What is Drupal?
Drupal is one of many open source content management systems around. Drupal is a tool that makes building a website easy and is one of the more popular and widely used platforms in this genre. It was primarily designed to run on PHP/MySql/Apache environments. But since its initial design, Drupal has added many more platforms that it can run on, such as Windows Servers, IIS(Internet information services), Microsoft SQL Server, SQL Lite, and more.
With so many options out there like Joomla and WordPress, why is Drupal the best content management system. At least the best open source option, that is. One of my clients, a public sector municipality, was looking for an open source solution that met these 5 top criteria: 1- It had to be secure. 2- It had to be customizable. 3- It had to have good support options. 4- It had to be compatible with their system, which consisted of a Windows IIS server and a Microsoft SQL server. 5- It had to be simple to install. After testing Drupal 7 and Joomla 2.5.8 for a short period I decided that Drupal 7 would fulfill all of their requirements and more. Shall we list my decision process? Of course!
Joomla and Drupal’s security capabilities were comparable and simple to use. What gave the edge to Drupal was the security modules that I found via contributed modules on Drupal’s website. One of the many security modules provided by gracious Drupal developers, was the Security Review module. By a simple click it scans your web site and determines what potential security holes may exist. This gave me more peace of mind that my client’s infrastructure and website would be safe.
There are thousands of themes to choose from and installing them was a matter of a few clicks. Creating custom themes or templates was also simple. With just a few files that you create, your theme is up and running. Obviously you’d probably want to add to it if you actually want to make it aesthetically appealing. Along with themes, you can find modules for just about anything from scrolling banners to slideshows to HTML Editors, etc. A couple of my favorites is the Views module, that lets you arrange and display your content in practically any way you choose. Also the WYSIWYG module provides a way to load dozens of HTML editors, for those that have no idea what a “<P>” tag is. Theme Key is a powerful tool that can do many things but I primarily use it to detect device types and browsers. This makes formatting your site for different screens and mobile devices a breeze.
The customer needed to have a lot of support especially if they ran into problems. I’ve always had great success with just their support area and forums on Drupal.org. Also the internet is swamped with support and how to’s to accomplish anything. I have never actually paid a dime for support, the web is suffice. However there are many companies out there that provide paid support if you should choose to do so, but Drupal documentation is excellent!
Joomla also has a lot of support via the web, but I do find that many Municipalities and Government agencies like to use Drupal.
Ease of Installation
Installation is easy and straight forward. It took less than 5 minutes to install, of course all the prerequisites have to be met first.
In the past Joomla has given me problems with installation.
Drupal is natively compatible with MySQL and Apache Server. But in this case I needed to install Drupal on a Windows IIS Server with a SQL backend. There was a couple of driver updates that needed to be installed for Drupal to run on MSSQL, which took a little more tweaking, but not painful at all. After this step, it was smooth sailing.
Although Joomla is powerful in its own right Drupal is my cup of tea. Keep in mind that this is my opinion based on my experiences with Drupal. So I would encourage you all to demo Drupal and see the perks for yourself.