Choosing the right CMS is one of the critical first-steps to be made when building a new website. The explosion of Open Source alternatives – Drupal, Joomla!, and WordPress – has fueled many a debate on which platform is best. Most experienced developers will tell you that you need to choose the right tool for the job, and each CMS is better-suited to some projects and not others. The fact is, developers have their personal ‘favorite.’
Over the past 2+ years, I’ve built around 10 websites on Joomla – including this one. I’ll still support Joomla, and maybe even choose it for new projects, but WordPress has won me over and will be the focus of my attention for the foreseeable future.
5 reasons why I switched from Joomla to WordPress
- Core development. Maybe it has something to do with Matt Mullenweg keeping things on track, but WordPress has maintained a steady and reliable core development cycle, while Joomla seems to be mired in the upgrade to version 1.6. Also, there seems to be evidence of cracks within the core development team for Joomla. It was widely reported that commenting would be a core feature of 1.6, yet it was dropped. Sure, it’s not the most important feature to look forward to – nested categories are for me – but I’m beginning to wonder if some things are unraveling.
- Plugins. I really appreciate the ability to update plugins within the WordPress administrative interface (Drupal has a similar feature). I also like the fact everything is just a ‘plugin’. The extension/plugin/module aspect of Joomla is a bit tedious to adminster (although they at least simplified the installation routine in version 1.5).
- Customization. Coding is not one of my strengths, but after reading “Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog”, I’ve felt pretty comfortable hacking my WordPress installs.
- Performance. After comparing the optimization of my sites, it seems pretty clear that there’s less overhead with my WordPress installs. To be fair, there’s always things you can do such as caching, compression, etc. in any installation, but it seems like I can pull off my website development with fewer files and scripts in WordPress.
- Aesthetics. I often rely on third-party templates for new projects. I’ll find one that is in the ballpark, then customize it to my liking. While there are some Joomla template providers that focus on beautiful design, it seems like (for now at least) the best graphic designers have focused on the WordPress platform. For example, I’m consistently impressed with WooThemes, and even the FREE ones you can easily find.
The purpose here is not to bash Joomla, but explain my reasoning in making the switch. In the long run, I firmly believe Joomla will continue to grow and improve. In the past few years, they’ve built up incredible momentum, and there are developers in the community that care enough about it to see that improvements do occur.