WordPress vs Drupal vs Joomla/Mambo - The Untrue Story

I'm not saying you can't criticize Joomla! Why should I? Joomla! isn't perfect. Joomla! cannot be perfect because despite the simple fact that nothing can really be perfect, Joomla! is a piece of software and I think everyone knows that software is never bug-free.

Joomla! is a CMS designed to be used for many purposes, and as such, has to satisfy a wide number of people. This is a task that is next to impossible.

That means there are, and always will be, a big number of people that will never be happy using Joomla!
Wordpress and Drupal are playing in the same league, and I'm quite sure that there are a lot of people that are not happy with them either.

So again, I'm not saying you can't criticize Joomla! But I don't like when someone writes a comparison to mock Joomla! and base his opinion on facts taken from thin air. So after I read this article I was really angry. Why? I think everyone who at least installed Joomla! once and used it for at least a few hours will be able to see that almost every point about Joomla! in this article is simply untrue.


So let's see what is wrong in this text.


A side note: please note that I am a big fan of Joomla! and therefore, even if I try, this article may not be fully objective.



How absurd it may sound the first thing which is wrong is the image which should shows a comparison of Wordpress Drupal and Joomla! in Google Trends.

Why is it wrong? Well the author compares in Google Trends three terms: Wordpress.org, Drupal.org and Joomla.org. I don't know if the author knows what Google trends is about but as far as I understand it, this service shows the trends of search terms. Meaning what and how many times people are searching for particular terms in Google.

In this case it would be much more accurate to compare: Wordpress, Drupal and Joomla instead. Because no one (well apparently not quite) is searching for urls in a search engine. This comparison is the first sign how much the author is biased and how much he is trying to mock Joomla!. Because even if these results are very similar considering the position on the market, Wordpress first, Joomla! second, Drupal third, the exact results shows something different.

domains_compare   terms_compare

In the URL comparison it looks more or less like: Wordpress (3) then long time nothing, then Joomla! (0.8) and almost direct behind Drupal (0.7). In the names comparison it looks more or less like: Wordpress (2), then Joomla! (1) and then Drupal (0.5).

So it seems that the only reason for this image is to show how unimportant Joomla! is.



Alec Kinnear

Drupal Advantages - Very clean core code

I don't know what the author understand under the term "clean code" but for my understanding of clean code I simply cannot agree with that.

Another side note at this point; I'm a software developer and I come from Java and C++ corner. What I love at most is software engineering and therefore I simply love OO programming. I love design patterns. And therefore after I took a look at the Drupal code once - I was just scared and never did it again.

Please don't get me wrong - it's not a critic on Drupal code. There are many ways to achieve some task and there is no "the right way" to achieve it. It's just not my way ;)



Alec Kinnear

You can either code Drupal or you cannot, it's harder to fake it

So you have to be deep rooted in the Drupal code to be able to develop for it? A regular, even experienced developer has no chance to do this? It's a barely an advantage. Of course only if it's true. That's the reason why Joomla! is using very common design patterns. Every good software developer is familiar with them.

Because I never really used Drupal I cannot polemicize with the rest of Drupal description.



Alec Kinnear

... Joomla/Mambo ...

... wait a minute. This guy has really put Joomla! and Mambo into a saucepan? Really? Unbelievable!

Now we need a small history lesson.

Mambo was, yes I mean really "was" because let's face it - Mambo is really dead, a CMS created by a company called Miro. It was for a long time a proprietary CMS. One day Miro decided to free Mambo and release it under GPL license. I may be wrong but the main reason why they did it was to find really good but free of charge software developers. And they found them.

After the developer group started to improve the Mambo codebase they realized very quick that Miro isn't really ready to free this CMS. So the team decided to fork Mambo and create a new CMS. Fully new because the code base of Mambo wasn't really the best. At least in my opinion. But before the team started to write the new CMS, they simply did the best from the old Mambo code and the first Joomla!, the version 1.0, was indeed still based on Mambo code.

And here are some news for the Author: Joomla! 1.0 is also dead. For years already.

In January, 2008, the Joomla! team released a fully new CMS - Joomla! 1.5, written from the bottom. And since that day there is no such thing as "Joomla!/Mambo" In the meantime Joomla! 1.6 and 1.7 has been released. And to be honest even Joomla! 1.5 and 1.6 have not very much in common. Most of the 1.5 code has been rewritten again.

So how someone can put Joomla! and Mambo into a saucepan? Someone who claims to be an expert!



Alec Kinnear

Joomla/Mambo - Advantages - Good menu system.

Well, it is a bit strange that the point which is continuously criticized the author lists as an advantage.



Alec Kinnear

Joomla/Mambo - Advantages - Built-in membership/community features.

Really? I'm using Joomla! (and Mambo before) since the very first version of this CMS and never ever saw any community features built in the core.

Not that I'm complaining about it. Joomla! is a CMS, means content management system and it's mainly desired to manage content.



Alec Kinnear

Joomla/Mambo - Advantages - Long time on the market.

Hmm, it's a bit silly. From wikipedia:

Joomla was the result of a fork of Mambo on August 17, 2005


Even if you think about Mambo:

2002: Miro releases the commercial CMS called Mambo 2002.


And now Drupal:

Initial release January 2001


Wordpress is indeed a bit younger than Mambo:

Initial release May 27, 2003

But not than Joomla!

I think - no comment is needed.



Alec Kinnear

Joomla/Mambo - Disadvantages - Built-in performance pretty sluggish/clunky.

Well, I cannot compare Joomla! with Drupal or Wordpress in this point but let's do a small speed test:

  1. Drupal
  2. Joomla!


Joomla!   Drupal

Don't see a big difference here.

Wordpress looks indeed much better here. However the main site of Wordpress doesn't contain much content so maybe this is the reason. Or maybe Wordpress is indeed much faster. Don't know exactly.



Alec Kinnear

Joomla/Mambo - Disadvantages - Horrid built-in URLs.

Really? In which version. I can agree that until Joomla! 1.6 the default URLs aren't very nice. Mainly because the SEF URLs are disabled by default. Since 1.6 the built-in URLs are perfectly clear.



Alec Kinnear

Joomla/Mambo - Disadvantages - Weak weblog section

Well Joomla! doesn't really have weblog section. So basically we could even agree with that. But therefore there are a lot of extensions for Joomla! to create a prefect weblog.



Alec Kinnear

Joomla/Mambo - Disadvantages - Hard to theme. A Mambo/Joomla site looks like Mambo/Joomla, like it or not.

I think this is one of the points that bothering me at most. Because templates in Joomla! are such powerful and so advanced that we can basically achieve everything with this system. The possibility to override particular templates was probably one of the best idea of the development team.

I could of course link here to thousands of websites with great looking design but don't see the sense of of it. Just take a look at different web sites of hundrest of available templates clubs to see how a Joomla! websites may looks like.

Of course there are many sites using the standard Joomla! template and these sites are looking all the same. But this is the same story as with Drupal or Wordpress.



Alec Kinnear

Joomla/Mambo - Disadvantages - Crappy built-in SEO. Leading SEO plugin belongs to a very peculiar developer and is encrypted (have fun repairing the SEO plugin, we reverse engineered and decrypted it for our site to make our changes even after paying for it).

I have the strange feeling here that the author has mistaken here SEO with SEF but I may be of course wrong.

To this point just so much: it is not allowed to publish any encrypted extension at Joomla! Extension Directory. And as a Joomla! extension developer I can say just that it is not possible to have a leading extension if this extension isn't listed there. So it is simply not possible that any leading extension for Joomla! is encrypted.



Alec Kinnear

Joomla/Mambo - Disadvantages - Nasty, nasty core code. Very difficult to fix broken items.

It's strange opinion. Joomla! core code is very strict pattern based. The whole code is MVC oriented. All plugins are based on the observer pattern. For my taste it follows these patterns even too strict sometimes.

So the author of this article means that hundreds of great software engineers such as the "Gang of Four" are creating nasty, nasty code? Wow.



Alec Kinnear

Joomla/Mambo - Disadvantages - Fractured community (never healed after Joomla/Mambo split back in 2006).

Let's face it: there is no Mambo. So there is no Mambo community. So there is nothing to heal.

Admittedly the Joomla! community has some problems. But I don't think the Drupal or Wordpress communities are without problems either.



Alec Kinnear

Joomla/Mambo - Disadvantages - Most good plugins are pay.

It's hard to discuss because it's hard to define what a "good plugin" is. But in general I wouldn't agree with that. There are lot of great free of charge extensions and also lot of great commercial extensions.



Alec Kinnear

Rather mediocre developers. Anyone who likes to code in Joomla/Mambo in 2011 ought to see a psychiatrist.

This is the very interesting moment in the whole article. Why? Because until this sentence the author was trying to preserve a bogus of being objective. Now he dropped it.

I feel personally very insulted by this sentence.

It is very strange that a guy claiming to be a Web Professsional and even a experienced one, is using such style in a public article. My personal opinion; he simply isn't. Neither.



Alec Kinnear

Joomla/Mambo - Disadvantages - Developer pricing is all over the map as there are many old-school Mambo/Joomla developers still ought there churning out convoluted future-resistant code quite affordably.

Wow, this is a tough one. Implementing design patterns is a "future-resistant code". Old-school Mambo developers are non-existent in the Joomla! community because it is barely possible to create any extension for Joomla! using such old-school methods.

About such sentences like "Joomla/Mambo should die a violent death" I'm not even going to waste my time.

I've already seen a lot of articles like "why we choose Joomla! over Drupal" and also "Why we favor Drupal over Joomla! or Wordpress" and can understand why some people may say for example, Drupal is a more suitable choice for them than Joomla!. But to be honest I've never read such an incompetent and untrue article like this one.

Thanks to Robert for help :)


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