I realise that I'm likely to get a biased report from here, but I'll ask anyway - how does Drupal stack up to Mambo? What are the advantages and disadvantages? I'm looking strongly at either Drupal or Mambo as a solution, and I don't want to invest time and learning in a CMS I won't end up using long term.

The website is going to be mostly information rather than community (so no need for forums, comments, etc). It is for an educational institution, including course information and other details like that.



Adam_C’s picture

I'm afraid I can't offer first hand advice, though have been recommended Mambo and Drupal by separate people whose opinions I trust.

Am trying out Drupal now, but would be interested to see peoples comments on Mambo.

along’s picture

The capability of classifying hierarchically I didn't see it in Mambo.

Now I like Mambo for it's appealing design but for the admin it takes a lot of resources to load I would like to change the design for something lighter.

ardas’s picture

If you want to quickly create a very simple web site and you don't want to spend much time for studying something serious take Mambo.

But if you want to have a more powerful platform to build various sites in the future take Drupal.
Dmitry Kresin, ARDAS group - Web site development, Drupal services, Software development, IT outsourcing.

zedrik00’s picture

I currently use drupal on my sites, but i've played around with mambocms for quite a while. imho, I think drupal is better but mambo though has a lot more contributed modules. i don't know though which is more widely used or which has a larger community.

Personally, i like both but i chose drupal because I liked its theming engine (phptemplate) because it was way easier to use.

aries’s picture

I don't mind that Drupal is easier to use than Mambo, but Drupal is better coded than Mambo. Mambo couldn't produce valid page you have to do yourself after each upgrade. It's very annoying! That was why I moved to Drupal. Drupal does not has such number of modules and themes, but the existing ones are (almost) well-coded, attached to each other with their hooks.

Mambo is not truly open source because it's developed by a small team. This team have spent many time for Mambo, and for some functionality they wan't some cash (for example SEF URL converter).

On the whole, Drupal needs less time to maintain it and it's functionality is growing fast.
Fehér János aka Aries

progster’s picture

First of all it's perfectly ok to sell open source, open source means free as in freedom not as in free beer! Secondly, mambo cms provides all their components for free, companies are free to create and sell components as they please of course...

Mambo core is indeed developped by a small team, like most open source projects... but they are open to patches and suggestion. I won't go into the mambo vs drupal thing though, since I'm probably biased :D

maddoc’s picture

I am a Mambo user and i have never used drupal ...I am looking for a system

which woud have good content and document management capabilities.

Has drupal got a document management system ?

rkendall’s picture

I don't think it was expicitly designed to be a DMS, however...

Using the the flexinode module you can setup pages (nodes) with all the various custom fields you might need (metadata), then just attach the the file(s) that it relates to. I haven't used it as a DMS myself, but thinking about it, it could be quite good, especially with Drupal's excellent taxonomy system, and user roles, and...

Maybe if you start a discussion on document management with drupal, you might hear from some people who are allready doing it.

If you want something that is only a DMS, I would say that KnowlegeTree is your best bet. Still a little bit clunky, but is the best opensource DMS I have seen.

I wouldn't even contemplate trying to use Mambo for document management.

maddoc’s picture

Thank you for your feed back .

Mambo does have a "kind of DMS " called docman (quite buggy right now) .

I do believe that a combination of content management and document

management is what a lot people need (CORPORATE INTRANETS) and i

have not found one opensource system which can deliver both . May be ZOPE - PLONE ?

matt westgate’s picture

Using the workflow and actions module, you could create a DMS.

alexmc’s picture

Can you point me to an example of workflow in action because from the scanty documentation I can't see how to really use it.

matt westgate’s picture

Have you seen the Getting Started section of the README?

I'd hardly call that scanty.

CharlieHipHop’s picture

I was about to suggest the same thing.

Workflow plus Organic Groups plus clever use of taxonomy should produce a powerful DMS.

US421’s picture

I think it has a lot to do with taste. Drupal seems to make sense to me while Mambo confuses me with too much eye candy. Someone else might take comfort in that. You can go to http://opensourcecms.com and try out the admin interfaces of each to get an idea. One of the many things I like about Drupal is that the admin area is actually part of the site, while in other solutions the controls are in a different area.

Unless you plan to do major style modifications you might consider the one that looks best to you "out of the box". Starting with the one that seems to show what you want where you want to see it might lessen the struggle somewhat. A good way to study that is to browse the official site. If one or the other seems clearer and easier to navigate, it may be that the software that built it will also be a fit.

rkendall’s picture

Drupal does excell for a community site (for lots of reasons) but it is a very powerful and flexible system that is suitable for many other applications. If you have lots of information to organise - Drupal is also very excellent, as it has a powerful system of categories for organising information.

Mambo is nice and I also like it. It is very GUI friendly, but this can be annoying for some people. I think it is great for small commercial sites, and it is easy for non-technical people to set-up and manage their own content.

Both are really easy to use, but I find Mambo's flashy admin interface isn't enough to win me away from Drupals flexibility and configurability. I think Drupal has a more powerful and flexible core (plus many great modules).

There is more hype about Mambo now, but I think that will change before the end of the year.

You may need to think a bit more about what you want from your web site before making a choice.

If you have lots of information to put up, then make sure you have a good look at Drupal's category system (taxonomy).


dallasgrant@newswire.ws’s picture

I can say I have had awesome luck with mambo for certain designed sites, while other sites, I prefer drupal. For instance, I am working on http://katoads.com with mambo, and I could not think of setting it up with drupal. On the other hand, http://newswire.ws and http://RainBowsTrip.com are sites I own that I could not think about building without drupal.

I find for ease of use and template configuration, mambo is the way; however, it is nearly too busy. I like drupal because it is easier to build a website that loads quickly while being feature packed. Plus, I have had much better luck with the mods on drupal than mambo even though mambo has hundreds more to choose from. The only thing I don't like about drupal is the difficult to configure templates (I am not very php intelligent so I have difficulties compared to the easy html editable mambo templates)

What I have found Mambo most useful for is a classified ad directory because of the way it displays the articles when looking at category view. It lays out the articles much as an employment directory would. Drupal, on the other hand, works perfect for information and content. It doesn't need to be community based at all since you can turn off many of the community abilities. Drupal does take some time to get used to (and for me it was a lot of time), but it proves the most rewarding.

Dallas Grant

carlmcdade’s picture

This was the perfect answer to my question which would you use Drupal or Mambo for an employment site?

thanks :)

proof that Drupal will work on PHP5
Carl McDade
Information Technology Consult
Team Macromedia

dallasgrant@newswire.ws’s picture

I believe Mambo is more of a corporate image system than for general user sites. This is the exact reason why I won't use anything else for my KatoAds project. Limited on Functionality? Yes, it can be in some instances, but it still is very functional and useful. At times, I still prefer the way I can load the Mods differently in Mambo. The mods are like blocks, yet I can easily change the position to anywhere on the template (not just the left or right of the screen). I'm sure I can do this with Drupal, but not without altering the code, Mambo makes it easy to change the position with a click of a button, and offer an unlimited amount of destination areas for the mods.

For instance ... because the templates use an html interface, and not php, I can alter the mod location with a simple

 mosLoadModules ( 'left' );
added to where I want the mods under the category left to go. The categories can be labeled anything you wish. I suppose this is why I like the Mambo template system better, but I need to do much needed lessons in PHP ... very difficult when I am a father of two, work two jobs, full time college student, very politically active, and am developing a series of websites. Oh well, I will learn someday.
Dallas Grant
yelvington’s picture

phptemplate does what you want. Don't be scared off by the name -- or the documentation, which starts off with optional advanced topics. Skip to the section on page.tpl.php and read it first.

The only PHP you really need to know to place components into your HTML framework is "echo $somevariable".

Whether a component goes into the left or right is an admin setting.

sammybaby’s picture

Actually, the whole "right" and "left" sidebar designation is pretty much arbitrary. As long as you place the blocks somewhere in your templates, you can have blocks called "right," "left," "fred," and "barney," should you want to.

Of course, convention says you'll probably want to call them something logical, but I always prefer giving items names based on their function rather than how they're laid out on the page. After all, what if the layout changes?

robertDouglass’s picture

In the upcoming 4.7 release you have default regions right, left, footer, header and content. Blocks can go in any of them. Furthermore, it is easy to define your own regions for blocks to appear in.

- Robert Douglass

Rate the value of this post: http://rate.affero.net/robertDouglass/
I recommend CivicSpace: www.civicspacelabs.org
My sites: www.hornroller.com, www.robshouse.net

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

treksler’s picture

it's hardly easy to define new regions in 4.7 themes

possible? yes
easy? no

you have to know ahead of time to edit a file called template.php
and you have to add an associative array of regions including the default regions which you get from i forget where exactly
it's actually astonisingly hard to do such a simple thing

oh and then you need to know what variable to print out using php
eg is it $my_position or $myposition or what
is it the key or the value from the array
you need to know what an array is in the first place

tyreth’s picture

Thanks for the thoughts. One of the bigger things I'm concerned about is the code behind the software. I'm going to want to expand with modules myself - so which do you find has the better API/backend for programming?

massimoi’s picture

I had the same doubts until yesterday.
I've developed a couple of sites with mambo, but even if it's really nice looking and full of support, it's somehow limited (as far as I understand).

The code in drupal seems to be much cleaner and better architected. So eventually I swithced everything to drupal.

In particular -in mambo- I didn't find a way to:
- have really customizable templates (here in drupal you can do what you want with every component -i suggest you to use PHPTemplates)
- have several user roles

So..I'd vote for drupal (maybe because I'm coming from the HUGE tikiwiki and I appeciate the thinnes of the code)

Massimoi :-] - http://impronta48.it - http://www.nkoni.org

dallasgrant@newswire.ws’s picture

I totally agree by the fact that while Mambo seems great and has all of the bells and whistles, it really does not. It does have a ton of mod and components plus thousands of themes, but it does not have the functionality for most websites.

I found this trouble when making MySillyBaby.com (will be a brag about your baby website), and Tuberocity.com (will be a music and entertainment website), and I realized that while content will seem easy on Mambo, it really is not. The category system is quite limited, cannot cross-reference articles, and you do not have the largest control over all pages. Such a drag when it looks so nice out of the box.

I really need to realize the themes on Drupal a bit more. I suppose I found mambo easy for that because it was a basic html page with commands added to load the mods. Either I really need to learn php, or I need to pay someone to form a few templates for me. But I am cheap, and only can afford 20-30€ per template.

I actually ran into Drupal from my server that has preloaded CMS programs. I tried them all … and started with Mambo first. Then I started playing with Drupal for a website I am creating to address the issues of my campaign for mayor of my city. I at first saw Drupal as a very simple program for a very simple website, and it actually can be; however, I soon realized the potential with Drupal and the abilities to succeed over Mambo.

I know I need a program to make a website. Don’t know php to save my life, and even if I did, I want something tested enough to prove reliability and security. Drupal proves reliability by loading content fast. I have not read much about security flaws either (in fact I was blown away by how secure it made my server … can’t access files unless you know the filename … found that out from some of my sub domains that are not related to Drupal.

I know many people like Mambo for ease of use … well the only real ease is the ease to upload a new mod or component … no real configuring or entering the database. Nevertheless, loading a story is not as easy since it does not preview very well, it uses a separate area to admin (an actual admin website that is different from the main site). I guess I like to log in as my website username and have all my admin features right in front of me while viewing the webpage … there is a was to edit already posted material from the website in Mambo, but the functionality is very limited compared to the admin website.

Dallas Grant

capmex’s picture

I tried both, while Mambo looks nice, it doesn't have enough good modules. For example I tried to implement a way for members to communicate on one site. I looked for modules to allow something like Personal Messages (PM). For Mambo I just found a chat module which I tried, but it wasn't what I needed. I looked on Drupal and I found a module for PM which worked exactly like I wanted. Mambo has some modules, but from my point of view they are low quality and very disperse.
Webmaster Resources for Business Websites

frailamerica’s picture

mambo does indeed have a personal message module. the free module is called MyPMS II (http://mamboforge.net/projects/mypmsii/) and the not free one in called MyPMS Pro (http://www.taher-zadeh.com/).

smithmb’s picture

Seems like both of these modules have MAJOR bugs listed. While I thought Mambo was slicker, Drupal really has worked hard to make a better API.

Mambo has complexity that doesn't serve any purpose, whereas Drupal's complexity sneaks in functionality in new and innovative ways.

sun’s picture

Versions of MyPMS really don't work well. If you are in the need for a private messaging system for Joomla, you should give uddeIM (http://developer.joomla.org/sf/projects/uddeim) a try. Basically its code is nasty but it works out of the box. There is even an working integration into CB.

Daniel F. Kudwien
unleashed mind

robertDouglass’s picture

I'm a dedicated Drupal user/programmer, and that's not about to change, but wow, Mambo looks fantastic. I explored their demo site and was just knocked out by the intuitive layout of the drop-down menus and all the nice icons. Everything looks so *professional*. Drupal has made great strides in useability and visual appeal, but I see why others in this thread have praised Mambo for its look out-of-the-box.

- Robert Douglass

visit me at www.robshouse.net

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

mastahl’s picture

I still can't figure that one out. We decided to use it for one site while using drupal for the other. I believe drupal has very clean code and is most excellent for a community site. We aren't using too many community features on the first site so that is why we chose something else.

Jaza’s picture

All that is gold does not glitter.

Mambo ain't gold, but it glitters.

Drupal doesn't glitter, but it's gold.


  1. The above statements are utterly subjective.
  2. How extensible a CMS is, and how good it looks, are only two aspects of a CMS (or any software, for that matter) - there are many more factors that determine the overall quality.
  3. For some people, looks ARE everything. And for others, hackability and (certain) functionality is everything. So Drupal isn't "better" than Mambo, or vice versa - one is good for one type of webmaster, one is good for another type.

Jeremy Epstein - GreenAsh

Jeremy Epstein - GreenAsh

rkendall’s picture

I agree with the sentiments, but I think the actual quote is:

All that glitters is not gold.

Jaza’s picture

The quote "all that is gold does not glitter" is from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings - see http://www.collectedthoughts.com/Quote.aspx?QuoteID=75 for verification. AFAIK, "all that glitters is not gold" is not a quote attributed to any particular person, but rather, is simply a 'commonly used proverb'.

Anyway, that's enough off-topic literary trivia from me for one night.

Jeremy Epstein - GreenAsh

Jeremy Epstein - GreenAsh

rkendall’s picture

Your a step ahead of me Jaza :)

smithmb’s picture

I think you'll find at http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/18/messages/56.html that "All that glitters is not gold" actually comes from Shakespeare and before that, Chaucer. And the phrase is originally latinate. =)

Yasha@spreadfirefox.com’s picture

You are right, but that leaves the types of webmasters that need both out in the cold.

For the projects I work on the ideal solution would be to meet somewhere half way between Drupal (or CivicSpace to be exact) and Mambo. The glitter of Mambo is more in line with the needed user experience, but Mambo doesn't have the robust functionality that is critical for me. Drupal does, but is a mess for non-developers of the type I specialize towards at this point. I have no doubt Drupal/CivicSpace will get to where I need it to be, but in the meantime that leaves me in limbo between half measures. What I'm looking to do now is learn everything I need to become a contributing developer/designer for CvcSpc/Drupal myself, and to bring in others from my projects to do the same.

rfsbsb’s picture


I've tested both and as a developer I think Drupal is much better than Mambo in terms of coding.

The interface of both are very clear(except to Mambo's save button), but the easiest template system of Drupal is my best choice.
Another thing very important to me is the translation system(I'm Brazilian) and Mambo don't have any translation system; if you want it in your language, you must translate every file.

Due this considerations, i choose Drupal.

Rafael Ferreira Silva - http://www.webphp.com.br
PHP Developer

bongobongo’s picture

There is an internationalisation system for Mambo - it's currently an add-on component called MambelFish which is being integrated into the core code for the next major release. It allows you to translate everything through the admin interface, although of course many language files are already available.

I couldn't comment, however, on how Mambo compares to Drupal - I'm checking it out for the first time.

See http://forum.mamboserver.com/forumdisplay.php?f=31 (Portuguese Mambo forum) and http://mamboforge.net/projects/mambelfish/.

thesaint_02’s picture

The thing that bothered me about was that there was no easy way to translate the admin interface. In Drupal public and admin functions are better integrated an can be translated together.

There is a module for translating the Mambo admin interface, but it didn't work for me: error messages and garbled layout.

greenpanda’s picture

I feel that Drupal and Mambo are easily the 2 best designed and best supported CMS systems available. Depending on the site you may decide to use either one. I have used Mambo on several corporate sites where there needed to be an extremely user friendly backend admin setup, so that my clients could manage the site themselves without calling me for support. If they want to ad a new module or component (2 ways to add features to mambo) they do not need to use ftp, they just upload it via the web interface. HOWEVER!!! If there are not already Mambo components or modules available with the features you need, you should DEFINATELY choose DRUPAL!! I love the extremely modular design... I love that I can replace any core piece with something custom and it works beautifully. I LOVE LOVE LOVE how clean the code is and overall, it is my favorite CMS. Here's a list of Pros and Cons:

Mambo Pros:

  • Easy Easy Easy to use
  • Web based install of components modules and themes
  • Tons of functionality already developed
  • Great community support
  • Fantastic selection of professional grade templates
  • Super easy template system... you can easily make any site into a template

Mambo Cons:

  • Terrible user management system, no custom role creation, no built in profile customization
  • Hardly any documentation
  • Hard to code for, especially for a novice
  • Probably has TOO much built in functionality

Drupal Pros:

  • Excellent user management
  • Easy to modify to your own needs if you know any PHP
  • Clean code that anyone can learn from

Drupal Cons:

  • Much smaller community than Mambo
  • Not much in the way of templates available, you pretty much have to make your own.
  • Menu management is complicated, and there is no built in support for multiple menus

Thats about it I think....

sami_k’s picture

Having built sites with both, I'd say that they're different beasts. Mambo is really good for corporate sites with a seperate backend and frontend, the backend being administered by a limited number of people -- therefore Mambo is not good for community plumbing. Mambo also lets you layout your pages however you want. It's a steeper learning curve and the design isn't nearly as well thought out as Drupal. However, for theming purposes it's the best thing ever, though again the themes are difficult to deal with. They both have their own respective domains, Drupal is good for community plumbing where you have many users and a website which is community oritented, Mambo is good for a corporate site with very limited community features. My company's portal is done with mambo:

Etopian (Support & Hosting)

transwarptim’s picture

You can have multiple menues in Drupal. Just go to the menu administration screen


Then click on the Add Menues tab and configure the menus you want

Each of them shows up as a block on the


screen, and needs to be enabled and placed.

Hope this helps


greenpanda’s picture

You are correct in this, however choosing where the new menu will appear on the screen and wether or not it will be a vertical or horizontal are the multiple menu features I forgot to mention. It's especially easy to place the menu anywhere on your template, you just put something like {mosusermenu1} on your template and Mambo will place your menu in that spot, so it dosent have to be on the left or right side, it can be nicely spread accross the top if you like.

Boris Mann’s picture

This can all be accomplished at the template layer in Drupal as well. Just create your menus, then output them in your template.

rkendall’s picture

Right now I would say Drupal is more usable for developers who set up web sites (more configurable, better code/APIs etc), while Mambo is more usable for not-very-technical people managing their own website (graphical everything, not too complicated, etc).

Drupal is improving its usability for non-technical people at a very fast rate, and it won't be long before it overtakes Mambo in this regard.

However, for Mambo to adopt the best features of Drupal would be a much bigger task - I think anyway. I think Mambo would need a complete re-write to incorporate features like Drupal's categories or it's user roles, and flexibility that allows for modules like flexinode and i18n!

2005 is the year that Linux, Firefox and Drupal take over the world!!!!

treksler’s picture

"Drupal is improving its usability for non-technical people at a very fast rate, and it won't be long before it overtakes Mambo in this regard."

Could be the other way around
Joomla is already usable and it looks like it may overtake Drupal technically

Drupal's usability is absolutely horrendous
It has just about everything going for it except usability and it is a LOONG way from becoming usable

OTOH, if you browse the CVS of Joomla! code you'll see that 1.5 is a complete object-oriented webapp rewrite
while keeping its limited 1.0.x functionality set.

andjules’s picture

I've just been getting my feet wet in both (more mambo than drupal). as a developer of corporate sites, my impressions are:

  • drupal is more elegantly architected
  • drupal defaults that bug me include:
    • putting user menu directly in the main menu - i think corporate clients will much prefer that mambo's backend is clearly separate from the front end
    • presumption of single template approach - i know i can armwrestle drupal into assigning different templates to different areas, but it's not a clear & intuitive feature
    • main links/secondary links metaphor seems confused with main menu metaphor, and a little unfriendly to the standard corporate "sections/subsections" style menu - something mambo handles quite simply
    • and mambo's backend does have a very 'professional-looking' UI, although i agree with others that it's logic appears nice but is a little confused in reality. nice lookin' though!
  • so, in the end, while Drupal seems the better foundation, it seems like i'll have to learn a lot of workarounds to accomplish a basic corporate site. which is a drag.
transwarptim’s picture

Both were recommended to me. From my perspecive (which is admittedly limited) Drupal is much better. I've spent a LOT of time with Drupal, but not very much with Mambo. I di onteld to investigage it further, however.

I did a test install of each and Drupal was easier to install. The only thing I had to do was manually add two directories tmp and files. With Mambo I had to chmod the permissions on a number of files and direcories and then the software continued to report that they weren't writible.

The Admin interface makes more sense to me with Drupal and you can custom define roles (I like this); though it seems more complicated overall. Mambo's does not seem as powerfull and looks nuke-esque with the icons.

OTOH Mambo has many more themes and modules.

Drupal's forums are limited. A friend told me they are a fairly new addition so they will hopefully get better.

Drupal makes me install many necessary modules (notify, htmlarea, and about half a dozen more) rather than buntle them with the install.

Hope this makes sense to you.


stephenhendry’s picture

If you want drupal with modules pre installed use civic space over at www.civicspacelabs.com . I used it and found it very good.

grantbow@civicspacelabs.org’s picture

Good point, I have a couple CivicSpace sites and find it a nicely enhanced distribution of Drupal with some of the contributions modules pre-installed.

While my Drupal ID is from CivicSpaceLabs, I don't work with them officially. I've heard this is a problem with the themes, not the core.

jairo.serrano’s picture

Drupal produce clean source... mambo needs some cleanups.

Jairo Serrano
Ingeniero de Sistemas
Universidad Virtual Tecnológica de Bolívar

madartsfactory’s picture

On http://cmsmatrix.org you can compare the commonly used CMS.

Naur an edraith ammen!
Naur dan i ngaurhoth!

carlmcdade’s picture

That site gets high marks. just being able to compare PHP version compatibility is worth the clicks.
www.hivemindz.com (running PHP5)
www.fireorb.org (documentation and hacks)
Carl McDade
Information Technology Consult
Team Macromedia

timpascal’s picture

I have. Mambo delivers some very compelling capability while stressing simplicity (admittedly a subjective thing). The tension between simplicity and power/flexibility is common for actively an evolving CMS like Drupal or Mambo. Mambo is currently hot because it is easy to install, configure and operate despite the limitations encountered when digging deeper. The Drupal community has recognized this as an important challenge on the road to gain mindshare - witness the numerous calls for and discussion around usability. Drupal has its roots as a blog/community-building tool. Mambo has its roots as more of a web content manager favouring larger, more static 'articles'. This is an oversimplification of course because each has reached toward the other in terms of features.

With Mambo it is easier to get the look and feel of the site close to right if you are a web designer - pixel perfect design and XHTML/CSS validation are still not there but close. There is even a Mambo Dreamweaver plugin for designers so this might account for some of the impressive designs out there. Drupal has three template systems? None are as designer-friendly but all are more powerful in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing.

Drupal does some information architecture things better. The biggest example is the taxonomy system which allows one to globally cross-categorize the content of all content-types in virtually unlimited ways. Mambo currently categorizes native content two levels deep: section/category/content, and this system does not apply globally - add-on components/modules invariably have their own categorization schemes.

Mambo does support multilanguage implementations with core support for internationalization of the 'engine' and add-on support for content (Mambel Fish - very buggy but moving in the right direction). I can't speak to Drupal's multilanguage content support but I intend to investigate this further now that someone has mentioned it. I have a current site-design that requires canonical/transtation support and if Drupal is doing this better then I may use it.

I get the impression that developers who have seen both systems prefer the code of Drupal and I won't contest this (not being a developer myself). I will say that Mambo is highly regarded for its code as well so the distinction may not be as great as if one were comparing Drupal to some other CMS like PhpNuke. The underlying information architecture potential of Drupal 'feels' more elegant and somehow more pure. I have the impression that I could probably do something more sophisticated with Drupal, information-wise. Mambo seems to be very up-front with what it can and cannot do and works wonderfully well as an 80% solution information-wise.

Drupal seems to be making great strides in making its potential more accessible to non-programmers but still falls short relative to Mambo. There is a lot of energy being applied to architecting things in an almost idealistically pure way. Drupal seems to work on a few things and get them really right. Mambo seems to be more pragmatic - getting things 'right' enough. There are a lot of components and modules and a lot of overlap (waste?) in the Mamboforge community. Much of the third-party Mambo stuff is arguably not ready for prime time but there is a lot of energy and ideas being applied.

This is not to say that Mambo isn't improving at the core. Mambo's next steps include making the content architecture more flexible, more completely abstracting the presentation so that any aspect will be templatable (and hence allowing for XHTML/CSS compliance), building multilingual content management support, enabling remote administration via XML/RPC and a host of other things.

Personally, my two favourite PHP CMS are Drupal and Mambo. I really like Drupal and someday I'll use it in a production site. To date I've used Mambo despite its limitations for two reasons. 1. I can build or adapt a template design without having to learn a templating language - XHTML/CSS is all I need; and 2. Mambo has met my information architecture needs so far - Drupal's flexibility and power haven't overcome my Mambo inertia. Other non-PHP CMS that I'm tracking include Plone (Python/Zope), Lenya (Java/XML) and Magnolia (Java, JCR).

Sorry for the long post but I hope I've added some useful perspectives. I think either Drupal or Mambo would meet/exceed your needs. Your choice will be as much about you as the systems you choose. You might think about the journey rather than the destination - how much fun do you want to have and which community would you rather work with?

Steven’s picture

1. I can build or adapt a template design without having to learn a templating language - XHTML/CSS is all I need;

I'd like to point to the standard core xtemplate engine, which has plain XHTML/CSS themes with only few tags to specify structure. They are in a format that regular HTML editors like Dreamweaver will understand. Xtemplate does not offer complicated features like conditional logic or data pulling, so it's perfect for non-programmers. The other theme engines are indeed more developer oriented, but you are free to stick to the simple xtemplate system.

If you have a problem, please search before posting a question.

timpascal’s picture

Steven, you're right (of course). Xtemplate provides an option very similar to the Mambo approach. I have experimented a little with it. Your additions to the Handbook on this topic have been very helpful. Xtemplate is a relatively new development for Drupal and I suspect that it will become very popular with designers who are intimidated by code or don't need that level of flexibility. Is there a model design available that showcases Drupal in the way that so many Mambo designs do for that community? Is it possible to design a feature-rich Drupal layout with a single template and CSS file pair? I think this is what is so attractive to Mambo users. Having said this, Mambo is apparently migrating to a more complex and flexible multi-file, hierarchical template model using patTemplate with its next release.

Excuse me while I dive back into my Xtemplate experiment now. If someone can point me to the Multi-language content module next, I may become a Drupal user sooner than I thought. Thanks again, Steven.

maris_mch’s picture

It's a question of taste and needs!
I really like Mambo (4.5.1a) because:

1. very simple
2. easy to use for people who are not technical
3. very good design and looks very friendly even then if you do not know what it is

Newest Drupal version is 4.5.2, I tried 4.5.1 I liked there:

1. administration is very very sirious
2. you can play with users, blogs very easy

If you have official site (like Brasilian Porche what uses Mambo 4.5) where you just put information without user support choose Mambo. I'm making a web-site for University in Mambo 4.5.1a, it's simple!

If you make a portal, where you plan to see registered users, dicussions; or you make your own site, where the administrator will be you; or you like to play with code a lot and you do not care about "user friendly" choose Drupal CMS.

crazybooks’s picture

With Mambo it is easier to get the look and feel of the site close to right if you are a web designer - pixel perfect design and XHTML/CSS validation are still not there but close. There is even a Mambo Dreamweaver plugin for designers so this might account for some of the impressive designs out there. Drupal has three template systems? None are as designer-friendly but all are more powerful in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing.

I'm no programmer, and not the best web designer out there. The reason a lot of mambo sites look better than drupal is because there are explicit theming quides out there that take a user all the way from image creation, to html coding, to putting the tags in the right place. Drupal doesn't have that sort of idiot's guide to theming approach. The documentation tends to assume that users have knowledge about things they don't have.

My example would be at installation. I wasn't sure where I would enter the untar command, using wsftp_pro. I tried several places, and nothing worked. So I had to unpack locally, and upload the files using a dial up connection that disconnects every two hours. Lots of effort. Nevermind full time programmers -> you need technical writers.

Ultimately I found content organisation in mambo frustrating, and as I have grown in terms of what I can do css wise and layout wise; I found the simple templating VERY frustrating. I produced pbp-gamer with mambo, but am finding drupal much more satisfying. I've got the site tweaked how I want, and now I can get on with phptemplate and make it look unlike any other drupal site.

Possibly. I shouldn't say that. It will jinx me.

Mambo is as easy as pie. drupal is ultimately more flexible.

Put it another way....mambo is Internet Explorer and drupal is Firefox.

I R Admin Monkey. Damn those users. Damn them with Zim like hyperbole

bradlis7’s picture

I tried it today on the opensourcecms, and it was way too windows looking. I didn't mess with it too much, because I didn't like the look of it.

clairem’s picture

I tried Mambo before settling on Drupal.

Mambo instals easily (Drupal could learn a trick there), and initially it's very easy to set up and to theme. But the very horrible HTML output from the core make it near-imposible to theme thoroughly through CSS: non-strucural markup, neasted tables to the nth degree etc. Very 1999, and very horrible if you like clean HTML! (I seem to recall that it made my validator very ill)

Drupal is harder to instal and less straightforward to configure, but ultimately much more satisfying to work with -- if you want to produce a site that looks and works the way you want it, rather than how the CMS wants it. I do, though not everyone does.

The one feature I really miss from Mambo is that I recall that it had a neat way of listing "related pages" on a node, which Drupal could badly do with.

Overall, I'd say that Drupal is a much more robust and configurable tool, though one with a much steeper and longer learning curve, especiallly if you don't want to produce a community-type site. Some of Drupal's concepts, such as taxonomy, can be hard for folks to grasp ... and some things are not intuitively labelled, such using "books" when you want to make an FAQ. (Excellent system, books, just the labelling won't be obvious to many folks who try sertting it up).

Overall, I'd say that Mambo's commercial origins are very evident. On the good side, that gives you an easy instal, rapid initial theming, and a very consistent and user-friendly admin interface. It's glossy, but there are good reasons why commercial products succeed through glossiness -- it's not what I want, but many users would like it.

But on the downside, Mambo's glossiness soon starts to feel rather skin-deep. Once I'd invested time in it. I found that after all, I really couldn't live with its frustrating 2-layer classification system; it feels like being back in primary school (you can't do that because!) ... and the non-structural HTML starts to feel very frustrating.

For myself, I reckon that Drupal is the more solid product, but that it would greatly benefit from some of the effort that was put into commercialising Mambo -- such as offering lots more default themes, making installation more straightforward, and improving the somewhat jumbled-up admin systems (though without going as glossy like Mambo).

chokhsin’s picture

Fckedit. Not all of us are geeks and a good WYSIWYG editor really encourage more content from average users.
Author Alias. Drupal uses username to publish nodes. I think most writers prefer real name or an alias. I wish I could change that with the profile.module and theme hacking but I can't code.
Good looks. Drupal default themes should show off and make users realize that it could look as professional as Mambo.
That's all. Drupal rules in all other area.

kbahey’s picture

I suggested fckedit to people here a while back.

I was pointed to the HTMLArea module http://drupal.org/project/htmlarea for Drupal, and gave it a shot.

It does provide WYSIWYG editing of nodes. It is very configurable.

It has a few quirks (e.g. sometimes rewrites the URLs, adding ../../ before them), but you can always switch to source mode and fix those.

Drupal performance tuning and optimization, hosting, development, and consulting: 2bits.com, Inc. and Twitter at: @2bits
Personal blog: Ba

dallasgrant@newswire.ws’s picture

Just to throw this entire board off.

I find that Xoops (http://xoops.org) is an outstanding CMS with lots of mods and themes to download.

Dallas Grant

iraszl’s picture

Surely there are tonns of themes for Xoops, but don't they look all the same except their colors?

nautis’s picture

I'm a total CMS geek, so I've installed and done testing on just about every system around (Mambo thru Documentum). The open source CMS community is pretty fickle (including me). It's all about what your needs are. There's a reason the Howard Dean / CivicSpace folks selected Drupal - because it's massively collaborative. Each member is instantly a contributing member of the site. This is a very organic model. Sure, you can build a corporate web presence with Drupal, but why? Over 1/2 of Drupal's core functionality is lost with a "push" only web site. Drupal's sweet spot is in knowledge management. I would pitch Drupal as an intranet solution before ever using it for a company's .com site - especially with the available LDAP integration.

I've used Xoops and Mambo. Xoops is a great community system but very light on content management. Drupal's taxonomy core really is a unique feature among all open source content management systems. Because of this there is a steeper learning curve, but well worth it.

Mambo is an excellent product for "pushing" content. Again, it depends on your needs. I would recommend Mambo for a company's .com site - but never for an intranet. Also, as other members have mentioned in this thread there has been very little consideration of XHML/CSS standards in the Xoops or Mambo core.

I dig Drupal. It's a great cms/blog tool, but I think it's real potential has yet to be tapped. Has anyone actually deployed Drupal as an intranet (with LDAP) in sizable organization? I'd love to hear more about it, if so.

- Matthew

beorn’s picture

I'm much in the same situation, having to decide more for a CMS to focus my attention on it. I know Mambo, and so far I like it. I lack two things. Only two, which have already been said here, and they're indeed important: decent user management with roles assignment, and a good category system.

What about eZpublish and Typo3? I've given them a glance. Not more. And also a comparison at cmsmatrix. They both look impressive in capabilities. But also, at first glance, they look like needing A LOT of time, and a really steep learning curve.

Has anyone compared these CMSs?

transwarptim’s picture

I can't say anything about eZpublish but I can tell you that Typ03 -- in addition to being very LAEGE, als has a very steep learning curve just to get the templates working. I spent three weeks reading and trying things and did several test installs before dumping it. The one thing I loved about it (and probably the reason I spent so much time on it was the way it let you add pages to your menu on creation, something I'd spent tons of time looking for a feature for. With the new Menu_onthefly module Drupal now has that functionality.

Oh, and I did notice that there was a phpBB integration module under development.


Dries’s picture

Please let's not get off-topic. Start a new thread if you want to talk about either eZpublish or Typo3. Thnaks.

axel’s picture

From www.mamboserver.com intro message:

Mambo is one of the most powerful Open Source Content Management Systems on the planet.

Really, Mambo-developers don't die from modesty ;)

JabberID: laika@jabber.org
Drupal in Russia

pamphile’s picture

We were about to use Mambo on our Intranet. But it's lack of File uploading features did not make our staff happy.

So I moved to Drupal, and incidently used code from my own image/file hosting service at 01Files to host files on our Intranet.

As someone just suggested, I am testing out the civicspace... seems very useful.

http://scriptdiary.com - http://01wholesale.com - http://businessletters.com

pamphile’s picture

If only there were more pre-packaged Drupal installations like civicspace.

The ability to:
1. prepackage installations
2. install modules civicspace-style
3. Add dummy content + categories

would be a great asset.


killes@www.drop.org’s picture

3. is available through my generate scripts that come with the devel module.

If you have troubles with a particular contrib project, please consider filing a support request. Thanks. And, by the way, Drupal 4.5 does not work with PHP 5.

Boris Mann’s picture

We plan on releasing (1) and (2), as well as help integrate this general functionality into Drupal.

wtrenker’s picture

Many web hosting providers use Fantastico Auto Installer. Fantastico is a Cpanel addon that installs many different Perl and PHP scripts and addons. It includes installation of Drupal. The good news is that it takes care of installing the software in a directory of your choice and it sets up the MySQL database automatically. It justs asks you for a few simple inputs like username and password. The hosting service I use (webhostingbuzz.com) has Drupal 4.5.2 so it is right up to date. I haven't looked closely enough to see what additional modules, if any, are included. But for getting a basic Drupal installation running it is a piece of cake. And Fantastico is used by many, many hosting providers.


mikerouse’s picture

I was having a quick read of this thread, but didn't read it all as there is so much.

I have been using Mambo for best part of a year and a half and only discovered Drupal yesterday. It fits my needs so much more because of the types of member layers I can have; Mambo only allows me to have Public, Registered and Special. Things are surprisingly easy to do in Drupal, although I am still discovering a lot of it. It is completely new to me and already I am looking at taking Mambo off all my sites and going with Drupal.

Not to say that Mambo is a bad CMS, just not the right one for me as my sites are in the political field in the UK and need something like Drupal really.

WhiplashInfo’s picture

I run a site - Whiplash Info - non commercial. The site deals with nearly all problems related to injuries and severely ill persons. As today the site contains more then 4500 pages in a large tree structure. The hole site is built in MS FrontPage because in the beginning I couldn’t anything about code.
I have a Help Forum (Snitz Froum 2000), a news modul (-software) from WebWizGuide and Poll software - Ocean12 Poll Manager Pro and so on. And it’s grown over my head.
In the little Scandinavia I have about 40000 unique visitors per month.
The news is handled by an old injured woman in another part of Sweden, and she can’t speak or write English. She help me scan news concerning the different problem areas and publish them by her self using WebWizGuide Site News System. The forum is run by help from two moderators in different parts of Sweden.
I’m aimed to help other injured and ill persons in trouble solving. I’m quite sever injured my self after a car crash, but as today all my availably time I hade to solve technical problems with the site instead of helping other persons. Thus, I have been looking for a CMS and DMS system to replace FrontPage.
The DMS system is important due to the amount of pages, categories, sub-sub-sub and so on. I really would like to expand the possibilities for my visitors to communicate and participate as in a community. I know my site have contribute to getting elder, non computer using persons to starting investigate the Internet for info and knowledge about their problems and concerns. Today I have no way to give out permissions to visitors to parts of the site.
I have read all posts in this thread, but I’m not sure I can adapt the info to my needs, but – I’m not a programmer at all, I have just been plying around in ASP.
Tomas Alsbro, Whiplash Info

Steven’s picture

Please post your question in a more appropriate place.

If you have a problem, please search before posting a question.

Carlos Miranda Levy’s picture

Other than testing the interfaces and functionality, you can compare features and technical aspects between a significant number of cms apps at:


This site allows you to select and compare open source CMS applications between an extensive list of the most popular ones. For example, you can easily generate a side by side comparison table that lists features availability for Drupal, Mambo, Xoops. Please note that this list of features does not include virtual community functionality, which for me is a big plus in Drupal/CivicSpace. It also does not rate the developer's community activity level or the amount of plugins, modules and extensions available (which is a plus for apps like phpNuke, postNuke or even Mambo, which have been around for a longer period of time or have a larger base of installed users).


I spent 2 years developing my own content management system because I was not satisfied with anything out there and needed more flexibility both on content organization as well as on interface modification. The day I met Drupal and took it for a test drive, I dropped all my previous work and started to migrate right all my stuff to it, even though it requires moving from a Windows Server to a Linux server. The quest was finally over. Everything I had wished for and that my projects required and contractors asked for was addressed by Drupal's team.

I love Drupal's taxonomy approach that allows you to have a flexible hierarchical or non-hierarchical distribution of content and post articles, blogs, etc. to more than one category at a time and to establish relationships between categories. Also its book feature that allows organization of articles (from one or many people) in sequences and dependencies (think about book-chapter-pages). And of course its community features and flexible control of the interface and the capability to define new forms of content. It also has great tools for surveys and custom forms.

There is a large number of Open Source Content Management Systems available out there. Many with an active community of developers and supporters continuously enhancing them with upgrades, plugins, modules and extensions and providing support to others.

Some of the most popular ones are Mambo, Xoops, Drupal, phpNuke and postNuke (the last two have been largely used by programmers and hackers for several years and have serious security holes and issues).

As mentioned before, www.opensourcecms.com allows you to test and try popular open source CMS applications so you can decided which is best for you and which one you like the most.

Con paciencia y calma,
sube un burro a una palma

shashi’s picture

Disclaimer: I am a fan of Zope for doing serious stuff. I've tried out both Drupal and Mambo and use Drupal on my site. I think MySQL sucks big time.

I am using Drupal because it seems to be much more easy to manage. When it comes to making simple customizations, I think Drupal's simplicity and ease are way above most other systems I've seen. Also most of the time the code *is* quite well-written (at least the php is - see below) and I am able to _usually_ figure out if something goes wrong and fix it.

However, I don't think I'd go so far as to call Drupal a proper CMS yet. Right now its little more than a templating system (an elaborate one!). Have a look at the entries in the feature list under 'content management' and you'll see what I mean.

My experience with Drupal has been mixed. This is because I use PostgreSQL and most modules do very poorly on it. Again the feature list says that the system is database independent, but really a system is made up of its modules and when modules use stupid MySQL-specific extensions, you get a database-dependent system. So that's something you gotta be careful about. I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what module was crashing what other module - there's no sandbox concept at all. But I stick with Drupal for my personal website cuz frankly I don't need the super-cool features and elaborate workflow (I need it for a different project where we use the fantastic Zope platform).
The out-of-the-box Drupal installation never gave me problems (except the supplied pgsql schema failed and I had to edit it by hand a lil bit - but after that its been great).
As for XHTML & CSS validation, Drupal is plain terrible and again most of this is due to the modules code being so sloppy. Try out the W3C validator on your site and see how it performs (even on an out-of-the-box installation). We have a web-designer here who is responsible for using CSS to make our official websites look better. But if you've used CSS in Drupal, you'd know what weird results it throws at you sometimes - it just needs to be separated a lot more cleanly.

Most of what I've said above is true for Mambo as well. The differences being: 1. modules are much easier to install in Mambo 2. the content editor is way better.
I think its just dumb that a user has to create schemas by scripts on the command line in Drupal!

So the problem is that you are stuck with comparing pretty much appearance and ease of use. In terms of the core, they are both not that great :| If I had to use choose between them for the application that you mention, I'd go for Mambo.

Drupal just isn't where a software with a '4.x' tag should be.

Since you mention that your site is mainly going to be about information, I'd highly recommend you look at something that *really manages content* instead of just displaying it. Check out opencms.org (Java based) which is nice, but frankly doesn't look that great by default. And of course, if you have the time (and might I even say the heart!), check out Plone.

rjspence’s picture

Mambo is a content management system that somewhat manages content. Drupal is a framework with CMS type direction with CMS standing for "community management system".

Honestly, I've spent quite a bit of time on several CMS's within the last couple years. Mambo is a good product. Drupal is a good product. Between the two I use both for different situations. I will however state that as of the last time I worked with Drupal, it couldn't even turn a page without the book module. If Drupal wants to excel as Mambo has as a CMS, it need be more than good coding. Articles, reviews etc... require that you have access to create multipage documents on the fly with content "management" being the key focus. While Drupal in my own opinion is a super project and has it's place, Mambo is better in many ways over Drupal. Drupal is better in one area for sure, and that is the permissions system. I couldn't use Drupal nor Mambo for all my needs. Mambo however due to it's flexibility is certainly my preferred choice at the moment for a quick and simple site setup. I see Mambo as leaning towards a decent and easy to use CMS. I see Drupal not as CMS at all but rather a framework providing a CMS direction.

In terms of modules, both mambo and drupal would get a flat out "F". To many issues with multiple modules and core not working closely with the 3rd party contributions. Both Mambo and Drupal core are solid and stable giving few issues in terms of a production ready coresoft. Add what you need with multiple modules for either product and you've lost your production ready environment. Take away the modules for both Mambo and Drupal and Mambo leaves much more to work with than Drupal out of the box.

What it really boils down to is workflow. Bricolage has been my best learning experience in an OSS CMS. It's just to large for the average bear. That and although it uses postgres which is appreciated, the perl module installation was a pain in the rump. Both Mambo and Drupal leave much to be desired when comparing to a powerful workflow engine.

I agree with the above poster. The management of content is a far cry from dynamically displaying it. Mambo is much closer to this reality and has not achieved what it will become. On a Mambo sour note, community is important and I highly respect Drupal's direction towards a real community type software and atmosphere. This is a direction Mambo and it's core dev's will one day understand and hopefully reconsider their stance on. While Mambo somewhat manages content, it lacks any real core community type effort including a simple article/review feedback form/forum.

Combine all the efforts of Drupal and Mambo into a single product, and I would most certainly be thrilled.

joeygun’s picture

Drupal has a better permissions system? I have read otherwise, just wondering why you have this opinion. This is an important feature for me, so I want to make sure I select a cms with a good permissions system before I make the leap.

Steven’s picture

Drupal has fine-grained role-based permissions, allowing you to set up any number of moderators, administrators, and everything in between.

We also have a content/node access API which contributed modules plug into. There are modules for taxonomy (category) based access, role-based access, etc.

If you have a problem, please search before posting a question.

smithmb’s picture

With Mambo you only get the permissions and role-structure that Mambo devs think you need. And extending it involves reinventing the core with modules and 1-off hacks.

laptopcare’s picture

I think Mambo is a very quick solution for some some commercial
Company, they many be do not have some coder, they need simply
arrange the web.
While Drupal seem to a Blog,you can make comments quickly.
Our site want to show the tips on how to solve the problems on Laptops.
We want Mambo and Weblog both. Our current solution is
WordPress:Weblog -- Australia LaptopCare Notebook Repair Services WeBlog
testing Drupal just now.
If Drupal can meet our needs, we can change to Mambo and Drupal

nitinzep’s picture

I am wondering whether exposing WordPress as a Mambo component/module would be a good idea or not. Just a random thought.

audienceone’s picture

That would be a very great combo. Mambo for CMS and Wordpress for an internal blog system for user. But the better combo would be that of Mambo and Drupal.

Actomic’s picture

Well There's One very Big Advantage With Drupal !! Mambo Does Not Support Clean Urls Therefore mambo sites will not be indexed , but drupal sites will be !!

Well experts can make mambo use clean urls with the use of .htaccess but for beginners it's not possible , drupal's the best solution , just a click and there go clean urls !!

mmkassem’s picture

Mambo has this feature. You only have to rename the htaccess.txt to .htaccess and turn on the option from the SEO under global configurations. I do not think that's an expert job. Everyone should know how to rename files.

pamphile’s picture

Mambo has a commercial mod_rewrite plugin for Mambo... YEs, you got to buy it... that sucks in my opinion.

Mambo is great, but if you add up the price of all the plugins you might need to buy in the future, it hardly makes sense...
Might as well buy Expression Engin or Evoarticles.

Most of the wonderful Mambo plugins are free though... Most !

PHP Diary and blog

lekei’s picture

Mambo appears to be better that Drupal at building and maintaining a normal web site. It is a content management system. Drupal is much, much more. It's power and flexibility are amazing, but the cost in complexity and learning curve is extremely high.

As a result, the documentation here tends to wander off into the theoretical limits of complexity instead of being practical ("if you want people to be able to navigate by animal/mineral/vegetable and also by color or size or shape simultaneously or create the worlds most complex navigation system, then...").

For more focused documentation, see Bryght's how-to's.

Drupal is based on classification not structure and team member rolls, not corporate publishing workflow. Both of these can be difficult to incorporate into your thought processes, especially if you have considerable experience.

Drupal is, as I am learning the hard way, more like a toolkit than a system. You can get a site on-line quickly, but it won't do anything. Then you need to add modules, some of which require patching other code, manually rewrite the SQL files and run them, and write some custom PHP code.

Drupal is written by developers, for developers. If you are missing considerable experience in ANY ONE of PHP, UNIX command-line utilities, university level abstract classification theory (Taxonomy), CVS, MySQL in addition to all of the other skills needed to make a good web site you will find it quite a challenge.

You not only CAN access the source code, you MUST access the code to get it to work. So be prepared to read and probably write some PHP code.

Each minor version is a total rewrite so, since patches for modules and custom code are necessary to build a site, you must be prepared to redo all of the work (not the site content) for every site, every time there is an upgrade. You may need to diff and patch your site or use CVS to protect your changes.

The pay-off is a web site that is more flexible (except in layout) and considerably faster (you sure don't need a stopwatch to tell the difference).

That's why I chose Drupal (even though I still struggle with how Taxonomy relates to navigation).

atreides’s picture

I've used Mambo for quite a while, and it is now that I'm trying to use Drupal. Concretely I am migrating from a Postnuke 600 users site.

I really like how Drupal is made, especially its taxonomy system. Amazingly simple and it works. I would say this is the best that Drupal has.

On the other hand, I must say that Mambo requires a lot less time to install, to configure and to administer. It is already one month since I've set up my Drupal site, and each day I find some errors. These errors are quite difficult to search in www.drupal.org, so it is also quite difficult to solve them (and it becomes really time consuming). I also find somehow disorganized this patch system for modules. It's quite good in the sense that everyone can post one, but that's also where the disorganization starts. If you apply one patch, how to combine two or more?

About Mambo, what I like most is its easyness to change design. Also, what Mambo most lacks is nested categories system, and a good users system, along with permissions.

I would say that Drupal is more community oriented. It has more power, but I would say as well that Drupal isn't as well finished as Mambo is.

aries’s picture

Do you really think that? Many of the mambo modules and compontants has a static skin that wired in the code within. When I implemented some sites in Mambo I was fuckin' angry about that. That was the reason why I've switched to Drupal.
Fehér János aka Aries

Matthew OMalley’s picture

I'm deciding between Mambo and Drupal right now. I'm working on two small nonprofit sites, with a bit of static content (70% of site) and some community participation (forums, newsletters). Here's what I've come up with (please correct me if I'm wrong):

Mambo pros:
*more menu options (e.g., secondary menus related to a site section, javascript menu across the top)
*pretty admin pages
*nice image browser
*more design options out of the box (default)
*easy component installation (no FTP, etc)
*lots of forum components

Mambo cons:
*no working newsletter components

Drupal pros:
*nice simple forum pre-installed
*working newsletter module
*great user management

Drupal cons:
*confusing admin pages (creating/editing a page in different places, content menu is merged with admin menu)
*can only place blocks in right or left columns (not across top or bottom or elsewhere?)

And yet, even though things seem stacked in Mambo's favor here, I still think I'm going to choose Drupal. I don't know why - but it seems like there's a great community here, and as a developer and designer, I think I'll be able to work more easily with Drupal to make it do what I want.

I'm somewhat concerned about what I hear that each of Drupal's new versions requires a lot of work on the sites (because the modules may not work with the new version?). But I suspect that would be the case with Mambo as well.

aries’s picture

You can put the block anywhere you want. Just look a theme. Ok, now there're two position (left/right), but it's flexibile using theme_blocks().
Fehér János aka Aries

restyler’s picture

You can put the block anywhere you want. Just look a theme. Ok, now there're two position (left/right), but it's flexibile using theme_blocks().

Well, as far as I know, theme_blocks can't help you with additional regions - it just can help you with unique styling. If you are using DIV-style of html coding, may be you can position your blocks where you want using CSS. But if you don't want to use this 'cool' approach, you need something what Mambo has - 'true' regions.
The only way to create 'true' new regions I know, (when you can choose region from admin/block) is to patch block.module
(left/right regions are hardcoded in function block_admin_display())

Any other ideas?

venkat-rk’s picture

Well, you can try the flexiblock module (http://drupal.org/project/flexiblock)

If I remember right, the upcoming Drupal 4.7 will have the ability to place blocks anywhere on the page.

drupalcreed’s picture

The previous poster's comment was right on target. When looking at the two CMS's, you just need to keep in mind that the C's stand for different things.
Mambo is a Content Management System. Drupal is a Community Management System.
While I suppose Drupal can be implemented as a Content MS, Mambo can NOT be implemented as a Community MS.
Being new to Drupal, I've already experience a total system failure - something I was accustomed to with the Nukes and (so far - knock on wood) never encountered with Mambo.
Which brings me to the communities - Mambo's community would dwarf Drupal's community. That doesn't make it a better CMS - but there is a great deal more activity. If you post a completely retarded question to the forum, someone will come around with a reply.
Drupal crashed on me. Completely. Utterly. Site went boom :) I posted a question about it last night, still no response from anyone.
And that's not faulting anyone - people certainly aren't at my beck and call. But it's scary to know that, if you ever do run into problems, you may get no help or extremely delayed help with your problem.
So I can't base a commercial site on Drupal for fear that something could go wrong, and I'd look like a moron for 24+ hours. The fact that I am a moron is beside the point :)
I've tooled around with Mambo in all kind of ways. It's never had a total system failure once. I messed around with Drupal for a few hours - the site is now completely inaccessible.
Again, I'm sure whatever I did to cause that was idiotic. But while Mambo seems to be idiot proof, Drupal obviously isn't. And when it comes to clients who have NO clue what they're doing - I prefer idiot proofing :)

BUT if you're looking for a social portal, Mambo's no good. You can push content all day, but it's fairly lightweight when it comes to building a community. I mean - if you even TRIED to implement a community through Mambo, you'd have to jump through hoops of fire to pull it off, and (currently) you'd never even come close to touching the built-in functionality of Drupal.

So though I feel safer with Mambo, I'm turning to Drupal for a community-oriented project. As a non-coder, I'm scared to death of it - if it blows up, it blows up and that's all she wrote. Unless I befriend a Drupal guru, and they're willing to lend a hand :)

So my analysis would be:

Corporate content push sites - Mambo
Community content building sites - Drupal

And again, I have TONS of experience with Mambo, and little with Drupal - so my views might eventually change :)

But man, the constant horror of the nukes just wigging out on me - the initial Drupal system failure, if not just unfortunate, has got me cringing :) As a non-coder, I so do NOT wanna be back to dealing with that :)

cel4145’s picture

you'll have better luck at getting help with drupal once you learn where to ask. see my comment on your bug report.

good luck :)

drupalcreed’s picture

Ah, sorry about that :)
But in my rather meager defense, check out the forum - quite a few of the topics read "no support questions here, please" - and my situation didn't seem to apply to any of the available support topics. I guess the "How do I..." might work, but it seems a stretch to ask "How do I... recover from a complete site failure?" But that could be the friendlier way of expressing "General Help"?
And when I ran a search for similar bugs, I ended up (of course) in the bug section - which led me to posting there.
Anyway, I hope that my review of Drupal so far doesn't seem too negative. I'll eventually get the hang of it I'm sure. Thanks!

squaretone’s picture

I've used Mambo quite a bit and am just recently switched over to Drupal. I like Mambo a lot and it comes with soo much right out of the box (almost soo much it is overwhelming)

There are the two BIG things that switched me over to Drupal.

1) Mambo just went thru a shakeup that involved the majority of their open source developers spinning off and rebranding Mambo as Joomla. Read more at www.opensourcematters.org (instability scares me)

2) And this is the big one... SEO is sooooo much beter in Drupal. You can pay for one that works with Mambo but Drupal's is built so well and integrated that I get a warm feeling inside every time I use it. There used to be a really nice free os SEO plugin for mambo called Xaneon Extensions ( http://xaneon.com/products/components.html ) but the devopers stopped developing it (and switched to developing for Drupal by the way)

Bottom line is both have their advantages but the more I use Drupal the more I like it. Of all the CMSs I've used, I consider them to both be at the top.

Eric Lawrence
Developer/UX Designer

mmtahir’s picture

I tried Mambo as a first chance.. the advantage with the Mambo that I found that it is easy to install and new modules can be added very easily..

However, Later I stuck in many of the things. Its more complex, themes are not flexible as Drupal, the CMS is not very handy with Images (specifically for image per article).

I found Drupal more simple and more functional. I feel more control over things here as compared to Mambo

Malik Mohammad Tahir Saeed

andre75’s picture

When I started expriementing with CMS a few weeks ago I tried one of the Nukes then Mambo and finally arrived at Drupal following a discussion I started on a german tech board.
I was looking for something a little more elaborate than Mambo. Mambo is basically a blogger tool. The taxonomy and taxonomy menus is what brought me to Drupal. It lets you organize content much better, without it vanishing once it disappeared from the front page.
The second CMS suggested in this discussion was Typo3.
Typo3 seemed awfully complex and Drupal had everything I needed.
I think its wonderful, the only downsides:
- I still don't quite now how the modules will be updated once the core is updated (I am using a lot of them to add some nice functionality)
- The theming took me a while, since I basically no nothing about CSS

But with a little more effort Drupal is a lot more flexible and can be fitted to my needs.



rajmataj’s picture

I've checked out quite a few CMS's and really, between some of the top ones, it really comes down to what suits your needs and personal preference. Mambo, Joomla, and Drupal (for php/mysql examples) all have their strengths and weaknesses. Once you've learned how to use one just one of these, because they're based on mysql and php, it's not difficult to learn another. This way, you can keep your options open and remain flexible.

As mentioned before, CMS Matrix has a good comparison of CMS's:


As well as OpenSourceCMS:


tickleme’s picture

They fool you into thinking they're all that, and then when you switch, you find out it sucks! I use Mambo now and am considering a switch to Drupal, which has many more useful add-ons than Mambo(for my type of site anyway). Getting help on the Mambo forums for anything is like pulling teeth and fighting to stay on top of the board. I posted a thread for help and the next morning (less than 16 hours later) it was already moved to the bottom of page three! I'm not going to get any help that way. To top it off you have to wait weeks for a reply for help from support. Modules and components are great, IF you can find the right one and IF you can get it to work properly. Personally, I'm getting fed up with Modules/Component creators who say they were going to make a certain add-on (2004) and 2 years later it still isn't done.

It's looking more and more like I'm going to switch as each day passes.

frozenjim’s picture

The comments over the past year about what Mambo lacks could be written as a developers guide to what is currently being developed for Mambo V5.

More importantly though is the Mambo/Joomla! fork. The dev team at Mambo, almost all of them, forked Mambo to create Joomla!. The past year has been HELL for anyone counting on Mambo or Joomla! to keep their site running. It is finally smoothing out again and it looks like both will be great CMS. Mambo is redirected towards becoming a much more structured system with rules and an API to follow while Joomla! is becoming cowboy heaven. Consider Mambo to be the reliable father while Joomla! is the flashy "know-it-all" son who plans to become much slicker but doesn't worry about the rules so much.

Let me try to address some of the issues:

  • No File Management. The MamboXplorer is an excellent and bug-free file manager that you use from the Admin interface. Docman is a shakey file manager for the front-end.
  • No Support - Right. At least 80% of the dev community left Mambo for Joomla!. Slowly Mambo is recovering and finding a different crop of supporters. But support is slow at Mambo right now and will be for another year probably.
  • Poor component support. Most of the component developers have abandoned Mambo and their old users. Go to joomlaforge.net and you'll find them there with support and new versions.
  • No permission heirarchy - This is one of the stated goals of V5. Currently you are limited to 3 "back-end" and 3 "front-end" levels of permissions. Author-Editor-Publisher and Manager-Administrator-SuperAdministrator.
  • SEF URL - This has been corrected for a while now.
  • Document Management - Nothing worth using in Mambo and nothing on the horizon.
  • Too Flashy - Well, YOU create the template. If you like it flashy, make it that way. Mambo gives you 100% control over how your site appears. I have converted sites from Drupal or e107 to Mambo and there is no way that you can see the difference. They are identical. I will say that again: YOU HAVE 100% CONTROL over how your site appears.

Overall, I would say that today Mambo/Jooma! are not ready for use by a non-programmer. In both environments your calls for help can go unanswered for days - or weeks. The devs of both are madly scrambling to get their core running. They just don't have the time or manpower to offer much support.

Joomla looks promising if not unstructured and Mambo looks solid - but in both cases, it isn't here YET. Both will need a year to get back to the point where I can recommend them to a non-developer. You use them today and you really are on your own. Components that worked yesterday will not work today - and you're on your own. It's the price you pay when you fork.

However if you need a multi-lingual site today, the ONLY choice is Mambo. The old Mambelfish translation component is working great in Mambo currently and will continue to work until V.5 when the translation of content is incorporated into the core. Joomla still hasn't got translation working yet, but it will be going in about a month (my estimate). So far as I know, there is no other CMS out there that offers translation of content.

Drupal is more solid and stable - but that is also Mambo's new direction. Mambo is more powerful in terms of being able to do darned near anything - but you have to be a developer. The third-party components in Mambo/Joomla! are very hit-and-miss when it comes to quality and support right now - caveat emptor.

rcross’s picture


Just noticed this is a bit of an older post, but the original poster mentioned needing it in an educational environment. Thought i'd just point out drupalEd - the educational distribution of drupal aimed at teachers, universities, etc.


cmsproducer’s picture

So much has been said about each tool, good and less good, but I just want to point out that when I last built demos for a demanding client that wanted to test both instead of just asking for my opinion (client wanted to made the decision), although Mambo has a cleaner presentation out of the box, and is better marketed than Drupal, the rigidity of Mambo/Joomla compared to the open flexibility of Drupal was the breaking point.

In Joomla, you can only classify content on two levels (categories and sections), while in Drupal, the Taxonomy system (folksonomy now part of core) enables you to classify content in as many ways as you can imagine. The Flexibility and open core of Drupal (Although Joomla is opesource, the code is not straight forward)... So Drupal was the choice.

I would recommend Drupal, especially because the community is very vibrant and passionate. So you will always get lot's of answers to any questions you ask. I must admit that I am more knowledgeable in drupal than Joomla cause I have been using it in most of my projects since I discovered how powerful it can make me :)
iDonny - Web CMS Development, Design, and Web Marketing Advice

rajmataj’s picture

Ater being in a Drupal cave for about a week now, I now know it half-decently. I'm a programmer and a designer, so I'm a stickler for well written code. It's true that both Joomla and Drupal have their strengths and weaknesses. Overall, I'd say Joomla is much easier to customize but Drupal has powerful modules that integrate well. It's worth giving them both a try if you can.

abujaone’s picture

I saw thiis error when trying to install drupal...and juist seen same messsage in site posted to showcase drupal..what does it mean ........."Fatal error: Can't open file: 'sessions.MYI'. (errno: 145) query: SELECT u.*, s.* FROM users u INNER JOIN sessions s ON u.uid = s.uid WHERE s.sid = 'dcfb205580052f77608ef276f74e0c5c' AND u.status < 3 LIMIT 0, 1 in /home2/newswire/public_html/includes/database.mysql.inc on line 66"

treksler’s picture

ardas’s picture

I would also like to add that Drupal 4.7 has one big advantage which Mambo doesn't have - this is Drupal forms based on component model principle.

Dmitry Kresin, ARDAS group (www.ardas.dp.ua)

Muslim guy’s picture

No need harping about Mambo, I'd blurted out `the 22 list'


lungtung’s picture

Both Mambo/Joomla and Drupal is good, but for now, i start to use Drupal for my site. I like Drupal because it clean ;)

Muslim guy’s picture

Mambo is in limbo - if you havent heard of the split that becomes Joomla,

It still retains the slogan `Power in Simplicity'

Most webmasters stick to Mambo or Joomla or any other than Drupal because they earn a living doing something so difficult, so stressful, so mysterious to outsiders, that web owners pay them monthly fee just to maintain Mambo/Joomla based newspaper

With Drupal, you can safely hand over the lock and the keys to the owners, you can also kindly create `Bookmarks' for all Drupal paths like Submit Page

ardas’s picture

I'm a co-owner and a developer of ARDAS group company. One of our department focuses on web development using Drupal CMS. For us Drupal is a base of our business and today we can say that we can develop any site using Drupal. I will not base my business on Joomla - it is too weak to be a _single_platform_for_any_kind_of_site_.

So, my choice is Drupal for its architecture, structure and idea.

Dmitry Kresin, ARDAS group - Web site development, Drupal services, Drupal services, Software development, IT outsourcing.

phpcitizen’s picture

I am working with drupal for about 3 years now.

I maintain and developed sites with most major content management systems like:

Mambo, Joomla, Typo3

The only reason of the people's choice for CMS other than drupal would be the shiny templates that is integrated in default installation. If you are a developer/designer do not like to use someone else's themes, and crave for unique looks, so there would be no reason to choose any other CMS than drupal, as you can have a very clean complete dynamic site in the end.

The limits are your imagination in Drupal.

Mark Ercil

Mavros Gatos’s picture

I suggest Drupal, as it lets you create and edit content easier. For example, when ordinary people have to create new content in Mambo or Joomla, they start asking a lot of questions, even if you have explained them before. Just a few minutes ago I got an email from a friend using Joomla. Interested what she wrote? Ok: "In three letters I would describe a situation as SOS!!!"

In Drupal it's much easier: you click "Create content", then choose type, and before submitting content you can also choose a menu, where a link to this content will appear. And everything is from a website, not from "Administrator area".

Also, Drupal lets keep your URLs clean. Before you submit an article about, let's say Course information, you can write: (http://yourwebsite.com/)course-information, which in Mambo (or Joomla) would look like: /index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=3&Itemid=26 or content/blogcategory/21/66/. You can have clean URLs in Mambo as well, but you need to install some extension.

Drupal is more integral. You can have forum and plenty of other modules, that look like a part of it. You always have a feeling of ONE system. In Mambo it's different: there are Components, Modules, Mambots (in Drupal -- just Modules). Sometimes you won't even understand, where is a Component, and where is a Module.
Modules for Drupal can be found at drupal.org, all in one place. Extensions for Joomla (don't know about Mambo) are "hidden" in the websites of their developers.

Drupal is more "Out of the Box". Just think: you have easy publishing, Forum, Comments, community, clean URL's. Although you don't need some of them, these functions tell much about system and mean that Drupal is better organised and ready for comfortable work.

I am a new user of Drupal, but I find the community (drupal.org) a wonderful place to learn, to find answers, to participate. I think you already have this feeling, as you see many people willing to help you.

I was using Mambo and Joomla before, but after I discovered the power of Drupal, I would never return to Mambo. And not because Mambo or Joomla is bad, just because the Drupal is better.

Muslim guy’s picture

"Modules for Drupal can be found at drupal.org"


*see? Even Drupal modules can be easily found and remembered. I just knew about this nifty Module Installer, it works and saves time and stress

Advice your friend to BOOKMARK all of important Drupal admin sections like admin/modules, admin/settings/, admin/users, admin/content (path for 4.7.x)

Good luck all and have fun with Drupal

Mavros Gatos’s picture

Thank you. It's probably a nice module. I'll test it later.

Alternative for bookmarking: you can create a new Block and put the most popular admin sections (links) there.

conniec’s picture

Hi all,

I'm a designer, not a developer and am new to CMS. I updated one of my sites using Joomla but hae only built the barebones while I compare Drupal on another site. I'm looking for an alternative for Joomla because they are in transition with a whole new rebuild (which looks like it will be a good thing when it is done) but there seems to be a lot of confusion among all those who are working on it and some public in-fighting. The modules I need most are built by a very large third party--and that third party is having difficulty with the transitions, it seems. ie not getting info about the new builds so they can't update their own modules/components, etc.

I've tried to wait for the final builds and implementations but it's been a while now, and I can't hold off building these sites for much longer. Joomla's changes look like they will be great. I'll check them out again in a few months, but am counting on being too entrenched in Drupal to change.

Drupal seems to have all the modules/components that I need as core modules and lots of nice add-ons, too. As soon as I get this taxonomy thing figured out, I should be up and running on a basic level.

I'm looking forward to the day my sites are productive so I can give back to Drupal for all the great work they've done and that I'm taking advantage of.


Sree’s picture

good luck Connie!

-- Sree --
IRC Nick: sreeveturi