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Open Source Usability — Joomla! Vs. WordPress 240

An anonymous reader writes "PlayingWithWire profiles two open source tools for Web development, comparing Joomla! and WordPress through the lens of usability. The article has apparently upset a few people at the Joomla! forum, but it does bring up a good point. Many open source projects are developed by engineers for engineers — should they focus more on usability? PlayingWithWire makes a bold analogy: 'If Joomla! is Linux, then WordPress is Mac OS X. WordPress might offer only 90% of the features of Joomla!, but in most cases WordPress is both easier to use and faster to get up and running.'" The article repeatedly stresses that blogging platform WordPress and CMS harness Joomla! occupy different levels of the content hierarchy. How fair is it to twit Joomla! on usability?
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Open Source Usability — Joomla! Vs. WordPress

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  • by howlingmadhowie ( 943150 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @06:33AM (#27049309)
    at the moment, the link goes to a thread with 5 posts, none of which seem to have been written by an upset person.
  • by tnok85 ( 1434319 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @06:41AM (#27049339)

    Wow, this article is blatantly biased. Just look at the way he writes.

    For the Joomla! examples, they feel the need to put quotations around everything. 'Control Panel', 'Title', and so on. Those same words (or similar words) in the WordPress section are for some reason easier to understand, so they don't warrant quotations.

    Not to mention he described Joomla!'s processes as a technical writer would (loosely) and then described WordPress' processes as if casually telling a friend.

    That alone stopped me from reading the article.

    Disclaimer: I've used Joomla! once, and WordPress once. Both did their jobs admirably, but you can't compare apples and oranges - which is what this article is trying to do, with a heavy bias.

  • not a question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @06:42AM (#27049345) Homepage Journal

    should they focus more on usability?

    Errr... yes?

    How can you possibly answer "no" to that question? Do you want your stuff actually being, you know, used by people? There's a reason it's called "usability" and not bumblebee.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @07:03AM (#27049443)

    you should use drupal over joomla for your companys website :)

  • by MrNaz ( 730548 ) * on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @07:21AM (#27049513) Homepage

    So you're saying that a spanner is better than a power geared pneumatic torque wrench if all you're doing is tightening a bolt?

    No shit, Sherlock.

  • by DiegoBravo ( 324012 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @07:25AM (#27049523) Journal

    I use BOTH systems for the company web site. Joomla!, lets me create and customize things like menus, download zones, galleries of images, a forum, etc. A link points to our blog implemented in Wordpress. There are blog extensions for Joomla, but WP is IMO better than those.

    Joomla is both a CMS and a framework to add powerful extensions, and using just for a blog is overkill. Wordpress is a blog (and of course able to present a simple static web site), but is limited beyond that.

    Note also that there are many Joomla extensions in order to let other projects being integrated in the Joomla framework. See for example: [] (integrate WP with Joomla)

    It's pretty obvious that Joomla will have a larger learning curve so the comparison is really pointless.

  • Re:Quite fair (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wfWebber ( 715881 ) < minus berry> on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @07:32AM (#27049555)
    Same here. It's not too hard to use an existing template for better looks, but once you want to make things look like you want, you'll need to delve into template building. Not for the weakhearted. On the other hand, I'm not too sure WP would score higher on this one.
  • by Architect_sasyr ( 938685 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @08:00AM (#27049683)

    Diversity is a good thing, and we should encourage it, not worry about it.

    Great in theory, shit in practice. The amount of "geeks" and/or "nerds" out there who tell me I simply must use wordpress, or I must use Joomla (or Drupal) because it is better - regardless of my own needs - is so spectacularly high that I'm tempted to just say fuck it and write my own, portability be damned. The same applies to the Apple/GNU/Microsoft argument as well. I don't care if one is easier to use than the other, for me, OS X goes to my designers, wordpress to my blogging clients, joomla to my own systems, GNU for my servers, Microsoft for once off uses. The right tool for the right damned job. The second the people writing these "Vs." articles (and threads and what not) get that through their heads, is the second everyone figures out what they really need, not what they're told they should use.

  • Re:not a question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tpgp ( 48001 ) * on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @08:04AM (#27049699) Homepage

    Both vi and EMACS seem to have taken the "fuck the users" approach to heart.

    There is a difference between being easy-to-use-first-time and usable. You appear to be confusing the two.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @08:30AM (#27049803)

    I've been happily training hundreds of volunteers to run and manage joomla web sites over the last two years. One of the best of which is done entirely by an 80 year old pensioner with no prior computer experience.

    Sure usability could be improved. When cant something be improved. I dont believe anyone in joomla is arrogant ennough to believe that it is perfect. Thats why it is constantly developed and improved upon.

    Comparing joomla to drupal is like comparing red apples to green apples. Some people love one and hate the other. Other people love them both. At the end of the day they are similar but not the same. Comparing either joomla or drupal to wordpress is like comparing apples to pears. They are both fruit but thats where the similarity ends.

  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @08:39AM (#27049855) Homepage Journal

    The amount of "geeks" and/or "nerds" out there who tell me I simply must use wordpress, or I must use Joomla (or Drupal) because it is better - regardless of my own needs - is so spectacularly high that I'm tempted to just say fuck it and write my own

    Some guy called Nietzsche on the line ... something about the perils of fighting monsters.

  • Re:Joomla is evil. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gravyface ( 592485 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @08:53AM (#27049919)

    See, here's where you're wrong: Joomla makes it incredibly easy to grant full editing access to anyone visiting your site!


    With hundreds of essential 3rd-party modules []! These action-packed add-ons feature high-quality and easy-to-use SQL injection exploits, empowering your visitors to take full control and do whatever they want to your site.

    Now that's usability!

  • Re:not a question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wumpus188 ( 657540 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @09:00AM (#27049961)

    Does anybody honestly think that the traditional Unix filesystem heirarchy makes an ounce of sense in 2009?


  • Re:not a question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xabraxas ( 654195 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @09:41AM (#27050259)

    Both vi and EMACS seem to have taken the "fuck the users" approach to heart.

    Really? Both Vi and Emacs have some of the best builtin help available. They are both modal editors so they aren't going to be easy to understand without reading the manual but is it really the fault of the programs's creator that you cannot do advanced editing without reading the manual? If you want easy there are are hundreds of other text editors that are easier to use although they can't do half as much.

  • Joomla Bugsquad here. Sorry but your post doesn't mention a single point in Joomla that you dislike or even a single point that may be flawed. It actually sounds like a little hissy-fit by someone teenager or early twen with ADHD - to use your own words.

    And as you are and "admin for various sites" (Links please) you might actually maybe have some substancial criticisim to add. I'll be glad to pass it on to the core team.

    Otherwise please quit any aimless ranting and flailing. You get may modded +5 Interesting on slashdot (qed) - for whatever bizar reason that may be - but it really isn't much of a help and makes you look like an idiot.

    My 2 cents.

  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @10:33AM (#27050767) Homepage Journal

    by people who apparently dont know zit about what they are comparing. i like neither joomla, or wordpress, but i am a web developer by profession and mess with both occasionally. let me wrap it up :

    joomla is basically a content management system that seeks to allow for many different functions through many different modules you can install. issues and problems are BOUND to happen, for you are installing many different modules coded by different people. it also has very diverse modules made for very diverse purposes other than just basically publishing articles.

    wordpress is a codebase based on a BLOG first, and everything later. its capabilities are more limited than joomla is, because its initial goal and vision was narrower. therefore it can be made and is made simple to use. it also has less diverse modules performing less diverse spectrum of tasks.

    therefore its kinda like comparing a family van to a utility truck. with one of them you can do the same thing you can do with the other one, but both are efficient in different areas.

  • really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @10:37AM (#27050815) Homepage Journal

    Blind, uninformed apple criticism gets modded troll.

    my experience is that any kind of apple criticism gets modded troll regardless of the criticism's informedness standing.

  • by Saint ( 12232 ) * on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @11:14AM (#27051281) Homepage

    The real message is that joomla suffers from a lack of useability. The fact that a software component can perform complex tasks, does not require that the interface be confusing.

    Comparing joomla to wordpress is silly as everyone else has noted...but it accomplished the author's goal of getting a lot of traffic....:)

    I have to say that IMHO the Joomla developers would see an explosion of new users if they would just allow someone with useability experience to walk through the admin ui and suggest changes. It is repetitive. There are aspects that are not clear and thus confusing. In 2009, there really is no excuse for that.

    Having said that, it is an excellent piece of software for catalogs, commerce sites, etc. I can think of none better in general...even considering drupal.

    Just my opinion.

  • by nidarus ( 240160 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @11:21AM (#27051363)

    If you're a competent programmer, appreciate good design, know PHP to some extent, etc. then use *Drupal*

    I'd say, even if you aren't any of those things, you should still go with Drupal.

    Everything, from module installation, to template creation (which you have to do, even on the most basic site) is simpler and less technical in Drupal. The only thing that's better in Joomla! is a slightly more attractive admin area layout.

    The idea that Joomla! is somehow more newbie-friendly, is a myth.

  • Re:not a question (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nidarus ( 240160 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @11:33AM (#27051507)

    So, basically, as the OP said, "screw the n00bs", right?

    Given enough time, you can learn how to use just about anything. A program that's usable only by people who took several days (weeks?) to read the manuals, is not usable, by any meaningful definition of the word.

    I disagree with the OP though - vi and EMACS weren't about "fucking the users", in fact, when they were created, they were relatively user-friendly. Hell, they are still more user-friendly than some later DOS programs. But now, they are showing their age. Their main problem is that they don't follow any common UI paradigms, simply because they predate those paradigms.

  • Re:not a question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Draek ( 916851 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @12:01PM (#27051861)

    If you find something usable only after months of practice, that application is not usable for most values of the word usable.

    I once heard a definition of "usable" I quite liked, though I can't remember where: "it makes the simple easy, and the complex possible". ViM and Emacs may require some initial training and a willingness to RTFM, but once learned they excel at the latter in ways that no other editor I've tried has done.

  • Call me back when Linux or Windows have system-wide drag-and-drop that lets me drag an image off a webpage or into an chat window, or from my desktop into the Mail icon to start a new mail with an attachment, or from an email to a filesystem icon which pops open, lets me browse my hard drive by hovering and dropping where I want, and then goes away.

    In other words, "call you back when they make an OS X clone in Linux".

    Sorry - won't happen. You seem to like OS X. So stick with it. What's the problem?

    Certainly there are folks out there who are trying to achieve all that you ask for, and more power to them. But Linux is king when it comes to customizability, and it's damn hard to make a system with the interoperability that you want, while still maintaining customizability. Perhaps in the OS X world (don't know - I don't use Apple), the emphasis is on ease of use. In the Linux world, it's flexibility - if the user doesn't like how the system is, he should easily be able to customize it to his needs. Sure, they do focus on user-friendliness, etc. But all DE's and WM's I've seen in Linux that sacrifice flexibility for user friendliness don't get far. And all the people I know who use them eventually leave them.

  • Re:not a question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @03:34PM (#27055057) Homepage

    Why not? The approach works fine on Mac OS X (even though I do lament the lack of a proper package manager).

    It's not even that the traditional Unix filesystem is cryptic.... it's that it no longer makes sense for the manner in which it's used.

    What is /opt used for these days?

    Is the distinction between /usr/ and /usr/local/ particularly important any more? /lib, /usr/lib, /usr/local/lib, /usr/X11R6/lib, /var/lib etc... all tend to point to the same libraries.

    Does it make sense for /var and /proc to be separated?

    Why do X11 apps need their own folder within /usr/?

    Why is mail stored in /var instead of user folders?

    What's the difference between /bin and /sbin? /etc isn't used for "Et-cetera." It's used for configuration files.

I owe the public nothing. -- J.P. Morgan