Drupal Wins Imaginary Fight with WordPress.com

Last night I saw a curious tweet from Dries Buytaert, creator of Drupal:


His tweet links to How Hard is Drupal to Use?, an article which actually tells you nothing at all about the learning curve required for using Drupal but rather everything you need to know about WordPress.com!

While I’m not normally one who goes in for the WordPress vs. Drupal holy wars, I do appreciate a good comparison. As a long time user of both platforms, I have enjoyed watching them evolve. I was quite surprised to find that the article Dries was linking to categorically slams the WordPress platform by putting WordPress.com up for comparison with Drupal.org.

The problem comes when you need to do something slightly more advanced or customized. Hosted WordPress sites are not particularly good for anyone interested in doing some serious Internet marketing because you simply can’t implement decent analytics. You also can’t make any “under the hood” SEO improvements. Ultimately, these little things could end up hurting your chances of success – as compared to a competitor who goes with something like Drupal (http://www.drupal.org).

The article goes on to say that building a website with Drupal is not difficult and can be done in just a few hours with “no programming involved at all. Everything required to build that landing page is provided by Drupal or by the Drupal community, for free.” He praises Drupal for how robust it is, without having tapped into it at all – and roundly denounces WordPress for its inflexibility.

Is the author trolling for traffic or is he genuinely ignorant of how incongruent a comparison WordPress.com is to Drupal.org?

Swarms of WordPress users flooded the article with comments letting the author know that he has been misinformed. WordPress developers are naturally protective of the platform, given that we have such a vibrant community with no shortage of innovators and entrepreneurs.

There is simply no comparison.

C’mon, Dries, seriously? Did you read the article before you tweeted it out to 14,000 followers? Comparing WordPress.com to Drupal.org is like putting a 10 year old boy in an arm wrestling match with a professional body builder. Why not compare self-hosted WordPress.org with self-hosted Drupal.org? Then you’ll have a decent, competitive match.

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Perhaps the author has no idea that WordPress.com is simply a hosted service where users cannot edit their own template files or make changes to the server or do anything much beyond add a little custom CSS. The self-hosted version of WordPress allows you to do whatever you want with it – it’s apples and oranges. Pitting Drupal.org against a hand-tied hosted version of WordPress is not a valid comparison.

It may not seem like a big deal to some, but there are many of us who make a living by building WordPress websites and creating WordPress-related products. Don’t try to tell me that you cannot build a powerful, enterprise-class website with WordPress. When a website like Business Insider gives readers the impression that WordPress sites cannot implement decent analytics or SEO, you’re bound to have a few angry defenders.

I’m not arguing that one CMS is better than another. An experienced developer will be able to guide you when selecting between Drupal and WordPress. Each project has different requirements and talented WordPress and Drupal developers can make either platform do anything they want. The advent of WordPress 3.0 vastly expanded the platform’s CMS capabilities with the ability to easily create custom content types. The playing field is more level than it ever has been. So what gives? Is Drupal getting desperate?