Working in the Joomla controls is easy from the start. Articles are in Article Manager, images are uploaded and stored in Image Master and so on. For basic administration, everything seems to make sense.
But after working with it a while, it became apparent there were some problems with the system. Creating a page was easy, but having menu links for that page in more than one menu became a bit tedious, because each item in Joomla has to have a unique alias. So I couldn't copy a menu entry from one menu straight into another. It was little things like this that kept tripping me up in Joomla and not in Drupal. Joomla also crashed a couple of times while doing seemingly small tasks.
If you get used to these idiosyncrasies, you can make do, but as I did more complex activities, I found myself wishing I had the same ease of use I'd had in the Drupal and WordPress sites.
WordPress administration seems to be a hybrid of the other two CMSs. There is a central Dashboard, which focuses heavily on displaying information about the site. The displayed information can be customized to show what you want to see, which makes it useful for a fast survey and control session.
Like Joomla, working in the Dashboard is simple and intuitive. Posts, pages and multimedia content are all managed in their respective pages, and it's pretty easy to move content around and edit it.
Menus were a little harder to grasp. By default, you can specify whether a page will appear as in the top-level menu or as a child to an existing menu item. It took a bit of effort, but I did find a Menus control in the Appearance section of the Dashboard that enabled me to create custom menus and then place them where I wanted on the site using the Custom Menu widget.
As I walked through each tool's administration controls, I found the Drupal tools less intuitive but ultimately more flexible and powerful. The converse was true for Joomla: easy-to-understand controls, but limitations kept showing up. WordPress was somewhere in-between: the controls were a little tricky to find, but once you found them, they were very useful.
Configuration, in this instance, refers to how easily each CMS put together my fictitious site for Happy Flights. The site, as mentioned earlier in this review, contains a front-page blog, a forum section, a few static pages and an e-commerce section for selling items to unhappy fliers. Articles on the site needed comments and links to social media sites. These are elements the average business site might have, hence their selection.
Each CMS had different strengths and weaknesses for these elements. (I'll review the social media and e-commerce tools a bit later in this article.)