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Our 2 cents on WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal

It was only time that kept bloggers around the world from writing their comparisons of the three major Content Management Systems (WordPress, Joomla and Drupal) – and that time is finally up! People everywhere are breaking out their laptops and logging into their blogs to share what they believe are reasons for choosing this software or that…. and yet most of them seemed to have missed the important reasons why someone might choose one CMS over another.

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Our 2 cents on WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal

So Smackwagon is taking it upon ourselves to spread some much needed understanding of these three systems and hopefully help you decide which one is best for you.

Background, History and Experience

Since a majority of people are discussing WordPress, Joomla and Drupal as the three best Content Management Systems, I’m going to stick to them. Luckily, I’ve had experience using each extensively, and know the ins and outs of actually using the systems. To put this quite simply, I will not be giving you many statistics based on research… I’m giving you information from first-hand experience.

Only within the last year has WordPress actually begun to step up as a true CMS. However the other two, Drupal and Joomla, have seemingly always been fighting for that top spot in the community. Both are open source, and both are widely developed with thousands of members in their community helping to develop and extend the possibilities of use for each. While WordPress is considered the underdog in the CMS war, it is most definitely the king of blogging software (something that Joomla and Drupal struggle to do efficiently).

However, even where each has its flaws and each has its strengths (which I will explain below) you can build any kind of website with either one. I have built blogs with Joomla and I have built shopping cart websites with WordPress. It just depends on what you need it to do, your familiarity with the system, and how long you have to work on that program. In fact, that is something that is misunderstood by many people – if you don’t like using Drupal, that doesn’t make it less valuable, it just makes it less useful to you!

 

WordPress - Smackwagon Design

Lets look at WordPress:

WordPress is just for blogging…. or is it?

WordPress is an excellent system to use when creating a web site that lets you quickly get your thoughts out on the web, but while it is often used as a blog, it can be configured to work in many other interesting ways as well. One particular client of mine recently needed a web site that would allow him and his employees to have an internal web site for sharing notes, documenting tasks and writing about what was going on. Since WordPress is easy to use and some of them were already familiar with it, it was an obvious solution. Install WordPress on a server that they could access quickly and easily from anywhere with an internet connection, and let them get to business rather than have to learn about a whole different system.It is key to know that WordPress is extremely easy to use and setup. I have used it several times with clients that are brand new to the internet and having a website, yet they can pick this system up and use it quicker than the other two. Since WP is already developed to work as a blog, though, it can be setup to do so without any hesitation. Comments are already built into the system, as well as pinging services, multiple blogger profiles, trackbacks and more. Most of the time nothing needs to be done to those systems either, because they already work the way that the user would want them to.

WordPress, however, is not to be used for everything. I have had little success (its there, just not much) using WordPress as a shopping cart for certain clients. The very reason that WordPress was created was to keep people from wanting to customize it to do things that are much more advanced. It is supposed to be used a certain way without modification – because any modification that you give to it may very well cause it to break. You will find many users of WP complaining that it is not developer friendly – and rightfully so, because there will be countless times in your journey to that great website that an upgrade released by the WP developers causes your entire site to simply disappear, or for those modifications that you made previously to no longer even exist.

WordPress Pros

  • Simple to use – No need for modifications
  • Lots of 3rd party plugins
  • Big Community
  • Excellent for blogging or sharing thoughts in a sequential manner
  • Even the most elderly of users can get the hang of it quickly

WordPress Cons

  • The community seems to like to complain (some)
  • Upgrades bring more bugs than fixes sometimes

 

Drupal - Smackwagon Design

Drupal is to developers as candy is to children

If you’re the type of person who would rather hand-code the content of your pages than use a WYSIWYG Editor, or if you enjoy tweaking the code that makes up the framework of a website, then Drupal is probably for you. This advanced content management system more closely resembles a developer platform than a traditional CMS. Its not to say that only developers can use the system though, but to say that they will feel more at home here than in the other two. Interestingly, being more developer friendly does not automatically make it more user friendly –  in fact the developer has to work hard to make it that way if they need the end-product to do so.

There are dozens of more tags and functions that can be used to develop in Drupal than in WordPress or even Joomla. Every single node has its own set of commands and tags that can be placed elsewhere to manipulate the function of the site, and this makes for a very intense experience (whether or not you know what you’re doing). For those that are not so developer-minded, this can be the trial of their lives, but for people who live in code – well, they can literally get lost developing some very cool web sites.

Now, these web sites can act and function in some pretty neat ways, but Drupal also has the problem that it just doesn’t always look that great. I have seen very few web sites built in Drupal that look and feel as good as they function. You can especially see this in the theme directory on the Drupal.org web site, where there are dozens of these themes built to prove the exact point I just made. It’s a shame really, because with all of the development advancements the software has, it would almost be perfect with a stronger usability and design interface.

Drupal Pros

  • Extremely developer friendly. If I loved code more I would almost always pick this system.
  • Strong community to help discern the dozens (hundreds) of functions and tags available.
  • Can be used to create some really awesome websites that can outperform a majority of other sites out there.

Drupal Cons

  • Not very designer and user-friendly. It’s hard for someone with little code knowledge to make the leaps required to do the very cool things that Drupal is becoming known for.
  • Theming of Drupal has been a huge case of fail (until recently). Probably because it has been developers, not designers, that are making the themes.
  • Getting a Drupal web site published could cost you more time, and thus more money, than WordPress or Joomla.

Joomla – Let’s build websites together with Joomla!

If WordPress is more for end-users and Drupal is more for developers, then Joomla! must be more for designers, right? If that’s the conclusion that you came to then you’re on the right track, but I would venture to say that Joomla! is actually a mix of all of those things. The name Joomla, in fact, means ‘all together’ in Swahili (Urdu), and it seems they’ve been living up to their name in the way that this powerful CMS works.

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Joomla - Smackwagon Design

Joomla – Smackwagon Design

Designers will choose Joomla because of the amazing capabilities that its engine has in making websites look fantastic. Newcomers to Joomla (and website management) will love the fact that it is very easy to use and even customize as more and more developers create tools that are easier to understand. Developers, likewise, will choose the system because of its large capacity for development and customization. The new MVC framework was built just so that anyone with the knowledge could override the core of the CMS without actually modifying the original code.

Still, it’s far from perfect. It’s still not as flexible as Drupal is with its code. While there are many ways to override what the default code does, there are some parts of the system that just can’t be pushed and stressed as hard as Drupal can be. Also, while Drupal can be used to run multiple websites with one backend and database, Joomla lacks the ability to create multi-sites. It is just powerful enough to be useful, but not enough to do anything.

In a side-by-side comparison with WordPress, Joomla still has some way to go with being user friendly. In each case where I’ve had people use both systems to manage a web site, those that lacked good knowledge of the internet or how their website even worked always chose WordPress over Joomla. It is simple enough that it can be taught to practically anyone, but not enough that anyone would want to learn it.

Joomla Pros

  • Friendly for all types of users – Designers, Developers and Administrators
  • Huge community is awesome for assisting with creation of web sites
  • Has been rapidly growing and improving itself for the past three years

Joomla Cons

  • Still not user-friendly enough for everyone to understand
  • Not quite as powerful as Drupal, and can be a bit confusing for some to jump into
  • Recently rebuilt the entire system from ground-up, and so there are still many out there sticking to the old versions (1.0.x)

In Conclusion

There is not just one system available for us to build our websites with, and so we should never limit ourselves to just one either. With so many different uses and ideas and opportunities that can be found in each, why should we anyone try so hard to make those CMS’s that they dislike seem worst than their own. I remember at an event two years ago that both a Joomla and Drupal team went to, and the members of the teams actually swapped shirts – with the Drupal team wearing Joomla shirts and vice-versa.

I believe that it’s time for us to start looking forward to a new future – where we use these different systems to better our own, and to continually build upon the awesome code, and knowledge, that has preceded where we are today. There will come a day when we are staring at three completely different pieces of software and trying to decide which one is the best – but in that day we will also look back to the year 2009 and remember that it was Joomla, WordPress and Drupal that pushed us continually forward. Not just one of them, but all three – in that perfect, open-source way.

What do you think? Have you found a system that is more reliable than the others? Do you stick to using all three depending on the project that needs completing? Tell us in the comments![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

What is Google Docs? Do you use them?

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Google Docs - SmackTalk!

Google Docs – SmackTalk!

I recently discovered “Google Docs” and man I have become much more Super Productive! Google Docs is a free Web-based word processor spreadsheet presentation and form application offered by Google. It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other online users.

Helps one create and share online documents, spreadsheets and presentations. It’s free. You can:

  1. Access your documents online from any computer with an internet connection.
  2. Add collaborators to your document and Docs will send them a link to access the doc online (no need to send email attachments back and forth)
  3. Decide who can view and edit each document (only you, some people, or everyone)

Google Docs is Google’s “software as a service” version of an office suite. Documents, spreadsheets, forms and presentations can be created within the application itself, imported through the web interface, or sent via email. They can also be saved to the user’s computer in a variety of formats (OpenOffice, HTML, PDF, RTF, Text, Word). By default, they are saved to the Google servers. Open documents are automatically saved to prevent data loss, and a revision history is automatically kept. Documents can be tagged and archived for organizational purposes. The service is officially supported on recent versions of the Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Chrome browsers running on Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X, and Linux operating systems

But is it safe?  On March 10, 2009, Google reported that a bug in Google Docs had allowed unintended access to some private documents. It was believed that 0.05% of documents stored via the service were affected by the bug, which Google claimed had been fixed

One more cool feature is its Mobile Google Docs, it allows mobile phone users to browse their Google Docs documents in a mobile browser. Users can view documents and view and edit spreadsheets, but not presentations or view PDF files, but alternative websites to Google can be used for this goal. Versions of Google Docs for the iPhone and Android include functionality for editing spreadsheets and viewing presentations, along with an interface designed specifically for the device. On the other hand, one cannot view or edit open format database files.

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One of the 4 Questions we get asked….

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One of the 4 Questions we get asked….

How can I Accept Credit Cards on a Website

NOTE: You will discover there is much to learn when you begin designing your website so this article about accepting credit cards is just one attribute. Study as much as possible about web design after you read this report. You may even want to learn web design from home. Go here now to find out how ….. Accepting credit card payments through your website is an absolute essential part of doing business on the Internet. If you’re not accepting online credit card payments and processing orders online, you’re losing a massive amount of business.

Studies have shown, you can increase your online sales up to 400% simply by accepting credit cards. In addition, by offering a combination of payment options, you can increase your sales even further. With today’s advanced technology, you can start accepting credit card payments through your website almost instantly (depending on the service you select). Preparing your website to process orders online can be as simple as pasting some HTML code within your web page.

Accepting Credit Cards
There are many professional companies online that will enable you to accept credit card payments through your website without a merchant account.

These companies are known as third party payment processing companies and provide an invaluable service for home based businesses. Most companies will enable you to accept all major credit cards and electronic checks. Some companies will also provide telephone billing and recurring billing for paid subscription and membership sites.

There may or may not be a set up fee and there are usually no monthly fees. Some companies charge a “percentage” and a “per transaction” fee. While others simply charge a set percentage fee per transaction. They will process your orders and send you payment for all your orders processed, minus their fee and a reserve fee.

Credit Card Reserve Fee
A reserve fee is withheld to cover any charge backs you may have. If you have no charge backs within a period of time, your reserve will be refunded to you. Each company has their own guidelines in regard to reserves.

Credit Card HTML Code
Once you’ve applied with a company and/or have been approved and paid the setup fees, you can immediately begin accepting payment. You will then be provided with special coding to place within the HTML of your order page.

When your customer clicks on your order link or image, they will be taken to the processor’s secure server to process their purchase. Once their order has been processed, they will then be directed back to a page on your website that you specify. This page may be a download page, or even a “complete your purchase” page that you can use to collect your customers’ name and email address and then direct them to your download page.

Once your customer places an order, you will instantly receive an email notification letting you know that you’ve made a sale. Your account will be instantly credited, minus the company fee, and you will be paid according to the company’s payment schedule.

Third Party Credit Card Companies
Third party processing companies are great for startup businesses, as if you don’t make any sales, you won’t be charged a fee. You are only charged a fee when and if you make a sale. Is easy to use and the CC info is being stored in a safe place.

The following third party processing companies will enable you to accept credit card payments through your web site very quickly:

PayPal

Pay Pal is one of the most popular (and easiest ways) to accept credit cards online. Not to mention very very trusted! You can Go here to check them out >>[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

SMACKWAGON

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