Hi All,

I need your guys advice...

I need to provide a solution for a new website for a client of mine and they have mentioned they want to work with Drupal. I, on the other hand, have been working with Joomla (and before that Mambo) for quite some time now, and need a little convincing as to why Drupal would be a better solution.

Is there anyone out there who has worked with both systems, and do you have any advice to offer on this matter?

At first glance, I fell that Drupal is lacking in interface control; Joomla allows a huge amount of flexibility with design and allowing Flash elements, divs etc and most of the Drupal powered sites that i come across dont look all that...

Look forward to your comments



patrickharris’s picture

when you say Joomla allows designing with divs. With Drupal you can certainly create a customized tableless layout.

Have a look at IBM's 7th article on theming your html, ahem, I mean xhtml & css with Drupal.

IBM have just added a new article in this series actually, on Understanding the database layer.

markhope’s picture

I dare say asking on Drupal.org isn't the best place if you want to get for and against arguments. You're more likely to get for Drupal arguments - that's why we're here!

Just look on Google to get some comparisons from users of both, e.g.:

The initial "don't look all that" reaction isn't uncommon and I believe that's an issue that has been raised in the community. It's not the case for sites that aren't using out-of-the-box themes...

Have you seen:
Gallery: Images and links to the home pages of Drupal sites?

If you're not convinced about those designs look at:

The place to start with theming Drupal to achieve the design you want:
Customization and theming

To quote from the user article above:

In Conclusion

The bottom line is simply that Drupal allows us to be significantly more productive. In our experience, we are able to put together complex sites in a fraction of the time it would have taken us with Mambo. We can use Drupal modules such as Flexinode, which brings to mind some of the power of Lotus Notes, to quickly solve needs that would have cost us a lot of custom programming (or buying a custom component) in Mambo. We can take advantage of Drupal’s excellent templating to produce truly unique-looking sites with not much effort.


Abilnet’s picture

Muslim guy’s picture

Flexibilty is a twisted word by Joomla, just like `Simplicity' was the slogan for Mambo... not so simple after all, with the licensing issue and commercialization run amok...

*and they have mentioned they want to work with Drupal* = this means that they knew Drupal is good but they either lack the know-how to install and configure Drupal, or they saw excellent Drupal sites or by words of mouth

18+ Criteria of a good CMS - Drupal fulfills them all and more

*Note - this article is written from a seasoned non-programmer web design and builder, and from a non-committing stand to Drupal

*allowing Flash elements - Drupal nodes can take PHP, Flash, XML, HTML, Embedded audios and videos and more = use Flexinode if you want to allow non-HTML users to create any type of content, or specific modules like CCK and Video, Audio, Playslist etc

Modules for Drupal are for FREE and EXCELLENT, so do Themes for Drupal. Unlike in Joomla, every corner is screaming `Buy themes, buy plugins' , free plugins sometimes can wreck the whole system, like the SEF URL plugins

Browse Drupal Showcase and you will find excellent Drupalized sites
mtv uk

nlink’s picture

Frankly speaking I have heard a lot of drupal being hard to install but tried it last night and took around 10 minutes (after uploading) and that too when it was my first CMS installation of any kind. Don't know what could be easier than this.
More of comparsion and personal experiences at my blog
Drupal Vs Joomla : Some simple comparisons

mgifford’s picture

We've just done a report for one of our clients comparing Drupal, Joomla & Wordpress for (1) multilingual capabilities (also called internationalization or i18n); (2) end-user usability; and (3) developer usability.

As a national organization in Canada, being bilingual was a must. Check out our CMS comparison.
OpenConcept | SEO | Tech | Screencasts

leotemp’s picture

Here is a Joomla-esque design I am slapping together, when i am finished it will have considerable more flashy "web2" functionality then the average Joomla design (even the ability to generate vector logos on the fly with a library of over 200 and infinitely expandable at any size color and alpha transparency, this kind of stuff would be like the moon mission with Joomla) and I have to contend with none of the absolutely stupid template logic that Joomla uses, its really odd that Joomla users consider it to be more flexible considering it allows for a fraction of the content types and no way to directly dev without interacting with terrible and complex install systems that can literally obliterate your site in a single click.


Drupal may not be the ideal choice for your project either but I would urge you to consider other options against Drupal that are not Joomla as in my professional opinion of over 10 years of web design experience, Joomla is not a professional solution in any way and is more of a "pimp my website" contraption of questionable quality in an attractive package.

Joomla is for teenagers building warez sites and carbon copy, sweat shop web designers.

Perhaps when Joomla 1.5 is officially released some of this will change but the bottom line is Joomla is just not developed from a stand point of addressing the needs of web professionals and thusly in my opinion does not deliver a professional level experience to your clients and their users. Plus I hate it, God I hate it so much.

Muslim guy’s picture

I think Joomla users ARE TOLD to love Joomla and to dutifully click on the Google Adsense (even in the LAMP package they distributed for Joomla)

Oh, have you tried Xoops? Thats another time waster (downloaded the CORE with no news/article/whatsoever ) and a good candidate to CMS bashing :)

kaakuu’s picture

Xoops was good at one time but I think now it is lagging behind.

CoffeeGroup’s picture

We must compare them, of course, depending upon the application at hand. So, that begs the question:

In WHAT INSTANCES is one best to use over the other?

We're actually tackling this subject in our live group discussion today. The comparisons online are naturally out-of-date, as there have been a multitude of upgrades to both Joomla and Drupal. I'm looking forward to our "Drupal vs. Joomla CAGEMATCH" Discussion in Chicago today, and will report back to y'all.

I'm impressed with both so far.

John Coonen
CMS Association

dpknauss’s picture

So how did that cagematch go?

All the cool people are into concrete5 and silverstripe now. Obama used one of them. Drupal is so...Howard Dean.


Dan Knauss

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/danknauss
New Local Media :: Riverwest Neighborhood Network
www.newlocalmedia.com :: www.riverwestneighborhood.org

WorldFallz’s picture

Guess you haven't seen http://recovery.gov, lol.

frank0987’s picture

Drupal is good because:

  • Nice default theme
  • Easy setup (no complications)
  • 1 000 000+ user-contributed modules avalible (grows every day)
  • Flexible for any use (blog, wiki, site, portal, etc.)
  • and more...

Why not Joomla? Because:

  • Complicated setup
  • Not SEO-freindly
  • Unattractive
  • No PostgreSQL support
  • Long developing period
  • and MUCH more...
frank0987’s picture

Mambo has the exact same about "page" as what Joomla has. (at least, the first paragraph)

owenmcnamara’s picture

Like many I have recently been trying to work out whether to use Drupal or Joomla for my own business, and being a small company I didn't want to spend time using the wrong tools. I am also quite new to CMS's so I don't have any bias (yet). I searched the net and found, among many other good reviews, Webology's survey. Then I did some additional analysis of their work and put an article on my own personal blog to contribute to the discussion and help others in the same situation as myself.

The summary of that analysis is as follows:
* There are 18 out of 42 Selection Criteria where Joomla and Drupal scored about the same.
* There are 7 criteria where Joomla was judged by Joomla users to be more satisfactory than Drupal users judged Drupal.
* But there are 17 criterion where Drupal users judged the Drupal CMS to be more satisfactory than the Joomla users judged the Joomla CMS.

On numbers alone Drupal wins for that particular survey. Of course it depends on what Selection Criterion are critical for your project.

Here are the areas where Joomla seems to be markedly stronger than Drupal

Let’s look at the numbers first:

* There are 18 out of 42 Selection Criteria where Joomla and Drupal scored about the same.
* There are 7 criteria where Joomla was judged by Joomla users to be more satisfactory than Drupal users judged Drupal.
* But there are 17 criterion where Drupal users judged the Drupal CMS to be more satisfactory than the Joomla users judged the Joomla CMS.

On numbers alone Drupal wins for this survey. Of course it depends on what Selection Criterion are critical for your project.

Here are the areas where Joomla seems to be markedly stronger than Drupal

* Easy to create attractive websites
* Range of Themes
* Easy Interface for Non-technical people
* Easy to train clients to use
* Easy to find qualified Joomla developers

Here are the areas where Drupal seems to be markedly stronger than Joomla

* Documentation of Core and Modules
* Fewer bugs in the Core and Modules
* Social Networking Support
* SEO Support
* SSL Support
* Internationalization Support
* User Management and Permission Features
* External integration
* Quality of Add-ons for administrative functionality
* Easy to develop large complex websites
* Developers don't need to invest time with extensions that don't perform well

The choice is good one to have because either way Joomla or Drupal are great systems and for many people either will do what they need but Drupal wins overall.

So far in my brief excursions into both I have found Drupal much easier to use than expected based on some reviews I had seen and definitely better documented than Joomla. Drupal's footprint is also clearly smaller and its wide range of power and good design already means I am starting to consider developing more complex sites than I had originally planned. That might not be a good thing :-) But I can see Drupal gives me enormous power, and from what I can see quite a wide range of templates. Installation of some extensions however does seem more complex with Drupal, but it is early days for me. The absolute easiest system for installation of extensions is Wordpress in my limited experience but it doesn't compare of course to Drupal in features or power. There is no comparison in fact.

Another confusing point of comparison was speed and SEO features. In my reviews on the net it seemed clear that most reviewers felt that Drupal was faster and was much better at SEO than Joomla. However, in the Webology survey that marked difference didn't seem to be supported. So I was left a little puzzled on if there is much difference between the two for SEO and speed. Drupal seems to win but by how much is the question?

At a certain point the only way to decide for yourself is to try each and find out what is really the case. So in addition to learning Drupal, I am also building a site with Joomla to learn that as well. But in my limited spare time this could take a while.

My full article can be found on my ad-free blog at http://owenmcnamara.com/2009/08/08/comparison-of-drupal-and-joomla/ and that also refers to the other good articles I found.

While I am at it, thanks to the Drupal community for such a great product.


raulreynoso’s picture

Thanks for using our survey. I see that you have made great use of the data and put out a very thorough analysis.

For anyone who is interested the full results of our Drupal vs Joomla Survey are available on our website.

Aussawinning’s picture

I think Drupal is easier for advance user
but Joomla is easier for novice

WorldFallz’s picture

dreadfulcode’s picture

drupal: today

joomla: yesterday

Search volume on Joomla is down 50%, based on figures provided by google, whereas Drupal searches are exponentially increasing.

raindrop’s picture

I used to despise CMS altogether, as the code produced by (some) cms systems is substandard.

Drupal at least outputs XHTML and CSS compliant code, this is the major plus.

In other words, if you integrate it with an existing site it won't break the parser when changing render modes in the browser.

The only problems I see thus far with Druapl System, is the fact that it relies on meta information to determine encoding when this isn't necessary as PI's can do it now instead.

Also, why use PHP to load CSS, when CSS can be used to reference files in and of itself.

These are two changes that would make it more "today" and probably put it more in the tomorrow category.

matcha213’s picture

After using both for a major client, I have really settled on Drupal. From a development standpoint, things in Drupal are a little bit more standardized. I was building a community site for a client, with subcommunities with their own content. In Joomla, I tried using Jomsocial, Supergroups, Community builder, etc, but none of them would work well with other extensions, but in Drupal, Organic Groups handled everything + was more compatible with additional modules.

The reason I found for this compatibility was the very idea that Drupal works is its Node concept. So all content has a single meeting point. This allows for TONS of possibilities and lets you control any content across the board, which makes categorizing into subcommunities easy as well as make the ACL extremely easy.

Joomla extensions were like independent applications inside Joomla and for that reason, they did not play well together at all. Plus, a lot of desirable Joomla extensions are commercial, and you have to pay for them before you can even TRY some. VERY VERY FRUSTRATING and it really slows development. I do not mind paying, but the very idea that I have to go through a paying process to try the software, and then finding out it does not work, was one of the worst experiences I've had with dev.

From a developer's point of view, I found it a lot more flexible to code for Drupal than Joomla. And after convincing them to swap over to Drupal over Joomla for this site, they have never been happier.

WorldFallz’s picture

fwiw, my experience with joomla was exactly like yours-- and having to pay for extensions that ultimately did not play well together was like adding insult to injury. I didn't stay with joomla that long (thankfully I found drupal pretty quick), but it seems like due to the sale of code rather than services, the joomla 'community' is more like a bunch of islands which often compete with, rather than collaborate with, each other. With drupal the economy is based on services so collaborating on code benefits everyone. Just my $0.02 anyway.

Thunderum’s picture

In my opinion Drupal is just hype and over-acclaimed. It may be a good CMS if you are a large organization with lots of financial resources or have many experienced web developers and webmasters.

  • Over complicated
  • Performance problems
  • Expensive to maintain
  • Difficult and expensive to customize and setup
  • Over complicated
  • Backward compatibility problems
  • Scalability issues
  • Usability problems
  • Long learning curve and overwhealming for entry level webmasters

This article says it all:

WorldFallz’s picture

nice link spam, lol.

Thunderum’s picture

Just because I express my opinion does not make me a spammer. I linked only to prove my point.
I don't like having to tell a small business client with budgetary limitations that adding or customizing a small feature in Drupal would take 2-4 times longer than with a robust but uncomplicated CMS.

WorldFallz’s picture

you don't have to to tell a client anything-- you don't like drupal don't use it, lol. registering an account just to post a link is link spam.

Thunderum’s picture

The above post asked for advice about Drupal vs Joomla and I provided my opinion with a resource link.

It is important for anyone who is making a decision about selecting a CMS to do plenty of research on the pros and cons of it before making a quick and mis-informed decision.

I have seen many cases where the situation is not appropriate for using Drupal and it is hurting their business, but they are using Drupal only because someone heard of Drupal and told them to use it.

Mamoun’s picture

The complexity of Drupal, which is not necessarily a disadvantage because once the steep (initial) learning curve is over you have a world of possibilities and the flexibility is great.

Businesses who are using Drupal when inappropriate in cases of simple websites for example are the ones to blame, not Drupal. Drupal was never marketed as being the average Joe's CMS anyway.

codeboyuk’s picture

I started out using Joomla last year, and I have to say that I have been very impressed with it. I'd previously (for some stupid reason), persevered with coding from scratch (hard coding). This included building small/mini cms backend areas where clients could add content, shopping cart items etc - but nothing anywhere near as complete or as powerful as an open source CMS such as Drupal or Joomla.
So, when I turned to Joomla and realised that I could turn out beautiful looking websites in around a quarter of the time that it had previously taken me - with minimal coding - I was VERY impressed. In fact - that is an understatement. I was blown away. The fee that I could command was reduced but this was neutralised by the much reduced development time. To be frank - I have not needed to do any coding of my own for nearly 12 months. That makes my life a hell of a lot easier. Some guys like programming, some don't unless they have to : I fall into the latter category.

For my latest project however, I have decided to use Drupal for the re-building my own business website.
The reason that I have opted for Drupal rather than Joomla is not because I have been unimpressed with Joomla, or because I feel that it is unsuitable for the job. In my opinion, Joomla has so many extensions that it would be suitable for almost any project.

And I read somewhere in this discussion that Joomla was not good for SEO. That is a load of nonsense. I have built sites with Joomla, AND optimised the sites. They are indexing admirably on search engines, so I don't know why Joomla is regarded poorly in the SEO stakes by some people. Ultimately, if you create poor content - you will get a poor return. No technology or software can offer a solution to this fundamental truth, irrespsective of how powerful it is. Content is up to the bod who is responsible for writing it. Unfortunately, for smaller projects, this is usually the client. They are not SEO savvy, so will make basic errors. However, if a knowledgeable web master is put in charge of the content, there is absolutely no reason why a Joomla site should not return well on any of the search engines.

The reason I have opted for Drupal for my latest project is because I have heard good things about it, and it is in my interests to get up to speed with another CMS so that I have another solution available to offer.

I have to say, my first impressions are not great. It is a much more complicated user interface than Joomla's. However, I will persevere.

Some people have also criticised Joomla for being 'simplistic'. As if this is in some way a bad thing. In my opinion, it is a great credit to the Joomla developers to have created such a simple and user friendly system. 'Keep it simple stupid': that was one of the first things I was taught by my programming tutor, which was fine by me: because programming has never been a strong point of mine.

Right - I had better get on with my first 'Drupal' site. I'm sure that my ultimate opinion will be positive, because so many people are enthusiastic about Drupal - in the same way that so many people are enthusiastic about Joomla.

I'll keep you posted with my conclusions.

Cheers :)