WordPress is the Best Choice for Open Source Blogging Software!

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The WordPress Pumpkin. Photo credit: Eric M Martin @ Flickr.

It’s time to decide which open source content management system (CMS) will be used for the Library Currents Beta website! For the previous month, I researched, tested and evaluated WordPress, Drupal and Joomla for blogging usefulness and capabilities. Each CMS was scored in the following areas:

Area 1: User Experience

  • Dashboards
  • Themes
  • Widgets
  • Plugins
  • Post Editors

Area 2: Functionality

  • Design Capabilities
  • Directory Capabilities
  • Social Sharing Capabilities

Area 3: Development

  • Costs
  • Scalability/Stability

The final scores for each CMS resulted in WordPress achieving the highest rating specifically in the development of a blog predominantly written by one person, with the possibility of guest posts by other writers. The final scores (out of 100 total points) were:

WordPress: 88/100

Drupal: 74/100

Joomla!: 76/100

Highlights of scoring

Following my investigation of the three CMS’s, my personal preferences for each CMS would have placed WordPress first, Drupal second and Joomla third, which is interesting given that the scoring reflected Joomla as the second highest scorer above Drupal. Even so, the rating system for this investigation was more accurate because the areas that were graded involved the user-friendliness of the three CMS’s: Joomla, with all its problems, is slightly more user friendly than Drupal, which is reflected in the score.

My experience with WordPress was met with only a few issues, and I felt that for blogging purposes, not only would it suffice for the things that I wanted to do, but it would excel at them. Drupal seemed like a great choice as well, but would require some time to get going, as I felt that even with new templates it would require a large degree of customization. Joomla for me was the worst personally, as I encountered not only a high learning curve for customizing the website, but also a lot of bugs that not only crashed the site but also broke templates and extensions. The cost was also deterring, especially for a blog.

The best of WordPress could be seen in the Widgets user experience and functionality, the post editor, the design experience, and social sharing capabilities, all of which scored a perfect 10 in the ratings. Apple popularized the phrase “There’s an app for that!” and WordPress could easily substitute “plugin” for “app.” The ability to create a unique design and functionality for your blog by using a native search that can download themes and plugins with ease is elegant. Add to that the ability to engage your users with social sharing plugins, and you have a Web 2.0 functional blog ready-to-go. The area of greatest weakness for WordPress is its security and stability. which is prone to hackers. Fortunately, there are plugins for that!

Where WordPress has its greatest weakness is where Drupal shines. Security, stability and scalability are synonymous with the Drupal name, and the world’s finest web developers write Drupal code. Any blog has the potential to develop into an enterprise-sized website using Drupal as its core. So why not choose Drupal? The biggest issue with Drupal is its complexity. For a library, corporate, or store, Drupal is a great fit since you would be happy to sacrifice a little bit of time and money for scalability and stability. For a blogger, such resources are unnecessary, unless the blog laters grows to such a size that would require a larger staff and greater development: costs remain one of Drupal’s greatest weaknesses, along with the blog user’s experience designing the site or creating article posts.

Finally, Joomla proved to be the CMS that was “the middle of the road,” from user-friendliness, to cost, to scalability. It did not excel in any one area, but it did show a weakness in cost with extensions priced higher than WordPress and Drupal. Although stability of Joomla is considered greater than WordPress in the blogosphere, I found that not to be the case, with the crashing of my demo installation occurring relatively early in the development process. The clutter of some of the extension and administration screens seemed a bit overwhelming as well. I think Joomla would be great for a static website with little user interaction, one that requires more security than WordPress, but less programming development than Drupal. In other words, Joomla is not good for blogs, but great for rock stars and film sites.

Supporting the Mission of Library Currents

Above all, WordPress allows Library Currents bloggers and writers to support the purpose and mission of Library Currents, which is centered on creating conversation about new trends and technologies that can help impact the delivery of library services. This is possible by creating a website architecture that is easy to use for writers who may not know HTML code, and focuses attention on the writing and not so much on design, development and coding, which can easily use up time and resources. With easy-to-install plugins, Library Currents can be developed to include services and functionality that can further support goals and objectives.

This week, I will be completing the WordPress installation of the Library Currents Beta site, which will end the implementation phase of this project. November begins the content creation phase of the Library Currents Beta, where I will investigate the types of content posts that are common to blogs and directories on the web, and write two original articles.

Series Navigation<< Comparing Costs and Scalability of WordPress, Drupal and Joomla!A Report on the Implementation of WordPress as the CMS for Library Currents >>

Mickel is an MLIS and the creator of Library Currents. His inspiration for the blog was the SJSU course "The Hyperlinked Library" taught by Dr. Michael Stephens, a course that is also a worldwide MOOC. If you wish to contact him, feel free to write to Mickel Paris at librarycurrents1@aol.com.

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