Everyone and their grandmother’s dog needs a website with good design presentation, key functionalities, and the ability to manage the content themselves or as an organizational team. This later aspect is referred to as a Content Management System (CMS). Years ago, it was typical to the internet industry to contract a “Web Master” to manage on-going site administration and make even minor content edits and updates. While a Web Master’s skills continue to be critically useful in many cases, the authority to manage content and do at least basic site administration is being passed onto the site owners through easy-to-use CMSs.
There are dozens (perhaps hundreds) of CMSs available out there. Some of the more popular CMSs over the last several years have been: Drupal, Mambo, Joomla, and WordPress. Ruby on Rails has also been gaining popularity with web developers, and though it has CMS capabilities, it is really gaining attention for other good reasons, such as it’s exquisite ease of use to programming developers. Django is also a newly emerging web framework that includes CMS built with Perl (a more advanced programming language). All of these above mentioned frameworks are open source and free. Then there are also proprietary CMS frameworks available, such as Water and Contribute.
As a web enthusiast, I’ve been conducting on-going research in CMS options for a few years now. I’ve tried Drupal, and found that it was very difficult to integrate good design into. I’m using WordPress for a few different blogs (such as this blog), and it is a really good CMS for blogging, and I can see how it can even be extended as a framework for more general web site publication. I’ve also successfully used Water for a few client projects because of it’s rapid development, and ease of use for the client. Joomla is an off-shoot from Mambo (there was some contention with the founders of the Mambo open source project), and so Joomla is considered better than Mambo all around. Yet I had not really considered Joomla too much until now.
It’s apparent how Mambo dropped off after Joomla emerged from Mambo. WordPress has had a steady climb being used widely in the blogging community. Perhaps Joomla has surpassed WordPress simply because Joomla is a more encompassing framework for websites in general (where WordPress is specialized for blogs). In any case, both WordPress and Joomla are great open-source frameworks with huge communities behind them, providing a wide range of plug-ins, components, template themes, and other options for custom development and support.
Which to choose: WordPress or Joomla? After discussing it a bit further with a developer friend, I’ve decided It really depends on what you want to accomplish. Joomla is a bit grander in scope, includes community building components (for a community or social website), and may end up having more options as far as overall component-enabled functionality. WordPress is geared mainly for blogs, and so is more streamlined and perhaps simpler to use, has loads of functional plug-ins, and yet can also be re-geared to represent a something beyond a blog, more like a typical website.