Site builders: Drupal vs. Joomla vs. WordPress

Need to build a high-end website? We test three of the top free site-building applications.

By , Computerworld |  Software, CMS, Drupal

Building a website has never been easier. Gone -- mostly -- are the days of having to hand-code HTML and PHP scripts in order to get a slick, fully functional website, thanks to the capabilities of content management systems that do most or all of the heavy lifting for site creators.

There are boatloads of content management systems (CMSs) for serious site creators, but the most common for websites today are three open-source tools: Joomla, Drupal and WordPress. Actually, to call them "tools" is an understatement -- these are full-fledged platforms, with tens of thousands of add-on tools created by very active developer communities.

These applications have a lot of similarities. For example, all three are written in the PHP programming language, all three are licensed under the free GNU General Public License (GPL), and all three depend on the MySQL database to hold and manage the actual content within a website.

Drupal had comparatively sedate beginnings. Built by developer Dries Buytaert, the project was open-sourced in 2001 and eventually gained a following of community members that has made Drupal one of the most successful open-source projects to date, with a large ecosystem of add-ons and commercial vendors.

Both Drupal and Joomla are designed to enable users to build websites with template-based management, and both let users plug in add-ons that provide highly dynamic features, such as e-commerce, blogging with comments or mapping. In fact, any Web app feature you might think of should be available with Drupal or Joomla add-ons.

Of the three, Joomla is the newcomer to the CMS scene, first released in 2005 as a fork from the earlier Mambo CMS, which was owned by vendor Miro International. The trouble between the projects began in early 2005, when Miro established a non-profit Mambo Foundation (good) that pretty much kept all control of Mambo in the hands of Miro (not so good). A few months of arguments over the exact nature of Miro's interpretation of free software principles eventually led to the split of what would become Joomla from Mambo and the beginning of a vibrant community-based CMS.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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