[teknoids] CMS Drupal or Wordpress/ Open Source Journal Software

Erik R. Beck Erik.Beck at Colorado.EDU
Thu Apr 25 19:27:29 EDT 2013

Hi Michelene,

Colorado Law just launched a Drupal site in January, and I've been building a mirror site for the Library, also in Drupal.  In my past web developer jobs I built a few Wordpress blogs, so I have some experience there also.  My impression of the two options is as follows:

Wordpress is a great for setting up websites quickly and with relatively little development expertise.  Wordpress sites more or less drive themselves.  I find that available themes (files that handle design and display) are pretty well built out when you get them and usually don't require a lot of customization.  Also, there are a lot of them, so it's pretty easy to find one suits your institution and looks sufficiently unique.  The main drawback with Wordpress is that you won't be able to do much beyond writing pages and writing blog posts with it.  But if your site is small and you don't need to make your content behave in different ways from page to page, that ought to be fine.

Drupal is an enterprise-level content management system and carries with it all of the cost and benefits that that entails.  The best thing about it is that it offers a robust organizational system which let you manipulate content in really creative ways.  It's highly customizable, highly modular; but that also means that with the Drupal install you start with much less than you do with Wordpress and you have to add the pieces of functionality that are relevant to you bit by bit, building it up from the ground.  Drupal is more secure than Wordpress.  It gives you more options for assigning permissions.  Drupal will be the CMS for you if any of the following are true:
a)Your site is going to have a lot of different writers who will need access to focused areas of content.
b)Your site is super complex with a bunch of little panels and tabbed boxes, and a lot of the content is fragmented beyond basic page level.
c) You have a stable of developers and coders on staff who can admin the site regularly and who will be able to play with the various APIs to make cool custom apps.

Long story short: Wordpress sites are fast and cheap, but they aren't going to do a whole lot.  Developing in Drupal is a long and involved process, and if you contract out, it will probably cost you 2 or 3 times as much as Wordpress, but it gives you much more to work with in terms of manipulating content and assigning roles.

Looking at your site, I would advise that you consider using Wordpress.  If the HTML thing is working out for you, and all you're really trying to do is set up content editing and a cms, you won't need all that extra muscle you get with Drupal.  Assuming you have a web person on staff who knows some PHP and CSS, he or she will probably be able to learn Wordpress in just a few weeks.  With Drupal it's going to take months, and the process might be a little traumatic.

Hope this helps,


Erik Beck, Digital Services Librarian
William A. Wise Law Library
University of Colorado Law School
402 UCB, 2450 Kittredge Loop Dr., Rm. 217
Boulder, CO  80309-0402
Phone: 303-492-4869  Cell: 512-586-9295
Erik.Beck at colorado.edu<mailto:erik.beck at colorado.edu>

From: teknoids-bounces at ruckus.law.cornell.edu [mailto:teknoids-bounces at ruckus.law.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Michelene Decrow
Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2013 11:01 AM
To: teknoids at ruckus.law.cornell.edu
Subject: [teknoids] CMS Drupal or Wordpress/ Open Source Journal Software

Our Law School is looking at a re-design for our HTML site which is currently managed in Dreamweaver.
Senior Administration is hearing that a CMS is a must and the two proposals we received are for Wordpress.
I found the list of Law Schools who use DRUPAL, is there a list of Law Schools who use Wordpress?
I would like to talk with anyone who has experience in either of these content management systems to assist us in making the right choice.
I also wondered if anyone has adopted open source journal software for your journals. We currently have 150 html pages dedicated to journal archives.
I would really appreciate any communication. We hope to have this done by the Fall term.
Michelene Decrow
Director of Law School Technology
University of Maine School of Law
246 Deering Ave
Portland, ME 04102

PH: 207.780.4610
Fax: 207.780.4913

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