This past June I reviewed my personal page and realized how stale it had become. Though well styled, it consisted of four html files and a basic style sheet. After focusing so much of my time working on technology professionally, I neglected my landing page. Being fluent in most web technologies I could have written my own basic content management system, but as I reviewed my needs for content management, I realized there is a reason why WordPress has been actively developed since 2003.
I was looking to meet a few requirements:
- About: A personal landing page that gave a quick overview of who I am.
- Updates: I wanted to introduce updates on activities like recent runs, profile updates, or tweets.
- Articles: A write up on a recent project, or insight to offer to friends.
In addition to maintaining the the above content in a dynamic manner, I wanted the design and layout to be clean and flexible.
Drupal and Joomla
I first tried Drupal based on various articles with strong feedback for Drupal. There were many reviews that mentioned Drupal as a developer’s product. Drupal and Joomla are also widely used by a lot of large names.. My feedback for Joomla was very similar so I grouped it into the same category.
Installation was quick and easy and you’re provided a lot of good out of the box functionality.
I found Drupal’s layout very clean, but I wanted to offer my personal touch and began reviewing the process to customize the layout. I immediately found roadblocks with customizing layouts.
Drupal and Joomla do seem to receive a regular amount of software updates.
User Community and Documentation
Documentation was also very limited, as were the available plugins and and layouts. When looking at drupal developed pages it’s clear that most users end up taking the out of the box functionality.
I found a big emphasis on user management and access, which could be quite useful for someone who intends to build a large sites with strict enterprise type access restrictions. The access management was too advanced for my needs of having a single user blog however.
I then tried WordPress. I began the analysis with some concern due to the company’s age and look from wordpress sites I found on their hosted solution wordpress.com.
WordPress was just as simple to install as Drupal and Joomla. I was able to have an index page configured in short order.
I was concerned that WordPress would feel dated, and would lack functionality in the newer CMS’s (purely based on reviews read online).
I was surprised at the frequency of it’s updates and the full suite of functionality out of the box. This goes hand in hand with the large documentation repository and huge library of plugins and themes contributed by an open user population.
User Community and Documentation
Additionally I realized there was a benefit to WordPress’ age: There’s a huge user community with tons of publicly available documentation, widgets and plugins. Personalizing my layout was easy after I read through an introductory article found on WordPress’ codex site. You are offered tons of functions to call with many available to give you the exact output to suit your purpose.
Access management is easy in WordPress, without much of the complex structures I found in Drupal, though editing, commenting, or contribution to a site is easily managed.
All three CMS’s offer solid products, however WordPress fit my needs best. WordPress also offers me an easier experience for customization, which sped the development process. For those looking to build a large blog and want out of the box advanced user features, it may be worthwhile to try Drupal, or Joomla.