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Seeking Advice : Drupal vs Joomla

     
2:42 am on May 31, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Iím seeking advice/suggestions regarding the choice of Joomla vs Drupal for a major project. There are two key elements to the project, one being a website (my responsibility) and the other is the custom software/applications/widgets that will be inserted within the website (to be developed by a third party)

The third party is insisting the use of Drupal for the whole project is non-negotiable, and Iím having doubts about that, primarily because of Drupalís reputation for being very difficult to master, the manhour costs associated with the learning curve and all this to gain a skill Iím very unlikely to ever use again.

So my question(s) here are:

Is Drupal really as difficult to use as many people claim? Would someone experienced in Joomla find there is a steep learning curve to become competent in Drupal?

Does anyone know of a situation where Drupal would have to be used in preference to Joomla? Does the Drupal core or modules offer certain features that make it more a more viable tool for developers?

Any other relevant comments appreciated.
6:48 pm on May 31, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I have used Drupal for close to 3 years, so I can attest to its steep initial learning curve. It was particularly steep for me as I'd never used PHP before that either. I've never used Joomla, so I can't compare the learning curve for that.

Does anyone know of a situation where Drupal would have to be used in preference to Joomla?
When a 3rd party developer has already written something similar for another client in Drupal and wants to cut its development time/costs. :) But seriously, if you want to require Joomla and the developer doesn't know it, you'll either have to find a different developer or essentially pay for the developer to learn Joomla to develop it.

One thing to consider- how much of the site will be dependent on the 3rd party applications? If it's only a small portion, you can install Drupal in a sub-directory of your site and use whatever you want for the rest of the site. You'd still need to know Drupal for any maintenance/fixing of issues for the Drupal part, but it wouldn't (shouldn't) affect the rest of the site.
7:00 pm on May 31, 2016 (gmt 0)

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>>Drupalís reputation for being very difficult to master

It is well-deserved. It is also extremely powerful. The quip I use here all the time is that if Drupal does what you want it to do out of the box, use Wordpress."

So if you are creating a blog or brochure website, you will find Wordpress and probably Joomla so much easier.

If you are doing a custom app, the Drupal API gives you great power and the modules for Drupal are much more powerful too. There has been a trend in recent years in Drupal to create a smaller number of extremely powerful modules that let you build functionality. So the Rules module would be one example. Views would be another, though that is now part of Drupal core.

If you will be hashing structured data, there is nothing that compares to Drupal in my experience aside from a custom built system.

Would someone experienced in Joomla find there is a steep learning curve to become competent in Drupal?


Do you mean as a developer or a site admin? As developer, definitely. As a site admin, I would say not.

Also, do you mean Drupal 7 or Drupal 8? After Drupal 7 launched, the Drupal Foundation paid for some serious usability testing that informed the buidl of Drupal 8. Their goal was something easier to use than Wordpress. Unfortunately, I have yet to convert a site to D8 so I can't comment on that.

As a developer, there is also a huge, huge difference. Drupal 8 is a completely different app than Drupal 7. Huge portions of D8 were rewritten using Symfony. So if you're already a Symfony dev, you would probably find D8 easier for you than the average person coming from D7. You also would not find the learning curve that steep (another major D8 initiative was the "Proudly not invented here" initiative, meant to stop reinventing the wheel and instead using the best components out there - in theory - that already have strong dev communities, like Symfony).

In general, though, I would say that Drupal is moving away from being small-site friendly. It increasingly positions itself as an enterprise framework rather than an out-of-the-box CMS.

If you *need* a framework, and especially if you need to handle structured data, Drupal is your tool. If you don't need those things, I would go with something else.
8:42 pm on June 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Drupal, Drupal, Drupal
10:19 pm on June 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I've used Drupal personally for over 10 years, and worked on numerous Drupal and Joomla websites professionally. Both become extremely difficult to manage if the wrong development choices are made, but from my experience, Joomla is halfway there already, and I struggle to recommend it.

Drupal is very developer-friendly when you get used to it. If your third party is providing custom modules (and know what they're doing) then the whole process would be very straightforward.

Is Drupal really as difficult to use as many people claim? Would someone experienced in Joomla find there is a steep learning curve to become competent in Drupal?


If you're a developer, then Drupal should be significantly easier to work with than Joomla, once you get used to the logic. I can't think of any reason to describe it as difficult to use from a development point of view. From a user point of view (e.g. an editor) the onus is on the developer to build the interface. Bad Drupal development = bad interface. Joomla favours providing both aspects, so it works better 'out of the box' without customisation (although even that is debatable ;))

Does anyone know of a situation where Drupal would have to be used in preference to Joomla? Does the Drupal core or modules offer certain features that make it more a more viable tool for developers?


The project requirements are the project requirements. They shouldn't be dictated by any third party, but by what will best deliver the client what they want. My feeling is that if a third party demands Drupal, they're basically saying that if you use Drupal they'll do the job, but they will refuse if you won't. I can think of better ways to present that sentiment :)
4:59 pm on June 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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If you *need* a framework, and especially if you need to handle structured data, Drupal is your tool. If you don't need those things, I would go with something else.


Having said that, I am finding myself considering porting a Wordpress blog to Drupal. There is nothing anyone else has, to my knowledge, like Fields and Views. Once you get used to having that, you feel the limitation everywhere in other platforms. And that's not to mention Rules and other major site builder modules that allow you to accomplish relatively complex tasks with minimal custom code.
1:49 pm on Oct 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Advanced Custom Fields in Wordpress is similar to fields - in some ways better, for example you can define a set of fields that appear on more than one content type without recreating anything. I've never come across a views equivalent, though. I still remember when Views first clicked with me, and I started looking at other sites and seeing how you could recreate them very easily with Vews.
7:47 pm on Nov 15, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Missed this one... came in just as I was getting ready for Pubcon I guess.

Anyway, that's my experience too - Fields + Views make it so easy to, for example, make a few clicks to add an address field, then tie it to a Geo view or create a table of items that click through to a summary view to a detail view. To sort chronologically in one place, alphabetically in another. Once Fields + Views clicked, half of the things I ever coded became obsolete to me!