete content,
Documentation makes creating
templates very easy.
Attractive and intuitive user interface.
Two textbooks are available. Both of
them have deprecated code.
Weak additional functionality.
Programming skills required to
customize additional function.
I used Textpattern to build my personal
website and LOVE it. I started reading the
'Friends of Ed' textbook on Textpattern and
quickly saw my project unfolding before
me. Textpattern is the best software I've
ever used for displaying different content
types in different forms. It is widely
considered a great blogging alternative to
Wordpress. Although not as user-friendly,
designers love it.
Extremely flexible for the display of
A decent catalog of plugins for
A very engaged user community and
Limited documentation. Although the
textbook is good, it's old and not
Difficult user interface.
Lack of themes - design expertise
I wanted to explore Typo3 after reading
several reports on it, extolling its power,
flexibility and scalability. I found several
textbooks on packtpub.com; the most
recent one from 2010. I gave up half
way through the first book when I kept
on running into difficulty with
deprecated code and couldn't find an
answer on any of the software's support
E-commerce capabilities and packtpub
textbook to provide instruction.
When compared to Joomla, Drupal and
Wordpress on cmsmatrix.org, Typo3
has more features.
Considered great enterprise CMS
Requires programming skills to create
Steep learning curve. I find it harder
Powerful multi-user content
management system with great user
I've been working with Joomla for a couple
of years. I've built a couple of projects with
Joomla for clients. One of the projects, an
e-commerce website, was abandoned
when my client wanted to switch to
Wordpress. At work, we are moving our
company's site from Wordpress to Joomla
as my manager feels Joomla offers a better
option to integrate Magento (a very
powerful e-commerce software) and has
better multi-user access control. I'm
currently playing around with the
Joomla/Moodle integration plugin,
Plenty of themes and plugins
Not hard to customize
Great support community and lots of
Moodle intergration (Joomdle)
The most viable options for ecommerce and social networking are
commercial (ie. JomSocial, Mijoshop)
We are using Wordpress for our company's
website and intranet right now. The intranet
is working great. The company site has
been hacked a couple of times. I've also
built a site for a friend with Wordpress and
the site went down after it was hacked, a
few months later. Despite some security
issues, Wordpress is awesome. It has a
plug in for almost anything imaginable. It's
the most popular blogging software because
of its ease of use, 1000's of quality free
themes and plugins.
Easy to use, customize, and
Great extensions for e-commerce, elearning and community
1000's of free themes and plugins
Large developer community.
Instruction on packtpub.com,
lynda.com, ostraing.com as well as
many textbooks and training tutorials.
Issues with scalability and security.
So Why Drupal?
To be honest, I find Drupal the most
difficult system I've tried to learn (aside
from Typo3). I have managed to get
through half a dozen textbooks and a
few training videos and my
appreciation for Drupal, and what it is
capable of, continues to rise. I've read
many of the Drupal vs. Joomla vs
Wordpress blog posts and the only
serious knock I've ever seen with
Drupal is that it has a steep learning
curve. The biggest draw to Drupal is
this: It can do everything, and do it well,
with stability and security.
There is a great comparison of Joomla,
Wordpress and Drupal on several sites,
but this one I find very comprehensive.
Two highly regarded and open source
e-commerce extensions Ubercart and
Great e-learning capacities as well as
LMS projects Opigno and Adrenna
Scalable and secure. Great for large
Great online community capabilities.
Drupal requires advanced technical
skills to customize.
For smaller projects, Drupal may be
Drupal: Blogging, Books, Polls & Profiles
Here are some Drupal's core
Profiles for each user
Blogging for every user
Books structured for longer
Forums for threaded
Polls for user voting
Contact forms for each user
Aggregator for publishing
Statistics for tracking web traffic
Drupal: Learning Resources
Here are some resources you may want to
explore if you want to learn Drupal:
Packtpub.com is my favorite resource for
learning Drupal and for all other open source
software. Drupal titles include: Drupal for
Education and E-learning, Drupal 7 Multiligual
Sites, Drupal 7 Business Solutions.
Lynda.com has some great video tutorials on
Drupal. I'd recommend Drupal 7 Essential
Training as a great place to start.
Qcollege, in Victoria, has a 330 hour 3 month
Drupal and E-commerce diploma program.
OSTraining.com has several high quality
Drupal training videos, some of which are
The Drupal website has documentation and a
forum board to interact with the Drupal
Drupal for E-learning
Packtpub has an excellent ebook
called Drupal for education and Elearning. I worked through it this
Summer and was able to get almost all
of the exercises to work. Topics
covered include: Teacher and student
blogs, bookmarks, podcasting and
images, video, assignments,course
calendar, enrollment, tracking student
progress, social networking, profiles,
and organic groups.
If this solution is not enough, Connect-i
has recently introduced a full featured
LMS based on Drupal called Opigno.
Apparently, it was released in October,
2013. From what I've seen of it, it looks
like it could be fantastic.
Drupal Opigno LMS
This is Opigno's Admin Interface. Built in Drupal, Opigno could be serious
competition to Moodle.
Drupal for E-commerce
The biggest advantage to using Drupal as the an ecommerce solution is the ability to integrate content,
community and e-commerce with one software.
I came across an absolute beautiful e-commerce
website for a natural product line called
Earth to Body. I checked the source code and found
out their website was built with Drupal Ubercart. I
contacted the owners of the website to ask them if
they had any problems with the software and they
told me they really liked it. My second run-in with
Ubercart was in a digital marketing class. The
instructor of the class runs a multi-media business
and builds all of his websites in Drupal. He told me
he doesn't use any other e-commerce solution other
Drupal Commerce is the alternative to Ubercart.
According to the forums it has a few more features,
but is much harder to set up and isn't as stable as
the more-mature, Ubercart.
Drupal for Online Communities
Drupal has several stable modules for social
networking. Packtpub's Drupal 7 for Social
Networking is a great place to start when
learning to configure Drupal's basic social
features. Interestingly enough, this ebook has
a section on alternatives to Drupal; the only
open source software listed is Elgg.
For more out-of-the-box ready social modules,
two modules I plan to test are Drupal
Commons and Open Atrium. Both are
considered excellent options for company
I've looked at JomSocial (Joomla's commercial
extension) and BuddyPress (Wordpress's
social plugin. Both look excellent. BuddyPress,
in particular, is much easier to configure than
Drupal's social features. I still will go with
Drupal because of its scalability and security.
CMS Fundamentals video tutorial from
Choosing an Open Source CMS ebook
from packtpub (dated but still worth
Added Bytes E-Commerce comparison
Drupal vs. Joomla vs. Wordpress - one of
many articles written on the debate.
Awesome alternatives to Wordpress – one
of my many blog articles plugging
Textpattern and other platforms for
Modx.com– Modx is popular content
management system I haven't tried but
would like to. It keeps coming up as a
favorite in my research.
Opensourcecms.com is a complete
reference to all open source CMS.
Includes links to demo systems.
Mediacurrent.com has a great list and
discussion thread of 50 Drupal 7 modules.
Webappers.com list Ubercart on their list
of the 15 best open source e-commerce
Webresourcedepot.com has an article on
the best open source social networking
softwares. Notice how Drupal is not on the
list but is mentioned in the thread.