Spot the Difference: WordPress or Drupal?

Shapecast 1Shapecast 2

Can you spot the difference between these two websites?  From a visitor's point of view they are almost exactly the same. One of the site is built using the Wordpress content management system, and the other using the Drupal content management system.

You may ask why anyone would want to build the same website twice?  Surely once is enough? Well, I was contracted to build this website and I originally suggested using Drupal (because that was the system I knew best). Once it had been built, as I had some time on my hands, and wanted to improve my ability in WordPress, I thought what better way of learning than replicating the Shapecast site in WordPress?

The Shapecast site had specific requirements.  It needed basic elements such as a series of static pages as well as drop-down menus.  It also needed to include more dynamic elements, including a blog, job section, staff profiles and case studies.  These elements would get updated and added to regularly.  Lastly, there would be a series of small advertisements on some of the pages, linking to, and promoting services offered by the company or linking to other parts of the site.

Structure

in Drupal, I had built the site using custom content types for the blog, jobs, case studies and advertisements. In WordPress, I only created one custom content type for the advertisements, and then use the built in posts content type for the blog, jobs and case studies. I just added a category for each and applied that category to the post.  So if it was a job post I created a normal post and added it to the jobs category.

In both websites I needed to add custom fields to hold some of the data such as links or job titles for staff.  In Drupal, custom fields are built-in, and to an extent, they are built-in in WordPress too, though WordPress has more limited options, so I used a plug-in "Advanced Custom Fields".

Layout

in the Drupal site, I controlled all the layout using blocks (boxes that you can add to different areas of the page and put different types of content in) and Views (an additional module that allows the creation of lists of content). In WordPress, I achieved the same results by creating different page templates.

Comparison

having now built on the same site using two different CMSs, I would say overall it was simpler and faster using WordPress than Drupal. Drupal is a more complex CMS thanWordPress, it has more options and more features, and its internal system is more complicated, so generally it takes longer to set things up using Drupal.  Also, from a user's point of view, the WordPress CMS is probably easier to manage.  Again, this is because it has fewer options than Drupal.  In WordPress the main administration screen is more user-friendly and reasonably straightforward.

Conclusion

Either system works fine for this site.  If this site needed membership area or more complicated features, then Drupal may well be a better choice, but as it is WordPress is my preference because it is simpler and faster to build, especially so if I had to do it all over again!

Comments

Interesting write-up. With a

Interesting write-up. With a few months now past, are you still leaning toward WP for future client websites? Do you see yourself moving to WP entirely over time?

About 5 years ago, I evaluated 3 frameworks for a client project - Drupal, Joomla, and Plone. Joomla seemed to be having growing pains, Plone seemed cool but too boutique, and Drupal seemed technically strong and in a good position going forward. I knew of course about Wordpress, but back then it seemed to be almost a pure blogging tool. I'm amazed that WP has become so widely known and used today (about a year old but I assume still accurate - http://wp.smashingmagazine.com/2011/11/29/wordpress-cms-crown-drupal-joo...)

I've been working exclusively in Drupal for the past couple years. One the one hand, it provides a framework with almost unlimited options and capability. On the other, it can be very complex and a good part of the learning curve is figuring out how to avoid or manage this complexity. At the same time, one of the coolest things about Drupal is the feeling you get (after going through the initial learning curve) that you could build almost anything in Drupal.

I'd like to try a site in WP to get that perspective.

Hi Dave,Thanks for your

Hi Dave,

Thanks for your comment. Sorry it's taken me a while to get back to you. I get an awful lot of spam from these forms and it has been difficult to see the real ones in the mountain of spam. I have recently switched to using Riddler, which is an add-on to Captcha, and am hoping this will cut down how much spam I get.

If it is still relevant, I am now doing more and more projects in WordPress. For smaller projects WordPress is just a lot faster to build in, and design wise, also seems faster to create something appealing. Of course, there are many more themes out there for WordPress than there are for Drupal which also helps.

I am now moving towards using WordPress to build more complex projects, the only thing that's really holding me back is confidence in manipulating WordPress and experience. I recently did quite a large project for Community ID. I used Drupal for the project, but I'm pretty sure I would have been able to do it in WordPress almost as easily.

There are of course many shortfalls in WordPress compared to Drupal. For instance there is no Views module equivalent, and so to get the same layout I just update the templates as I need to, though, of course, it lacks all the filtering functionality that comes with Views. It is also not so easy to create different content types in WordPress, but it all not that much more difficult, either with a plug-in or directly in the code. I have also not tried building a WordPress site where a lot of user input is required, or a website that needs to support membership etc. But I'm sure with the appropriate plug-ins it could be done, and like you I think the first step is just to give it a go.

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ben mango | tel: 07773 076 452 | email: ben@benmango.co.uk