Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.

WordPress and Drupal

Dries Buytaert re-tweeted a couple of interesting things on Twitter earlier today. First was this one:

RT @chx1975: WordPress is now approximately where Drupal was around Drupal 5 w/ content types. See you in 2015.

Ouch. Okay, so we’re late to the game where custom content types are concerned. But I doubt it will take us until 2015 to catch up.

But Dries is even-handed, and calls fair game when someone retorts in favor of WordPress:

Agreed, and fair enough. RT @newoceans_en: @Dries Drupal 7 will hopefully be where WordPress was around 5 years ago regarding UX.

I haven’t had a chance to look at the Drupal 7 user interface yet, so I can’t say if that’s a fair comparison or hyperbole. But, I suspect that five years of catching up is another exaggeration. But these two statements do highlight one difference between where each project has focussed their attention over the years: Drupal has essentially been building a robust content management framework, and is working towards usability. WordPress started with ease-of-use and is becoming a more capable content framework.

I think that in both cases, this is a result of project leaders listening to their respective communities. I’ve seen many instances of WordPress developers saying “Drupal makes it easy to do X. Why can’t WordPress do that?”, or Drupal developers saying “People like WordPress because it’s so easy to use, right out-of-the-box. Why can’t Drupal be like that?” Each project is learning from the strengths and success of the other. And that’s awesome, because everybody wins.

It seems to me that both communities have a lot of good things to look forward to.

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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31 Responses to WordPress and Drupal

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention WordPress and Drupal --

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  3. gitano says:

    I wrote something about WordPress, Drupal and their convergence at

  4. Matthew Hare says:

    Good to be positive attitude. I love the usability of WordPress. I love the power of Drupal. I use both for different projects. I like usability, but I NEED power for some projects. In other words, I can see myself using WordPress more and more as time goes on.

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  6. Slightly related, Smashing Magazine ran an article a few days ago about WordPress vs. Joomla

  7. Pingback: WordPress?????

  8. Hikari says:

    Drupal is great, it’s core is clean and flexible, allowing module developers expand it anyway they want. But it’s also hard to develop upon, and has few features available as modules. To have an advanced site, you must have a dev team available, or you’ll have a extremely simple and hard to config site.

    Most module & themes are maintained by companies. That’s good in the way that, apparently, it’s easy to profit as a Drupal developer, you offer a few stuff for free and site owners hire you for custom. But also, when site owners stop willing to spend on their sites, Drupal support will drop.

  9. As a non-techie wanna-be geek, that post actually made sense. I very much appreciate the power of WP, have no clue about Drupal other than I freelanced a lot of editing for the owner of DruPro, a Helsinki-based dev team — and his site left my jaw dropping.

    Needless to say, as a blogger and internet marketer, WP is drop-dead gorgeous from an SEO perspective and business perspective. I’ve moved over to WP from SixApart’s Vox, and Google’s Blogger – and I’m not going back.

    Code is Poetry, and WP is Shakespeare.

  10. Dougal…
    I think you nailed it the main point is that successful projects (and ones that thrive over time) listen to their respective communities, pay attention to competitors and learn from their surroundings.
    Yes, I am a WordPress guy (for the most part…) but I think Drupal is doing a good job migrating from where it was to where it is.

    When I choose a CMS for a project it is based BOTH the characteristics where WP and Drupal are strong.

    Here’s to the continued success of both. True Competition does not obliterate one over the other but forces both to improve.



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  12. Banago says:

    Here’s to the continued success of both. True Competition does not obliterate one over the other but forces both to improve.

    Good point.

    What I am thinking about is the fact that WordPress is very advanced UX-wise and any new guy would choose to go with WordPress just for that. So, WordPress has a prospective market. As for the rest, CMS features added on 3.0 will not allow anyone leave WP for any reason 🙂

  13. Jon Himoff says:

    we use both, WordPress is great for blogging and Drupal does the heavier lifting with more data intense content. I suppose you could crank up WP if you applied that same effort needed to add features to Drupal. I don’t know really that either scales without a lot of effort.

  14. tom says:

    Nice Article! I have used both and think i like WP just a bit better. I have a place and time for each. Thanks for the info!

  15. Bill Bennett says:

    I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered WP, but I’m on top of it. Now I need heavy-duty database integration and I’m think of moving to Drupal. Is this practical?

  16. Good race. And glad to see Drupal getting easier and WP getting scalable.

  17. It’s great to see Dries having a good attitude about the whole thing. Wearing my DrupalCamp tshirt along with my WP hat today 🙂

    On a seperate note, the ‘FOLLOW’ box in the sidebar of your site does not deal well with a skinny window. It hovers over top of the text and was really bugging me. It’s probably worth adding some extra padding somewhere to make sure it looks good even if the window is so small that the side-scroller gets turned on. Thanks 🙂

    • Dougal says:

      Yeah, I still need to take a look at the new UI in Drupal 7. My past experience with Drupal has been that the “architecture-first” aspect of it appealed to the idealist developer in me, but the user interface just wasn’t straightforward enough for me to actually want to figure out how to use it.

      As far as the “follow” sidebar goes, yeah, I’ve been meaning to turn that off. It also shows up in the WPtouch mobile theme, which is annoying. Thanks for reminding me, I’ll turn that feature off now 🙂

  18. Mike P says:

    While I mainly use WP, hopefully conferences like will help developers collaborate in both platforms.

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  20. Hayden says:

    Good article. This is the beauty of competition and an open market. Although Drupal and WordPress were created under different premises, each release fuels the other. I pretty much only use WordPress but I only see good things coming from this competition.

  21. Ricbi says:

    Drupal is sure a real powerful tool, however it is a pain working with, especially when you are a beginner. Drupal was the first CMS I worked with and it took me weeks to get it working – the theme however was just average.
    For the next project I tried WOrdpress and was amazed how easy it was to get into it. There are a lot of beautiful themes you can use.
    So I think that I will stay with WP.


  22. Wedding photographer in Houston says:

    I was in a terrible fix between Drupal and wordpress when I was going to build my photography based website. Both have their pros and cons but I chose the later. My friend told me that wordpress is better in terms of search engine spider friendliness. I am not sure if I made the right choice technically but I am happy with my website. The flexibility to change and experiment with different themes truely made me love my website! wordpress ROCKS for me!!

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