I recently wrote a blog post about choosing between Drupal and WordPress for your website CMS to our company blog. I have since then thought a lot about this and also spoken to different people about this in both WordCamps and DrupalCamps. And let me tell you, it’s not an easy subject. Of course, depending the people you talk to, their opinions are highly influenced by the decisions they have already made either in their career as a developer or in the business as a business owner. When you have a lot invested in the tools you use, it’s not easy to think objectively about the matter. Another problem is the knowledge, you actually have to be pretty involved with both systems to understand their differences, weaknesses and strengths.
I can’t say that I have the required knowledge or skills to say anything profound about the subject, but even for me as a coder/sitebuilder some things are pretty clear. First thing that separates the two content management systems is their backgrounds and their (past?) ways they are communicating the software to the rest of the world. Everybody knows how WordPress is seen as the CMS for bloggers while Drupal is the almost-enterprise-solution “from developers to developers”. That has also pretty much shaped the way they appear “out-of-the-box” when you install them. I want to talk more about the out-of-the-box experience in another post, so stay tuned for that!
Drupal for “ambitious digital experience”
The founder of Drupal, Dries Buytaert is re-defining what Drupal is. The new short tagline is that Drupal is for ambitious digital experience. It makes a difference of it being only for enterprise grade CMS (which D8 definitely is), and doesn’t actually make any assumptions about the size or budget of the project either. Dries made a good post about the topic. The problem I usually have with the definition of Drupal, is that it seems that the “playground” from my point of view (or in my country) is that we don’t actually compete with the proprietary systems like Adobe or Sitecore. The biggest rivalry is actually between Drupal and WordPress, EVEN in the “ambitious digital experiences”. Public sector in my country has already been sort of leaning towards WordPress, and that means even the bigger sized public projects. Drupal still has a strong position, thanks to the work of the big Drupal agencies in Finland (not the least Wunder and their ambitious goal to keep open source projects as much available to the bigger public as possible).
WordPress and the fame
What WordPress then has to offer that makes it so strong in the enterprise grade also? I my opinion one reason is the familiarity. Even back in my times studying in the university *many* years ago (I studied economics and marketing), one big topic in the B-to-B sector was that one should never dismiss the fact that the buyers are still human beings, no matter the size of the project. And when it comes to buying a digital project, almost everyone involved in the decision making has some knowledge of WordPress. And when the size and complexity that involves the WordPress projects grow, the gap between those two isn’t actually that big.
I was about to write something about the marketing of Drupal (or the lack of it), but then I happened to stumble into this article in Linkedin in Twitter and realized I didn’t actually have to write anything more about that. The article even talks a little about what I previously wrote about the familiarity
One Only Loves What One Knows
I agree that there is a lot to do in this sector, and some steps have already been made (or at least the process has started). One example is the industry-specific sites at Drupal.org. Like this for gov sector.
My days as a developer
Right now I have to use (or I get to use?) both Drupal and WordPress in my work. I used to be a Drupal Developer and had only limited coding experience with WordPress, but that has changed in the last year or so, which is why this blog post has been in my head for some time now. There are days that I can concentrate on one CMS only, but mostly my days are switching between Drupal, WordPress, module development, plugin development, frontend, backend, you name it. The next thing would be to create a decoupled front end that can use either of those systems as a backend. Wouldn’t that be something? But should I do it with React, Angular of Vue? No, not going there…