Why would anyone use Drupal

Drupal - the better WordPress?

When Jan Tißler, the operator of this blog, asked me by e-mail a few weeks ago to write an article about Drupal for his blog, I was a little bit doubtful whether I could schedule it. But when I read that it was supposed to be a comparison between Drupal and WordPress, it was clear to me that I had to write it. I wanted to take the opportunity to clarify one thing or the other and to clear up a misunderstanding here and there. To get straight to the point: Drupal is basically not the better WordPress.

WordPress is one of the best - if not the best - blogging systems you can get right now. For around 90 percent of all blogs, it is a solution that could be described as ideal for various reasons:

  • freely available (free and open source)
  • very large community
  • many designs (mostly just as free)
  • many plugins (also free)

These are important basics, especially for technically inexperienced bloggers. The installation of WordPress can be done without problems for a very large target group. Likewise, the installation of additional functions via plugins. The structure of the design templates is simple enough to make small adjustments after a little training. So an ideal case to “just get started” with blogging, or if the blog at the blog host around the corner is no longer good enough.

At Drupal things are very different. Although Drupal is also freely available, the resources around it are available in much smaller quantities than with WordPress. The Drupal community is growing steadily, but the offer is still rather sparse, especially in German-speaking countries. Help for beginners is therefore not as easy to find as e.g. with WordPress.

Realized with Drupal: SimpleSnip, a community for online notes.

When it comes to whether Drupal should replace WordPress on your own blog, in my opinion a much more decisive point is the objectives of the systems. WordPress is and will clearly remain a blog system. Thanks to some plugins, it can do a little more than just blog (static pages, image gallery, etc.), but WordPress is clearly blog software. Drupal, on the other hand, is more of a solid, modular and very flexible building block system for dynamic websites. It represents a basis for websites that should be able to do a lot more than just blog.

Accordingly, Drupal lacks a plugin here and there to enable this or that function that is easy to get with WordPress. A very serious example here is the area of ​​antispam. In the meantime there is an Akismet integration and a “math problems” module to avoid spam comments or bot messages, but Drupal is still quite vulnerable in the area of ​​trackback spam. Also, there is currently no satisfactory solution for sending or receiving pingbacks - with WordPress this is part of the standard repertoire.

On the other hand, Drupal can do some things much better than WordPress. This includes, for example, the structured administration of fixed content areas, the creation of community-like structures (user administration, profiles, private messages, etc.) and much, much more. For example, I recently started SimpleSnip - a community for online notes that was built entirely on Drupal. Building such a platform would currently not be as easy with any other system as with Drupal.

I think it's starting to become clear that it is a little difficult to compare the two systems.

In a nutshell: WordPress is an excellent specialist in blogging. Drupal can do much, much more than WordPress - blogging too, but not that good and not that optimized.

That is not to say that I would like to advise against Drupal - I rather want to warn. If you are planning to use Drupal for yourself, you should be aware that although it is quick to install, it is by no means quick to learn. At Drupal it is important to shake off old thinking structures and learn new ones (which are by no means bad) - that costs time and energy, but is certainly worthwhile if you know how to use the functions.

Made with Drupal too, of course: Drupalblog.de

If you want to find out more about Drupal, it is best to take a look at the official, English-language homepage. There is also a German community, which is comparatively small and so far only offers direct help in a few cases. For a few days I have been writing a DrupalBlog together with other authors on which we try to explain something about Drupal and to bring one or the other tip from our own experience to the man or woman. We look forward to interested readers at any time, of course.

About the author

Frank Helmschrott advises companies and private individuals on the use of publication systems for the Internet. This includes weblogs as well as building communities and other dynamic web applications. Please send inquiries directly to the address given in Frank Helmschrott's weblog.