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I have a client who wants to use Joomla, because they were told it was good. I'm trying to convince them that WordPress is a much more user-friendly option.

I've played with Joomla (and Drupal) once before, and I found the learning curve incredibly steep (probably due to their obscure terminology). I consider myself quite technically savvy, and if I found it hard, I'm sure my less technically competent clients will find it even more obscure and difficult to learn.

So far, I have yet to come across anything a client would need that couldn't be done in WordPress, but before I tell them that, I wanted to check that this is, indeed, the case.

Is there anything that Joomla or Drupal can do that WordPress can't (especially now with custom post types in WP 3+)?

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This is not a subjective question about why WordPress is better (I think everyone here probably agrees that it is). Rather, this is a genuine technical question about WP's capabilities and suitability as a CMS. –  Amanda Nov 5 '10 at 10:22
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thanks for asking this question - i hope we can get some detailed feature list –  mireille raad Nov 5 '10 at 18:23

5 Answers 5

up vote 11 down vote accepted

If memory serves, Drupal's lead dev summed things up like so last summer: Drupal is, on the UI front, where WP was 3 years ago; and WP is, on the feature front, where Drupal was 3 years ago.

My own experience with WP and Drupal are basically so:

  • WP has a prettier/easier UI.
  • Drupal is more robust: core and add-on devs are rarely writing code to learn PHP.
  • WP is still stuck in old PHP4 paradigms. Drupal isn't.
  • WP development is still not unit-test driven. Code quality is, at best, inconsistent.
  • Drupal is mostly EAV-driven. This makes things much more flexible... and slow for anything requiring complex queries. (Drupal compensates this by having built-in caching.) WP is heading in the same direction.

I can't really say for Joomla. I dismissed it years ago because I hated the UI. But everyone here probably has a trustworthy friend who is very happy with it.

As to what I tend to use:

  • For a blog or a simple brochure-like site, definitely WP.
  • For a slightly more complex site, also WP -- but an inner voice always tells me I should be using Drupal instead.
  • For anything really complex and mission critical, a unit-test driven PHP framework (Symfony, Solar, Yii...). UI will end up so so, but I like to sleep at night.
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+1 Nice answer. Can you give little examples about which is "really complex" site? And which is "slightly more complex"? –  claws Apr 23 '11 at 7:49

I worked with Joomla for 1.5-2 years and Drupal for about as much but way back in the day ( I still keep somewhat up to date).

I will keep this simple as Google can provide you a very in depth discussion on the pro's on cons.

Is there anything that Joomla or Drupal can do that WordPress can't (especially now with custom post types in WP 3+)?

Joomla: NO

Actually 1 thing , better localisation support for many languages in themes.

Drupal :YES

Better user management, better database management, Views, CCK, more options for performance under stress or traffic, better for media heavy content sites, e-commerce, module hooks, more driven to helping charity based open source projects, and probably most importantly better scalability for custom sites.

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@ Denis:

WP is still stuck in old PHP4 paradigms. Drupal isn't.

The current release of WP will be the last to run on PHP4, from now on future releases require PHP5

Wheather or not to choose WP over Drupal/Joomla is really up to the developer. Ask the client what features they are looking for, and base your decision on that.

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From my experience Drupal makes everything unnecessarily complicated. [Perhaps Drupal 7 will rectify that.]
Now, With Wordpress 3, I don't see anything that Drupal can do that WordPress Cannot.
[Other than admin themes!]

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Wordpres can, and has been able to for a while. For example fortysevenrobots.com/wordpress/fluency-admin –  corymathews Oct 31 '11 at 17:42

Hi @Amanda - I evaluated Joomla, Drupal and WordPress over 3 years ago. Joomla had serious issues that caused me to drop it early and never revisit it. It's architecture is complex and rigid, at least it was 3.5 years ago. For example a content item was tied to a menu item; you couldn't easily mix-and-match, and their URL structure is of the 90's era variety that make these easy on the programming but hard on the user and hard on the SEO. And From what I've heard Joomla has not changed much.

3.5 years ago I picked Drupal and worked with it for 2 years. Then I took on a WordPress project with the intent to return to Drupal. By the end of the project I realized that I had zero desire to return to Drupal as it was just painful to work with. Then about 6 months later I got offered a great hourly rate to work on Drupal project only to finish the first phase for the client and tell them they needed to get someone else because I wasn't going to work with Drupal ever again.

I could go in depth, but suffice it to say that you can get 85% done in Drupal in 1/3rd the time it takes with WordPress, but then the last 15% takes 10-25 times as long. With WordPress the first 85% take a bit longer than Drupal but the remaining 15% is usually only about 3x more difficult, not 10x to 25x more.

UPDATE

One of the key things I notice that Drupal has WordPress doesn't is Views and an admin UI for created custom content types. However, after working with WordPress I'd far rather do it the WordPress way than the Drupal way because, while it requires code, WordPress' way is much more straight forward and performant.

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