Choosing an open-source CMS, part 1: Why we use Drupal

Two companies decide that Drupal, a powerful but complex content management system, works best for them.

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But that power cuts two ways. Less technical users have found the platform harder to learn and use than other open source tools such as WordPress. The Drupal community has been working to remedy that, and the version of Drupal available today, Buytaert says, is easier to use than what users experienced just a few years ago.

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Drupal: Pros, cons and what's coming


Dries BuytaertBeginnings: First written in 1999; officially founded in 2001Installed base: 2.3% of installed sites (according to W3Techs)

Pros: Developers in the Drupal community tend to be some of the most technical, with many working in the consultancies that focus on big-budget, large-scale projects. A prolific developer community has created more than 18,000 add-on modules.

Drupal works well with sophisticated websites that require many different custom content types. Developers use it both as a CMS and as a broader Web development platform, says Buytaert, who also serves as the CTO and founder of the Drupal development services firm Acquia.

Cons: "The downside of Drupal's flexibility and power is that it can be perceived as more difficult to use at times," admits Buytaert. That means Drupal is facing some headwinds in a market where decisions about CMS deployments are moving into the hands of nontechnical managers outside of IT in areas such as marketing.

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