It’s true, we do like playing with the latest hot technologies such as node.js, backbone, mongo etc… but, our day to day work is, more often than not, content managed websites.

We like to use open source for everything we do. Why? Well, to start with, most of our clients are already smart enough to know it makes sense not to be locked in to someone’s proprietary technology… statements such as ‘We are looking to use Open Source and not get locked in to proprietary software.’ are now the norm (you can steal that for your tender document if you like ;)) Secondly, it lets us deliver results faster, more reliably and allows us to focus on the sort of quality results our clients have come to expect from us.

So, what open source content management system should you be using?

At Simpleweb we generally build using either in WordPress or Drupal. Both WordPress and Drupal are fantastic open source blogging platforms/content management systems. Either system is a great alternative to closed, costly, proprietary platforms. Open source is more cost effective to implement and it leaves the customer free to use another agency in the future if they so wish. As with everything in life though, both Drupal and WordPress have their strengths and weaknesses.

After delivering a variety sites over the years using both WordPress and Drupal, we’ve got pretty good at determining what provides the best fit.

Blog Based, Product Brochure Site – Use WordPress

If the site is primarily blog based with supporting information pages, we’ll more often or not pick WordPress every time. Here’s why:

  • Very quick to get going. We can setup a WordPress blog (due to some secret sauce we have) in a snap!
  • Blogging on WordPress is the norm! It’s a bit like using a native iPhone app, you know what to expect, users love it and it’s what people often expect.
  • Great admin interface, we haven’t met a single customer that hasn’t been able to dive straight in to blogging and content management with WordPress.

Full Featured, Community Site with structured data types – Use Drupal

There is a point at which a site becomes too big to be sensibly managed by WordPress. I say ‘sensibly’ because, generally speaking, you can always get a square peg in to a round hole! But, Drupal shines when you have a site with the following:

  • Multiple, well structured content types. In WordPress, if you need to move beyond a standard title/content/tagged page type (and this is a bit of an over simplification), you end up needing to extend it with plugins. Drupal has the ability to define all this (and really extend it with custom code) build right in to the core.
  • Users, role and permissions. If you have more than a handful of contributors and need better control over security, Drupal shines at this. Yes, WordPress can provide a lot of this, but again, you often fall back to third-party extensions that can often bring more problems than they solve.
  • Security. WordPress doesn’t have a great track record for security and getting hacked. Granted, it’s getting better! But, if you’re worried about security, Drupal is probably a safer bet.

So, that’s just a very basic look at the two systems and why we might pick one over the other. Ultimately, due to the constant development of both products (thanks to their active communities), and their extensibility due to plugins, the gap between the two is ever narrowing and we’d see either one as a great platform for your next product.

If you’re interested in leveraging open source for current or future web project, get in touch, we’d be happy to talk to you.

Related Stories