Which content management system (CMS) is the right one for which application? The choice of appropriate CMS is of fundamental importance, especially for companies. Following, we compare the Open Source CMS TYPO3, Drupal, WordPress and Joomla!


TYPO3

What is the CMS TYPO3 capable of?

Unlike many other Open Source CMS available in the market, TYPO3 is a mature, feature-complete Enterprise Web Content Management System.

In addition to administration of complex websites, TYPO3 offers connections to numerous third-party systems, which are already present in the existing software architecture. For example, TYPO3 can be used to link ERP- and CRM-systems, in order to integrate existing content in business-relevant processes. In this way, TYPO3 significantly contributes to the bottom line of a company.

Highlights, Advantages and Disadvantages

TYPO3 fulfills almost all the requirements that companies place on a license-free content management system: support for global websites through multilanguage- and localization features, connection to any software system, comprehensive system for user authorization and access as well as almost endless possibilities to add own functions through specially developed extensions.

  • Extensive multilanguage functions and localization options
  • Enterprise Digital Asset Management for the administration of extensive datasets
  • Abstraction layer for integration into numerous third-party systems and databases
  • Secure areas for Intranet/Extranet
  • On-the-fly generation of graphical menus
  • Web-based image processing (cropping, scaling, converting, effects)
  • Complete design freedom, even with Flash, through the unique Template Engine TemplaVoilá
  • Rich Text Editor für “WYSIWYG” editing
  • Complete unser access management with granular righs and workflow processes
  • Intelligent extension framework for API-based development of extensions and features
  • AJAX-based backend with user-friendly “drag and drop” functions

For whom is TYPO3 particularly suitable and interesting?

TYPO3 is especially well-suited for internationally active, large companies. The features for provisioning localized, multilingual content help editors to efficiently manage even very large websites at all times. Since TYPO3 is a server-based CMS, with which companies have the possibility to manage all texts, documents and files through any given web browser, content editors and writers can use the CMS without HTML- or other programming knowledge, and add or change content or design templates.

Conclusion on TYPO3

The TYPO3 CMS is an Open Source Web Content Management System for creating complex websites, Intranets and extranets. With its enormous flexibility and unlimited scalability as well as its out-of-the-box interfaces, features and widgets, TYPO3 is es especially suited for corporate use in a business-critical environment.

Drupal

What is the CMS Drupal capable of?

Unlike TYPO3 or Joomla!, which are pure-play web content management systems (CMS); or WordPress, which is often used as blog software, Drupal follows the approach of combining simple web content management with social community software. In addition to the basic features of a web CMS, Drupal places a strong focus on providing an extensive set of social community tools. These include, among others, a blog systes, fora ad diverse web 2.0 features, which allow for the simple creation of user-generated content. The obvious strengths of the systems lie in this area.

Highlights, Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Distributions:
    Drupal is used in nurmerous companies as a community tool as part of a microssite or for social portals and blogs. For this, various distributional models are available: Stand-alone blog distribution, community distribution, distribution for use in educational institutions, etc. These preconfigured distributions allow for rapid and simple installation. In addition, numerous layout templates are available.
  • System Requirements: 
    The current version is Drupal 7.x. Drupal can be implemented either on an Apache-, Ngix-, Lighttpd- or Microsoft ISS-Server. Either MySQL from version 5.0.15 on, PostgreSQL from Version 8.3 or SQLite from version 3.3.7 can be used as database server software. Since version 7, PHP 5.2 is also used.
  • Lean Basic Package: 
    The basic Drupal package is very lean. Numerous features such as the text editor are only integrated after installation. Many features, installed by default in other CMS, must be installed and configured after initial installation of Drupal. For this, you need professional support.
  • Lack of Backend: 
    The system provides a strict separation of design/layout and CMS. Additionally, useful features such as multisite capability, a sophisticated caching concept and the possibility to connect Drupal to LDAP servers and use it for authentication are also available. Most of the features, however, must be manually installed through extensions, so-called modules. A decisive difference to TYPO3 or Joomla! is the missing backend for the administration of websites. This means that editors must enter or edit content either directly into the frontend or through hierarchically-structured menu fields. Changes, therefore, require considerable effort, though this can be improved by the numerous modules. Nevertheless, there is no clear connection between structure and content, which is achieved only through links.
  • Extensions not exchangeable: 
    Similar to other CMS, additional features are implemented through the use of extensions. However, these modules are not compatible in the various Drupal versions. Thus, implemented extensions must be checked for compatibility before upgrading. Automatic core upgrades are therefore not possible and all Drupal modules must be laboriously installed, adapted and activated manually. The numerous dependencies of the modules among each other are particularly tiresome for every webmaster or developer. Thus, it is quite common that a Drupal page has dependencies on more than 50-60 modules, which must all be manually kept current and checked for security leaks; often, the further development of these moduels is discontinued. This approach basically means that Drupal is unsuitable for use in a business-critical corporate environment – and that maintenance of a larger Drupal site is a fulltime job.
  • CMS and Framework
    Just like TYPO3, Drupal is also a framework. Therefore, it is generally possible to develop your own extensions or applications for every use case. For example, Drupal programmers can implement different solutions with integration into the existing IT infrastructure, which fulfill business-critical requirements of large companies, public authorities or associations. However, aspect oriented programming (AOP) as implemented with Drupal merely attempts to model object oriented approaches (OOP), but it is not an industry standard. Current software architectures such as MVC (Model View Controller) are also not supported. Drupal is therefore comprehensive and well-documented, but it is not based on a standard CMS architecture visualized for developers, coming up short where features that one expects in an Enterprise CMS are concerned – such as more extensive multilanguage support or workspaces.

Conclusion on Drupal

Unlike TYPO3, Drupal was not developed for use as an Enterprise Web CMS, but as a comprehensive social community solution. However, the use of Drupal can be sensible if the focus is on extensive social software, combined with simple Web CMS capabilities.

WordPress

What is the CMS WordPress capable of?

By contrast to TYPO3, WordPress is actually a pure weblog system, which can be expanded or rather converted to a Web Content Management System (CMS), though with considerable effort.

Highlights, Advantages and Disadvantages

  • System Requirements:
    WordPress, in its current version 3.8, is based on PHP from version 5.2.4 on and requires a MySQL database from version 5.0.15. The system requires few storage- and hardware resources and is therefore suited for the rapid creation of extensive blogs dealing with any number of topics. As with any other blog system, WordPress also basically distinguishes between two display areas: Articles are listed either by topic category or are displayed according to the time of publication. Every article can be commented upon by users, if this feature has been enabled by the blog- or website operator.
  • Extensions:
    The blog system WordPress, similar to TYPO3, consists of a basic system as well as extensions that can be enabled as needed. In WordPress, this extensions are implemented only as plugins. The basic WordPress package provides only a limited number of plugins. All others must be manually installed after initial installation. Numerous plugins are available, though they, for the most part, only cover features from the community-based social software or web 2.0 spectrum.
  • Limited Enterprise Capability:
    In general, WordPress 3.5 supports two of the most important features of an Enterprise Web CMS: Multilanguage- and multidomain capabilities. For this purpose, the features of the formerly separate MU version were integrated into the CMS as standard. Therefore, it is basically possible to operate several blog domains with one WordPress installation. By using a plugin the system can be enabled for multilanguage use. However, the plugin doesn’t provide metatags, thus limiting search engine optimization in combination with several language versions and – should no plugin be available for this problem – must be manually maintained with considerable effort.
  • Plugin Issues:
    Since WordPress is dependent on numerous different plugins for different use cases, these must be able to correspond with each other at all times in order to survive use in a business-critical environment. Updating the CMS can lead to compatibility problems of existing plugins. Before updating it is therefore necessary to conduct comprehensive tests in order to ensure stable operations.
  • Security Problems:
    Due to its enormous popularity as well as regular security gaps, several automated mass hack attacks have been tartgeted at WordPress instances in the past; in some cases hundreds of thousands of websites were compromised simultaneously.

Conclusion on WordPress

WordPress, unlike TYPO3, is primarily a blog system, which, for the most part, is best suited for creating small websites; these websites are filled with content through community publishing, i.e. the active participation of users or employees. Even for small website projects, selected extensions must be installed, so that a tradtional Web CMS with editing system can be implemented for a company. WordPress can be utilized as a Web CMS for companies with a lot of work, but one needs a lot of time and expert knowledge to provide the system with all necessary plugins and to make it operational. In contrast to this, many functionalities are integrated into TYPO3 by default.


Joomla!

What is the CMS Joomla! capable of?

Together with TYPO3, Joomla! is one of the most popular Web content management systems on the market. Joomla! had its origins in the Open Source project Mambo. Since the program code of Joomla! is entirely object oriented and components adhere to the Model View Controller (MVC) design principles, one can create extensions and web applications using the Joomla! framework and its corresponding API. By using the new Joomla User Interface (JUI) library, users can individually customizse Joomla 3.x extensions. In this way, Joomla! can be used to subsequently implement additional Enterprise features such as SAP connectors or similar features. In addition, the new version Joomla! 3.x provides numerous features for developing mobile web applications. With Bootstrap, Joomla relies on an HTML-/JavaScript framework, which is especially well-suited for Responsive Design and mobile apps.

Highlights, Advantages and Disadvantages

  • System Requirements:
    Joomla!, like TYPO3, is based on PHP and MySQL. Basic requirement for successful operations on a webserver is PHP 5.3.1. for Joomla! from version 3.x as well as MySQL from version 5.1. In addition, Joomla 3.x supports the databases MSSQL and PostgreSQL from version 8.3.18. The current version is Joomla! 3.x.
  • Easy Installation:
    System installation is very simple and can be carried out within minutes with minimal effort, so that even small- and medium-sized companies without IT departments can implement an operational Web CMS. In addition, many specialized fora and websites dealing with Joomla! can be found; these cover all the important questions and topics, and users can quickly find information regarding the system. Numerous sophisticated user manuals and tutorials about every important topic area can also be found.
  • Security Issues:
    Due to the popularity of the CMS, there have often been hack attacks on Joomla! sites. Because of a security gap in the Joomla! core, which was due to an insufficient input check, many older websites were attacked. This gap, however, has been closed since version 1.5.6. Security gaps are still partly present in third-party plugins. Meanwhile, Joomla! runs a professional security & release management, which could greatly reduce such security problems.
  • Many Extensions:
    Because of the large community, Joomla!, similar to TYPO3, can offer numerous extensions. The numbers are nearly identical. Joomla! differentiates between plugins, components and modules and, also similar to TYPO3, where they are used – e.g. in the backend or frontend or when very specific additional features, such as an RSS feed integration, are implemented. In part, the components, modules and plugins are interconnected in such a way that they do not function individually and have to be installed as a package in order to achieve the desired functional scope.
  • Not Multidomain-capable:
    Generally, Joomla! is not really multidomain-capable. This means that it isn’t possible to install different websites and domains under a single roof. For this reason, a dedicated Joomla! installation is necessary for every portal. There are already extensions that enable the joint operation and editing of these portals in a selected installation and displays the other sites as editable subsites. However, the problem of multiple installations and the associated domain handling has not been solved with this approach. Here, TYPO3 has a clear advantage with its sophisticated multidomain capability.
  • Rudimentary Rights Administration:
    Another disadvantage of Joomla! is the the rudimentary authentication and rights administration. The rights management has been completely revised since version 1.7 and now offers more possibilities than the previous versions – but in comparison to TYPO3, authorization process issues have not yet been satisfactorily addressed in Joomla!

Conclusion on Joomla!

In order to quickly and easily create websites for small- or medium-sized companies, an association or for a private person, Joomla! certainly is a good choice. However, when it comes to managing Enterprise Web content management solutions with unlimited scaling requirements as well as multilanguage fallbacks across multiple domains under a single umbrella for global corporations and corporations, or even implementing complex translation workflows with external agencies through the CMS, TYPO3 remains the CMS of choice. Many of the features required in a business-critical environment are already included in the TYPO3 basic package and only need to be activated, while Joomla! can only be brought to speed with a large number of extensions, which then must be further adapted and customized.

CMS Comparison: TYPO3 vs. Drupal vs. Joomla! vs. WordPress

Features

TYPO3

Drupal

Joomla

WordPress

Website

typo3.com

drupal.org

joomla.com

wordpress.org

Available since

2000

2001

2005

 

Developers

> 70,000

> 38,000

n/a

n/a

Open Source license

GNU General Public License

GNU General Public License

GNU General Public License

GNU General Public License

Programming language

PHP

PHP

PHP

PHP

Number of languages

50

181

> 60

50

Used for

Medium-sized & large companies, esp. international organizations

Medium-sized & large companies

Small companies

Small companies and blogs

Strengths

Stability, localization, feature-rich, investment security

Barrier-free for editors

Interfaces, single-site installation

Blog functionality, configurable for editors

Plugins/Market Place

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Weakness

Steep learning curve for developers

Steep learning curve for developers

Poor feature set for international websites

Vulnerable for security issues


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