Compare some CMS systems

All the major CMSs are excellent. They all can make about any kind of website. For any limitation in a CMS, there is usually some extension or some info on the web. So it comes down to: what works for you.

The best CMS comparison i have read on the web, with explanations of how to compare CMSs, is at http://www.newlocalmedia.com/files/CMSfeaturecomparison.pdf

It seems like most of the CMS comparison pages we find on the web, are too vague, or too technical, or irrelevant to the purpose of the reader. Below is my summary comparing Drupal, Joomla, MediaWiki, and WordPress, with some definitions of common CMS words.

We are going to try here, to compare on a practical basis, based on the needs of the non-technical site builder as well as the technical view of the back-back end developer. Joomla and WordPress are the most used CMSs by Tibetans in India today (AFAIK!). The information here is from James' experience, what he has heard from others, and what he has found on the web, as of 1 September 2009.

Some bases for comparing Content Management Systems:

Managing the CMS

  Drupal Joomla MediaWiki WordPress
focus of the CMS project Open source, web community Business web developers, and businesses which make money from supporting Joomla (selling templates and plugins, providing install and programming services, etc.) Open source, web community Open source, web community
focus of the CMS app itself All kinds of websites;
especially suited for ... ??
Websites for businesses or organisations, with a flat content structure. Websites for information, with many articles linked together. All kinds of websites;
especially suited out-of-the-box to sites with time-based content, such as news, blogs, and videos.
build Installs the bare minimum, lets you grow the site how you want with plugins. Installs many features; it assumes what kind of website you want to build. Installs all you need for a wiki. Installs somewhat of a mininum, lets you grow the site how you want with plugins.
Highly configurable, so you need to know more to take advantage of it. You can end up with a bloated system that locks you into functions you don't want or need, Installs ready to make a Wiki — which is what you want from it. Fairly configurable, so you need to know more to take advantage of it.
documentation Excellent online documentation. The online documenation is not much, not clear, not easy to find, not well organised, searchable, or saveable. Luckily there are very good books which you can get as PDFs. Excellent online documentation. Totally excellent online documentation. Organised, readable, searchable, saveable.
Has a whole separate website for excellent video tutorials.
A lot of the documentation is only in videos! This can be very nice as an addition. but is not useful as main documentation. It leads you from beginning up to advanced, without confusing you at the beginning, or wasting your time at the advanced levels.

Detailed comparisons: the front end the back end the back-back end

  Drupal Joomla MediaWiki WordPress
The Front End – the website appearance
the site itself As excellent as you want to make it! As excellent as you want to make it! As excellent as you want to make it! As excellent as you want to make it!
html/css Clean html and cms standards, and the WYSIWYG editor is clean as well. The CMS itself makes things with pretty clean html and cms standards, and is getting better. but the additional plugins and WYSIWYG editors make bad code. Clean html and cms standards. and the WYSIWYG editor is clean as well. Clean html and cms standards, and the WYSIWYG editor is clean as well.
newsfeed Probably good. Makes newsfeed link for front page only, is not configurable. Don't know. Excellent built-in.
An excellent extension bca-rss-syndicate adds newsfeed link to all pages, ability to put icon on the site pages, configure for what you want in the newsfeed.
SEF urls Probably good Tricky, not clean: Item # may be in the url; no date; only goes two levels deep: section and category; difficult to figure out where and how to arrange things (menu? article) so that url will make sense. Excellent. Automatically part of the creation of the article. Easy to set up, clean. Article date is automaticaly part of url. Goes many levels deep.
If SEF is not built into a component, the url will not be pretty.
If you write your own component, you have to write the router yourself.
Error pages Probably good. Can't incorporate error messages into the error page template.
The default error page is downright scary to a normal web user.
Harder to customise error page design.
Very good. Very good.
Can incorporate error messages into the error page template.
Easy to customise error page design.
  Drupal Joomla MediaWiki WordPress
The Back End – website editing and admin
interface Don't know yet. Graphically pretty to look at, but some concepts are confusing – for example, you do settings for an Article in the Menu Manager (!). Clear and easy to understand. Clear and easy to understand.
multiple editing Don't know yet. Article is locked when any one person is editing. Article is not locked; It will tell you that other edits are made, and enable you to merge the edits. Article is not locked; It will tell you that other edits are made (if i remember right).
display edits Don't know yet. It displays the article only; will not get all the stylesheet goodies, so not really useful. Displays edited article as it will appear in the page. Displays edited article as it will appear in the page.
Customising the template (the page design) Good Good once you figure out their system. Good Easy.
  Drupal Joomla MediaWiki WordPress
The Back-back End – customising and programming
customising Yes. Yes – You can do anything once know how to do it – but it is more difficult, because of: Fairly easy. Yes – accessible and clear, you can customise easily.
programmer-friendly Yes – it was made for programmers! Yes if you are very experienced and don't need much documentation. It is complex, uses abstract concepts (high-end OOP, MVC, etc.) and the docs don't step you through it but throw you right in. Again, there are good PDF books - but that's money. Yes. Very, with clear documentation, step-by-step, from simple things up to the high-end programming.
best for Site builder: Experienced, who know html/css code.

Programmers: advanced.
Site builder: Beginners, who don't know coding and don't want to.

Programmers: very advanced.
Site builder: ...

Programmers: ...
Site builder: Beginners, and people learning html/css coding.

Programmers: Beginners, and people learning programming, as well as advanced programmers!

Some words

AFAIK
As Far As I Know :)
built-in
Functionality that is built into the default CMS program – you don't have to add it extra.
extension
Additional bits that you can add to the basic CMS program.
functionality
Features; things that a program can do.
Your word processor has functionality like copy-and-paste, make words bold, mail merge, and so on.
A CMS has functionality such as having different user accounts, adding articles, displaying beginning of an article on home page, headline of an article in links page, and full article on full page.
You add functionality – new things for the CMS to do – by installing a plugin, or even by writing your own programming code.
install
mambot
Additional bits (functionality) that you can add to the basic CMS program;
refers to Mambo, or Joomla before v.1.5.
module
Additional bits (functionality) that you can add to the basic CMS program.
out-of-the-box
As first installed, with no extra plugins or features.
plugin (or plug-in)
Additional bits (functionality) that you can add to the basic CMS program.
Other words are: extensions, components, modules, mambots, ...
We are going to use the word "plugin" for all of these, because it's easier to type and to say!
SEF urls
"Search Engine Friendly" (also people-friendly!) These are urls (the words you see in the address bar of the browser) that give some idea what the page is about.
Example:
SEF url: http://tibetangeeks.com/technologies/bod-yig/web/
Not! http://tibetangeeks.com/index.php?id=14&cat=62&part=com_content
template
A special file, part of the CMS system of files, where you make the design of all the pages for your site.
The template will be mostly html and css, but may have some php codes in it.
For basic things, you don't have to know those php codes – just know enough to leave them alone!
When you are customising the site more, you will need to know something about those php codes.
WYSIWYG editor
A little program within the CMS admin area, for editing content of the website. It has buttons like MS Word. You don't have to see the html/css code in the content.
It is not as useful as you might think, because a website's design is made with CSS code in a stylesheet, and you can mess up that carefully crafted design using this kind of editor.

Know more

General info:
www.tibetangeeks.com
Tech info for Tibetans
XXX