Blogging in Drupal: a Comparison with WordPress

Yeah, maybe this isn’t the first time someone created a blog using Drupal. People will just think “Isn’t WordPress better?” or “Isn’t WordPress more focused in blogging?” And it’s true that Drupal isn’t made specifically for bloggers – WordPress does.

Drupal is made for something much bigger than a blog – a real community site with thousands of users. Consequently, Drupal has much more structure than WordPress: more core functions, more core functionality, and (IMHO) more elegance. This project also benefits greatly from its status as general website framework; it has broader modules / extensions which are aimed for common website needs.

So I’m comparing Drupal for Bloggers with WordPress, issue-by-issue:

  • Behold the Search! This is the killer feature of Drupal. Full text search, in title and content, with boolean expressions (AND, OR), and advanced search (search within particular categories). And all are in your very own site (e.g. without “Powered by Google” link).
  • Consider creating a FAQ with WordPress. Its static page mechanism would be enough, but navigation is difficult. You have to manually create links to the next page, previous page, parent page… and they must be updated every time you create a new page. Of course, that will be the case until someone dares to create a plugin which automates that. (I have attempted this, you know.) Drupal? Say hello to the Book module.
  • You can easily view basic site statistics (e.g. top page views, referers) right in the website. With Wordpress you must struggle just to find the best statistics plugin available. I don’t think that WordPress plugins will do worse than core Drupal statistics module though.
  • Drupal has a very flexible category system (Taxonomy), which lets you manage categories / tags / labels as easy as any other blogging platform, plus synonyms, multiple vocabularies, and related terms.
  • Maintaining a blog with your friends? Drupal has a lot of community-oriented features which you will find pleasing. You can even share the administration burden by giving partial administration power to your friends.
  • Threaded comments are kind of cool! And yes, comments span to multiple pages by default – no need to look for a plugin.
  • If you enable caching, Drupal loads surprisingly fast. And since 5.0, it has a CSS aggregation mechanism which squeezes all your CSS into one file, and it speeds up loading a lot (especially for slow connections). It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand this bit ;)
  • You can have things that are supposed to be used in professional websites, like monitoring of modules. You don’t have to check every author for update; you website does it automatically. (to be honest, this feature is new in Drupal 5 so it is still young, but I tested it and it works wonderfully)

Seems like Drupal beats WordPress in everything, isn’t it? Sadly, it is not, and I am well aware of these WordPress advantages Drupal doesn’t have:

  • Anti-spam works better in WordPress. Both has access to Akismet, but WordPress has more tools which are not dependant on third parties, e.g. Spam Karma. The Drupal Spam module exists, but it has fewer support. (as of this writing, it has not been released for Drupal 5, the latest Drupal version)
  • WordPress has more builtin functionality a blogger needs, e.g. file and picture management and an HTML editor. In Drupal you need to install something else. Drupal also lacks good trackback and pingback support (even for contributed modules!), but I don’t really like using them so it’s not a problem for me.
  • Ok, can’t stress this enough. WordPress is more focused for blogging than Drupal. Everything in WordPress, be it a theme, a plugin, a debate, or an improvement, is for blogging. Not everything in Drupal is for blogging. (But as a consequence it has much broader feature – which most do not fit inside a “one-man blogging” idea.)

You can conclude which is better yourself. I am personally charmed with Drupal so I am trying to make a blog with it (and this is it). Wish me luck!

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