Whilst the majority of people are still only discussing WordPress, Joomla and Drupal as the three best Open source Content Management Systems, more and more commercial Open source Content Mangement Systems are launched. These systems will be reviewed through first hand experience. But, we will add to the equation, a Commercial Open Source CMS system and analyze the major differences between the three open source system and then group those open source system and compare them with a Commercial Open source system.
In contrast, Commercial Open Source systems are build on open source technology but are bundled as a software service in a service platform with a large amount of standard features embedded in the platform. Those platforms have a tendency to eliminate the FUD factor when implementing the latest web technologies, they eliminate the proprietary licensing fees, they are lowering the cost of ownership by simplifying development and maintenance efforts, they are delivering a scalable solution that meets the demands of small and large enterprises and they are enticing both the Business owner and the Web Developers alike. The last point being the key difference between the open source platforms and the current available commercial open source platforms.
WordPress… usable beyond blogging?
It is widely accepted that WordPress is an excellent system when you want your ideas out quickly on the web. It is therefore often used as a blog, because you are out there quickly, but WordPress can be configured in many different ways.
WordPress is extremely easy to use and setup. It can of course work as a blog, comments are already built into the system, as well as pinging services, multiple blogger profiles, trackbacks and common features you might expect from a blog. Most of the functionality is out of the box, and works as expected without the need of customization.
But the fact that customization was not the key driver for WordPress, also is to a certain extend its limitation. Because very often, if you try to customize or you try to do different things with the system, causes it break or disappear altogether. WordPress is far from being developer friendly and too many times upgrades to the system causes your website to simply disappear as well along with the upgrade and the customization and modifications you made are no longer available.
Drupal… can it be used by non-developers?
If you enjoy tweaking the code that makes up the framework of a website, then Drupal is probably for you. This advanced content management system is more a developer platform than a traditional CMS. Its not to say that only developers can use the system though, but to say that they will feel more at home here than in the other two.
Interestingly, being more developer friendly does not automatically make it more user friendly – in fact the developer has to work hard to make it that way if they need the end-product to do so.
The advantages of Drupal are that it is extremely developer friendly, but you need to engage in proprietary Drupal code, that you have a strong community to help discern the dozens (hundreds) of functions and tags available and that it can be used to create some really awesome websites that can outperform a majority of other sites out there.
Joomla – a community of web builders!
Joomla means in Swahili (Urdu) “all together” and to a certain extend they have been living up their name of being a system that is end-user friendly, developer friendly and also takes care of the design of your website and the way a content management system should work.
Designers will choose Joomla because of the amazing capabilities that its engine has in making websites look fantastic. Newcomers to Joomla (and website management) will love the fact that it is very easy to use and even customize as more and more developers create tools that are easier to understand.
The advantages of Joomla are that it is friendly for most types of users – Designers, Developers and Administrators, but not Content Managers or end-users. That it has a huge community is awesome for assisting with creation of websites and that it has been rapidly growing and improving itself for the past years.
Commercial open source platforms are setting new standards in web site building – an example.
Open source cms systems like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are build by a community of developers and have as such never the end user in perspective. Commercial open source platforms are using the same open source tools as Joomla or Drupal but they have a strong leniency towards service and servicing the end-user, being the owner of the website and the viewer, being the customer of a particular website.
The major advantage of this approach is the total service aspect – from a neat design platform, over a richly featured content management system where you can activate all types of content and modules in just minutes, over a hosting service for your created websites and a Hotline to help you in case you get stuck in the design or the implementation of a module.