Why I dumped Joomla for Drupal

Well, I’ve been meaning to revamp the site for a while. I tore the whole thing down and started from scratch. I was using Joomla to run the old version of the site. It was a pretty powerful CMS but it was clunky as all get out. More…

I’m not 100% on the history of Joomla, but I think it was a fork of Mambo and you can tell Joomla suffered from design by committee. It had this great installer to let you install new modules or widgets into your site. But there were 3 different kinds of widgets: Mambots, Modules, and Extensions. Now I still can’t, to this day tell you what the difference is between any of those things. The straw that finally broke the camel’s back was trying to figure out how to create a static page and link it to the home page. I couldn’t figure it out in ten minutes of trying so I gave up and installed Drupal.

I’ve done a few other Drupal installs for friends and family, most recently one for my Dad, LakeStreetMA.com. Dad called me up one morning and asked me to make a web page for him. In about two hours I went from zero to full on web site using Drupal. I registered the domain name, told my host to start serving it up, installed Drupal, picked a free theme and uploaded content. And I still had time to watch Family Guy. It’s not a site with a lot of depth, more like an extended business card, but heck, for two hours worth of work, it ain’t half bad.

I had thought about giving out web sites for Christmas this year. I know a few people who could use them, most notably my Mother: Artfabrik.com. I made that site about 6 years ago, not knowing much of anything. Mom, God bless her, has taken the time to figure out the HTML and make modifications and even add pages to her gallery. How many nerds can say that about their Mothers? But converting her site to Drupal and making a custom theme for her would really give her website an updated look. I’m pretty sure right now her website isn’t ADA accessible, so people using screen readers are being left out. The CSS is all janky and it has inconsistencies. Drupal would take care of all of those problems and more. It’d make her life a lot easier. There would be a learning curve sure, but if she can wrangle her own HTML, she can handle Drupal. I can’t say the same thing about Joomla though. Heck, I’m a software engineer and even I had issues with it.

Moral of the story: Joomla’s fine, but complicated and compromised by a lack of vision (or too many cooks in the kitchen). Drupal gets the job done for the administrator and looks great for the user.