[TheThinkTank] Content Management Systems

Jonathan Morrison jonathan at slcbikecollective.org
Wed Oct 10 16:50:53 PDT 2007

My background is in software engineering as is my degree.  I actually
installed Wordpress (http://wordpress.bikecollectives.org/), Joomla (
http://joomla.bikecollectives.org/), Drupal (
http://drupal.bikecollectives.org/) recently to compare them.  Here is my
honest opinion of each of them and their user groups.  I take into account
sustainability factors like, "sure I am a nerd, but if I wasn't here, could
someone else cover it?"

Wordpress was by far the easiest to install and get running, however it
lacks components and features to _easily_ do anything more than a blog.  For
example if you want to add a photo gallery, etc.,...  One of my main
observations is the user group that uses this is more graphic designers, not
programmers.  Another plus is that you, as a nonprofit, can get free hosting
using Dreamhost, and they have a simple one-click-install for Wordpress.
This makes upgrades really easy.

Drupal was by far the most difficult to install, however it is very
universal.  With flexibility comes complexity, so make sure you have a hard
core nerd on staff before you commit to this one.  I would for the Salt Lake
City Bicycle Collective, but in the event I wasn't around, I can't see it
being maintained properly.  The user group for this tends to be people like
me, geeks.  As a result, the graphical templates aren't as impressive as
other CMSs.  One cool feature that http://bikegeeks.org/ used is they made
all the Chicago sites connect.  One unique feature of Drupal is that a
single installation of Drupal can run several sites.  Sadly, Dreamhost does
not support drupal, so installations are all on your own.

Joomla, while I have spent the most time with it is still my personal
favorite.  It has the largest user base, and more addons and templates than
any other CMS out there.  To be fair, the big downfall isn't in technical
complexity, but what how things are named.  There are 1000s of templates,
components, modules, mambots out there, but you need to know what they are
before you can use them.  Another plus is that you, as a nonprofit, can get
free hosting using Dreamhost, and they have a simple one-click-install for
Joomla.  This makes upgrades really easy.



Jonathan Morrison
Project Coordinator
Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective
2312 S. West Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84115
w: 801-328-2453
c: 801-688-0183
f: 801-466-3856

On 10/10/07, Bikes Not Bombs <mail at bikesnotbombs.org> wrote:
> We've just moved the Bikes Not Bombs website to Drupal.  I think it
> is the best free CMS option out there.  (There's also Joomla which
> may be a little easier to figure out, with fewer features.)  Drupal
> is definitely hard to figure out at first ... especially to set up
> just a regular old public website, since at its core it seems much
> more geared to doing collaborative community websites with blogs/
> forums etc.  We haven't yet, but will, set up the kinds of things you
> are talking about with volunteer login, different tiers of login and
> access, wiki, etc.  But I know that Drupal is one of the best tools
> out there for doing this.  For the public side of your site, you
> won't exactly get a wiki-like interface or wysiwyg editing, tho there
> may be tools that can help with that.  David Mercer's book is a
> useful resource.
> I can answer basic questions, but I had some tech volunteers really
> do the nuts and bolts, and they aren't on this listserve.  So if you
> want info email me directly at arik at bikesnotbombs.org ... I may have
> to pass on some of your questions to my tech pros.
> -Arik
> On Oct 10, 2007, at 3:03 PM, Andrew Bushaw wrote:
> > We have been using pbwiki.com (a free wiki, one login) for our
> > organizing but are starting to feel the need for a tiered access
> > control as well as for an actual website to send the public to. We
> > have been contemplating getting a content management system such as
> > "drupal" to serve both functions. I think the SLBC uses a similar CMS
> > for their website and maybe others do to. How well does it work? Do
> > regular folks have a difficult time using it? our ideal: public web
> > page w/ donation links, a login page with a volunteer only section,
> > then a section for core members only where we would keep fundraising
> > info. Would like it to be easy to edit, with a wiki-like interface,
> > preferably wysiwyg editors. Thanks, Andrew
> >
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