There’s no ‘best’ open-source Content Management system. If we look at the most popular CMS systems; Joomla, WordPress and Drupal, they’ve all got their pros and cons. However, web developers tend to turn into advocates of the CMS they have learned to work with, instead of looking over the fence every once in a while. I say this because I’m just as guilty of this as any other developer.
I’ve been favoring Joomla ever since I started working with it in 2006. After using a couple of simple Content Management Systems I was suddenly overwhelmed by the choices that Joomla offered. Over the years I’ve turned the system inside out and discovered loads of amazing features and loads of annoyances as well.
It took me until last year to take a peek over the fence and discover WordPress. After building a few sites in WordPress I realized that it fits my clients a lot better than Joomla. It didn’t take me long before I made a complete switch to WordPress.
So why did I make the switch from Joomla to WordPress?
I didn’t use half of the features Joomla offers
Joomla has tons of options, something I found to be great when I started out. Over time it turned more into an annoyance, as I didn’t use half of those, and replaced the other half by plugins, modules or components. And still I disabled loads of features and overwrote a great deal of things in the template. This makes for a bloated system with way more lines of codes than I’d ever need.
The wordpress back-end is easy, intuitive and flexible
The back-end of Joomla is NOT user friendly. It has a steep learning curve and a menu structure that requires you to try out every damn option in the system before you get it right. The WordPress back-end has a great user interface design, which is also highly adaptable to create an even better user experience.
Development for WordPress is pretty ‘easy’
Or I found developing for Joomla hard, depending how you look at it. I’m not a hardcore code-nerd, so for me writing for Joomla was terrible. Joomla has an amazing, helpful community but even that couldn’t always help me. Developing themes, functions and plugins for WordPress takes me far less time. That brings me to…
In general, WordPress doesn’t have the helpful community Joomla has (not on the WordPress forums anyway). But WordPress has the codex, which is like the Bible combined with the SAS survival guide. Every hook, function and command is documented in there. It’s all you need.
They’re incredibly powerful and can be used for creating user profiles, extra article info, SEO purposes and much more.
I’m not saying that WordPress is perfect. For example, I really miss proper multi-language support, something Joomla does really well. Sure, there are plugins for multi-language support in WordPress, but they’re far from perfect. At the other hand that might be a good reason for an attempt to write my own language plugin!
In the end it all boils down to which CMS system suits you and especially your clients the best. If there’s a job that calls for more than the WordPress CMS, I wouldn’t shy away from having a look at Joomla or another system again. What I’m saying is, peek over that fence every once in a while, you might like what you find!