Make it like Facebook…or not?! Or: From WordPress to Drupal

My colleague and me had got the task of creating an intranet site “like Facebook”. OK, so we checked alternatives and installed a site with WordPress and BuddyPress.
Guess what, after we showed the result to our boss, friendships had to be removed, groups had to be removed etc. etc.
After realising we had disabled virtually every BuddyPress feature and after struggling with getting some sort of rights system into the site, we finally recognized WordPress was not the right base for our site and went looking for alternatives again. Imagine we had settled on a proprietary platform, we’d been stuck!

Then I discovered Drupal. “Oh look, they’ve got something like a structure. Oh, wow, permissions are in core modules. Cool!”

Drupal just is much more structured and generalized than WordPress. The downside is it takes you longer to figure out how things work. Maybe I should have looked into “Understanding Drupal” earlier but I just “had no time for that”. ;)

Community support is super helpful in irc or managing issues. Translation process is really cool, making it possible to edit translations in-site and (after a little configuration) also giving back to the Drupal community.

So, if you want to hack together a simple page in short time, take WordPress, but if you need a little bit more structure, I’d recommend Drupal!

Side note: As a Python fan I also tried https://www.django-cms.org/ but alas, it’s very hard to install compared to the two other systems. And if users won’t get your system installed, they won’t use it! And no, it isn’t helpful to first give you a toy server and then let you figure out how you turn it into a production system via several unconnected help documents.

4 thoughts on “Make it like Facebook…or not?! Or: From WordPress to Drupal

  1. Django seems to be available as a package for Debian, at least, which might make the integration with Apache a bit easier, but that doesn’t help you with the “special vocabulary” these mega-frameworks usually have. Django is in many respects the new Zope.

  2. Howdy!

    I completely agree with your Django observation. It is unnecessarily complicated to get it to run, and every time I do a project that builds on Django, there is at least one dedicated techie needed to keep it running. However, it is a very powerful platform if you have the resources, and undoubtedly it can save you many hours of time using it.

    If on the other hand —just as you said— one uses Drupal, its installation and maintenance and database model setup is something done easily and quickly in-site. It is very much a plug-and-play kind of solution, and since it runs on PHP it is both easily installed on many servers, as well as a potential security risk.

    But to be honest, comparing WordPress and Drupal is not entirely right. Drupal is a high-performance web site framework that allows enormous freedom but also requires development time and know-how to make into something useful.

    WordPress never tried to target the ‘can do it all’-market segment and will always be best at being a relatively simple social-network-connected article publisher —or in layman’s terms: Blog. Drupal targets large, content-driven community sites with all the complexities they entail. Two packages that you can lump together under ‘CMS’, but do very different things.

    But most of all, don’t forget that Django is a framework, not an out-of-the-box solution like the Drupal or WordPress.

    So, I believe comparing Django, Drupal and WordPress is something that should be done in much more depth, and they all have their merits and fallbacks, but with skill you can master any of them.

    The good thing we can take a way from this is indeed that you have choice, and the freedom to change, and that is great!

  3. Thanks for your reply!
    Seems I have been mislead by the name “django-cms”, then.
    I really really would have preferred a Python based solution but when you are under time pressure, you don’t have days just to figure out how Django needs to be set up.

    But to be honest, comparing WordPress and Drupal is not entirely right. Drupal is a high-performance web site framework that allows enormous freedom but also requires development time and know-how to make into something useful.

    Hmm, that’s more or less exactly what I wanted to say. WordPress is cool for quickly setting up a blog but if you want a little more it starts feeling just not powerful enough. Focussed tools are not bad at all, it’s just that you have to know whether they fit your use case or not.

  4. I would make the transition from WP to Drupal, just because Drupal is quite advance. Several years back I had a blog which was powered by WP and when Joomla was launched, I transitioned it to Joomla. But in the past decade (almost) I had been using Drupal and I am actually living with it.